It was Dylan Thomas that described Swansea once as The Graveyard of Ambition, but back in 2001, a small group of supporters discussed the possibility of forming a supporters trust.
Just three months later that group was thrust to the forefront of a battle to save a football club that had for so long toiled in the lower reaches of the Football League. Now, just twelve years later, the club is established in the Premier League and is competing in Europe.
From Graveyard to Ambition: The Official History of the Swansea City Supporters Trust tells a remarkable story of a football club and fans who stood up to be counted and are now one of the most admired clubs in European football.
Review by John Holroyd – Programme Monthly (December 2014)
“This well articulated and thoughtful book highlights the efforts made by the fans of Swansea City to regain the club they love. Fans owning their clubs isn’t something new, such as the majority of clubs in the Bundesliga, and others like Barcelona are all owned by their supporters rather than some uber rich sugar daddy.
The advent of the fanzines in the 1980s, produced by the fans rather than the clubs, brought about a generation of people who cared sufficiently for their clubs to articulate their concerns even then. Undoubtedly a lot of those people are now involved in the huge amount of online forums that now take on the role of the fanzines, albeit electronically. Two such sites, Swanmail and scfc.co.uk, were around for Swansea fans to use to give a collective voice to these concerns, and from this the movement to form a Supporters Trust was born.
So why a Trust? Discontent with the way the club was being badly run, with a real disconnect between the club and the fans . Players’ salaries being left unpaid, a cull on staff within the club by the then owner Tony Petty left fans hugely frustrated and wondering what was happening to their club. Was it asset stripping on a large scale? Would there be a club left out of the ruins? So the Trust was formed, and an initial, very well attended meeting in Swansea on the August Bank Holiday provided the impetus to go forward.
They started off by asking fans to donate for the various causes, and the response was so positive that the Trust now owns 20% of the shares, making it the second largest shareholder on the board. The book details the huge amount of work involved, all done on a voluntary basis, and also looks behind the scenes at what work this actually involves.
All the chapters are titled to show significant steps along the way “The Beginnings”, The Formation”, “The Launch” etc through to “Victory”, “Control” and ending with “The Future”. Each chapter goes into detail about the machinations behind the scenes, and I found the chapter on Shareholding to be very informative . Although I fully understood the rationale for having a Trust at any club, the raising of money, turning them into shares, increasing shareholdings etc had always previously remained a bit of a mystery to me.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It’s written by fans, for fans and captivated me from start to finish.”