Our Championship Rivals

ivoralljack

Grizzled Veteran
Staff member
#62
IPSWICH TOWN - Younger posters will probably be amazed to learn that Ipswich Town was one of the powerhouse teams of the First Division in the 1980s and, imo, that team would easily be in the top six of the Premier League today such was the incredible quality of the playing squad and their manager Bobby Robson who, of course, went on to manage the England team with decent success.

Founded in 1878 they turned professional in 1936 and have played at all levels in the Football League participating in European football since the 1960s. They play at Portman Road, capacity 30,311 and, under manager Paul Hurst, they currently sit bottom but one in the table with no wins and just 6 points from 11 games. Their 8 goals scored is the joint lowest in the Division along with QPR. Last season they finished 12th in the table. Now nicknamed the Tractor Boys, their team colours are blue and white tops, white shorts and blue socks.

Their list of quality/notable players is enormous and I just don't have the time to list them all. They include Mick Mills (England captain), Terry Butcher, John Wark (190 goals from midfield) and Russell Osman (both appeared in the movie Escape to Victory along with Kevin O'Callaghan), Paul Mariner, powerhouse legend Kevin Beattie (described by Bobby Robson, no less, as THE BEST ENGLISH PLAYER I HAVE EVER SEEN), Colin Viljoen, Alan Brazil, keeper Roy Bailey, George Burley, David Johnson, Darren Bent, and the incredible Dutch duo Arnold Muhren and Franz Thijssen. Back in the 1960s you had Ray Crawford (218 goals), Ted Phillips (181 goals) and finally, I must make mention of ex Swan Shefki Kuqi who scored 33 in 88 for them. :) I think all I have mentioned were international players and apologies to the many I have had to omit - and there WERE many more!! Their present squad includes Welshmen, Gwion Edwards, Ellis Harrison and Emyr Huws. In the movie I mentioned, Kevin Beattie doubled for Michael Caine and keeper Paul Cooper for Sylvester Stallone in the football scenes.

Former managers of the club include Sir Alf Ramsey, Jackie Milburn, George Burley, Joe Royle, Mick McCarthy, Roy Keane and Sir Bobby Robson.

Major honours include Football League Champions in 1961/62 and this was immediately after winning the old Second Division title in 1960/61 under manager Alf Ramsey. They won the FA Cup in 1977/78: EUFA Cup winners in 1980/81: Texaco Cup winners in 1972/73. They also finished runners-up in the First Division in 1981 and 1982. In 1979 they beat league runners-up Manchester United 6-0 with keeper Gary Bailey saving THREE penalties.

They have competed in three European competitions and have never been beaten at home defeating, amongst others, Real Madrid, Barcelona, AC Milan, Inter Milan and Lazio. For a small club isolated geographically in Suffolk, they have certainly won their share of accolades over the years.

I can't claim to have any particular memories about our games with them but I was in attendance on 27th March 1982 when they beat us 2-1 at the Vetch in front of 20,450 fans. Robbie James netted a penalty for us. But prior to this we actually went to Portman Road and beat them 3-2 with goals from Alan Curtis, Bob Latchford and Gary Stanley. Although I didn't go to the game I remember from telly that Curt's goal was a beauty, exquisite in its elegant execution. To be honest, I was amazed that we won there, so good was the Ipswich team of that time. But we deserved it. I read this: "Following the match, the respected Ipswich manager, Bobby Robson, admitted that, over the previous five years, no club had so dominated a game there as Swansea had done. 'Ipswich', to quote one journalist, 'were out-fought and out-thought'"

Such a great time to be a Swan, aye. :)
 

ivoralljack

Grizzled Veteran
Staff member
#63
ASTON VILLA - With their history they have genuine claims to be considered as one of the "big" clubs in the English Football League system and were founded in 1874. They play at Villa Park (capacity 42,682) and, following Steve Bruce's dismissal a week ago, are now managed by ex Brentford boss Dean Smith with former Chelsea legend John Terry as his assistant. Last season Villa finished 4th and were beaten in the play off final by Fulham. Currently they sit 15th in the Championship with 15 points but no doubt Villa fans are hoping that the footballing philosophy of their new manager, so admired at Brentford, will help their team shoot up the table. With a talented squad at his disposal, this could well happen. Villa have several nicknames including, Villans, The Lions, The Claret and Blue Army and, of course, Villa. Team strip is claret and blue tops and socks with white shorts.

