The footballing world is full of unique stories of triumph in the toughest of situations. Among them is the impressive story of Swansea City FC. Swansea shocked many people when in 2011, it won the English Football League (EFL) Championship Playoff Final. It became the first Welsh team to gain promotion to the Premier League. Here is how they did it despite the odds being against them.
The Beginning – Rodgers’ Appointment
The success story of Swansea City begins with their appointment of Brendan Rodgers as manager. The Northern Irish manager, a protégé of Jose Mourinho, was the final missing piece to make Swansea a success.
After his appointment, he embarked on changing the style of play for the team. His main emphasis was on the use of wide players to attack on the counter. This style of play was lethal and made his team win five out of the first six games that Rodgers managed. In the process, Swansea also kept four clean sheets. This impressive run in the 2011-2012 season also won Rodgers a manager of the month award. Rodgers continued modelling the team into a threat and by April had secured their spot in the playoffs.
An Unforgettable Playoff Final
Going into the Championship playoffs, Swansea was the underdog. This status mainly came from the fact that this was a Welsh team attempting to win the EFL playoffs and gain promotion to the EPL. However, the narrative would end differently.
Scott Sinclair, one of the success stories of that Swansea team, scored a hat trick during the final to ensure the Swans win 4-2 against Nottingham Forest. Pundits and bookmakers mentioned Forest as the favourites to win the match, and this might have worked well for Swansea to reduce pressure. The players conducted themselves with patience and won the game through strategy, making their promotion one of the most surprising playoff wins ever.