Jack To A King, film review: Fall and rise of Swansea FC is a real-life sporting fairy-tale

(12A) Marc Evans, 98 mins
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The Independent Culture

Marc Evans' rousing film about the fall and rise of Swansea FC aims to go beyond the conventional sports doc. It opens with Richard Burton reading Dylan Thomas' Under Milk Wood and tries to give a sense of the importance of the club to the local community.

The most colourful character is the former owner Tony Petty, an Australia-based businessman who became loathed by the supporters. Evans' biggest coup is to have persuaded Petty, an engaging but comical character with a hint of Arthur Daley about him, to talk on camera. (He also interviews thuggish, balaclava-wearing fans who were threatening him with extreme violence.)

The film details how investors pumped in £50,000 each to buy the club at its lowest ebb. Swansea, who almost went out of business and needed to beat Hull to stay in the Football League in 2003, began to climb up the divisions.

This is a real-life sporting fairy-tale that suggests success can still sometimes be achieved in British football without the largesse of absentee foreign owners.