They have many major domestic honours having won the First Division title on no less than 7 occasions the most recent in 1980/81. During the inaugural season of the Premier League, they finished runners-up to Manchester United. They were runners-up on 9 occasions and did the famous 'Double' in 1896/97.
They have also won the FA Cup on 7 occasions the most recent in 1956/57. Finalists 4 times.
They won the League Cup on 5 occasions the most recent being 1993/94 and 1995/96. Finalists 3 times.
They won the FA Charity Shield in 1981. Finalists 3 times.

So far as Europe is concerned, many people forget that they became European Cup Champions in 1981/82 when they beat Bayern Munich 1-0 in Rotterdam with a Peter Withe goal. They won the European Super Cup the same year and added the Intertoto Cup in 2001.

Their list of former notable players is huge and I understand that younger readers might not have heard of some of them. But take it from me that I would not have mentioned them were they not top quality players easily, in their prime, capable of playing for the best teams of today. They include: Trevor Ford (ex Swan), Danny Blanchflower, Peter McParland, Phil Woosnam (Welsh international later to become soccer supremo USA), Bruce Rioch (later Arsenal manager), Leighton Phillips and Jimmy Rimmer (both later Swans), Andy Gray, Gary Shaw, Tony Morley (express train!), Peter Withe, Denis Mortimer, Paul McGrath, Dwight Yorke, Ugo Ehiogu, Steve Staunton, Dean Saunders (ex Swan), Mark Bosnich, Ray Houghton, Andy Townsend, Gareth Southgate, Gareth Barry, Darius Vassell, Dion Dublin, Paul Merson, Steve Stone, Mark Delaney (from Carmarthen), James Milner, Ashley Young, Brad Friedel, Emil Heskey, Nigel Reo-Coker, Fabian Delph, Mark Albrighton, Richard Dunne, James Collins, Christian Benteke and James Chester. There are so many I've had to omit but I suppose I'd better mention a certain Mr Taylor who also plies his trade there! ;)

Strangely, I don't have that many memories of games against Villa probably because we didn't play them that often when I was growing up as they were in a higher division. The games I did see were nothing special, just run of the mill as it were. But I do remember when we played them at the Vetch that it was the very first time I experienced modern day crowd hooliganism inside the ground. In the days before segregation, I was strolling with some friends along the walkway on the North Bank at half time towards the old Double Decker end. Some Villa fans were amassed at the top of the terraces and suddenly decided to attack the home fans standing lower down. A surging mass of humanity swarmed down and the next minute my mates and I were punching and kicking anything in front of us that was preventing us getting out of the melee. We didn't mess around and hurt a lot of people in our attempts to get out of the mayhem. For all I knew, we laid out as many Swans' fans as we did Villa ones because they were in the way. I'll be honest: it was fucking frightening because if you went down you were likely to get several dozen boots in your head and your balls - some from our own supporters who wouldn't have known who the hell we were.

We eventually emerged the other side of it with just a few bruises between us and we were lucky because there were a lot of people badly hurt that day and we were responsible for some of it. But I can honestly say that it was very much a case of self defence. Not a day I remember with any fondness.
 
#64
My best memory was tanking them at home when jonjo volleyed home from the center circle . That shot went straight as an arrow...until it reached the six yard box where it did a right turn into the top corner. I think that was 4-1 to us!!!!
 

ivoralljack

Grizzled Veteran
Staff member
#65
My best memory was tanking them at home when jonjo volleyed home from the center circle . That shot went straight as an arrow...until it reached the six yard box where it did a right turn into the top corner. I think that was 4-1 to us!!!!
Yes, there was that game and a fabulous goal by the much vilified Jonjo. He could infuriate and delight in equal measure but he sure as Hell could pick a pass and since his going we've never had a player who could do it as well as he could. He certainly upset me with his seemingly careless attitude at times but he definitely had talent and, like many other things in life, you don't appreciate them until they're gone.
 

ivoralljack

Grizzled Veteran
Staff member
#66
Blackburn Rovers - was established in 1875 and became a founding member of the Football League in 1888 and the Premier League in 1992. Last season they finished 2nd in Division One and currently sit in 7th position in the Championship with 17 points. They play at Ewood Park (capacity 31,367) under manager Tony Mowbray. Team strip is half blue and white tops, white shorts and blue socks. Nicknames include Rovers, The Blue and Whites and The Riversiders. The club has spent most of its existence in the top flight of the Football League system.

