Classic Seasons: 2010-11
In a regular website feature, we look back through the history books at a memorable Swans campaign.
After the attractive and exciting football played by Roberto Martinez’s side, one season of the pragmatic style of Paulo Sousa proved a hard watch for most fans.
But as supporters prepared for another season under the two-time Champions League winner, Leicester City approached the club with the view to making him their manager, and suddenly he was gone.
The chairman and the rest of the board were left with a decision on who the new manager would be.
The likes of Gary Speed and Peter Reid were linked, but the new man chosen was former Reading and Watford boss Brendan Rodgers.
The appointment was not universally celebrated by most supporters, with many hoping for an experienced, older head.
But Rodgers soon made an impact by signing Scott Sinclair from former club Chelsea in what would prove to be a masterstroke.
The pacy winger caused havoc on the pitch and scored a bucketload of goals.
Come the turn of the year, the Swans sat second in the Championship table with Sinclair weighing in with 12 goals in all competitions.
But there was a lot more to the team than Sinclair’s impact.
The likes of Ashley Williams, Alan Tate, Garry Monk and Angel Rangel made up a tight defensive unit, while Joe Allen, Mark Gower and Darren Pratley pulled the strings in midfield, and Nathan Dyer and Stephen Dobbie contributed plenty of goals and assists.
The push for promotion was enhanced by the return of club favourite Leon Britton, who rejoined the Swans just six months after leaving for Sheffield United.
He slotted back into the team as if he had never been away and, after some crucial wins over Leeds United, Norwich City and Millwall, the Swans ended the regular season in third place to secure a play-off spot.
Nottingham Forest awaited in the semi-finals. The first leg at the City Ground began in disastrous fashion for the Swans, who had Neil Taylor sent off after just 53 seconds for a high challenge on Lewis McGugan.
Dobbie was sacrificed in favour of Monk and, despite the numerical disadvantage, the visitors held their own to claim a creditable goalless draw to take back to the Liberty four days later.
On a beautiful spring evening in SA1, it was a straight shootout to see who would progress to a Wembley final, where either Cardiff City or Reading awaited.
The visitors settled into the game quickly and it took all of the Swans’ defensive knowhow to keep them at bay.
However, the hosts gradually wrestled the initiative from their opponents and got themselves on the front foot.
Two goals in the space of five minutes from Britton and Dobbie put them firmly in control and gave them breathing space in a game riddled with tension.
However, Forest did not lie down and were rejuvenated after the break as they searched for a way back into the contest.
Their persistence finally paid off when Robert Earnshaw scored 10 minutes from time to halve the deficit and set up a nervous finish.
But with just seconds of this absorbing contest remaining and the visitors sending everyone forward in the hope of claiming a dramatic equaliser, Pratley picked up a loose ball just outside his own penalty area and sprinted towards the halfway line before firing the ball into the empty Forest net to guarantee a trip to Wembley.
Rodgers’s celebration was unforgettable.
One of the richest games in football saw his team take on Reading for a place in the Premier League.
The first half at Wembley was balanced for a while, but a devastating spell which brought three goals in the space of 20 minutes swung the contest massively in the Swans’ favour.
Sinclair opened the scoring from the penalty spot and added a second just moments later, before Dobbie made it 3-0 as the Swans put one foot in the Premier League.
However, Reading responded after the break and two goals in the space of eight minutes saw the Swans wobbling.
The Royals also came close to finding the equaliser, only for a terrific block from Monk to preserve the Swans’ lead.
And all the tension was finally relieved when Sinclair slotted home a second penalty to complete his hat-trick.
There were euphoric scenes at the final whistle, as the Swans secured their place in the Premier League.
JANUARY 4 The Burj Khalifa – the tallest man-made structure in the world to date – is officially opened in Dubai.
JULY 11 The World Cup is held in South Africa, where Spain lift the trophy for the first time after beating the Netherlands 1-0 in the final.
NOVEMBER 13 Burmese opposition politician Aung San Suu Ky is released from her house arrest, having been incarcerated since 1989.
APRIL 29 Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, marries Catherine Middleton in a ceremony at Westminster Abbey.
MAY 2 Osama bin Laden, founder and leader of Al-Qaeda, is killed during an American military operation in Pakistan.
OCTOBER 20 Colonel Gaddafi, the former leader of Libya, is captured and killed shortly after the Battle of Sirte.