Kenny Jackett was embarking on his first full season at the club and it was obvious where he needed to strengthen. In came a clutch of defenders including Garry Monk, Kevin Austin, Sam Ricketts and Andy Gurney. Willy Gueret arrived as our new number one and winger Adrian Forbes moved to the Vetch from Luton. In terms of departures the legendary Roger Freestone’s departure caused a stir as many felt he should have been told before the final game of the previous season so he could have had a proper send off. It didn’t go down well with the Jack Army, so a good start to the new season was vital, especially in this historic season.
A home loss to Northampton was not what we were hoping for at the start of the last year at the Vetch, and it seemed as if club captain Roberto Martinez was the scapegoat as far as the manager was concerned as he was axed from the squad for the next game at Rochdale. That game did see the Swans get off the mark with a 2-0 win but after a loss and a draw in the next two games and with performances uninspiring, the fans were getting restless and were chanting “Jackett sort it out during a League Cup loss at his former club QPR. Martinez was reinstated after that and it coincided with an upturn in form.
We’ve Only Got Nine Men
By November we were top of the league when we travelled to Shrewsbury who were bottom and had just changed their manager. for those of you who didn’t follow the club then you can probably see where this is going, for those that were I’m sure this game is one you haven’t forgotten. Garry Monk and Andy Robinson both saw red in the first half with the latter being alleged to have shoved the referee over just after his second yellow, although TV coverage showed that wasn’t the case. At the break we were one down and had nine men. it was a hopeless situation, other than a couple of corners and free kicks the Swans unsurprisingly struggled to create anything and would eventually go on to lose 2-0.
There were a few changes to the squad during the campaign. Marcus Bean and Marc Goodfellow would both have short term loan spells over the festive period with the latter scoring four goals in eight games. The Jack Army were hoping that move could be made permanent but that had to wait until the summer as Jackett raided old club QPR for Kevin McLeod instead. Ijah Anderson and Lee Thorpe would also arrive on free transfers while going the other way was Brad Maylett who moved to Boston, but not before the Swans had secured a last minute win from the penalty spot at York Street in mid January thanks to Lee Trundle.
The Swans were looking a safe bet for promotion as January ended, but a run of just one win from the next nine games threatened to derail that bid. It started when we were held at home by promotion rivals Southend, but defeats to Mansfield, Leyton Orient, Darlington and Notts County. With eight games left Jackett’s side were in 5th place and really needed to turn the tide if they wanted to avoid the Play-Offs. Starting with the visit of another rival of ours Macclesfield.
The Run In
Macclesfield were defeated on Good Friday and Cheltenham on Easter Monday thanks to a Leon Britton diving header as Swansea got back on track. Victory over Cambridge was followed by a last minute loss at Lincoln, the final Friday game at the Vetch saw Oxford beaten but Bristol Rovers gained revenge after losing to a late penalty in the reverse fixture in November leaving the Swans needing to win both of their final games to have a chance of finishing in the top three.
After 93 years it was finally time for the Vetch Field to host League football for the final time. It was a highly emotional day in Sandfields on a scorching hot day with club legends paraded before the game, Max Boyce entertaining the crowd and Cyril and newly introduced Cybil the Swan tying the knot in front of the North Bank. There was a game to be played though, and Adrian Forbes made himself the hero when he scored what turned out to be the only goal of the game early on to secure the vital three points. At full time the Jack Army spilled onto the pitch as was the tradition in those days. The Swans had closed on the top three but still needed a win at Bury to have a chance of going up.
The Away Home Game
5,000 travelled to Gigg Lane on Saturday 7th May 2005 to see if the Swans would begin life at their new home in a higher division. Forbes once again was the hero of the day as he scored inside the first minute to cause absolute carnage with a pitch invasion from the bonkers away following in Greater Manchester. The game was very nervy from that point, but the Swans saw the game out and as a result of Southend not winning, 3rd place and promotion was secured. At full time the mass away following invaded the pitch to celebrate. The players went into the directors box to join the celebrations which would then lead to the infamous incident of Willy Gueret getting arrested. Only the Swans could have a player arrested in a situation like that.
One Last Time
The Swans had the chance to round off a great season by winning the FAW Premier Cup for the first time in what would be the last ever game at the Vetch. For a short period it looked like the swansong would be spoilt when Juan Ugarte gave Wrexham the lead in the second half. It didn;t last long though as an own goal drew the hosts level and Andy Robinson wrote his name into the history books with a sweet left footed volley which won the game and it proved to be the final goal at the famous old ground. For the third time in twelve days there was another pitch invasion and once the trophy was presented and the fans had taken their mementos the lights at the original home of Swansea City went out for the final time.