WALTER WHITTAKER 1912-1914
When the new Swansea Town football club was established in May 1912, the directors needed to secure a pitch to play professional football on, a squad of players to represent the Town, plus a manger.
The man they turned to as manager was a journeyman goalkeeper from Exeter City called Walter Whittaker.
Whittaker was an imposing man, standing at just over 6ft 3in and weighing in at nearly 15 stone. He left Exeter to become player-manager at the Vetch Field after spells at Grimsby, Reading Derby County and Blackburn Rovers.
He had his work cut out in getting everything in place in time for the big kick-off on September 7, 1912.
But to his credit, by the end of the first season he had won the Welsh Cup, Welsh League and finished a creditable third in the Southern League Second Division.
The second season saw the club achieve the distinction of reaching the first round proper of the FA Cup and finish fourth in the league.
But to everyone’s astonishment, including Whittaker himself, the Board terminated his contract with the disgruntled boss taking up the manager’s seat at Llanelly.
JOHN WILLIAM BARTLETT 1914-1915
The man chosen to take over from Walter Whittaker was John William Bartlett. He arrived at the Vetch Field in the summer of 1914, just before the outbreak of the First World War. And strangely he had only just turned down an invitation from the German FA to take charge of all football in the Southern part of that country.
He had made a name for himself as a very good manager at Leicester Fosse, and the Board at the Vetch Field viewed such an experienced manager as a bit of a coup for the club.
Certainly his new signings in Hewitt and Lloyd showed that he had an eye for a good player, and both went on to serve the club with distinction.
War was declared two days before the opening fixture of the new season, but with no conscription the football authorities decided to carry on with the season. Whether this was a wise decision is debatable, but the FA Cup proved exciting for the club, with a famous cup win over league champions Blackburn Rovers in the first round an incredible result.
The season ended with the side fourth in the league and runners up in the Welsh Cup. With football cancelled for the duration of the war, Bartlett left the club never to return.
JOE BRADSHAW 1919-1926
At the end of the First World War professional football in the country was eager to return to some normality after the horrors of the terrible conflict.
The man who the Swans Board chose to be the third manager of the fledgling club was Joe Bradshaw.
Prior to the war Bradshaw had been manager at Southend United, and after being demobbed the man went straight to work at the Vetch Field. His new signings in Denoon and Collins were to pay dividends over many seasons, while he also brought on the talents of a young reserve player Billy Hole.
The first season saw the side finish ninth in the league, but everything was in place for the following campaign when the Swans would play in the Football League for the first time.
With promotion to the Football League, the manager needed to boost his squad and he brought in Joe Edmonson and the legendary Wilf Milne as the club finished a very creditable fifth in the division.
The next three seasons saw progression in the league, with the first Swansea Town championship winning side coming at the end of the 1925 campaign.
The Second Division held no fear for the newly promoted side, but it was the fantastic run to the FA cup semi-final that really caught the spectators’ imagination.
Unfortunately with the Swans fifth at the end of the season and a glorious cup run behind them, Bradshaw decided to leave the club for personal reasons.
Regarded as the first great Swansea manager, he left the club in a much better position than when first took over.
JAMES THOMPSON 1927-1931
When Joe Bradshaw left the Vetch Field at the end of the 1926 season, the Board took the decision to manage the team. A committee of directors took it upon themselves to select the team and this continued until April 1927 when they finally appointed a new manager, namely James ‘Jimmy’ Thompson.
Thompson had been a successful manager at Bury after playing for Leith, Hearts, Preston, Nelson and Scotland as a full International.
The team he was to take over had stagnated during its managerless period, and the man he was to follow in Joe Bradshaw left a legacy that was difficult to follow.
The opening season saw supporters in optimistic mood; the team were scoring goals aplenty, though the away form was cause for concern.
The finances at the club were in the spotlight and over the course of the next couple of seasons many of the side’s better players were sold for large fees and replaced with cheaper and inferior players.
By the end of Thompson’s fourth season in charge the situation had worsened. Although the side narrowly avoided relegation, the writing was on the wall for the manager and in the summer he resigned from his post.
NEIL HARRIS 1934-1939
Even though the Board had experienced a tough time when they ran the club without a manager in 1926, they incredibly continued this folly once more after James Thompson resigned his post in August 1931.
This time they continued this practice for a further three seasons, by which time the club and its finances were in a critical situation.
The man they eventually turned to change things around was another Scot, Neil Harris.
The manager couldn’t have taken over at a worse time with the financial crisis in the country mirrored at the Vetch Field. The local paper was campaigning for new blood to be brought into the team, while the crowds were drifting away from the club as they sat down the bottom of the division.
To the new manager’s great credit, he was personally involved in raising funds on behalf of the club. But one by one stalwarts of the side like Joe Sykes and Wilf Milne retired leaving the club bereft of any leadership in the dressing room.
The manager manfully continued for the next few seasons, narrowly avoiding relegation time after time.
But in June 1939 with war looming and no prospect of change at the club, Neil Harris decided to leave and joined Swindon Town.
HAYDN GREEN 1939-1947
Haydn Green’s first summer at the Vetch Field was interrupted by the onset of the Second World War, so the former manager at Hull and Lincoln City would be forced to wait years before he got to manage the side in competitive action.
Although the football authorities cancelled organised football straight away, the Football Western League that the team played in did give the new man an opportunity to have a good look at the young players available to him in a competitive setting.
The accent was to be on youth, especially with the lack of finances at the club, and during this period the likes of Ford, Paul, Burns and others were being developed in readiness for the time the war was over.
Finally after six long, bloody years the war ended and Green had to prepare for the beginning of league football once again.
The Football League set up a Victory League for one season only to allow clubs time for players to be demobbed from the forces. After a long absence from organized football, the crowds flocked to stadiums all over the country, none more so than the Vetch Field were the new hero was centre forward Trevor Ford.
Unfortunately Ford was sold after a handful of Second division games and the team were eventually relegated.
The manger’s new Irish recruitment policy was still reaping benefits, but with the club anxious over the funds required to support this spending, there was eventually a showdown between the manager and the directors. This resulted in Green resigning from his post.
It was a sad end to a manager whose youth policy and astute buying would lay the foundations for success in the not too distant future.
BILLY McCANDLESS 1947-1955
After manager Neil Harris handed in his resignation after just five league games, the board turned their attentions to Billy McCandless.
McCandless had already proved himself at this level, and had taken Cardiff City and Newport County to promotion to division Two in the past.
The first thing he persuaded the Board to do was to pay a club record £11,000 to Swindon Town to bring in midfielder Billy Lucas to the club. Lucas, who was a full Welsh international, was made captain of the side who would finish a creditable fifth in the league.
