So Long Sousa
The thought of another campaign with this man in charge did make me tempted to not renew my season ticket. I did though against my better judgement and was rewarded when Leicester took him off our hands a week after I bought it. I was on my way to work when I saw the headline outside my local shop which prompted a goal like celebration from me in the car. I had no idea who was coming in but I knew they couldn’t serve up anything worse than the paint dry we had under Sousa. Good riddance!
The New Man
Having been spurned by Jones, Speed and Reid the board turned to ex-Reading and Watford manager Brendan Rodgers. He was clearly delighted to get the job but a lot of us felt underwhelmed by the appointment. He only had three weeks before our first game of the campaign so had limited time to work with the players and bring in new additions. His first foray into the transfer though couldn’t have worked out better…
Scott Sinclair knew Rodgers from his time at Chelsea and made him a key component of his side after spending half a million to sign him on a three year deal filling a gaping hole on the left side of our attack. It’s fair to say he repaid that fee and more with 27 strikes in a memorable season. He even had a famous Mrs – Rosie from Corrie which prompted one of the more memorable chants in recent years “He shags Rosie Webster and Sally Don’t Care.”
They were the words of David Giles as we approached the first derby of season. Cardiff would win no doubt about it, even though we were third and they were top. Well he would come to regret those comments when the Swans dominated the game with loan signing Marvin Emnes netting the all important goal. As someone who was working in Cardiff at the time let’s just say it’s the best Monday I’ve ever had!
It’s fair to say the Liberty became a bit of a fortress under Rodgers, during his two seasons in charge we only lost seven league games at home. During this campaign only three sides were victorious at our ground and fifteen sides came to us and lost – the most since we moved to our new home in 2005. This would provide the backbone for our promotion push.
We all forget now but Leon Britton actually left us at the start of the season to join Sheffield United. He soon realised he’d made a mistake though, he even turned up in the away end at Wigan in the Cup to support us and fortunately for him we bought him back in the transfer window preventing him sliding into League 1 in the process. He was to repay us though with a crucial goal in a big game at the end of the campaign…
Waste Of Time
Before all that though I’ve got to get this rant in. After defeating Barnet, Tranmere and Peterborough we drew Wigan in the League Cup 4th round giving us the chance to get one over Roberto Martinez. I booked a half day from work fully expecting us to have a good go at them, only to find out that we’d made eight changes from our normal eleven and duly lost 2-0. What a waste of time that trip was, had I known in advance I would have stayed at home. To complete a miserable day I missed kick off due to traffic on the M6. I swore Rodgers owed us one after that; I might forgive him now though seeing as what happened afterwards changed everything.
Our bid for automatic promotion was to fall short so it was a two legged semi with Forest for us to endure first. Our pal Mike Dean screwed us over again (I really hate him) by sending off Neil Taylor in the first minute. From there I don’t think I’ve been more proud to call myself a Swansea City fan. Our players were heroic and got a thoroughly deserved 0-0 to bring back with us to fortress Liberty.
Forest probably started better than us in the 2nd leg but Leon scored a left footed screamer to give us the lead and Stephen Dobbie doubled it a few minutes later. Good old Rob Earnshaw pulled one back for them and then hit the post in the last minute to put our hearts in our mouths. In their next attack the ball found its way to Darren Pratley who dribbled to the half way line before shooting at the unguarded goal. We all held our breath and as soon as the ball got to the penalty spot you could see it was going in. The bloke next to me who I’ve never met before picked me up screaming we’re going to Wembley. The hairs on the back of my neck are standing up just re-writing this stuff.
We were spared the agonising prospect of facing the Scum under the arch when Reading dumped them out 3-0 at Legoland in the second leg of the other semi-final. Amazingly though the Royals found themselves trailing by the same score at half time in the final thanks to a Sinclair brace and Dobbie volley. Not even we could screw this up now could we? Well we gave it a bloody good go. Within 10 minutes it was 3-2 and a shot from Jem Karacan hit the post before coming out to Shane Long who seemed certain to score but captain fantastic Garry Monk got what became known as the £60 million pound block to stop him. From there Sinclair completed his hat-trick and we became the first Welsh side in the Premier League. In the words of The Levellers “What A Beautiful Day”.