Number 22 in our Top 25 Players list is the most recent player to have played for the Swans, striker Lee Trundle.
The most recent Swansea player to appear in the countdown, current striker Lee Trundle was a late entrant into league football.
He played for several non-league teams including Stalybridge Celtic (scoring 6 goals in 5 games) & Southport (scoring 4 goals in 26 games) before joining Welsh Premier League club Rhyl in 2000. At Rhyl he found his goalscoring touch, scoring 18 goals in just 22 appearances. This form persuaded ex-Swansea manager Brian Flynn to pay £60,000 to take him to Wrexham`s Racecourse Stadium. He had no problem with the step-up to league football, playing 78 games (plus a further 24 as substitute) over two years and netting 30 goals in all competitions.
In the summer of 2003, Trundle linked up again with Brian Flynn, who had since left Wrexham for Swansea City, signing on a free transfer on the expiry of his Wrexham contract. A number of clubs expressed interest in Lee, including Tranmere, Port Vale and Coventry City, before he opted for South Wales. He instantly became a fans favourite at the Vetch, topping the early Division Three goalscoring charts & entertaining the crowd with some outrageous skills. The most memorable coming in a league game against Huddersfield, when he controlled the ball with his chest, rolled the ball around his neck before sending the ball upfield. These skills helped to make him a national ‘celebrity` & earnt him a regular place on Soccer AM`s Showboat.
In October 2005, Sheffield Wednesday bid £750,000 for his services, the largest bid the club had ever received for a player, but this was rejected by the club proving how highly he is regarded by the Swansea board. Soon after he became the first player from outside the Premiership to sign a Image Rights deal, earning him a share of the profits from merchandise sold with his name on.
Trundle was part of the Swansea team which won the LDV Trophy final 2-1 against Carlisle United during the 05/06 season, scoring a sensational volley to put the Swans one up. During the celebrations, he and Alan Tate held a Welsh flag bearing the words ‘F*** Off Cardiff’, and Trundle was also pictured in a T-shirt depicting a Swansea player urinating on a Cardiff City shirt. Both players received fines & bans from the FAW, and were given a police caution.
Lee Trundle left the club in July 2007 just before the 2007/2008 season when he was sold to Bristol City for £1m, who then broke the record for the biggest fee received for a player.
Trundle’s form began to drop towards the end of his spell with the club and some fans believed that we had struck an excellent deal to sell him for a 7-figure fee.
It was hardly a good deal for Gary Johnson and Bristol City though. Trundle struggled to re-produce the goalscoring form he achieved for the Swans and he found it difficult to win a regular first team place.
In January 2009, he was loaned out to League One side Leeds United, joining up with former Swansea team-mate Andy Robinson. He struggled to impress at Elland Road and he returned to Ashton Gate in March.
During his time at Swansea City, he scored an impressive 78 goals in 135 League starts. At Bristol City, he netted 7 goals in 25 League games.
In April 2003, having missed Wrexham’s match against Cambridge United, Trundle was named by a Sunday newspaper in association with allegations of rape, harassment, false imprisonment and threats to kill. Within two weeks, all allegations were withdrawn. The player’s solicitor alleged that the complainant had, in fact, been stalking him and that the police had received details of her unwanted attentions. No charges were brought.
Lee Trundle arrived at the club after an awful few seasons at the Vetch Field, through some struggling times and watching some trueful awful players, strikers who couldn’t even hit a barn door. We survived the drop out of the Football League and from then on we were on the up. Trundle’s arrival was like a breath of fresh air, a hugely popular player with his personality, skills and overall ability. Not only could he score on a regular basis but he would entertain fans immensely, sometimes when he was on top form, Lee Trundle was worth the admitance fee alone!
Links to the Top 25 Players:
25 – Chris Coleman
24 – John Conforth
23 – Dean Saunders
By Murton_Jack plus additions from KevinE