But it was the following season that the side would create Swansea football history, running away with the Third Division (South) championship and creating many records along the way that would last for decades. The following season saw the opening fixture played at Ninnian Park, and over 60,000 people attended the game. During the half-time interval the Swans manager was presented with a gold watch by the directors of the three other South Wales clubs in recognition of his achievements with the three sides.
The next couple of seasons saw the youngsters break through with Allchurch, Charles, Griffiths and Medwin just some of the talented players produced by the successful Swansea Schoolboys side.
Slowly the promotion side was being broken up, but with everyone preparing for the start of the 1955 season the shock news came through that McCandless had suffered fatal heart-attack and had died.
RONNIE BURGESS 1955-1958
In June 1954 Tottenham Hotspur decided to grant a free transfer to their former Welsh international centre-half Ronnie Burgess. As a result Swans manager McCandless was quick to sign up the experienced defender, who took up the position of player-coach at the Vetch Field.
Burgess was a cultured defender, who on the sudden and untimely death of manager McCandless during pre-season, was approached by the Board to manage the side while the directors decided on their next move.
During this period he was given the title of team manager, while he was assisted in the selection of the team by captain Ivor Allchurch and former player and coach Joe Sykes.
The team he inherited was an exciting one, comprising local players such as Allchurch, Charles, Griffiths, Medwin and Jones, while the style of play was a joy to witness.
In his first season the side topped the table for a while, until an injury to centre-half Kiley showed a lack of desire on the part of the Board to replace him with a quality replacement.
At the end of the season Terry Medwin was granted a transfer to Spurs, the first in a line of top class players at the club to realise their potential away from the Vetch Field.
The next two seasons saw Palmer and Cliff Jones leave the club. Burgess, frustrated with the position he found himself in, resigned from his post.
TREVOR MORRIS 1958-1965
During the Second World War, Trevor Morris served in the RAF in Bomber Command, where he was awarded the DFC.
His footballing career had started just before war broke out when he made his league debut in the final game of the season for his club side Ipswich Town. But while guesting for Cardiff City in a war time cup match against Bristol City, he broke his leg and his promising career was over.
After the war he took up the position of assistant secretary at Cardiff City, and was promoted to team manager in 1954. He endured two difficult seasons at Ninnian Park and was unable to stop the club’s relegation from the First Division.
Then in June 1958 he was appointed as general secretary at the Vetch Field. It was an appointment that put pressure on manager Ronnie Burgess, who saw his position at the club as untenable and resigned, leaving the way clear for Morris to succeed him.
Within weeks of taking up the post, the manager oversaw the transfer of legend Ivor Allchurch to Newcastle and later Mel Charles to Arsenal.
The new manager was known for his ability to deal in the transfer market, while he took the Swans on its first European adventure and the fantastic FA Cup run to the semi-finals in 1964.
Sadly he couldn’t stop the side falling into the Third Division a year later, and resigned from the post at the end of the season.
He had a short spell in charge of Newport County, but moved into administration as FAW secretary where he remained for 11 years until ill-health forced his retirement in 1982.
GLYN DAVIES 1965-1966
When Trevor Morris left the Vetch Field there was doom and gloom at the club. Finances were at a critical state and the crowds were down to just above the few thousand mark. The Board turned to Glyn Davies to try and revive the club’s fortunes.
Davies became the first Swansea-born manager to take charge of the team after spending several seasons in the Southern League with Yeovil Town cutting his managerial teeth.
He had established a fine career in professional football, joining Derby County after leaving school, and eventually captaining the side for many seasons. Towards the end of his career he also spent a season as a player at the Vetch Field.
With his experience and leadership, it was hoped he could turn the fortunes of the club around. Sadly for both the manager and the team, the club was in decline and they finished in a lowly 17th place, although he did win the Welsh Cup and gain entry into Europe.
But when after 13 games the side found themselves rock bottom of the league, the writing was on the wall and Davies’s contract was terminated.
BILLY LUCAS 1967-1969
With the departure of Glyn Davies from the club, the Board placed stalwart Joe Sykes in temporary charge while a decision on a permanent manager was made.
In February 1967, the Board decided to give the job to former player Billy Lucas who was a popular choice with most supporters.
But with the club in a desperate league position, the new man had a massive job on his hands.
Lucas had been a player of great skill who represented his country during and after the Second World War. He was transferred to the Swans from Swindon Town for a then record fee and captained the side to the Third Division (South) championship in the 1948-49 season. After five more seasons at the Vetch Field, he moved on to become player-manager at Newport County, before returning to the Swans as manager.
Despite a revival in the latter end of the season, the side were eventually relegated to the Fourth Division for the first time in the club’s history.
While the following season did see stability at the club, with a record ever attendance at the Vetch Field against Arsenal in an FA Cup tie, this was the highlight of the manager’s reign.
By March 1969 with the side in mid-table, the manager opted to leave the Vetch Field to take up a position as a publican in Newport and trainer Walter Robbins became caretaker-manager.
ROY BENTLEY 1969-1972
After the sudden departure of Billy Lucas, the board placed Walter Robbins in temporary charge while they stepped up their search for another manager. Then after weeks of deliberation, the decision was made to make former England International Roy Bentley the new man in charge.
Originally a player at Newcastle United, it was when he moved to Chelsea in 1948 that his career really took off. He was a prolific goal scorer at Stamford Bridge and captained them to the League championship in 1955.
He played a dozen times for his country, scoring nine goals, and also played at the 1950 World Cup in Brazil. After playing at Fulham and Queens Park Rangers towards the end of his career, he became manager at Reading. He had two good seasons at the club, before a poor start to his third saw him leave the club and join the Swans.
By the end of his first season at the Vetch Field, the new manager had won promotion out of the Fourth Division, and was in charge when Town became City in February 1970.
Two more seasons followed of mid-table finishes, but when the side made a poor start to the 1972-73 campaign, Bentley was relieved of his position and once again the Swans were on the lookout for another manager.
HARRY GREGG 1972-1975
With the he lack of money at the club, the fans turning their backs on the team, and managers coming and going at an alarming rate, it meant that there was no stability at the club.
Despite all this, the Board had to make a managerial appointment, and the man they chose was former Northern Ireland goalkeeper Harry Gregg.
Gregg started his football career with Dundalk, before moving on to Colerain, where his ability saw him sign for Doncaster Rovers in the English League. Such was his rapid rise, in December 1957 Manchester United paid a record fee to take him to Old Trafford. A year later he became one of the heroes of the tragic Munich air disaster and played nine seasons for United before signing for Stoke City and moving into management with Shrewsbury Town in 1968.
On November 8, 1972, Gregg was appointed manager at the Vetch Field, taking over a side that was bottom of the table. Despite a run of games in March that gave hope to the fans, defeat away at Bournemouth in late April sealed relegation back to Division Four.
With the same problems around a lack of money to strengthen a poor squad, the manager was left having to wheel and deal in the transfer market.
