Vital Football

Played For Them Too - Villa - Kenny Swain

Played For Them Too - Villa - Kenny Swain
With Pompey & 'The Villains' challenging to secure European football next season and with it being a bumper week of European football this week, I thought I'd focus on a player who tasted the greatest of European success with Villa, played for arguably the best English Manager of all time and was ever present in a promotion winning Pompey side.

Although one of only a handful of players to have played over a hundred games for five different clubs, Kenny Swain never started out as a footballer.

When he signed for Chelsea as an amateur Swain was still employed as a PE teacher, but it wasn't long before he turned pro and at the age of 22 made his Stamford Bridge debut by coming off the bench in a game against Newcastle in 1974.

Over the next few years Kenny established himself as a first choice winger and had his most successful season in 1976-77 when together with his strike partner Steve Finnieston, helped Eddie McCreadie's young side win promotion back to the First Division.

Unfortunately, top-flight football was hard to maintain for Chelsea in those days and as they struggled with relegation in 1979 Kenny jumped ship and moved to Villa for fee of £100,000.
As an overlapping full back (rather than a winger) Swain discovered his best playing position and ultimately helped Villa win the League Title and 'The Holy Grail' of club football, the European Cup, in consecutive seasons.

Villa's 'European Tour' of '82 was based around a solid defence and Swain played his part as aggregate wins over Valur (Iceland), Dynamo's Berlin and Kiev saw them progress to the semi-final where a goalless draw in Belgium and a 1-0 defeat at Villa Park dispatched Anderlecht over two legs.

So, to the final, Swain and his teammates arrived at Feyenoord's 39,000 capacity, De Kuip Stadium in Rotterdam, as overwhelming underdogs. Their opponents were none other than German giants Bayern Munich.

The German champions were a formidable force, they had won the trophy three times in as many years between 1974 & 1976 and now boasted such talents as top-drawer internationals Dremmler, Breitner and Rummenigge.

From the first whistle the Bayern lived up to their billing as favourites, penning Villa back and forcing keeper Nigel Spink into a number of fine saves.

The Midlanders offered little threat, but as Munich failed to convert chance after chance, Swain (who made a crucial goal line clearance) and the rest of the defence somehow stood firm and managed to hang on until half-time.

After the break Bayern continued to apply the pressure but it was Villa courtesy of a 67th minute Peter Withe tap-in against the run of play who grabbed the all-important opener. Nerves-jangling, Villa held on to win the ultimate prize and in his first season as manager, Ex-Pompey Player & Manager Tony Barton ensured an English team won the European Cup for a sixth successive season.

But, as we know, success doesn't guarantee anything in football. As Villa were invited European Super Cup, World Club Cup and top defend their defence of the European Cup, Swain struggled to hold a place in the starting line-up and soon found himself in the reserves.
With his career disappearing before his eyes, he needed a boost. Fortunately, one man well known for getting the best out of players in the twilight of their careers, still had faith in Kenny's ability and after watching him play for the second string, snapped him up.

Swain joined Brain Clough's Forest, initially on loan but it wasn't long before the deal was made permanent.

Despite his previous successes, Swain describes his time at the City Ground as the happiest three years of his career and although he was unable to win another European Cup Winners Medal, he did find himself at the centre of one the most controversial incidents ever witnessed in European football.

In 1984, having beaten Anderlecht 2-0 at home in the first leg of the UEFA Cup Semi-Final, Swain and Cloughie's Forest were just 90 minutes away from the Final, but the tie was far from over as Anderlecht won the second leg 3-0 in extremely scandalous circumstances.

A dubious "I never touched him ref" penalty decision given against Swain accounted for one of the goals, and although the other two were from open play, it was open play with every decision going the way of Anderlecht. In the dying seconds Paul Hart (Now Director of Youth Operations at Pompey) crashed in a header that would have secured Forest's place in the final, only to see the referee disallow it for some unknown reason.

After the game and for years to come Swain was adamant he'd never touched the player. Cloughie meanwhile made no bones about how he believed something fishy was going on.
In 1997 (15 years later) it emerged that the Anderlecht chairman had paid the referee officiating the match a bribe totalling £27,000. Clough, as he loved telling people, was right and Forest eventually sued in 1998.

Despite his friendship with Cloughie, Swain became a bit part player and in July 1985 with a heavy heart he left the City Ground on the promise of first-team football at Pompey. At 33 it was too good an opportunity to refuse.

Swain turned up at Alan Ball's Fratton Park to play for Pompey a side that had just missed out on promotion, being piped on goal difference by Manchester City.

Making his debut in a 2-2 draw against Hull City on the opening day of the 85/86 season Swain seemed to settle in well but despite his presence he was unable to provide that extra boost needed and in his first full season saw Pompey miss out on promotion again this time to Wimbledon by just three points.

The following season, eventually brought the prize we had all been waiting for and together with Alan Knight, as the only 'ever presents' Captain Swain and his Pompey team secured promotion, and returned the club to the 'top flight' for the first time in donkeys years.

As we know, that return didn't last long and with a blink of an eye Pompey were relegated back to where they came.

At the age of 36, and after a brief loan spell at West Bromwich Albion Kenny left Pompey and joined Crewe, where he proved he was still 'young enough' to make over 100 appearances and take the honour of being their oldest recorded player, eventually bowing out at against Maidstone in 1991 aged 39 years, 281 days.

Stints as manager at Grimsby and Wigan followed but it now appears that Kenny has found his niche as coach for the England under-16s.

