Classic Seasons: 1948-49
In a new website feature, we look back through the history books at a memorable Swans campaign.
Manager Haydn Green had been Swans manager since just before World War II.
And with the resumption of league football following the end of the hostilities, Green had his hands full as the club were struggling financially.
Relegation in the first full season after the war was a blow to all connected with the club, and so the manager decided to scout for players across the Irish Sea.
As a result, he brought in O’Driscoll, McCrory, Keane and Feeney amongst others.
Though these players would all give the club great service, four months into the 1947-48 season the board at the Vetch felt a new manager was needed.
They announced the appointment of the legendary Billy McCandless in November 1947.
The end of his first campaign at the club saw his side finish a creditable fifth place in the league.
Even so, at the season’s end, McCandless broke the club’s transfer record with the £11,000 capture of Welsh International Billy Lucas.
The hope was that this would be the final piece in the jigsaw for the Swans.
The new season began with a seven-game unbeaten run. Stan Richards, the Town centre-forward, was finding the opponents’ net with regularity.
The Swans were playing fast, exciting football, with the halfback line of Paul, Weston and Burns dictating play in most games, Richards and McCrory scoring the bulk of the team’s goals and wingers O’Driscoll and Scrine supplying the ammunition for the forwards.
The team were racking up wins with breathtaking regularity.
But though the Swans were playing like a well-oiled machine, much of the credit for their success was down to the general leadership of inside forward Lucas, whose ability on the ball together with his creativity was second to none.
The team went top in early October and such was their dominance throughout the season that they remained there until the end.
Supporters were flocking to the Vetch to see their favourites. When Newport County visited in April, a new crowd record of 28,623 turned up hoping to see the team clinch promotion.
As you would expect in a derby, the visitors battled throughout, not giving an inch, and there was only a Scrine goal separating the teams at the break.
By full time, a Richards goal had ensured the Swans could celebrate promotion back to the Second Division.
Fans ran onto the pitch at the end to cheer their heroes and five days later, after victory at Brighton, the team were confirmed as champions.
The season created many records – the Swans were unbeaten at home, dropping only one point in a drawn game with Southend United, and gained 27 victories across the campaign.
But as remarkable as the numbers were, it was the manner of the Swans’ play that will be remembered by all who were lucky to see that team play.
Exciting, entertaining football saw the team attack with movement and pace – and saw crowds at home and away flock to see this remarkable side play.
Events of 1948-49
January 30: Mahatma Gandhi, the man who helped secure Indian independence from British rule, was assassinated by one of his own countrymen in New Delhi.
May 14: The new state of Israel was born, with David Ben-Gurion proclaimed as the first Prime Minister of the fledgling country.
December 14: Princess Elizabeth gave birth to her first child, Prince Charles.
March 1: After 25 successful defences of his world heavyweight title, record-holding fighter Joe Louis announced his retirement from the sport.
May 4: The Italian national football side are killed in an air crash in Turin.
October 1: After two-and-a-half years of a savage civil war, Mao Tse-tung declared China a Communist Republic in the capital Peking.