Major honours include: First Division Champions 1911/12 and 1913/14. Premier League Champions 1994/95, runners-up 1993/94.

FA Cup: Winners 5 times in 1884, 1885, 1886, 1890, 1891 and 1928. Finalists in 1882 and 1960.

League Cup: 2002

Eufa Intertoto Cup: joint winners in 2007

Prominent managers include: Jim Smith, Howard Kendall, Kenny Dalgleish, Roy Hodgson, Graeme Souness, Sam Allardyce, Mark Hughes, Paul Ince, Paul Lambert and Owen Coyle.

Notable players of recent times include SAS Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton, Craig Bellamy, Mark Hughes, Tim Sherwood, Brad Friedel, Howard Kendall, Colin Hendry, Henning Berg, Tim Flowers, David Dunn, Andy Cole, Jason Roberts, Jordan Rhodes, Morten Gamst Pederson, Ryan Nelsen and Roque Santa Cruz. Older posters might remember England internationals, Bryan Douglas, Keith Newton and Eddie Clayton.

Sad to say that I have no particular memories of games against Blackburn but I do remember them as the team we edged out when Tosh & Co reached the First Division for the first time in our history.
 
#67
I remember the photo of Nigel (speedy) Stevenson scoring from the six yard line with a shoulder high volley....
Not a bad effort for a center half!
 

Jackflash

Midfield General
Staff member
#68
I remember the photo of Nigel (speedy) Stevenson scoring from the six yard line with a shoulder high volley....
Not a bad effort for a center half!
And like many other ex Swans ended his career with us down at Haverfordwest in the late nineties .
 

ivoralljack

Grizzled Veteran
Staff member
#69
READING FC - was founded in 1871 and joined the Football League in 1920. They finished 20th last season and currently sit in 22nd position with 12 points from 14 games under manager Paul Clement who is no stranger to us. Unfortunately. :mad: Reading sitting in a relegation position would be no surprise to us. Previously nicknamed The Biscuitmen because of Huntley and Palmers location in the town, they are now known as The Royals; Reading being situated in the Royal County of Berkshire. Colours are blue and white hooped tops, blue shorts and blue and white socks. After years at Elm Park, a ground I visited a number of times, they now play at the Madejski Stadium, capacity 24,161.

Reading have won no major honours but they do hold the record of 13 successive wins at the start of a season in 1985/86 (Third Division) and they also hold the record for the highest number of points gained in the professional league system with 106 in the 2005/06 Championship campaign.

They have two Welsh international players in their squad in Chris Gunter and David Edwards whilst Modou Barrow will be remembered by Swans' fans. Other notable players include: Former Swan, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Kerry Dixon, Trevor Senior (191 goals most of them against us :(), Dave Kitson (160 goals), John Salako (played on loan for us), Leroy Lita (former Swan), Shane Long and Welsh internationals Simon Church and Hal Robson-Kanu.

Former managers include two former Swans in Roy Bentley and Brendan Rodgers, Steve Coppell, Nigel Adkins, Jaap Stam and Alan Pardew.

As for memorable games I need not go into detail about the play-off Final at Wembley. :) Other than that I remember a game at Elm Park when I was searched for the first time ever when entering a ground and was charged by police with riot shields behind the goal. I mean, this copper had his shield against my chest as a line of them pushed us back on the terraces. The trouble started when someone spread a false rumour that a Swansea fan had been killed by the plods in the ground. Highly unlikely but it was just the excuse for our brainless yobs to start trouble and I was caught up in it. Not best pleased particularly as we lost 1-3.

