World Cup Swans: Terry Phelan

20th May 2018

As the 2018 World Cup draws closer, the official website takes a look back at the players who have turned out for the Swans and played on the biggest stage of all.

Today we focus on Terry Phelan.

He may have stood at a mere 5ft 6in tall, but Terry Phelan spent plenty of time on the big stage during his career.

The left-back began life in professional football with spells at Leeds and the Swans before joining Wimbledon. He was a member of the Crazy Gang, who famously won the 1988 FA Cup, and later had stints at Manchester City, Chelsea and Everton.

He also played for Crystal Palace, Fulham and Sheffield United before ending his career in America with Charleston Battery and Otago United in New Zealand.

Phelan represented the Republic of Ireland 42 times between 1991 and 2000, scoring once.


Born in Manchester in 1967, the then 19-year-old Phelan joined the Swans after being released by Leeds in July 1986.

He missed just one league game during the 1986-87 season as he formed an effective partnership with veteran winger Tommy Hutchison down the flank.

His performances in the Fourth Division earned him a place in the PFA team of the year, before top-flight Wimbledon came calling less than a year after he arrived in South Wales.

Overall, Phelan played 53 times for the Swans in all competitions.


Despite his Manchester roots, Phelan chose to represent the Republic of Ireland at international level and, three years after making his debut, was named in Jack Charlton’s 22-man squad for the 1994 World Cup in America.

He played the full 90 minutes of the Green Army’s famous 1-0 victory over Italy, as well as in the 2-1 defeat by Mexico in Orlando.

After missing the Republic’s final Group E match against Norway through suspension, Phelan returned for the last-16 clash with the Netherlands, but could not prevent a 2-0 defeat.