Looking back on the whole year, 2010 brought the Swans a mix of good and bad.
Let's rewind to January. The month we all made, then subsequently broke, our New Year resolutions (come on, I never was going to “give up beer”). Swansea were sitting 4th in the Coca-Cola Championship, despite losing the opening game of the year. Luckily that first one seemed to be a blip (there's that word again) and the Swans went on a nine game unbeaten run. Promotion, via the play-offs, seemed almost certain.
Then things took a stumble. Despite some fancy football, the goals weren't coming and, in turn, neither were the points. Swansea managed to win only three games out of twelve in March and April. This was around the time that Blackpool sensed they may be in with a chance and started to show their true colours (bright orange). I believe their 5-1 hammering of the Swans proved this. The safe position was slipping and only goals could save them! Alas, these goals never came.
Sousa was playing negative football and it began to grate on the fans, who all knew that the formation just wasn't working. Things came to a boil on the last game of the season where the Swans needed two things to happen. Blackpool to lose/draw and Swansea to win. It seemed Blackpool were only too keen to help, drawing 1-1 with Bristol, but Swansea were sitting on their own draw. That one goal they so badly needed never came, despite Sousa finally smarting up and chucking on all available strikers. Well, technically, a goal did come in the form of a last gasp Lee Trundle strike, but the ref rightly awarded handball and blew up for full time, ending the hopes of promotion. It was going to be a long summer of reflection.
It's easy to forget that I am talking about earlier this year! How things changed during the summer. Sousa didn't hang around long enough to reflect on anything, and Britton and Trundle soon left for different reasons. In came Scott Sinclair, Stephen Dobbie (back from newly-promoted Blackpool) and Brendan Rodgers. I won't reflect on the new season much more (check out my mid-season review for that summary).
So here we are at the end of 2010. In walks a fresh-faced 2011. Things to look forward to?
On the 6th February we will see Cardiff at the Liberty for “The South Wales Derby - Part II”. You don't need reminding that Swansea were the rightful victors in November's fixture, and neither do Cardiff - they will be ultra determined to get a win after being embarrassed on their own turf. Swansea will have their own crowd behind them though and, despite the recent dip in overall results, will be gagging to do the double over Cardiff. This must mean something though – if they end up doing the double over the Bluebirds but then fail to get promoted, I can guarantee you those two wins won't mean much.
Then on May 8th we'll have judgement day. The Swans will find out if:
a) they are automatically promoted to the Premier League (cue euphoria and “Closet Jacks” making a reappearance).
b) they join the other four teams in the play-offs, where (if they are able to get there) a Wembley final will see them one game away from the top tier (cue... well, see above)
c) they have missed out on the play-offs (cue good players leaving the club, mass suicide and sacking of Rodgers...)
Let's obviously hope it is point A. Automatic promotion would give the Swans confidence needed to take the first steps with the big boys! Plus they wouldn't have to play three play-off games. Anyway, I'm jumping ahead there...
So plenty to look forward to!
Let me take this opportunity to thank everybody who has read, commented and helped this blog develop over the last few months, it is much appreciated and I wish you all a great 2011 – the year where Swansea will (probably) get to the Premier League!
Happy New Year you Jack bastards!