The thoroughly modern sixties opened with the first floodlit game played at the Vetch, against Hibernian. In 1961 Swansea became the first Welsh club to enter a European competition by qualifying for the Cup Winners Cup. They lost in the first round to Motor Jena of East Germany.
The club continued to struggle financially and there were the usual dire warnings of collapse. Meanwhile, the Swans’ 1963-1964 FA Cup run remains one of the highlights of the club’s history. Their quarter- final win at Liverpool was one of the best games the Swans have ever played. They lost in the semi- final to Preston at a muddy Villa Park, dashing dreams of a first Wembley appearance.
The club found it hard to get over that ‘nearly moment’ and slumped to Division 3 the following season for the first time in 16 years. This may have been avoided if the Swans had not sold ‘lazy but gifted’ young Italian-Welsh player Giorgio Chinaglia. He went to Italy and became a star striker for Lazio, New York Cosmos and Italy. Despite Ivor Allchurch’s return for the last years of his career the Swans’ fortunes did not improve. They were relegated to Division 4 in 1967.