This Week In History - Swansea’s Biggest Ever Win
The UEFA Cup Winners Cup was introduced in 1960, and was viewed just as strongly as the Champions League before it was abolished in 1999. Each year, the winner of the previous season’s domestic cup would be entered into the Cup Winners Cup. For example, the FA Cup winners would enter from England, the Welsh Cup winners from Wales and the Copa Del Rey winners from Spain.
Following Swansea’s 1982 Welsh Cup triumph against Cardiff, they would be Wales’ representative in the 1982/83 Cup Winners Cup. As the Welsh Cup was not favoured as highly as other domestic competitions, Swansea City were entered into the first preliminary round, the earliest possible round. They were drawn against Portuguese side Braga, who had only finished 7th in the Portuguese league. A comfortable 3-0 win at Vetch Field in the first leg was enough to end the tie as a contest. Swansea City progressed and were drawn against Malta side Sliema Wanderers.
Swansea City 12-0 Sliema Wanderers - 15th September 1982
Sliema Wanderers were Malta’s most successful ever time, although Sliema’s competition was not very strong at all. The club had much more European experience than Swansea City, having taken part in 12 European campaigns before their draw with Swansea. The first tie was to be held on the 15th September at Vetch Field, with the second tie 2 weeks later in Malta. The tie was only attended by 5,130 fans, presumably because of the lack of quality in the opposition. But, those who did make the trip to Vetch field witnessed a unique piece of Swansea City history.
Player-manager John Toshack sent out a full strength team that should have easily beaten the Maltese side. A dozen goals later, Swansea fans were delighted with their team's performance and the manner in which they had won. Jeremy Charles, James Loveridge, Colin Irwin, and Robert Latchford all scored first half goals to take the Swans in with a 4-0 lead. In the second half, the goals continue to flow. Charles and Loveridge grabbed another goal and substitute Ian Walsh even grabbed an 11 minute hat trick. The 12 goal winning margin still remains as the biggest ever Swansea win, the biggest Welsh European win and contributed to the overall biggest Welsh aggregate win of 17-0.
Swansea’s European Cup Winners Cup Campaign
Following their 12-0 win against Sliema Wanderers, the Swans won the away leg 5-0. Manager John Toshack even got on the pitch for the 5th goal in another rout from the Welsh side. In the second round, Swansea were drawn against French side Paris St Germain. The jump in opposition proved to be a step to far as PSG ran out as 3-0 winners across the 2 legs.
Since their exit from the 1982 Cup Winners Cup, Swansea featured in 3 more iterations of the tournament over the next 10 years. None of their campaigns came close to the run in 1982. Each year, Swansea were eliminated in the first round. After a 10-1 aggregate loss to Monaco in 1991, it would take Swansea City 22 years to return to European football. The wait was well worth it for the Jack Army however as they returned with a famous Europa League campaign in 2013.
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