Swansea Betting

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Teams from Wales are an uncommon sight in the top tier of British football, which is all the more reason to pay attention when one bursts onto the Premiership stage. In 2011-12, Swansea City are most certainly an up-and-comer to watch, easily ranking as one of the most successful Clubs in Welsh football history.

At the onset of the 20th century, Rugby Union dominated the sports scene in Wales, so the idea of starting up a professional football club in 1912 was daring to say the least. Using Vetch Field as their home ground, which was little more than a wild pasture at the time, the newly formed Swansea Town Swans immediately won the Welsh Cup in 1913.

Capitalising on this early success, the Swans joined the Second Division of the Southern League, where they remained until gaining promotion just before World War I. When the Football League was established in 1920, the Town were among the founding members in Division Three. It only took them five years to win the Division title and move up a tier, going on to fifth place in Division Two and reaching the FA Cup semi-finals in 1925.

Swansea remained a strong side, winning a second Welsh Cup in 1932 before World War II interrupted competition. The post-War Club weakened, however, and they were briefly relegated to the Third Division before bouncing back as Division Champs in 1948-49. Sixteen seasons in the Second Division then yielded two more Welsh FA Cup trophies (1950 and 1961).

Then came a decade of struggles. The Town slipped to Division Three in 1965 and dropped to Division Four in 1967, despite picking up their fifth Welsh Cup in 1966. A brief rebound in 1970 was followed by a return to the basement in 1973 and the humiliation of having to apply for re-election to the League in 1975. In the meantime, the Town had grown up to become a City and the Club’s name was changed accordingly.

Revival did not occur until player-manager John Toshack burst onto the scene, leading the Swans to consecutive promotions in 1978 and 1979. Then, on the basis of a third-place finish in 1980-81, at long last Swansea City reached the top tier of British football for the first time in their history and they completed the 1981-82 season at number six in the First Division table.

Their stay at the top was unfortunately short-lived. Relegation in 1983 and then again in 1984, left the Club in shambles. By December 1985, a decision was being considered to disband. Only the proposal of a last-minute rescue by a group of directors held the Club together as they were relegated once more to Division Four in 1986. Eventually High Court approval of a new board’s rescue plan was required to allow the Swans to survive.

Promotion to Division Three came in 1988. Five years later, the team reached the play-offs. As a testament to their resilience throughout this difficult period, the Club continued to dominate play in Wales, claiming four more Welsh FA Cup victories, including a hat-trick in 1981-83, plus triumphs in 1989 and 1991. No other side has come close to equaling their ten Welsh Cup trophies.

In 1996, Swansea fell to Nationwide Division Three (formerly Fourth Division). In 2000, they were promoted as champions, but they lasted at the next level for only a single season. Facing bankruptcy in 2001-02, the Club changed hands several times and emerged as the property of a holding company, Swansea City Football 2002 Limited, with five owners holding 10 percent or more of the shares.

The 2004-05 season ended on a note of optimism, as the Club packed up and left old Vetch Field for a new home west of the River Tawe. Awaiting them there was the 20,532-capacity Liberty Stadium built by the Swansea Council at a cost of £27 million.

Playing in the newly inaugurated League One (tier three) of the Football League, the reinvigorated Swans took little time to make their presence known. In 2007-08, they won the tile and moved up to the Championship (tier two). Then, by virtue of a third-place finish in 2010-11, Swansea City were returned to the top flight, becoming the Premiership’s first Welsh side since its formation in 1992.

Judging from past results, betting on the Swans to be relegated again might have seemed like an obvious choice going into the 2011-12 season. However, it would require denying the will to rise that has characterised the Club since 2005.

These Welshmen have heart and a strong fan base. Especially when playing at home at Liberty, the “Jacks” (as their loyal supporters like to call them) are very tough to beat, indeed. By late-November 2011, they were holding the #13 spot on the Premier League table, far from the ranks of demotion.