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Opponents in focus - Swansea

Swansea City, the lovely, ugly town as Dylan Thomas once said. Having lived there for a couple of years I can confirm that it is indeed a lovely, ugly town. Most of the city is a grey concrete jungle, but it is set within some of the most beautiful countryside you can imagine.

As in the rest of Wales, football has a different standing to the rest of the UK. On "International Weekends" when the Welsh Rugby team is playing, most eyes turn to egg chasing, and there is a strong following for the local Rugby team, the Ospreys, too. But that said, Swansea enjoys a long tradition of football and Swansea City has had some halcyon days in the past and produced some fine footballing talent.

As an away day this is a great place to go. Pompey fans can enjoy a few jars of the local Brains beers in Wind Street or on the Mumbles Mile, and if adventurous can enjoy some laverbread (seaweed that looks like dog poo!)

Head-to-head

Pompey lead the way in the head-to-head standings. We have met a total of 30 times over the years, with Pompey having won 10 times, Swansea 7 and there having been 13 draws.

Pompey have scored 35 goals, and Swansea 27.

Memorable games include a 5-nil Pompey win at Fratton Park in May 1984, and a 4-nil defeat at the Vetch Field on Boxing Day 1960.

The last time we met was at Fratton Park, in the 4th round of the FA Cup, when Swansea knocked out the holders 2-nil. Not a great game, especially as an ex-Saint scored one of the goals. Can anyone name that light-fingered chappy?

League Standings in Last 5 years

09/10 - Finished 7th in the Championship, narrowly missing out on the play-offs
08/09 - Finished 8th in the Championship, just outside the play-off spots in first season up
07/08 - Champions of League One
06/07 - 7th in League One, just outside the play-off spots
05/06 - 6th in League One, beating Brentford in the play-off semis, only to lose the play-off final in the cruellest manner - on penalties, losing to Barnsley

Fixture Dates

Swans - Pompey - Friday (yes Friday) 26 November
Pompey - Swans - Saturday 23 April

What joy, Friday night football. At least Friday night on the town in Swansea is great fun!

The Man in Charge

Swansea have had some pretty famous managers over the years, including John Toshack and our very own Frank Burrows. More recently they have had two very good managers in Roberto Martinez (now at Wigan) and Paolo Sousa (now at Leicester). Paolo Sousa left in the summer and has been replaced by Brendon Rodgers.

The Ulsterman has had a fairly short managerial career, having had less than one season at Watford, although he was fairly successful, followed by a fairly torrid time at Reading, winning just 6 of the 23 games he oversaw in his 6 months there.

It would be fair to say that the jury is still out on Mr Rodgers, but the Swansea faithful will be hoping for good things in the season ahead.

Key Player

Arguably Ashley Williams, a rock in Swansea's defence. The 25-year old was born in Wolverhampton but has declared for Wales as his grandfather was born there. Williams made it into the Championship 'team of the year' last season.

Stadium

I have been to the Vetch Field, a lovely stadium full of character right, slap-bang in the centre of the city, just a short walk from the city-centre shops. The stadium was the club's home for 93 years. It held 11,475 by the time it was closed down, but at its peak some 33,000 squeezed in for a cup game against Arsenal in 1968.

Although full of character, it was heavily in need of modernising, and in 2005 the club moved into a new stadium, called the Liberty Stadium. The Stadium is shared with the Ospreys Rugby Club and cost 27 million to build. It is a tidy stadium holding 20,532.

Written by Pompeytim.

The views within this article are the views of the individual who wrote and submitted this piece, sometimes solely theirs. They are not necessarily shared by the Vital Pompey Site Journalists.

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The Journalist

Writer: Pompeytim Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday August 6 2010

Time: 12:00PM

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Not quite as horrible as Cardiff fans - who am I kidding yes they are.
russellm
 

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