But a poor disciplinary record, allied with the controversial sale of the ground to the council, meant that Gregg felt he could do no more and he left to take over the job at Crewe Alexander.
HARRY GRIFFITHS 1975-1978
After Harry Gregg moved to Crewe, the Board made the decision to appoint physiotherapist Harry Griffiths as caretaker-manager.
Griffiths was a Swansea man through and through, playing for the club for over 15 years, while acting as captain, scout, trainer, physio and assistant-manager during a 30-year spell at the club.
He had spent time as player-manager at Merthyr Tydfil, doing a fine job at the East Wales club, but his heart was always at the Vetch Field.
He was well aware of the dire financial situation at the club and, despite hard work by all the coaching staff, the team finished third from bottom of the Fourth Division. For the first and only time in the club’s history, they were forced to apply for re-election to the league.
His second season saw a vast improvement on the pitch with Robbie James, Alan Curtis and Wyndham Evans growing up as footballers in the harsh environment of basement league football.
His free transfers were wise and by the start of the 1976-77 season youngsters like Jeremy Charles and Nigel Stevenson were regulars in a side that only just missed out on promotion.
After a great start to the following season, rumours that the manager wanted to step back and look after the youth players proved to be true as Griffiths handed in a letter of resignation.
While he continued as temporary manager and physio, the Board took the brave decision to appoint former Liverpool and Wales legend John Toshack as the new man in charge at Swansea City.
But tragically with the team that Griffiths had built only two games away from promotion, Griffiths suffered a heart attack while working in the physio room and died at the tender age of 47.
JOHN TOSHACK 1978-1984
When in October 1978 it was announced that manager Harry Griffiths had resigned as manager at the club, the Board began its search for a replacement while Griffith remained in temporary charge.
Then on February 27, Griffiths had his wish, becoming assistant manager and physio while the Board took the bold decision in making the young John Toshack player-manager.
Toshack had a great playing career at neighbours Cardiff City, before moving to giants Liverpool and winning a host of trophies with the Merseyside club. He had been a mainstay of the Welsh international side for a decade, and his first game in charge at the Vetch Field saw a crowd of over 15,000 witness a thrilling 3-3 draw with league leaders Watford.
The season’s end would see the Swans gain promotion, while the strong personality of the new manager ensured that points were won when some people thought it was impossible.
The next two seasons saw the manager bring in many new faces, breaking the transfer record time and time again. Everything was exciting at the Vetch Field, with a consecutive promotion the following season, followed by the ultimate promotion to Division One in May 1981.
The maiden season in the top division saw the side finish in sixth place. But the following season saw financial problems engulf the club and Toshack resigned in October 1983.
But eight weeks later he was asked to return, which he did, before finally leaving the club for a second time in March 1984 after the most exciting period in the clubs history.
COLIN APPLETON 1984
Colin Appleton was a wing half with his first league club Leicester City where he played with distinction for 12 years and over 300 league appearances. He also played in two FA Cup Finals and a League Cup final, only to finish on the losing side every time.
After a brief spell at Charlton Athletic, he took his first steps into management with Barrow as player-manager in 1967. He left after a health scare, but took over at Scarborough where in 1973 he led them to FA Challenge Trophy success.
By 1982 he was persuaded to return to the Football League as the new manager of Hull City. On a very tight budget, he gained promotion to the Third Division and turned a struggling club into a successful one.
It was this ability to work with very little money to bring in new players that saw the Swans Board entice Appleton away from Hull City. But he was unable to work any magic at the Vetch Field and after seven months and 18 games, with the side anchored at the foot of the Third Division, he was sacked.
JOHN BOND 1984-1985
With all the upheavals of the previous 18 months, the Board made the surprise decision to bring in the flamboyant and outspoken manager John Bond.
Bond was a full-back with West Ham United, winning the Second Division title in 1959, and the FA Cup in 1964. But he really made his name as a manager, first with Torquay United and then Bournemouth and Norwich City. He achieved success at all his clubs before landing a dream job at Manchester City, leading them to the FA Cup final in 1982, where they lost to Tottenham in a replay.
After a short spell in charge of Burnley, he was the man the Board turned to in a bid to help save the club from another consecutive relegation, even though the club was on the verge of bankruptcy.
The results were at first mixed, but by bringing in players of quality of McHale, Turner and Parlane, the corner was slowly being turned.
By the end of April the team had clawed themselves to the edge of safety. Then in mid-May the final game of the season saw a Jimmy Rimmer inspired 0-0 draw at home to Bristol City save them from a third consecutive relegation.
Given the euphoria of the previous season, there was hope of better times ahead. Unfortunately the financial struggles continued and with the side bottom of the league the Official Receiver called in.
On December 20, 1985, the club was officially wound up and Bond and his assistant Fred Davies were dismissed.
TOMMY HUTCHISON 1985-1986
The darkest day in Swansea football history occurred in December 1985 when the club was declared bankrupt and all the players and staff were officially out of a job. But due to action by former directors and supporters in the city, the club was given permission by the Official Receiver to play its next fixture at Cardiff City’s Ninian Park on Boxing Day or the Football League would expel the club from the league.
As a result, senior player Tommy Hutchison stepped in as player-manager. Tommy was a Scottish international who started his career with Alloa before moving to Blackpool, Coventry City and Manchester City.
It was while at Maine Road that he played in the 1981 FA Cup final against Tottenham Hotspur, creating an unusual statistic of scoring for both clubs in a 1-1 drawn game. He went on to play in Hong Kong in 1982 for a season, before coming back to English football and signing for John Bond at Burnley in 1983.
He became one of Bond’s first signings in 1985 and his wing play was appreciated by all at the Vetch Field.
Terry Yorath was eventually appointed permanent manager and Hutchison continued playing for the club until he was 43, receiving a PFA Merit Award for services to football when he retired in March 1991.
TERRY YORATH 1986-1989
The traumatic previous season drew to a close with the club still in the Football League and a new Board attempting to steer the financially crippled club onto a firmer footing.
One of the main decisions they made during the summer was to offer the position of full-time manager to one of Wales’s finest midfield players in Terry Yorath.
Yorath was Cardiff-born who joined the finest club side in England at the time, Leeds United, straight from school. He was a no-nonsense player, aggressive in the tackle, and fully committed in every game.
After nearly a decade at Leeds, he moved to Coventry City and then Tottenham Hotspur. He won 59 caps for Wales.
After a short spell playing in Canada, he returned to Yorkshire in 1982 as Bradford City player-coach and helped to build the unfashionable club into a strong unit.
In May 1986, Yorath was appointed manager at the Vetch Field and he would also manage Wales part-time 18 months later while still at the club. He led the Swans to promotion via the play-offs in 1988, but in February 1989 he walked out of the club and went back to Bradford City as manager which led to a period of bad feeling between the two clubs.
