Swansea City Supporters Trust

History of the Swans Trust

Learn more about the history of the Supporters’ Trust, and the key milestones and activities that have shaped who we are today.

The Swansea City Supporters’ Trust has recently celebrated our 20th Anniversary – our story, and that of the club, has been documented widely in the media and is the subject of great admiration across the football world. Our story is not without its challenges, but through it all we have maintained our focus on representing the voice of the fans within the club.

1912

Swansea Town were formed as a professional club and took up residence. This was an ambitious venture given the dominance of rugby union in the area. The new football club adopted the same all white strip as Swansea RUFC and apart from a few seasons when black shorts were introduced, they have worn all-white for most of their career.

2001 - Our Founding Year

July 2001

The idea of a Supporters Trust is floated by a small group of Supporters in order to save the club. A meeting at the Brangwyn Hall on Saturday 8th July 2001 attracts over 150 fans and potential backers. A follow-up meeting held on Sunday 22nd July at the Manselton/Cwmnwrla Community Centre sees the agreement of a Constitution, a new bank account, and the formation of sub-groups from the 50 plus who attended. 

Club owners Ninth Floor sell the club for £1 to former Commercial Manager, Mike Lewis in July; Lewis takes on the club’s £801,000 debt, which was repayable to Ninth Floor. Lewis was actively seeking buyers to support the running of the club, and the lines were now drawn and the meeting determined that we were all fully committed to saving our Club.

July 2001

This meant we would create a Supporters’ Trust that would invest and become part-owners of the club, in order to preserve it for the current and future fanbase.

The new Trust Constitution was created and signed by members of the Working Group – Richard Lillicrap, Michael Williams, Leigh Dineen and Nigel Hamer. Dave Boyle (from Supporters Direct – now the Football Supporters’ Association) was in attendance and provided advice on protocols by which the organisation could run the club if required. 

August 2001

The Swansea City Supporters’ Trust was officially launched on Monday 27th August 2001 at the Patti Pavilion in Swansea, with over 600 people in attendance, following our home game against Cheltenham Town. The event raised more than £3000 from membership fees and an auction. 

The Trust receives backing from far and wide, including from prominent local figures, including John Toshack, John Hartson, Max Boyce, Gareth Edwards, Rhodri Morgan AM, Martin Caton MP, Kevin Johns, Eurig Wyn MEP, Steve Hamer, Mel Nurse and Mel Charles amongst those to pledge support. 

August 2001

A meeting was convened in Bristol where MAGS members and London-based fans met to discuss financial matters with previous Club Chairman Steve Hamer. This meeting was also attended by Trust leaders Phil Sumbler, Keith Haynes, Richard Lillicrap, Leigh Dineen, Tony Jenkins, and Nigel Hamer. The meeting provided the Trust with an overview of the club’s affairs and the financial situation that the Trust would face when taking on ownership of the club. 

October 2001

A busy period followed, with emails flying thick and fast - from Llanelli to Moscow, Cardiff to Swansea, Gloucester to Kingston-Upon-Thames, between fans who were Accountants, Solicitors, Financial Advisers and Businessmen, all determined to ensure the survival of our Club. The Model Rules of the Swansea City Supporters’ Society Ltd were registered on 4 October 2001 and as the Supporters Trust was now a full constitutional body we became the nerve centre of information for the way forward. 

The scenario that we had been anticipating arrived sooner than expected when, in October 2001, Mike Lewis sold the Club to Tony Petty, a Londoner based in Australia, again for £1. However, crucially the debt of £801,000 was still due to Ninth Floor and became Petty’s responsibility. 

October 2001

In response, a group of Swansea fans (with Richard Lillicrap and Nigel Hamer representing the Trust), met to determine the next steps. The meeting also included local businessmen Martin Morgan, David Bradshaw, Mel Nurse, Gareth Keen, Tony Davies and David Morgan. It was decided at that meeting that we would offer Tony Petty £10,000 to purchase the Club. 

Tony Davies (Trust member), who had previously met Petty, called with the offer, which was rejected out of hand. Following further discussions over the next few days, the group agreed to make an increased offer to Petty of £50,000, but this again was rejected and we were back to square one. 

November 2001

The Trust held its first Annual General Meeting for members and supporters at the Patti Pavilion in Swansea. Chairman John Parkhouse asked supporters to explore all appropriate avenues of inquiry with relevance to bringing them into the public domain in the battle against the current owner. The Trust was offered as a vehicle for transferring the control of the club to local people, provided the funding could be sourced. 

Ongoing discussions identified that no single individual could take the financial risk and therefore the group agreed to form a consortium. The Trust were charged with co-ordinating future meetings with potential investors. At this time, we were aware that Ninth Floor were prepared to sell the £801,000 debt for £100,000, and with this in mind a meeting was called at the Tudor Court Hotel to respond.