But I had a sort of lucky escape on 23 September 1989. I was due to watch Reading play us at the Vetch but last minute had to drive my cancer stricken father-in-law and his wife to Bristol Airport for them to fly to Tenerife. It was the last time I saw him because he died whilst on holiday. That's why I say 'sort of'. During the drive to Bristol, I listened to as much of the game as reception allowed and wished I hadn't bothered. Reading beat us 6-1 and Trevor Senior got a hat trick. There were just 3,511 spectators there and thank fcuk I wasn't one of them! However, we did gain a semblance of self respect when we got a 1-1 draw at Elm Park with Chris Coleman netting our goal. Hope we do better tomorrow.
 

ivoralljack

Grizzled Veteran
Staff member
#70
Great block by Agent Angel when he blocked Tammy Abrahams' shot near the end to deny Villa a point. I appreciate that the 3 points (1-0) takes QPR in front of us at the moment but I regard Villa as a far greater threat to us over the full season and they were easily worth a point tonight.
 

ivoralljack

Grizzled Veteran
Staff member
#71
ROTHERHAM UNITED: known as The Millers was founded in 1925 following a merger between Rotherham Town and Rotherham County and until 2008 played at Millmoor when they moved to the New York Stadium with a capacity of 12,021. Last season they finished 4th in League One and were promoted via the play off final. Currently they sit 21st in the table with 14 points from 15 games under manager Paul Warne. They play in red tops with white sleeves, white shorts and red socks.

There aren't any notable players that would be meaningful to our posters but the present squad includes former Swansea Academy prospect Alex Bray and Welsh keeper Lewis Price. Former Swans' manager Kenny Jackett had a brief stint as manager as did Neil Warnock. Other notable managers include Emlyn Hughes, Norman Hunter, Tommy Docherty, ex Forest pair John McGovern and Archie Gemmill in tandem, Ronnie Moore and ex Swan Alan Knill.

Rotherham have won no major honours but were inaugural finalists of the League Cup in 1961 losing to Aston Villa over two legs (2-0 and 0-3).

I can only recall one memorable game that which was played at the Vetch on a Tuesday night September 12th 1978. The Division Three game was played in front of 17,065 spectators and resulted in a 4-4 draw. I believe that ex Swan David Gwyther scored a hat trick for Rotherham (please correct me if I'm wrong) whilst Jeremy Charles and Alan Curtis got two apiece in reply. I do remember that it was a thrilling game and I think that Curt scored a late, late equaliser to get the crowd roaring. The next home game wasn't bad either; a 4-3 win against Tranmere, 16,132 in attendance.

The team was a goal machine that season netting 4 goals in 5 games, 5 goals in 1 game and 3 goals no less than 6 times. In league games Toshack scored 13 goals, Robbie James 15, Alan Curtis 12, Jeremy Charles 12 and Alan Waddle with 19. Think we got 83 league goals that season. Reckon we'd settle for that these days, eh? :LOL:

PS: In various cup games Waddle scored 2, Robbie 10, Curt 11, Charlo 5 and Tosh 2.

NOSTALGIA: That year in the Football League Cup, bearing in mind we were a THIRD DIVISION club, we drew 2-2 at the Vetch with Spurs (James and Charles) in front of 24.335 spectators including me, before going to White Hart Lane in the replay and winning 3-1 with goals from Tosh, Charles and Curt. Oh, Happy Days!! :love:
 

ivoralljack

Grizzled Veteran
Staff member
#72
BOLTON WANDERERS - known usually as The Trotters, other nicknames include The Wanderers and The Whites. Formed in 1874 as Christ Church FC they adopted their present name in 1877 and became founder members of the Football League in 1888. The club played at Burnden Park for a 102 years from 1895, which witnessed one of football's greatest disasters when 33 people were killed in a crowd crush in 1946. In 1997 Bolton moved to the Reebok stadium, then renamed as the Macron stadium and now known as the University of Bolton stadium. Capacity is 28,723.

Present manager is Phil Parkinson and, after finishing 21st in last season's Championship, narrowly avoiding relegation, they presently sit in 16th position with 16 points, 7 behind us. Team strip is white tops and socks with navy blue shorts. Bolton have spent more seasons in the top flight without winning it than any other club finishing 3rd in 1891/92, 1920/21 and 1924/25.

Major honours include FA Cup winners in 1923, 1926, 1929 and 1958. Football League Trophy in 1989.