He would return, however, 12 months later. This time his surprise appointment didn’t bring success and he left the club again after less than a year, taking up the Wales international job on a full time basis.
IAN EVANS 1989-1990
After the sudden and acrimonious departure of Terry Yorath to Bradford City, the Board once again had to come to terms with finding another manager for the club. This time they opted for Ian Evans, an assistant-manager to Steve Coppell at Crystal Palace.
Evans began his footballing career at Queens Park Rangers, gaining promotion to the First Division in 1972-1973 and cementing his place as a central defender during this period. He surprisingly joined fellow London side Crystal Palace two seasons later, and was an ever-present in the side that won promotion to the Second Division.
He won 13 Welsh international caps before breaking his leg in 1977. He struggled to regain his place at Palace and moved on to Barnsley, Exeter City and Cambridge United, before taking up a coaching role at Selhurst Park.
He became Swans manager in February 1989. His results were mixed and the side narrowly avoiding relegation, although they did win the Welsh Cup and qualify for the European Cup Winners Cup.
The following season’s European games against Panathanaikos were explosive, but the league fare was disastrous and in March 1990 after a turbulent year in charge he was sacked.
FRANK BURROWS 1991-1995
The return of former manager Terry Yorath proved disappointing and in March 1991 he was sacked after a year in charge.
The choice of the new manager was tough-talking, no-nonsense Scotsman, Frank Burrows. His early footballing career was in his native Scotland, but by the mid-sixties he had moved to English football with Scunthorpe United and famously Swindon Town. It was at this sleepy Wiltshire club that Burrows and the rest of his teammates created history by not only gaining promotion to Division Two, but by defeating Arsenal at Wembley in the 1969 League Cup final.
After finishing playing in 1976, he drifted into coaching at Swindon Town, and then found success at a succession of clubs, notably Portsmouth and Cardiff City as a manager.
On taking over at the Vetch Field in March 1991, first he had to guide the team away from the threat of relegation, which he did, and then had the bonus of a Welsh Cup final win over Wrexham at the then National Stadium.
One of his main skills was his knowledge of the lower divisions where players like John Williams, Des Lyttle and John Ford would give great service and go on to provide massive profits for the club in the transfer market.
His side just missed out on promotion in the 1992-93 play-offs, while he will always be remembered as the manager who took the Swans to their first ever Wembley visit in the victorious Autoglass Trophy win over Huddersfield Town in 1994.
The following season started well for the team, but then a run of bad results saw Burrows frustrated over a lack of transfer market funds and he resigned after a 3-0 defeat at Burnley.
His assistant, Bobby Smith, took over as temporary manager.
KEVIN CULLIS 1996
Just a few games into the new season manager Frank Burrows surprised everyone by tending his resignation. Although it was seen as sudden, with the chairman desperately trying to sell the club and no money to bring in new faces, Burrows felt it was the only option left open to him.
Once again a caretaker-manager was appointed to manage the team as Bobby Smith and Jimmy Rimmer took charge.
While Smith was busy with team affairs, chairman Doug Sharp announced to the media that a deal had been done to sell his shares in the club to a West Midland millionaire called Michael Thompson.
Thompson called a press conference outlining his intentions for the club to be in the Premier League in five years; to spend money on new players and to bring in a top management team. But when the management team was announced, it only brought ridicule and farce to the club. Kevin Cullis was to be the new manager with Paul Molesworth as his assistant.
Cullis had never managed a professional side, or had been on the books of any professional club, and the only team he had any connections with was as youth team coach at Cradley Town. The embarrassment on the club left it a laughing stock.
After only two games and six days in charge, Cullis was sacked by a furious Sharpe who called off the deal to sell the club to Thompson.
JAN MOLBY 1996-1997
The farce of the ‘Kevin Who’ saga was an embarrassment on a proud football club, but with the man who replaced him there couldn’t have been a greater contrast.
Jan Molby was taking his first steps into management; he was a brilliant passer of a football and one of Denmark’s truly great players. His early years were spent at the famous Ajax academy, until his ability saw Liverpool buy him from the Amsterdam club in the summer of 1984.
He joined a Liverpool side that was sweeping all before them in England and on the Continent, and in only his second season on Merseyside was an ever-present in a side that did the double, beating Everton in the FA Cup final.
Though his ability was never in doubt, by the 1990s injuries began to disrupt his playing career and he went out on loan to Barnsley and Norwich City.
He joined the Swans as player-manager in February 1996, taking over a side that were firmly at the foot of the table. Despite his ability on and off the pitch, his relationship with the chairman always appeared strained and the team were finally relegated to the basement division.
After a poor start the following season, the club made it to a Wembley play-off final against Northampton Town only for a last minute goal to break broke all Swans hearts.
The chairman finally sold his shares in the club the following season to a consortium called Silver Shield. And with the team having a dreadful start to the campaign, the new owners took their first real decision at the club and sacked Molby.
MICKEY ADAMS 1997
Chairman Doug Sharp had finally found a buyer for the club. Local businessman and fan Steve Hammer was presented as the new chairman, with Neil McClure his vice-chairman under the Silver Shield banner.
With new owners in charge, and with promises of a bright future, there was no surprise when after a poor start to the season manager Jan Molby found himself out of a job. In his place came Mickey Adams.
Adams had been an England Youth international, beginning his professional career at Gillingham, before moving to Coventry City and Leeds United in 1987. After playing at Elland Road for three years he moved to Southampton for five seasons, before seeing out his playing career at Stoke City and joining Fulham as a player coach.
He was given his first managerial job at the London club in 1996, taking them to promotion in his first season and the Third Division Manager of the Year award.
The Swans were surprised to have such a bright and promising young manager take charge. But he let it be known to all that he would take a look at the side and report back to the owners as to the players required to help strengthen the team.
When after just two weeks his wish list wasn’t forthcoming, he walked out on the job, becoming the fourth manager in just two years at the club.
ALAN CORK 1997-1998
The managerial merry-go-round at the Vetch Field was breath-taking. With the departure of Micky Adams after just three games, the Board took the option of appointing Adams’ assistant Alan Cork as the new permanent manager.
Cork was an apprentice at Derby County, before joining the Football League’s new boys Wimbledon. It was here that Cork experienced success, winning two promotions that took the team to the First Division. He was top scorer in three seasons.
Winning the FA Cup in 1998 was the pinnacle of Cork’s time at Wimbledon before he moved with former manager Dave Bassett to Sheffield United after 13 years with the club.
After a short spell at Sheffield he joined Fulham as Youth team coach, before being promoted as first team coach with Micky Adams as manager.
When Adams took over at the Vetch Field in October 1997, Cork was his assistant. And when Adams left after a fortnight, Cork was asked to take over as manager.
He had Alan Curtis as his assistant, but the season was a disappointing one with the side only finishing in 20th place.