November 2001

The meeting included Martin Morgan, George Edwards, Don Keefe, Gwilym Joseph and David Williams, along with Leigh Dineen and Nigel Hamer, who met to discuss the possibility of raising the £100,000 to purchase the debt. 

This debt purchase was eventually agreed with local businessman Mel Nurse. The Trust started discussions with Nurse to support his ongoing legal case against Tony Petty. As the month progressed, the Trust arranged a further meeting of the working group and potential investors, with Huw Jenkins joining for the first time. Martin Burgess, a former officer of the club, became a member of the working party shortly after. Investment commitments soon followed, including Gareth Keen’s decision to donate £10,000 to the Supporters Trust in lieu of his involvement, a gesture that was and still is greatly appreciated by the Trust. 

December 2001

A rally attended by almost 2000 fans marched from Castle Square to the Vetch Field prior to a game, and a further crisis meeting with over 1000 fans present was held in the Patti Pavilion, where a heroes’ welcome was given to Nick Cusack and fourteen of his teammates, along with Trust President Alan Curtis. With television crews in attendance, MC Kevin Johns and the other speakers urged supporters to back the Trust in its attempts to wrest control from Petty. 

December 2001

Mel Nurse had now become the figurehead and the man determined to take Petty on in court to save his and the fan’s football club, and he received the full support of the Trust throughout. Unfortunately, Nurse lost the court case and Tony Petty remained in charge. However, the fans and the Supporters Trust were more determined than ever to oust Petty. 

2002 - A New Start

January 2002

A package and draft Consortium agreement was put together with the aid of Swans fan and Solicitor Steve Penny, who had offered his services free in the campaign to oust Tony Petty, and he, along with Tim Jones, Mel Nurse and David Morgan, travelled to a meeting in Cardiff to meet Petty. The £20,000 offer to buy out Petty was accepted with a meeting scheduled for early February to confirm the arrangement. 

February 2002

On 6th February 2002, the Consortium Agreement was signed at the Sea Haven Hotel – this document would become the signed agreement for the formation of Swansea City Football 2001 Limited. The Trust was represented by Leigh Dineen and Nigel Hamer, with other attendees including Martin Burgess, Brian Katzen, Steve Penny, Mel Nurse, and David Morgan. 

The Consortium grew through investments by OTH Limited (Martin Morgan), Redi Plastics Limited (Huw Jenkins), Five Thirty Ltd (Brian Katzen), and Swansea Jacks Ltd (John van Zweden and David Morgan) – these, together with Mel Nurse, Robert Davies and Olliedom Ltd (Dineen family) comprised the shareholders in the “new” Swansea City FC. 

February 2002

The Trust were allowed additional time to obtain their £50,000 investment as the other consortium members were Corporate bodies, there was also agreement that the Trust could have a Director for their investment and also be allowed to invest a further £50,000, which would entitle them to a further seat on the newly formed Board of Directors. The Trust Board agreed that Leigh Dineen would become the Supporter Director, and would form part of a Management team, along with other investors, to run the club as a Committee. 

2003 - On the Brink

2003 brought more turbulence, with performances on the field suffering –the club was facing relegation after winning just 11 games during the season. On the final day, Swansea City preserved their league status with a 4-2 victory against Hull City. James Thomas was the hero that day, scoring a hattrick to keep us in the football league.

BBC Sport Match Report

2005 - New Beginnings

A year of success and triumph – Swansea finish third in League 2 under Kenny Jackett, achieving automatic promotion to League 1 in May. The Swans start to look to the future, and after years of development open their new purpose-built home in Morfa, Swansea. 

July 2005

Two years removed from our near-drop out of the football league, we prepared to leave the Vetch Field after more than 90 years to move into the new, purpose-built Liberty Stadium. The move from the Vetch was completed in style, with the club securing promotion to League One at the end of the 2004/2005 season under Kenny Jackett. 

2008 - On the Up

May 2008

Swansea City’s remarkable story continues with the club achieving promotion to the Coca Cola Championship as champions of League One. Roberto Martinez’s men win 27 games on their way to the title, clear of second-placed Nottingham Forest by 10 points. 

May 2011

After three years in the Championship, Swansea City reach the play-off final after a dramatic semi-final against Nottingham Forest. Swansea took more than 40,000 fans to Wembley Stadium for the ‘richest game in football’ to face a strong Reading FC team. The hero of the day for the Swans is Scott Sinclair, who scored a hat-trick to help Brendan Rodgers’ men to a 4-2 victory and to take Swansea City to the promised land. 

August 2011

Swansea City start their third-ever season in the top tier of English football away against eventual champions Manchester City. It is a tough game for the Swans, falling to a 4-0 defeat against the imperious Aguero & co. The Swans fare well throughout the remainder of the 2011/12 season, eventually finishing in 11th place on 47 points. 

