Classic Seasons: 1925-26

30th October 2017

In a new website feature, we look back through the history books at a memorable Swans campaign.

Here, we look at the 1925-26 season, when the Swans put together a famous FA Cup run.


After the previous season’s thrilling finale, when the Swans won promotion as champions of Division Three (S) on the final day, everyone was looking forward to the new campaign at a higher level.

Manager Joe Bradshaw brought in a few new faces, but the backbone of the side was still made up of Sykes, Milne, Hole, Thompson and Fowler.

The Swans’ first ever game in the Second Division saw them take on South Shields at a packed Vetch Field.

The Swans scored an early goal through Harry Deacon, but alas there was to be no happy ending, with the visitors scoring two goals – one of which came in the final minute – to end an unbeaten home record which had stood since March 1924.

But though disappointed, the Swans soon responded with victories, including a 6-0 thrashing of Fulham at the Vetch.

The players were showing that the higher division held no fears for them, meaning the club could turn attention to FA Cup matters.

The first-round draw saw the Swans travel to Exeter City, and a potentially tricky fixture was handled well as they won 3-1.

The second round saw the team drawn at home, this time against a Watford side who they had completed the double over in the previous season.

It proved a tricky tie, with Watford fighting for every ball, and the usually polished Swans had to scrap their way to a nervy 3-2 victory.

There was disappointment as the third-round draw handed the Swans a trip to Blackpool in early January, but goals from Deacon and Fowler saw the side into round four for the first time in the club’s short history.

Despite the excitement of the cup run, the Swans never took their eye off league commitments, and were placed a healthy 10th when the next round of the cup arrived.

Stoke City were the visitors to the Vetch.

On a terrible afternoon full of driving wind and rain, both sides fought for supremacy.

The Swans were fortunate to be 2-1 up at the break courtesy of goals from Thompson and Hole.

But then came a 20-minute spell in which centre-forward Fowler helped himself to four goals, with the Swans eventually running out 6-3 winners.

Swept along with cup fever, the team were moving up the league, and sat eighth in the division when they took on Millwall in London in February.

The game was hard fought and tense, and was only won with a Fowler goal two minutes from time.

The quarter-final draw gave the Swans the dream tie, a home game against the mighty Arsenal.

With the side continuing their push up the league, the talk around the town was of possible celebrations in both competitions.

The 25,000 spectators who packed the terraces for Arsenal witnessed a game of high quality, with the hosts more than holding their own against their First Division opponents.

Right on half-time the place erupted as Thompson broke through the visitors’ defence to give the Swans the lead.

The second half saw the Swans try to press home their advantage, and when Fowler scored a second, pandemonium broke out amongst the Welsh supporters.

But Arsenal did pull a goal back through Mackie, and the Swans had to withstand some late pressure to secure a famous cup win.

The semi-final was played at White Hart Lane against Bolton Wanderers, but this is where the fairytale ended.

Wanderers raced into a three-goal lead inside 25 minutes and, with the occasion seemingly getting to the players, the Swans bowed out.

Even so, the season could be regarded as a success thanks to a fine cup run and a creditable fifth-place finish in the league.





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