Once again the Board took the decision to terminate the manager’s contract and look for someone else to fill the vacant position.
JOHN HOLLINS 1998-2001
The next man to arrive in the hot-seat at the Vetch Field was John Hollins - a well-respected professional who played the game at the top level for over 20 years.
He began his long career at Chelsea, joining them in 1961 as a 15 year old before turning pro at 17 and cementing a regular place for the next 12 seasons. A midfielder, he played in a young side that was successful during the sixties and early seventies. He won a FA Cup winners medal in 1970 when the team defeated Leeds United in a replay at Old Trafford. A year later he picked up a European Cup Winners medal when the side defeated Real Madrid, once again in a replay.
After 12 seasons at Stamford Bridge and Chelsea relegated, he joined Queens Park Rangers and helped them to the runners up spot in the First Division.
Four seasons later he moved to Arsenal before re-joining Chelsea at the age of 36 as player-coach. He became Chelsea manager in June 1985, but with internal politics behind the scenes he resigned in March 1988.
Under Hollins, the Swans reached the Third Division play-offs in 1998-99 only to lose in the semi-finals to Scunthorpe over two legs. But they went one better the following season by lifting the title and securing promotion. His success was built on a solid defence, winning a high proportion of games 1-0.
There was also FA Cup highs with a third round replay victory over top-flight West Ham the stand out gianty-killing.
But after just two wins from the opening six league games in 2001-02, and the club under new ownership again, Hollins was sacked by owner Mike Lewis.
COLIN ADDISON 2001-2002
With former commercial director Mike Lewis looking for a buyer for the financially sinking Swans, the man he picked to sell the club to was a Londoner working in Australia called Tony Petty.
With Petty’s dismissive attitude towards the club at large, this brought to the foe the Supporters Trust, who along with local hero Mel Nurse, fought a three-month battle to finally buy out Petty and leave the club in the hands of local people who cared.
During all this upheaval, the Board needed to fill the managerial vacancy left by the dismissal of John Hollis. The man they chose was the very experienced Colin Addison.
Addison had a distinguished playing career, starting with York City in 1957, and playing in the First Division for over 10 years with Nottingham Forest, Arsenal and Sheffield United.
When he retired in 1971, he took up his first managerial position at Hereford United. It was in his first season at the club that they famously defeated First Division Newcastle United in the FA Cup and were elected to the Football League.
His many years of management saw him gain vast experience, managing in Spain, South Africa and the Middle East, plus a host of clubs in English football.
His Swans career began on September 13, 2001. Along with his assistant Peter Nicholas, he kept the club stabilised and clear of relegation while the off-field problems continued.
Then in a shock attempt by the club to reduce costs, he was informed that his contracts would not be renewed in the summer and he left the club with Nicholas with immediate effect.
NICK CUSACK 2002
When manager Colin Addison and his assistant Peter Nicholas were told that their contracts would not be renewed for the following season, they decided to leave the club with immediate effect. This meant that the board had to fill the vacant manager’s job for the last few months of the season.
The Board took the decision to make senior professionals Nick Cusack caretaker player-manager, with Roger Freestone as his assistant.
When the season came to an end, the Board in their wisdom made the decision to let Cusack carry on with the manager’s job on a full-time basis.
Cusack came into the professional game later than most, opting to gain a university degree before starting out with non-league Alvechurch. From there he signed his first professional contract with Leicester City in 1987, before moving over the next seven seasons to Peterborough United, Motherwell, Darlington, Oxford and Fulham before arriving at the Vetch Field in 1997.
He was for the most part an ever-present in the side, and was captain when the team won the Second Division championship under John Hollins in 2000.
A natural leader, he was assistant chairman at the PFA during his playing years, and was a key figure at the Vetch Field during the Tony Petty saga.
Prior to the 2002 season starting, Cusack had trialists at the club, along with players who were out of contract and looking to find a club.
But his time as full-time manager was extremely disappointing and in September 2002 after losing at Boston United the Swans found themselves bottom of the Football League for the first time in the club’s history. As a result, Cusack was sacked.
BRIAN FLYNN 2002-2004
When the Swans lost to Boston United away on September 18, 2002, they found themselves bottom of the Football League for the first time in the club’s history. Manager Nick Cusack was dismissed, leaving the Board with yet another managerial vacancy to fill. This time they went for experience in Port Talbot-born Brian Flynn.
Brian’s playing career started with Burnley, were he made a name for himself as a combative midfielder. Five years later and he moved across the Pennines to Leeds United where he played for five more seasons before moving back to Burnley in 1982.
During his career he was a regular performer for Wales, ending up with 66 caps and seven goals.
Then after playing for various clubs including Cardiff City, Bury and Doncaster Rovers, he finished his playing career with Wrexham and became manager at the North Wales club in 1989.
His time at Wrexham was long and successful, and with the Swans in danger of losing their league status, Flynn was the man they choose to take over the club.
The first season was one of frustration while he searched for the players he required to do a job for the club. He did a good job on the recruitment front, bringing in players like Roberto Martinez, Alan Tate, Lee Trundle, Andy Robinson and Leon Britton.
He managed to maintain Swansea’s Football League status, however, when the Swans beat Hull on the last day of the season. It would be a day talked about for years to come as Flynn was hailed a hero.
The following season the side started off the new campaign in great style, but a disagreement with the Board over Flynn moving closer to the city to be near the team couldn’t be resolved.
With the team losing its early season form, the Board took the decision to relieve him of his duties.
KENNY JACKETT 2004-2007
After starting the season playing some exciting football, and finding themselves at the top end of the division, the results began to tail off towards the final months of the season. And with the Board feeling that manager Flynn needed to be based in the city, he eventually left the club to be replaced by Kenny Jackett.
Jackett was a one-club man, playing for Watford from the age of 12 and making his first team debut at 18. He became a regular in a side that won promotion to the First Division in 1982.
A sensational first season in the top division saw the side finish the campaign as runners up to Liverpool, while he played in the club’s only FA Cup final appearance in 1984, when they lost 2-0 to Everton.
Unfortunately injuries affected his playing career and after playing for Wales on 31 occasions over a six year period, he was forced to end his playing days in 1990 at just 28.
With his playing days over, he took up a coaching job with Watford and was assistant-manager to Graham Taylor when they clinched promotion to the Premier League. He then joined Queens Park Rangers as assistant-manager.
He left that post in 2004 to take over at the Vetch Field and led the club to promotion to League One in the club’s final season at the old ground, while also winning the FAW Premier Cup in the last game at the ground.
In the club’s first season at the Swansea.com Stadium, the team reached the League One play-off final at the Millennium Stadium only to lose out on penalties to Barnsley after the game finished all square at 2-2 after extra time.
Silverware did follow, however, when they lifted the Football League Trophy at the Millennium Stadium after victory over Carlisle.
