Tuesday, December 20, 2011

20 December 1985 - Swansea Sinks To A New Low

On 20 December 1985, the once high-flying Swansea City hit a new low, receiving a formal winding up order. Only quick work from a local businessman saved the club from dissolution.

Founded in 1912 as Swansea Town, the Welsh club joined England's Southern League one year later. In 1920, they moved to the newly-created Third Division of the English Football League and spent the majority of their existence moving among the lower tiers. Their fortunes took a positive turn in 1978 with the appointment of 28-year old manager John Toshack, the youngest manager in the league at the time.

Toshack led them to three promotions in four seasons, taking them all the way from the Fourth Division to the First. Once there, they even held the league's top spot for several weeks before finishing in sixth place at the end of their first top-flight season. The success didn't last, however, and they fell as quickly as they had risen, suffering three relegations in four seasons to end up back in Division Four for the 1986-87 season. Toshack received his dismissal in 1984.

But the real low point came in December 1985, as financial problems led the High Court to issue a formal order winding the club up for an inability to pay its debts. With the club poised for liquidation, local businessman Doug Sharpe intervened. He took over as owner and quickly came up with a business plan to forestall the club's dissolution. In response, the court granted permission to the club to continue.

They then began the long road back to the top flight, culminating in promotion to the Premier League for the 2011-12 season.

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