Although not Pompey's greatest ever player Kenny Swain was a true pro and whatever happens this weekend I'm sure he'll be pleased to see one of his former clubs stake a real claim for a UEFA Cup spot next season. Hopefully, that'll be Pompey.

Written by Chix.

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.

Join the Vital Pompey Debate
Win FREE pizza with Vital Football!
Select your team and get 50% off if they score twice.
www.papajohns.co.uk/football

Writer:pompeyrug
Date:Saturday March 15 2008
Time: 1:36AM

Best of Vital Network

Comments

0
brilliant as ever Chix!
pompeyrug
15/03/2008 01:37:00
0
Great stuff Chixy. For those who don't know Kenny he is front right in the picture on the top of Villa in the 1982 European Cup Final in Rotterdam. Goalkeeper Jimmy Rimmer back right was injured early on and substitute keeper Nigel Spinks (back row third from left) became the hero as Chix reminds us.
eastneydave
15/03/2008 09:41:00
0
Great article Chix. Remember KS very well for us & at Villa, when are doing Paul Merson?
storagematt
15/03/2008 11:30:00
0
Chixy doing paul merson - have i missed something... ohh, i get what you mean, my warped sense of humour :-)
pompeyrug
15/03/2008 11:51:00
0
Excellent article, so good I would think Merson himself will look forward to being done by Chix
Pompeyscum
15/03/2008 12:10:00
0
Merson - you may not have to wait too long!!
eastneydave
15/03/2008 13:39:00
0
Thanks for your comments as always guys... I think a certain Mr Easneydave may have Merse covered sooner than you think Matt !Met a bloke from Australia in a pub today we overheard my name being spoken and introduced himself as 'a reader' from Syndey... never logged on to comment but was very familiar with the site and commented on mine and Dave articles and also commented on the excellent job Rug as editor does.. We;; don e fellas fame at last !
Chix
16/03/2008 10:03:00
0
Next up on "They Played is .... Justin Edinburgh (Spurs) , Arjan DE Zueew (Wigan) and Ike Clarke (WBA)....
Chix
16/03/2008 10:04:00
0
thats pretty cool isnt it Chix, the vital pompey word is spreading - and for the better... i want to try and do some more 'played for' and 'previous encounters' again shortly, its just finding the time, im toying with the idea of doing a previous encounters with spurs for last seasons 'zokora cheating' game, and if ok with you i might do kiely for the west brom one - it'll be an interesting read as altho i dont rate the fella, i will try to be fair...
pompeyrug
16/03/2008 11:22:00
Page 1/1
  1. 1

Login to post a comment

Recent Portsmouth Articles

On this day in history...30th April

A look back at this day in history, and what was happening with Pompey courtesy of our sister site PompeyRama, 30th April.

Hartlepool (a) - Safety first!

A win at Wimbledon made sure of a play-offs place. Technically we can finish in the top 3 but this would require an unlikely set of results from too many clubs wouldn't it?

On this day in history...29th April

A look back at this day in history, and what was happening with Pompey courtesy of our sister site PompeyRama, 29th April.

Match Day Officials v Hartlepool (30/4/16)

The Football League have now announced the Match Day officials that will take charge of the game against Hartlepool United this weekend.

Archived Vital Pompey Articles

Vital Pompey articles from

Site Journalists

pompeyrug
Editor email
Profile
eastneydave
Editor email
Profile
paultsmouth
no email
Profile
Chix
no email
Profile

Current Poll (see more polls)

Wimbledon MotM
Suggested By: VitalPompey
Jones3%
Stevens0%
Barton9%
Burgess12%
Freeman0%
Doyle0%
Hollands45%
Naismith0%
Roberts22%
Evans3%
Smith6%
Sub - Murphy0%
ScoopDragon Publishing Entire League Network of Sites

League Table

# Team P W D L Pts. GD
C Northampton 44 27 12 5 93 33
2 Accrington 44 23 12 9 81 25
3 Oxford 44 22 14 8 80 38
4 Bristol Rovers 44 24 7 13 79 27
5 Plymouth 44 23 8 13 77 21
6 Portsmouth 44 20 15 9 75 30
7 Wimbledon 44 20 11 13 71 13
8 Cambridge 44 18 12 14 66 11
9 Wycombe 44 17 13 14 64 5
10 Carlisle 44 16 16 12 64 2
11 Mansfield 44 17 12 15 63 9
12 Exeter 44 17 12 15 63 1
13 Luton 44 18 9 17 63 1
14 Leyton Orient 44 17 12 15 63 -3
15 Barnet 44 16 11 17 59 -3
16 Hartlepool 44 15 6 23 51 -16
17 Notts County 44 13 9 22 48 -25
18 Crawley 44 13 8 23 47 -27
19 Stevenage 44 11 13 20 46 -15
20 Yeovil 44 10 15 19 45 -16
21 Morecambe 44 12 8 24 44 -22
22 Newport 44 10 13 21 43 -19
R York 44 7 12 25 33 -33
R Dag & Red 44 7 10 27 31 -37
Latest F1 News
Latest Vital Boxing News

Recent Portsmouth Results (view all)

Portsmouth Fixtures (view all)

Apr 30 2016 3:00PM : Hartlepool United (a)
Sky Bet League Two
May 7 2016 3:00PM : Northampton Town (H)
Sky Bet League Two

Vital Members League Table

RankNamePoints
1.pompeyrug61
2.storagematt43
3.FrattonBlue37
4.Copnor4330
5.mslorna4827
6.Emsworthianblue19
7.Jimsmithswig17
8.russellm13
9.PFCblue9
10.steaming8