But the following season saw the team struggle and Jackett surprised everyone when he resigned on February 15, 2007.
ROBERTO MARTINEZ 2007-2009
With the resignation of Kenny Jackett, the Board took a brave decision in their next appointment. They went to Chester and prized away former player and club captain Roberto Martinez.
A Catalonian, Martinez began his career at his home town club CF Balaguer, before moving to Real Zaragoza in 1991. After four seasons he was offered the opportunity to move to England to play with Wigan Athletic. This began a successful period for the player, who in five seasons won promotion, the Football League Trophy, and was twice named in the PFA team of the year.
Two disappointing playing stints at Motherwell and Walsall followed before he joined the Swans in 2003 where he was instrumental in helping the club retain its league status with that famous last day victory over Hull City.
Then as club captain he helped the team win promotion in 2005 and the Football League Trophy, before leaving on a free and signing for Chester in 2006.
On February 24, 2007, he returned to the Swans as manager - a gamble on behalf of the Board as he had no managerial experience.
But what a choice it turned out to be. In 2008 he guided the side to the League One Championship, while also winning the League One Manager-of-the-Year award.
While he brought successful, it was the attractive passing and possession style of play he implemented that gained many admirers across the footballing fraternity.
Even with Martinez raising his profile in English football, it was a shock when he left in 2009 to take over at Premiership side Wigan Athletic.
Despite the fact that he had done so much for the club, it was a decision that upset many Swans supporters.
PAULO SOUSA 2009-2010
With the sudden resignation of manager Roberto Martinez, the Board were once again looking for a successor. After interviewing various prospective candidates, they decided to give the job to one of Portugal’s most successful players, Paulo Sousa.
Sousa’s playing career took in both of Portugal’s leading clubs in Benifica and Sporting Lisbon, where he won both league and cup titles during his time at both clubs. His ability as a strong defensive midfielder caught the eye of many of Europe’s top club sides, and in 1994 he moved to Italy signing for Juventus. In his two seasons at the Turin club he won the Serie A Championship, the Italian Cup, and in 1995-1996 season the Champions League. Two seasons later and he moved to Germany to play for Borussia Dortmund, where he repeated his Champions League success, this time beating his former club Juventus in the final.
Sadly injuries were taking their toll on the player and after a couple of moves to Parma, Panathinaikos and Espanyol, he was forced to retire at just 31.
After a coaching career that began with the Portuguese national side, Sousa joined Queens Park Rangers in 2008 as manager, but only five months later was sacked after a dispute at the club.
On June 23, 2009, Sousa accepted the vacancy at the Swansea.com Stadium. In his one and only season at the club, the club finished an impressive seventh place in the Championship, although the style of play was conservative.
And when Leicester City came in with a bid for the boss in the summer, he left the club by mutual consent.
BRENDAN RODGERS 2010-2012
With the sudden and unexpected departure of manager Paulo Sousa to Leicester City, the Board were left with making their second managerial appointment in just over 12 months.
After interviews and careful deliberation, the next manager was to be former Reading and Watford boss Brendan Rodgers.
After showing promise as a young player in his native Northern Ireland, representing his country at schoolboy level, Rodgers eventually moved to England and signed for Reading. Frustratingly, at just 20 years old a persistent knee injury forced him to retire from the professional game.
Instead he took up coaching and became something of a student of the game, travelling around Europe studying various coaching methods. Then in 2004 he left Reading to take on the reserve team position at Chelsea.
His time at the club was successful, and in 2008 he took on his first managerial job at Watford. He impressed with the way he handled the job and was persuaded to take on the same role at his former club Reading. Unfortunately he experienced problems at the club and just six months later he left the club by mutual consent.
He was something of a surprise appointment at the Swansea.com Stadium, but with some shrewd signings and excellent coaching and man-management skills, the season ended with the club reaching the Premier League after a 4-2 play-off final victory over his former club Reading at Wembley.
His second season saw the club retain their Premier League status with a comfortable mid-table finish.
But his success alerted Liverpool who persuaded him to take over at Anfield on June 1, 2012.
MICHAEL LAUDRUP 2012-2014
If Brendan Rodgers the previous manager of Swansea City was something of an unknown quantity when he arrived at the Swansea.com Stadium, then the man chosen to succeed him was anything but. Michael Laudrup was appointed on June 15, 2012 - and his signing gave the club a former player who ranked alongside the great names that have played the game.
Born in Denmark, he made his name as an attacking midfielder with Bronby, before moving to Italy and Juventus. Restrictions of foreign players in a side meant that he was loaned out to Lazio, and two seasons later returned to play for Juventus in a team that won Serie A and the Inter Continental cup.
A move two seasons later to Spain and Barcelona saw him win multiple league titles, plus the European Cup in 1992, before a falling out with manager Johan Cruyff saw him move to rivals Real Madrid. Once again he played in a side that dominated the league, and with retirement looming he moved to Japan and finally Ajax where he won his final title before retiring in 1998.
His management career began with Bronby, Getafe, Sporting Moscow and Mallorca before finding himself at the Swansea.com Stadium in June 2012. On his arrival he made several shrewd signings, including Michu, Chico, Pablo Hernandez and Jonathan De Guzman. At the end of his first season he created history when the club won its first major cup competition when they beat Bradford 5-0 in the League Cup final at Wembley. It also qualified the club for Europe.
Everything seemed fine at the club, and the following season saw the team compete in the Europa League where a fantastic run took them to the last 32 stage.
But the league form saw the side slip down the table and on February 4, after weeks of disquiet with the manager and the Board, Laudrup was sacked.
GARRY MONK 2014-2015
Despite a good run in the Europa League, the early season optimism was being eroded and the team were slipping down the Premier League towards the relegation places under manager Michael Laudrup. As a result, Laudrup was relieved of his duties in early February.
With no replacement in place to take over, the Board took another brave decision to put senior player Garry Monk in as temporary charge for the foreseeable future.
Monk began his playing career at Torquay United, before moving to Southampton in 1996. After a loan spell back at Torquay, he returned to Southampton, making his Premier League debut against Derby County in November 1998.
He never commanded a permanent place in the squad, and during his seven seasons at the South Coast club, he found himself loaned out to Stockport County, Oxford United, Sheffield Wednesday and Barnsley before signing for the Swans on a free transfer in June 2004.
It was at Swansea that Monk really established himself, playing in the side that won promotion in his first season at the Vetch Field, and captaining the team during its climb up the divisions to the Premier League in 2011.
Along with the promotions, he also won the Football League Trophy and had Welsh Premier Cup success, but the highlight for the player came when the side won the League Cup at Wembley in 2013.
After safely negotiating a relegation battle in his first season in charge, Monk was given the job full time the following season after leading the club to its highest ever Premier League finish of eighth.