Managers have included Nat Lofthouse, Jimmy Armfield, Phil Neal, Jimmy McIlroy, Bruce Rioch, Roy McFarland, Colin Todd, Sam Allardyce, Sammy Lee, Gary Megson, Owen Coyle and Neil Lennon.

There have been many notable players including: Nat Lofthouse, Francis Lee, Eddie Hopkinson (England keeper), Wyn Davies, Sam Allardyce, Peter Reid, Asa Hartford, Nathan Blake (hisssssss :)), ex Swans Dean Holdsworth, Sam Ricketts and Darren Pratley, Kevin Nolan, Kevin Davies, Ivan Campo, Jay-Jay Okocha, Gary Cahill and of course the legendary Gary Speed. In the present squad they have on loan from Forest Green, the non-league scoring sensation, Welshman Christian Doidge.

Memorable games? Zilch!!
 

ivoralljack

Grizzled Veteran
Staff member
#73
Norwich City - Founded in 1902 they are known nowadays as The Canaries after a history of breeding the birds in the area introduced in the 16th century by a group of European immigrants who lived locally and known as The Strangers. Another explanation has it that their former nickname, The Citizens, was changed in 1907 by the chairman who was a keen breeder of canaries and he changed their colours to the present day yellow tops, green shorts and green and yellow socks. Since 1935 their home games have been played at Carrow Road, present capacity 27,244 and the club is owned by famous chef Delia Smith with ex Shadow Chancellor, Ed Balls as chairman. Last season they finished 14th in the Championship but right now sit at the top of the table under manager Daniel Farke with 33 points, 7 more than the Swans.

The fans' song On the Ball, City, is the oldest football song in the world still in use today. The song is older than the club and was adopted in 1902 and still sung in part today. The chorus goes:


" Kick it off, throw it in, have a little scrimmage,
Keep it low, a splendid rush, bravo, win or die;
On the ball City, never mind the danger,
Steady on, now's your chance,
Hurrah! We've scored a goal, City! City! City!"

How quaint!! I wouldn't dare sing those lyrics in the East Stand!! :LOL: Think I prefer Hymns and Arias to be honest. :cool:

The club has a healthy celebrity fan association. In addition to Smith and Balls, comedian Stephen Fry, actor Hugh Jackman, musician Myleene Klass, singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor, sports presenter Jake Humphrey all support the club as did the late Sir David Frost.

Major honours include the League Cup in 1962 and 1985. They finished 3rd in the inaugural season of the Premier League behind Manchester United and Aston Villa and have played a total of 25 seasons in the top flight during their existence.

Notable players include Harry Kane (loan) Darren Huckerby, Nathan Redmond, Martin Peters, Steve Bruce, Dion Dublin, Joe Royle, Dave Watson, Chris Sutton, Chris Woods, Iwan Roberts, Craig Bellamy, John Hartson, Ryan Bertrand, Mick Channon, Joe Corrigan, Tony Cottee, Martin Chivers, John and Justin Fashanu, Leroy Fer, Leroy Lita, Steven Naismith, Nelson Oliveira, Martin O'Neill, Peter Osgood, Mike Phelan, Sam Vokes, Kevin Reeves and Andy Townsend. There are many others still playing for other clubs such as Howson, Snodgrass and Bradley Johnson. Norwich seem to be the kind of club where players who've found fame with other clubs see out their careers. Other players such as Bellamy started with Norwich then moved on.

Managers have included Ron Saunders, John Bond, Martin O'Neill, Bruce Rioch, Gary Megson and Alex Neil.

I've watched a number of games against Norwich but none stand out. I was pissed off when they beat us 4-3 at the Liberty and chuffed when we beat them 3-0 but other than that, nothing much. I do remember though that Grant Holt LOVED playing against us because he usually scored, particularly when Ashley Williams was playing who didn't seem to have a clue how to handle him.
 

ivoralljack

Grizzled Veteran
Staff member
#79
WEST BROMWICH ALBION (WBA) - Founded in 1878 WBA have played at the Hawthorns (present capacity 26,688) since 1900 and the ground holds the 'distinction' of being the highest above sea level in the Football League system. Colours are blue and white striped tops, with white shorts and socks. Present nickname is The Baggies but have also been known as The Throstles and Albion. They finished bottom of the PL last season and currently sit 4th in the Championship with 31 points from 18 games under manager ex player Darren Moore with former Swans' assistant Graeme Jones as his #2.

