Classic Seasons: 2001-02

19th February 2018
Club

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

Here, we go back to 2001-02, a season which is remembered as being one of the most traumatic in Swansea City's history.

 

The Swans had lifted the Division Three title in 2000 but, following a sorry season that resulted in relegation, they found themselves back in English football’s basement division.

Despite being the man who had led the team to promotion, manager John Hollins was under pressure even before the 2001-02 season began.

With little money to spend on new faces, he went for the tried and tested by bringing back the flying John Williams from Darlington.

He also brought in midfielder Nicolas Mazzina and striker Mamady Sidibe, who would have a good campaign and eventually play in the Premier League with Stoke City.

However, after two wins from the opening six games, Hollins was sacked and Colin Addison took over at Vetch Field, assisted by former Welsh international Peter Nicholas.

It was not just on the field where the problems lay.

Frustrated at the financial losses being made and seeing no movement on the proposed building of a new stadium in Landore, owners Ninth Floor plc sold their stake in the club to former commercial director Mike Lewis for a pound.

The proviso was that Lewis would repay loans of over £800,000 to the company but, with nobody looking to purchase the club and pressure on him to secure the Swans’ future, he ended up selling the club to Australian-based Londoner Tony Petty for the same amount of money.

However, talk of money coming in from Australia to help the club was soon seen as a smokescreen as, following a 1-0 loss to Rochdale within days of taking over as chairman, Petty placed the entire first-team squad on the transfer list while telling the higher earners to take massive pay cuts.

The Swans were fortunate to have club captain Nick Cusack within their ranks and, with the help of the recently formed Supporters’ Trust and former player Mel Nurse, the next few months saw a fight for the very soul of the club.

While all this was going on, the Swans still needed to win games on the field to remain in the Football League.

And the experience of Addison and Nicholas instilled a desire in the players who, despite the off-field dramas, were accumulating enough points to steer clear of the relegation dogfight at the bottom of the league.

In fact, although under threat of receiving no wages, the players remained focused on the task and went undefeated during the festive period to lie just below mid-table.

But while this was happening on the pitch, the real drama was being played out off it.

After months of negotiations between Petty and members of the trust, the former accepted that the game was up and handed the club over to a new consortium composed of loyal Swans fans in Huw Jenkins, Leigh Dineen, Martin Burgess, Brian Katzen and David Morgan, as well as Nurse, to steady the ship.

The newly-formed board soon made their presence known by making the brave yet somewhat surprising decision to dismiss the managerial duo of Addison and Nicholas in a bid to reduce the debt, replacing them with senior professionals Cusack and Roger Freestone.

Having helped the club over the survival line, Cusack was appointed permanent manager on a 12-month contract.

But a humiliating 7-1 defeat at Hartlepool United on the penultimate weekend of a difficult campaign showed the club’s struggles were far from over.

There were even tougher times ahead in 2002-03.

 

 

WORLD EVENTS

 

2001

APRIL 1 Slobodan Milosevic, the former president of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, surrenders to the police to be tried on suspicion of abuse of power and corruption.

SEPTEMBER 11 Terrorists hijack four American airliner jets; crashing two into the World Trade Centre and one into the Pentagon, while another crashes into a field in Pittsburgh. Just under 3,000 people were killed.

DECEMBER 15 Following a decade of reconstruction, the Leaning Tower of Pisa is reopened to the public.

 

2002

MARCH 30 Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, one of the nation’s most popular royals, dies at the Royal Lodge in Windsor at the age of 101.

JUNE 30 Brazil defeat Germany 2-0 in Yokohama, Japan to win the World Cup for a fifth time.

OCTOBER 26 The Moscow Theatre siege, which saw 150 hostages killed, finally ends when Russian forces storm the building.