But although his second full season as boss started brightly, a run of one win in 11 games put the manager under terrific pressure and Monk’s 12-year association with the club ended with his sacking on December 9, 2015.
FRANCESCO GUIDOLIN 2016
With the sudden departure of Swans favourite Garry Monk, the Board began the process of finding his replacement. But with no one available to take over straight away, the job of interim manager once more fell to Swans legend Alan Curtis.
While the team responded to Curtis’s managerial style, the Board at the club made the surprise decision to bring in Francesco Guidolin, a 61-year-old Italian, as manager.
Guidolin began his playing career at Verona, making his professional debut in 1975. Although he stayed at the club for eight seasons, he spent a large amount of time out on loan to Sambenedettese, Pistoiese and Bologna, before finally ending his playing career at Venezia in 1986.
The Italian’s managerial career began in 1988 at Giorgione in the lower Italian leagues, before a six year spell saw him manage at the likes of clubs Emplli, Ravenna and Atalanta.
It was his time at Vicenza that saw him gain a fine reputation as a manager. His team won the Coppa Italia Cup and reached the semi-final of the UEFA Cup Winners Cup.
The next decade saw him manage at a host of smaller Italian clubs with mixed success. But he had built himself a reputation as a coach who could work on a restricted budget, and it was this that helped persuad the Board to name him as head coach of Swansea City in January 2016.
The season’s end saw the club safely secure its Premier League status and he signed a new two-year contract in the summer break.
But after a poor start to the following campaign, Guidolin was sacked on October 3, 2016, and was replaced by former American national team coach Bob Bradley.
BOB BRADLEY 2016
Bob Bradley was appointed Swansea City's new manager on October 3, 2016.
Bradley, who took the role following Francesco Guidolin's departure from the club, arrived at the Swansea.com Stadium following a successful spell with French club Le Havre.
Having worked in American club football as well as in Norway and France, Bradley has a wealth of experience in the game.
He spent five years as the United States’ national boss winning the CONCACAF Cup in 2007 while he led them to the 2010 World Cup last 16.
Another international job followed with Egypt, while at club level he has managed American club Chicago Fire, Metrostars and Chivas USA along with Norwegian side Stabaek and Le Havre in France.
Unfortunately Bradley, who was the first American to manage in the Premier League, could not turn Swansea’s fortunes around. After just two wins from 11 games and 29 goals conceded, he was dismissed after just 85 days.
He was replaced by Paul Clement in January 2017.
PAUL CLEMENT 2017
Paul Clement was appointed head coach on January 3, 2017, after the dismissal of Bob Bradley as manager.
He arrived with a wealth of experience after working with some of the biggest teams in Europe as assistant manager to Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain.
His sole experience as manager came with Championship side Derby, whom he spent eight months with.
Replacing former England boss Steve McClaren at the helm, Clement took the Rams to fifth in the table before being relieved of his duties.
In terms of silverware, Clement helped Chelsea to the Premier League title in 2013 while the year before he had seen Paris Saint-Germain win Ligue 1.
His crowning moment came with Real Madrid, for whom he was part of the set up when they lifted a tenth Champions League title along with winning the Copa Del Rey.
Clement's other roles have included working in the youth set up at Fulham along with a short spell with Republic of Ireland Under-21s.
He arrived in Swansea with the club bottom of the Premier League and tipped as odds on favourites for relegation.
But he sparked a remarkable turnaround with four wins from his first six games, including an impressive victory at Liverpool, to earn himself the Premier League Manager of the Month award for January.
With things looking up, a poor run of six games without a win put the Swans in trouble again and relegation looked a serious possibility.
The Great Escape was complete, however, when Clement led his side to four wins and a draw from the last five games to finish the campaign in 15th place and six points clear of the drop zone.
The following campaign was less successful though, with Clement leaving the Swansea.com Stadium in December 2017 with the club in the relegation zone.
CARLOS CARVALHAL 2017-18
Carlos Carvalhal arrived at Swansea City with a wealth of experience having managed 15 teams in four countries – Greece, Turkey, England and his native Portugal.
A former central defender with Braga and a Portugal Under-21 international, he moved into management in 1998 with Portuguese outfit Espinho before switching to Freamunde and then Aves.
Next up was Leixoes, where he became the first coach in Portugal to steer a third-tier team into the Uefa Cup.
After promotion, he left to join Vitoria Setubal, whom he guided into the Primeira Liga at the first time of asking.
Carvalhal then moved across Portugal for a 12-month stint with Belenenses before taking on the high-profile head coach position at Braga.
He then took charge at fellow top-flight side Beira-Mar before going back to Vitoria, where he promptly enjoyed his most productive year as a coach.
Vitoria finished sixth in the Primeira Liga and qualified for the Uefa Cup on the back of one of the best defensive records in Europe.
Vitoria also lifted the Portuguese League Cup, beating Sporting Lisbon in the final.
Carvalhal then headed to Greek side Asteras Tripolis for a spell that preceded a move back to the Portuguese top flight with Maritimo.
His success earned him the chance to coach European giants Sporting Lisbon on an interim basis and then Turkish big-hitters Besiktas.Carvalhal remained in Turkey, leading Istanbul Basaksehir, before taking up a technical director position at Al Ahli in the United Arab Emirates.
He moved to England for the first time in 2015, and he proved an astute appointment at Sheffield Wednesday.
Carvalhal guided the Owls to the Championship play-off final in his first year, but saw his side lose 1-0 to Hull City at Wembley.
He led Wednesday to a play-off spot once more the following season, but they lost to Huddersfield Town – who would go on to win promotion – on penalties at the semi-final stage back in May.
After a stunning start to life in SA1, Carvalhal, unfortunately, couldn't guide the Swans to safety as the club's seven-year stint in the Premier League ended on the last day following defeat to Stoke City.
GRAHAM POTTER 2018 - MAY 2019
Graham Potter was named as the new Swans boss in June 2018 after arriving from Swedish side Ostersund.
He filled the vacancy left following Carlos Carvahal’s departure, with the Portuguese’s contract expiring shortly after the Swans’ Premier League adventure came to an end.
Having retired at the age of just 30, Potter completed a social sciences degree which he had started in his playing days – and then a master’s – and cut his coaching teeth at two universities, Hull and Leeds Metropolitan (now Leeds Beckett).
He also worked with the England Universities Squad before Ostersund, the Swedish club who have long had links with the Swans, made him their manager in 2010.
When Potter arrived, Ostersund were a little known fourth-tier outfit playing in front of crowds of around 500.
Potter led the club he leaves behind to Swedish Cup glory in 2017 – their first ever major trophy – and took them on a sparkling Europa League adventure during which they beat the likes of Arsenal, Galatasaray, Hertha Berlin and PAOK.
It was enough to convince the Swans to hand him his opportunity in British football.