WBA have a fine tradition in the FA Cup winning the trophy on 5 occasions (the last in 1968) and beaten finalists also 5 times. They won the League Cup in 1966 and beaten finalists twice. They were Football League Champions in 1920 and runners-up twice.

Former notable players are many and include: Bryan Robson; Don Howe; Jeff Astle (174 goals); Tony Brown (279 goals from midfield from 720 games!); Ronnie Allen (234 goals); Laurie Cunningham; Cyrille Regis: (former Swans Kwame Ampadu; Des Lyttle; Craig Beattie; Luke Moore); Brendan Batson; Remi Moses; John Hartson; Asa Hartford; Geoff Hurst; Salomon Rondon; Luther Blissett and many more. Former Swan Kyle Bartley is likely to line up against us on Wednesday.

Managers have included: Ron Atkinson; Johnny Giles; Roberto DI Matteo and Ossie Ardiles.

As for memorable games there was THAT match at the Liberty when Michael Laudrup's team produced possibly our finest ever footballing 45 minutes in a 3-1 win. Not such a happy day was when I went to the Hawthorns to see Tosh's Swans in the First Division. I dropped my wife and kids off at Dudley zoo (some idiot was attempting and broke the world record for living in an enclosure of deadly venomous snakes at the time) and I met up with a guy called Bill Walker, one of my staff who was a passionate Albion fan, and went to the game. The bastard was grinning like a Cheshire cat at the end having seen us trounced 1-4 after a Regis hat trick. I should have sacked him!! :LOL: But, in all honesty, that result was a travesty. We were well worth a draw and put them under a lot of pressure but they scored every time they broke away. I also remember that our goal was a worldie as Neil Robinson smacked a beauty from way out that fizzed in under the bar. However, we did get revenge when we beat them 3-1 at the Vetch with goals from Chris Marustik, Curt and, of course, Bob Latchford. I was there for that as well and let Walker know all about it that night! :)
 

ivoralljack

Grizzled Veteran
Staff member
#80
DERBY COUNTY - Oops, so preoccupied yesterday I nearly forgot this, so a quickie today. Under manager Frank Lampard, Derby have become a fine footballing side and presently sit 7th in the table with 31 points from 19 games. Nicknamed the Rams, Derby play at Pride Park (capacity 33, 597) after years at the Baseball Ground notorious for being a quagmire pitch in bad weather - so named because baseball was played there before football. last season, Derby narrowly missed promotion finishing in 6th place. Team colours are white tops and socks with black shorts.

Their halcyon days occurred under famous manager Brian Clough and assistant Peter Taylor. Such was their impact on the club, a 9ft statue was erected 37 years later at Pride Park in recognition of their legacy to the club. They won the First Division title (now the PL) in 1971/72 and 1974/75 under Clough and were runners-up on 3 occasions many years ago in the early days of football. They won the FA Cup in 1946, the Texaco Cup in 1972 and the Watney Cup in 1971 along with the FA Charity Shield in 1975. They also reached the semi finals of the European Cup losing to Juventus. However, they also hold the record for the lowest number of points (11) in the Premier League.

Former notable players include a host of famous names known to posters of a certain age. They include: Peter Shilton, Colin Todd, Dave Mackay, Roy McFarland, Robbie Savage, Dean Saunders (57 in 131), Kevin Hector, Leighton James, Glyn Davies (Swan's manager), John McGovern, John O'Hare, Terry Hennessey (Wayne's dad), Charlie George, Darren Moore, Archie Gemmill and many others. Steve Bloomer is Derby's record goal scorer with 332 during the early 1900s.

Notable managers include Clough and Taylor, Steve McClaren, Paul Clement, Nigel Clough, Dave Mackay, Tommy Docherty, Nigel Peason, Colin Addison (also Swans) and ex players Mcfarland and Todd.

Unfortunately, I have no particular memories of games against Derby County - just run of the mill stuff.
 
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