Swansea City v Monaco, 1991 European Cup Winners’ Cup
Swansea City entered the European Cup Winners’ Cup for the seventh and final time in 1991. The First Round draw gave them a tough test against Arsène Wenger’s Monaco side. They had first played in the competition in 1961, and had enjoyed a record 12-0 win over Malta’s Sliema Wanderers in 1982. This was the club’s last European tie at the Vetch Field, their home since founding in 1912 – they moved to the Liberty Stadium in 2005.
Swansea were trying to find stability after their dramatic rise and fall in the 1980s. They reached the top division for the first time in 1981 with three promotions in four years under John Toshack. They finished sixth in the First Division in 1981-82, spending much of the season challenging at the top of the table. However after two top-flight seasons, by 1986 they had slumped back to the bottom of the league pyramid. Promoted back to the Third Division in 1988, Swansea were Welsh Cup winners in 1989 and 1991 – their tenth and last win in the competition, which excluded Football League sides from 1995.
The 1991-92 Swansea side included players with First Division experience in goalkeeper Mark Kendall, Welsh international Alan Davies, and experienced striker Terry Connor, who left for Bristol City shortly after this game. Davies tragically took his own life in February 1992. Full-back Steve Jenkins and winger Andy Legg were both later capped by Wales, after leaving the club. Under Frank Burrows, appointed in March 1991, the club ended the season 19th in the Third Division. Although they competed strongly in the first leg against Monaco, with Wenger praising the home team’s efforts, Swansea fell to an 8-0 defeat in the return.
Swansea continued to struggle in the lower reaches of the Football League in the twenty-first century before promotions in 2005, 2008 and 2011 (under Brendan Rodgers) took them back to English football’s top division for the first time since 1983. After a seven-season stay in the Premier League, they are currently in the Championship. They returned to Europe in the 2013–14 UEFA Europa League, losing to Napoli in their first European competition since this tie in the 1991–92 European Cup Winners’ Cup.
Monaco finished 1991-92 as runners-up to Marseille in Ligue 1 for the second successive season. This tie was the start of a run to the European Cup Winners’ Cup final, which they lost 2-0 to Werder Bremen in Lisbon. Manager Wenger, in charge since 1987, had re-built the squad since winning the league with a side including Mark Hateley and Glenn Hoddle in his first season. Among the players on view at the Vetch Field were several French internationals in Marcel Dib, Jean-Luc Ettori, Gérald Passi, recently-capped Emmanuel Petit, and Luc Sonor. Youri Djorkaeff, a future World Cup winner alongside Petit, came off the bench, while another of the 1998 champions, Lillian Thuram, was part of the Monaco squad.
In a star-studded side, Portugal’s Rui Barros, Senegal’s Roger Mendy and Danish former Manchester United full-back John Sivebaek were also internationals, with George Weah up front. Liberian striker Weah had been signed by Wenger in 1988 and, after leaving for Paris St Germain and then AC Milan, dedicated his FIFA World Player of the Year award in 1995 to his former manager. One of the few players in this team not capped, midfielder Claude Puel would later manage Southampton and Leicester in the Premier League.
Match details for Swansea City – Monaco; Vetch Field, European Cup Winners’ Cup First Round First Leg, Tuesday 17 September 1991:
Swansea City: 1. Mark Kendall, 2. Steve Jenkins, 3. Steve Thornber, 4. Russell Coughlin, 5. Mark Harris, 6. Mark Davies, 7. Simon Davey, 8. Alan Davies, 9. Christian McClean, 10. Terry Connor, 11. Andy Legg. Manager: Frank Burrows. Scorer: Legg
Monaco: 1. Jean-Luc Ettori, 2. John Sivebaek, 3. Emmanuel Petit, 4. Roger Mendy, 5. Luc Sonor, 6. Claude Puel, 7. Marcel Dib, 8. Gérald Passi, 9. George Weah, 10. Rui Barros (sub Youri Djorkaeff), 11. Christophe Robert. Manager: Arsène Wenger. Scorers: Passi (pen.), Rui Barros
Attendance: 6, 208