Nostalgia

Lee Trundle: Swansea City’s Magic Man

Lee Trundle Swansea City cult hero
Image: BBC

For supporters of clubs in the Football League Lee Trundle will be remembered as being one of most iconic players to have played across the three leagues, during spells with Wrexham & Swansea City, where he was undoubtedly at the peak of his powers and established himself as a club legend, Bristol City and Leeds United. The scouse magician epitomised the presence of a street footballer operating at a professional level, producing sublime moments of skill and attempting the seemingly impossible, rather than opting to play that simple pass, that coaches drill into their players on the training ground.

The fact that Trundle is still playing football at the age of 42, for Haverfordwest County in the Welsh football league, shows the love he still has for the game, and that shone through throughout his prime years in the Football League. Not only is he still playing, but he is also proving to be a useful asset to football clubs at the end of his career, during a two-year spell with Llanelli Town AFC between 2016 and 2018 he scored 68 goals in just 45 matches, while he has also registered 6 goals in his opening four appearances for Haverfordwest County. ​

Trundle started his career in the lower echelons of non-league football, making his debut for Burscough in 1995, before going on to play for Chorley, Stalybridge Celtic, Southport and a loan spell at Bamber Bridge. A move to Rhyl followed in 2000, where he scored 15 goals in 18 appearances convincing, then Division Two side, now League 1, Wrexham to sign him a year later. Trundle’s first goal for Wrexham was a spectacular bicycle kick which started a dramatic second half comeback against Walsall as Wrexham came from 2-0 down to win 3-2. That goal foreshadowed the type of flair that he would produce throughout his time at the Racecource, where he scored 24 goals in 94 appearances between 2001 to 2003. ​

Trundle’s next move would see him firmly establish himself as a Football League legend with Swansea City. He joined the Welsh club in the summer of 2003 on a free transfer, reuniting with Brian Flynn, who had signed him at Wrexham. That signing by Flynn proved to be a masterstroke, as Trundle became an idol for Swansea supporters with his goal scoring ability coupled with his outlandish tricks and flicks helping to earn the Swans promotion to League 1. He scored on his Swansea debut against Bury and became just the third Swansea City player to score three consecutive hat-tricks and scored 78 goals in 146 appearances between 2003 and 2007. Trundle also received national acclaim whilst at Swansea, with his tricks often featured on Sky Sport’s Soccer AM, making him become an iconic figure for fans up and down the country. ​

A seven-figure transfer to Bristol City followed in the summer of 2007, after Bristol City had had three offers rejected by Swansea before they reluctantly sold one of their main assets. Trundle could not maintain the same form or consistency he displayed at Swanssea, making just 53 appearances and scoring just seven goals in his three-year spell at the club, which saw him loaned out twice firstly to Leeds United in 2009 and then back to Swansea.

Trundle was released by Bristol City in 2010, singing for Neath, ending his time in the Football League, barring a single appearance he made for Preston North End in 2012. In the nine full seasons, he played in the Football League Trundle entertained supporters with his flair and trickery and ability to do the unexpected that was rarely seen outside of the Premier League. He appeared to play the game with the freedom few players are able to express, encapsulating the inner child in every footballer and expressing it on the pitch, that is why he should be remembered as one of the most entertaining players to have played in the lower leagues.

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