October 2011

The Swansea City Supporters’ Trust celebrated its 10th Anniversary in October, capping a remarkable decade for the organisation and the club. The Trust is the only supporter-led organisation with a stake in a premier league team.

2012 - Celebrating History

January 2012

In 2012, Swansea City celebrated their 100th year as a football club. As part of these Centenary celebrations, the Swans commissioned the Supporters Trust to oversee an official project designed to commemorate the 100 years of the Swans through a series of books and DVDs. The result was the creation of 100 years of Swansea City FC, an online archive of memorabilia and information dating all the way back to 1912. Further details of our work can be found via: Swans Centenary

September 2012

The Robbie James Wall of Fame was established at the 2011 End of Season Awards Dinner. As one of our best ever players the wall was dedicated to Robbie, who sadly passed away in 1998. On Saturday 22 September 2012 the Robbie James Wall of Fame was unveiled at the Liberty Stadium, to honour the contributions of former Swans.

Wall of Fame

2013 – Diversifying

The Supporters’ Trust supported the establishment of the Swansea City Football Club Disabled Supporters’ Association (DSA) in 2013. The DSA is the recognised representative body or the disabled Swansea City supporters and works to bring together disabled supports, represent their views to the club, and improve facilities and policies that affect disabled supporters. 

More information on the DSA is available here:

Swans DSA

2016 - A Changing Tide

In June 2016, an American Consortium led by Jason Levein and Steve Kaplan acquired a majority stake in Swansea City FC from existing shareholders. The Supporters’ Trust did not sell their shares as part of this acquisition, and the takeover has been the result of a subsequent legal battle between the majority owners, sellers, and the Supporters’ Trust as to the way the deal was concluded. 

2018

Swans Trust launches the Schools Initiative, led by Roger Goodwin and Sian Davies. The initiative was designed with the club to bring both organisations closer to our younger fanbase, and with the help of club legends Lee Trundle and Leon Britton, the Schools Initiative was launched - SchooIs Initiative

May 2018

After a season of significant turmoil and poor results, Swansea City are relegated from the Premier League on the final day of the season after a 2-1 defeat to the already relegated Stoke City. The club played in the league for seven years, with consistently strong performances and finishes through the first five years. However, a series of poor management and transfer decisions, along with inconsistent form and poor performances over an 18-month period resulted in the inevitable drop back into the SkyBet Championship. Graham Potter was appointed Manager for our first season back in the Championship. 

2019 – Going Global

June 2019

During the 2019 season, the Trust recognised a need to bring the various affiliated Supporters’ Groups (both locally and internationally) close to each other, the Trust, and the Club. The Trust established a project in 2019 alongside the club to bring the 50+ affiliated Swans Supporters Groups in the UK, USA, and across the globe together to share information, support, and encourage further sign-ups. This scheme continues, and the Swans’ footprint continues to grow. More information can be accessed below: Supporters’ Group Initiatives

2020 - The Year The World Stood Still

March 2020

As the COVID pandemic began to take hold of the UK, the footballing world came to a standstill. The Club and the Trust worked together over several months to identify the solutions for supporters who would be consigned to watching football at home as part of Project Restart. The remainder of the 2019/2020 season was played behind closed doors. 

2021- Goodbyes and Hellos

May 2021

After another stellar season, Swansea reached the playoff final at Wembley Stadium, this time against Brentford for a place in the Premier League. It wasn’t our day, and we eventually lost the game 2-0. It was the last game for a number of players, including talisman Andre Ayew, and manager Steve Cooper also departed later in the summer to Brentford. 

August 2021

In August, Swansea City FC officially launched the Former Players’ Association (FPA) to be chaired by club icon Lee Trundle. The Trust played a part in the establishment of the FPA, and Trust Chair Dave Dalton acts as one of the board members for this newly established body. The FPA will aim to provide support and resources for former Swans and provide opportunities for them to return to the city and the stadium.

Former Players Association

October 2021

The Swans Trust officially appointed our first Ambassador, double-Paralympic medallist Paul Karabadak. Paul returned from the 2021 Paralympic games having excelled in Table Tennis, and as a lifelong Swans Fan was awarded the Ambassador title. Paul will continue to work with the Trust in the coming years on a variety of activities, as well as representing the Trust and the work that we do.

Paul Karabadak Article

 

2022 - Moving Forward

February 2022

The Swans Trust announce a resolution to the legal case against the current owners and former sellers of the club. As part of the agreement, the Trust convert 5% of their stake into Class A (non-dilutable) shares, with the remaining 16% as Class B. The agreement also ensures the permanent right to a Supporters’ Director on the club’s Board, creating security for the organisation and ensuring the fan’s voice will continue to exist in the Boardroom for a generation to come.  

Joint Statement on Settlement of Shareholding Issue