2012 - another eventful year for Swansea City
From securing a second season in the Premier League, to a dramatic managerial change and the addition of some of the best players Swans fans have ever seen at the club.
Here is my brief (as brief as I could make it) snapshot of the club's centenary year, highlighting the best bits and worst bits that have made 2012 so memorable.
Though I've checked and re-checked, I would appreciate a comment below if you spot a glaring omission or silly inaccuracy... it happens to the best of us.
Happy New Year!
Swansea started 2012 well under Brendan Rodgers (remember him?). The team kicked-off with a 2-0 away win against Aston Villa, before the outstanding 3-2 victory over Arsenal, where the Swans came from behind to beat them - the first big scalp of the debut Premier League season.
Then, despite thoroughly deserving it, Swansea were unable to take all three points away from the first home game against Chelsea. Swansea drew in the worst possible way with an injury time equaliser from Bosingwa (deflected off Neil Taylor), which made the 1-1 scoreline feel like a 4-0 defeat.
Meanwhile, David Cotterill left the club after his contract was cancelled by mutual consent. Swans fans across the globe shrugged their shoulders.
The Swans were also dumped out of the FA Cup by Bolton in January.
An international break saw relatively little Swansea City action this month. The highlight was a 2-1 away win at West Brom (and that's scraping the barrel!), with a low point being the 3-2 home loss to Norwich.
Also in February, Brendan Rodgers signed a new three-and-a-half-year contract that was set to keep him with the club until July 2015. We all know how that turned out.
A good month for Swansea City - three wins in a row, comprising three clean-sheets and six goals.
However the one goal everyone will remember from March is Luke Moore's header which secured a superb three points against eventual Premier League champions Manchester City. The only thing that could top the euphoria of Moore's goal was the close up of Sian Massey as she flagged Micah Richards offside to deny him an equaliser in the dying minutes of the game. Brilliant!
However, the winning streak stopped at the end of the month with a 2-0 home defeat to Everton. Typical.
A poor run for the Swans, with three back-to-back losses against Spurs, Newcastle and QPR; conceding eight goals and scoring just one.
The last game of the month saw Swans fans welcome back Dorus de Vries to the Liberty Stadium, who started the game for Wolves. Brendan Rodgers' new 3-4-3 formation looked to be working wonders with Swansea heading into the break 4-1 up. No-one is quite sure what happened next as we witnessed Wolves score three in the second half, turning a without-doubt win into an unsure draw. Entertaining, but annoying.
What can we say about May... one thing is for sure: Brendan Rodgers played a big part!
Firstly we said goodbye to Swansea City's first Premier League season with a 1-0 win against Liverpool in front of an Elvis-themed Jack Army - the wishes of Brendan Rodgers. This was a superb end to a superb season. It was also Brendan Rodgers' last game as Swansea City manager.
Swansea ended their debut Premier League season in 11th place - outstanding considering the odds against them.
However, the joy soon turned to shock as two weeks later Brendan Rodgers silently left the club for Liverpool. Twitter broke down with Swans fans unsure of what to do next. It was truly the end of an era. A very bitter end at that.
My blog post on the issue
was well received and worth checking out again to relive the heartbreak.
If May was a month of heartbreak, June was a month of uncertainty. We all brushed ourselves off and began the search for a new manager.
After many names - Poyet, Zola, Bergkamp, Holloway... even Monk - were thrown around, one seemed to stick: Michael Laudrup. Soon the rumours became reality and Swansea City were in possession of their new manager. Some (including myself) were unsure, but most fans were euphoric with the high-profile Dane. Either way he had the full support of Swans fans everywhere.
June was also the month Adidas unveiled Swansea City's centenary kit
, to the joy of many who felt the previous year's had been a little bland. This truly was a kit to celebrate the club's history.
Elsewhere, injury-riddled Ferrie Bodde was released by the club in June.
New prices for a home Premier League ticket were revealed by the club to the disgust of many fans
- £45 seemed to be blatantly taking advantage. The ever-confusing revisions of the Jack Army membership scheme didn't help the club's case either.
In July Gylfi Sigurdsson left Swansea and signed for Spurs, joining Steven Caulker who returned home after a successful loan spell with the club.
