Versatile centre half and centre forward Peter Swan joined the Tigers in March 1989 for a club record transfer fee of £200,000. Swan was known to manager Eddie Gray through their mutual connections to Leeds United and Peter was immediately put into the heart of the Tigers’ first team defence. He opened his City goalscoring account in an April 1989 defeat at Oxford and when Colin Appleton took over from Gray for the 1989/90 season Peter retained his centre back shirt. It was under Appleton’s short lived tenure as manager that Swan started to move up front in the latter stages of matches to test weary defences with his powerful forward play. This tactic worked at times, with goals scored against West Ham in a 1-1 draw and a brace a week later at Portsmouth in a 2-2 draw. Peter also scored a brace from two first half set pieces in an October 1989 2-3 defeat at Swindon but when Appleton was swiftly disposed of at the end of October 1989 and Stan Ternent took over, Swan was moved up front. After goals in wins against Plymouth and Sunderland, Swan dropped out of the first team in January 1990 due to a knee injury – an issue that dogged him for the rest of his career – and when he returned in April 1990 he netted four more goals as City pulled clear of the threat of relegation.
Swan was by now partnered up front with the skillful and pacy Andy Payton, and the strike duo performed well during the 1990/91 season. Swan scored 11 times for Ternent in the first four months of the season, but despite these goals a disastrously leaky defence saw City hurtle to the bottom of the Second Division table. When Ternent was replaced by Terry Dolan in January 1991 the Tigers’ new-found defensive solidity came at the expense of goals, with Swan adding only two more goals in the last five months of the season as City were relagated to Division Three. He left the Tigers during the 1991 close season as part of a major cost-cutting exercise.
Peter Harold Swan was born in Leeds and grew up in a sporting family, his great-grandfather having played Rugby League for Great Britain in the 1900s. Peter played football for the Leeds City Boys XI while at school in Belle Isle, a suburb to the south of Leeds city centre, and came through the ranks at Leeds United from the age of 14, signing his first professional contract in August 1984. He made his first team debut a year later in October 1985 and in his second league start against Stoke City in February 1986 Swan scored twice in a 4-0 win. That secured his place in the Leeds forward line for the rest of the 1985/86 season though he only scored one further goal against Millwall. In the 1986/87 season Swan was used irregularly, though he did play in the FA Cup Sixth Round tie against Wigan that saw Leeds reach the semi-final, Wigan having knocked out Hull City in the previous round. In October 1987 Swan started a run of first team games, scoring five goals in four consecutive appearances and ending the season with ten goals. However he fell out of favour in the 1988/89 season under manager Howard Wilkinson, making only two appearances for Leeds prior to his move to Hull City. Swan left Leeds having scored 13 goals in 58 senior appearances.
Swan left Hull City to join Port Vale in August 1991, with former manager Eddie Gray working as his agent. The Tigers received a £300,000 fee for Swan, a good profit after two seasons, but the ambitious Valiants crashed out of the Second Division in the 1991/92 season, handing Swan his second successive relegation. He served Port Vale for two further seasons, mostly as a defender. Swan got a Football League Trophy winners medal in 1993 and assisting the Vale Park club to promotion back to the second tier in May 1994. He left Port Vale that summer having scored seven goals in 138 appearances for the Valiants.
Swan joined Plymouth Argyle in July 1994, who paid £300,000 for his signature, but after one season as club captain that yielded 31 appearances and 3 goals for the Pilgrims and ended in his third relegation in five seasons, he returned north and signed for Burnley for a £200,000 fee. After two seasons in the Clarets’ first team Swan transferred to Bury in August 1997, reuniting him with ex-City boss Stan Ternent, but a year later he followed Ternent and returned to Burnley having made 40 appearances and scored six goals for the Shakers. In the next two seasons Swan was a peripheral figure at Burnley after suffering a snapped cruciate ligament injury in February 1999. In the 1999/00 season, which saw Burnley win promotion out of League Division 2, Swan made only two substitute appearances, taking his total tally for the Clarets to 79 appearances and 7 goals across two spells.
Swan joined York City in March 2000 where he reunited with Terry Dolan, another of his former Hull City managers who sold him nine years earlier. Swan was suffering from several injury problems by this stage of his career and made only 11 appearances for the Minstermen before retiring from the professional game in September 2000. His post-football career was as colourful as his rumbustious playing days, which saw him sent off seven times in a fifteen year career. Peter coached at Ossett Town, ran a wood flooring company and developed a football training device, than after a spell coaching at Northampton Town in 2003 he took on building projects and started working in the East Yorkshire media, commenting on all matters related to Hull City. He was a regular pundit for Radio Humberside alongside matchday commentator David Burns, and also wrote a regular column for the Hull Daily Mail. Swan’s son George had brief spells playing for Wolverhampton Wanderers and York City in the 2010s before injuries curtailed his career and he became a football agent.
Date/Place of Birth: 28 September 1966, Leeds
Hull City First Game: 25 March 1989, Plymouth Argyle H (Division Two), 22 years, 178 days old
Hull City Final Game: 27 April 1991, Brighton & Hove Albion H (Division Two), 24 years, 211 days old
Leeds United (1984-1989), Hull City (1989-1991), Port Vale (1991-1994), Plymouth Argyle (1994-1995), Burnley (1995-1997), Bury (1997-1998), Burnley (1998-2000), York City (2000)
Hull City Record
Career: 88 apps, 25 goalsPeter Swan
|1989/90||27 (4)||11||1 (0)||0||1 (1)||0||-||-||1 (0)||0|
|1990/91||38 (0)||12||1 (0)||0||1 (2)||1||-||-||-||-|