Swansea City Football Club have proved that dreams still come true – but it’s not simply the fact they climbed from the bottom of the Football League to the top of the Premier League in less than a decade that is so impressive.
On the day after another spending frenzy on the transfer market came to an end, it is worth reflecting on the remarkable way the Swans have achieved their goal playing fantasy football and without the riches of a billionaire owner.
During a decade that has seen Premier League clubs spend more than £4.4 billion pounds since the transfer window was introduced 10 years ago, Swansea’s success on a shoestring is nothing short of miraculous.
In January 2002 a group of local businessmen saved Swansea City from the hands of controversial owner Tony Petty and possible extinction. It was a turbulent season that saw the Welsh club hit rock bottom in the Football League’s lowest tier for the first time in their history. They only avoided relegation to the Vauxhall Conference on the last day of the season.
A decade later the Swans are gracing the Premier League with a brand of football that is a joy to watch. New manager Michael Laudrup is carrying on the purist footballing philosophy introduced by Roberto Martinez and continued by Brendan Rogers before he was poached by Liverpool in the summer.
When the Swans became the first Welsh club to reach the Premier with their Play-Off Final win over Reading in May 2011 many people expected their stay in the top flight to be short-lived. But judging by the way they have started their second EPL season don’t bet against the Swans’ fantasy continuing.
The transfer window shut last night with a total spending spree of £450 million pounds by Premier League clubs during the summer. But once again Swansea are aiming big without spending lavishly. They have smashed their own transfer record by splashing £5.5 million a piece on Ki Sung-Yueng and Pablo Hernandez. But an overall spend of £16.1M stills leaves them in profit after recouping £21.55M largely due to selling Joe Allen to Liverpool (£15M) and Scott Sinclair (£6.2M) to Manchester City.
To every fan out there who dreams of watching their team succeed playing the beautiful game the way it should be played, Swansea City are a shining example of how nothing is impossible in football.
Millions spent since January 2003
1. Chelsea 673
2. Man City 572
3. Liverpool 414
4. Man United 352
5. Tottenham 350
6. Arsenal 214
7. Aston Villa 201
8. Sunderland 187
9. Newcastle 174
10. Everton 129
11. West Ham 123
12. Wigan 110
13. Fulham 107
14. Portsmouth 100
15. Birmingham 92
16. Blackburn 87
17. Stoke 84
18. Bolton 76
19. Middsbrough 71
20. West Brom 64
Source: Deloitte’s Sports Business Group
Big spender – Roman Abramovich has ploughed £1 billion into Chelsea since 2003. Chelsea insist they want to break even and comply with UEFA’s rule that clubs can lose only €45m (£35.6m) in total from 2011 to 2013. But they were the EPL’s big spenders this summer signing Eden Hazard (£32m), Oscar (£25m), Marko Marin (£7m), Cesar Azpilicueta (£6.5m), Victor Moses (£9m).