Michael Laudrup brought some real talent on board, signing Michu from Rayo Vallecano (for around £2m), Chico Flores from Genoa (around £2million), while Jonathan de Guzman joined the club on a season-long loan from Villarreal.
Swansea City began playing again, with the traditional Port Talbot derby (Swans won 5-0), before a more glamorous trip to the good ol' USA to play friendlies against Colorado Rapids Ventura, County Fusion and San Jose Earthquakes.
Swansea were heavily tipped to be heading straight back to the Championship by most bookies and FourFourTwo
predicted Swans to be rock-bottom
looked to immediately eat their words as Michael Laudrup began his reign with two amazing Premier League wins and eight goals (five of which coming from the opener against QPR)! The winning continued with the first Capital One Cup match - a 3-1 win against Barnsley.
Elsewhere, Swansea made two record breaking signings this month - Ki Sung-Yeung from Celtic for a fee of around £6m and Pablo Hernandez from Valencia for £5.55m.
In August we also said goodbye to Joe Allen, who followed Brendan Rodgers to Liverpool for £15m, and Scott Sinclair, who left to sit on the bench at Man City for a fee which would amount to around £8m. In retrospect, this was great business!
Other players leaving the club were fringe players Andrea Orlandi and Stephen Dobbie, who both went to Brighton.
September was much more sobering, and the defeats came heavily. Swansea failed to win any Premier League matches; losing three and drawing against Sunderland. However the Capital One Cup progress continued with a 3-2 victory against Crawley Town.
Swansea also signed Itay Shechter on a season-long loan from Kaiserslautern in September, while Dwight Tiendalli was signed on a free-transfer until the end of the season after being released by FC Twente. Tiendalli was set to replace Neil Taylor who fractured his ankle this month, in Swansea's 2-2 draw with Sunderland.
This was also the month that the club celebrated 100 years of football, since the first professional game against Cardiff (...boo) in 1912.
Elsewhere, ForzaSwansea.com claimed the title of Best Sports Blog in Wales at the 2012 Wales Blog Awards
. I was thrilled and very proud (I still am).
Swansea were unable to take a deserved point against Man City at the Etihad, but more worrying was the sight of Michel Vorm being stretchered off. Step forward Gerhard Tremmel.
The club also came up against Brendan Rodgers for the first time since he left, in the Capital One Cup on Halloween - Swansea travelled to Liverpool and beat them 3-1. We all cheered.
Alan Tate did the unthinkable and left Swansea City on loan until January to Leeds United.
Brendan Rodgers and Joe Allen re-visited the Liberty Stadium for the first time since May, and took a point back to Liverpool following the 0-0 draw.
No points were dropped this month, with three draws - including another 1-1 home draw with Chelsea - and two wins against Newcastle and West Brom. Gerhard Tremmel certainly proved himself in Vorm's absence and contributed greatly to the good month.
A month packed with football for Swansea City - seven games in all.
December began with two late Michu goals, which gave Swansea a 2-0 away victory to Arsenal - a wonderful feat which would set them up well for the... that's right, the 3-4 loss at home to Norwich.
The Swans then progressed to a semi-final clash with Chelsea in January after beating Middlesbrough 1-0 at home.
Back to the Premier League and, after a lacklustre performance and a 1-0 loss away to Spurs, the Swans came back to claim an incredible point against current leaders Man United at the Liberty Stadium. The exciting 1-1 game almost ended in tragedy as Robin van Persie was close to being killed by a ball to the face (as exaggerated by Sir Alex Ferguson
...). Needless to say, van Persie survived and culprit Ashley Williams wasn't arrested for attempted murder.
Swansea ended the year with an edgy 2-1 away win against Fulham, using a team with seven changes. The club begin 2013 in 10th place in the table. Take that FourFourTwo.
An exciting end to a year full of drama. Phew.
ForzaSwansea Team of 2012
Rangel, Williams, Caulker, Taylor
Britton, Sigurdsson, Michu
Routledge, Graham, Dyer
: Tremmel, Davies, Chico, Allen, Hernandez
Agree? Disagree? Leave your Swansea team of 2012 below!