After seven top-flight campaigns, Swansea City’s loss to Stoke City on the final day of last season confirmed their relegation, and with it a return to the EFL.
The appointment of Carlos Carvalhal had looked to have turned the Swans’ fortunes around over the Christmas period, when they lost just once in his first seven games, but five consecutive losses to close out the season sealed their fate.
Graham Potter’s most recent experience in the EFL predates Swansea City’s last involvement, having retired as a Macclesfield Town player in 2005 at the age of just 30 following the club’s unsuccessful League Two Play-Off campaign.
Since then he has spent much of his coaching career in Sweden, having seized the opportunity to take charge of then fourth division side Ostersund in January 2011.
Potter made a name for himself as Ostersund soared up the Swedish football pyramid, from complete obscurity to Swedish Cup winners in 2017 and, the following season, into the Europa League where he would mastermind a 2-1 success over Arsenal, at the Emirates Stadium, in the knockout rounds.
As arguably one of the most successful English coaches of recent times, Potter earned three promotions in Scandinavia. Can he claim a fourth to restore Swansea’s Premier League status at the first time of asking?
It has, so far, been a quiet summer in the transfer market for Swansea City, with a considerable number opting to leave the club and only three arrivals being confirmed.
Kyle Bartley has joined West Bromwich Albion for their EFL return, Lukasz Fabianski made the move to West Ham United, and club record signings Borja Baston and Andre Ayew have made loan moves to Alaves and Fenerbahce respectively.
Three 19-year-olds make up Potter’s only business so far. Joel Asoro has joined from Sunderland, Jordi Govea from Real Madrid’s youth setup and Yan Dhanda from Liverpool U23, but their squad is boosted by the return of loanees such as Jordi Amat and Jefferson Montero.
The only player in the current Swansea squad to have played for the club in the Sky Bet Championship is Nathan Dyer, who is soon approaching a decade with the South Wales outfit, and he takes his place among other experienced players that complement the more youthful options in the squad.
In what had always traditionally been an area of Wales dominated by rugby, Swansea City AFC was founded in 1912 and were a founding member of the EFL’s third division in 1920, where they would remain for five years until gaining their first promotion.
1965 saw the club’s first relegation, and 10 years later they claimed their lowest ever finish in the EFL – 21st in the fourth tier. The next 12 years were a whirlwind ride for the Swans, as they soared to the top division before crashing back down with almost immediate effect.
It was a similar story in 2003, when a 20th-placed League Two finish kickstarted a revolution that saw the club return to the top flight, rising through the EFL in less than a decade as well as claiming a second EFL Trophy in 2006 having won their first 12 years earlier.
Their first top-flight campaign was branded a huge success, finishing 11th under the stewardship of Brendan Rodgers, but perhaps their biggest success of that era came in 2013 when they lifted the EFL Cup courtesy of a 5-0 Wembley win over Bradford City.
Cup glory brought with it a foray into Europe, where they went as far as the Round of 32 before being knocked out by Italian club Napoli. Since then their final league standings began to slip, with 18th place in the 2017/18 confirming their return to the Sky Bet Championship.
Nickname: The Swans
Ground: Liberty Stadium
Shirt colours: White with black trim
Last season: 18th – Premier League