His playing career saw him make over 300 appearances in the Football League, while he was also capped by England Under-21s.
But it was his time at Boston United which laid the path for his career after hanging up his boots.
While at Boston, Potter was a team-mate of Graeme Jones, who would go on to be Roberto Martinez’s long-serving assistant boss.
They struck up a friendship which would influence Potter’s career a little further down the line.
Thanks to his connection with Jones, Potter spent some time in Swansea during Martinez’s reign.
Few could have predicted then that he would be back as Swans manager a decade or so later.
That he is here is thanks in part to the Swans’ connection with Ostersund, which began during Martinez’s time in charge in SA1.
Following a recommendation from Jones, a friend of Ostersund chairman Daniel Kindberg, Potter was made the Swedes’ new boss on a three-year deal.
Three promotions and a Swedish Cup triumph in seven years shows Ostersund’s remarkable rise under the Englishman.
Potter guided the club to 10th place in the Championship before joining Brighton in the Premier League on May 20, 2019.
STEVE COOPER JUNE 2019 - JULY 2021
Steve Cooper was confirmed as Swansea City’s head coach in June 2019, taking over the reins following Graham Potter’s departure to Brighton.
The 39-year-old left his position as coach of England’s World Cup winning Under-17 national team to sign a three-year contract at the Swansea.com Stadium.
Former defender Cooper – the son of ex-top-flight referee Keith – was on Wrexham’s books as a youngster before joining the club’s academy coaching set-up, going on to achieve the UEFA Pro Licence coaching certificate at the age of just 26.
After becoming Head of Youth at Wrexham, the Pontypridd-born coach moved to Liverpool in 2008 and became Academy Manager in 2011.
His time with the Reds saw him work under technical director Pep Segura - currently general football manager at Barcelona - where he helped develop such young talents as Raheem Sterling, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Wales international Ben Woodburn.
He moved to the FA in 2013 as a youth coach educator and coached the England Under-16s in 2014, before making the step up to under-17 level the following year.
He led the Young Lions to the final of the 2017 European Championship, where they lost to Spain on penalties, but they gained revenge later in the year by coming from 2-0 down to beat the same opponents 5-2 in the World Cup final.
The England side that day included the likes of Phil Foden, Rhian Brewster, Morgan Gibbs-White and Callum Hudson-Odoi, while Jadon Sancho was also in the squad for the tournament.
RUSSELL MARTIN AUGUST 2021- PRESENT
Russell Martin was confirmed as Swansea City's head coach on a three-year contract in August 2021.
A former defender, Martin enjoyed a 15-year playing career that began in the youth ranks at Brighton and Hove Albion and included winning 29 caps for Scotland.
After spells with Wycombe Wanderers and Peterborough United – the latter of whom he helped achieve promotion to the Championship as skipper – a loan move to Norwich City followed.
His stint at Carrow Road proved such a success that he joined permanently in January 2010 with the Canaries on their way to the League One title.
Martin spent the next eight years in East Anglia, helping the club win promotion to the Premier League in 2011 and 2015.
During his time at Norwich he played alongside current Swansea squad members Ryan Bennett, Kyle Naughton and Korey Smith.
After a brief loan spell with Scottish side Glasgow Rangers, Martin left Norwich in 2018 and joined Walsall as a player-coach.
From there he agreed to join Milton Keynes Dons in January 2019, and helped them secure promotion to League One at the conclusion of the campaign.
Then, following Paul Tisdale’s departure as manager in November 2019, Martin was appointed his successor and subsequently announced his retirement as a player.
After keeping the Dons in League One at the end of the 2019-20 season, Martin guided the side to a 13th placed finish the following season after implementing an attractive style that saw the Dons sit behind only Manchester City and Barcelona in Europe when it came to their dominance of possession.
His approach and his commitment to it have won him no shortage of plaudits, and marked him out as one of the brightest young coaches in the game.
CARETAKER / ACTING MANAGERS:
The role of caretaker-manager has proved a vital one over the years.
Over the club’s history, many have occupied the position. Some, like Alan Curtis, have taken charge on more than one occasion, while length of service has stretched from just a few weeks to a permanent basis.
One great servant who gave tremendous service to the club as a player, selector, scout and assistant-manager was the unassuming Joe Sykes. During the sudden and unexpected death in 1955 of manager Billy Mc Candless, Sykes was one of a three-man committee that selected the team, along with the captain and team manager Ron Burgess.
Joe Sykes stepped into the breach once again in 1966 after the dismissal of Glyn Davies, before the appointment of Billy Lucas as manager. And when Lucas suddenly resigned in March 1969 to concentrate on outside interests, the job of caretaker-manager fell to Walter Robbins until the end of the season.
Harry Griffiths made a fantastic contribution to the club when he took over after manager Harry Gregg left midway through the 1974 season, taking a team that had faced the indignity of re-election. Within 18 months through shrewd free transfer dealings and the use of youngsters, he built a side that was knocking on the door of promotion.
Another ex-player who took over as acting manager was Les Chappell, who in 1984 was the man chosen to lead club affairs after the sacking of the legendary John Toshack. He was succeeded originally by his assistant Doug Livermore for a month before Chappell took charge.
Chappell’s time in charge remained until a new full-time manager was appointed in Colin Appleton at the beginning of the 1984 season. But upon Appleton’s dismissal in early December, Chappell once again stepped into the hot-seat for 10 days until the arrival of new man John Bond.
The caretaker merry-go-round continued just over a year later when the Swans were wound up in the High Court in December 1985. Manager John Bond was dismissed and Tommy Hutchinson took over until the end of the relegation season when Terry Yorath was appointed.
Of all the caretaker-managers that have taken up the post, the 1995-96 season was the most turbulent.
When manager Frank Burrows surprisingly decided to hand in his resignation in early October, Bobby Smith stepped into the caretaker role. But when Smith quit after a dispute with the chairman, former player Jimmy Rimmer took over until the strange appointment of the unknown Kevin Cullis. His reign proved a disaster and he lasted just seven days before he left and was replaced by Rimmer once again. Rimmer was in charge for 11 days until Jan Molby was announced as the new boss.
Nick Cusack and Roger Freestone found themselves taking the team following the resignation of Colin Addison in 2002. Cusack was eventually given the full-time manager’s job himself.
Swansea’s favourite, Alan Curtis, took over as caretaker-manager with the dismissal of his former Welsh International colleague Brian Flynn in 2004. He stepped in again following the departure of Garry Monk in 2015, before the appointment of Francesco Guidolin. And when the Italian fell ill for a few weeks during the latter part of the campaign, Curtis stepped in yet again to save the day.
Guidolin was eventually replaced by American Bob Bradley a few games into the 2016-17 season. But Bradley lasted just 11 games and Curtis was left in charge again until the swift appointment of Paul Clement in January 2017.