At the age of 30 he gave up sales and marketing to pursue his calling as a coach and ended up in the MLS for two years. He's now moved to Seoul to start again...
There are key differences - largely off the pitch - but Liverpool fan Sam Drury has spotted five things that are similar five years on. A big sale, a big Italian arrival...
What do the papers, the TV, and fans of other clubs think about your team? In this series, John Nicholson and Alan Tyers look at the stereotypes, coverage and media agendas for each team in the Premier League. And hey kids, just because they're pointing them out, it don't mean they're endorsing them. This week, it's the turn of the Swans...
Ex-player pundit presence
It is perhaps a sign of Swansea's rise from nowhere to somewhere that their ex-players are few and far between on the pundit radar. Old-timer John Toshack may be wheeled out once in a while and occasionally Lee Trundle may be prised into a seat with the aid of some butter and a trowel but it's slim pickings really. Well, not slim, obviously. Former Swans Chris Coleman, arguably, and Dean Saunders, undeniably, are more associated with other clubs now.
Unlike every other club, it would seem Swansea City have no celebrity followers and rightly don't care about it. So much so that no-one even bothers to make some up. Usually someone will claim Chuck Norris or Grandmaster Flash and all of the Furious Five are fans, but not with the Swans. They've got Catherine Zeta Jones. And that's yer lot. Who needs 'em anyway? If you're a famous Swansea fan, or would like to make up a famous Swansea fan, please get in touch.
Back page leaders?
Swansea is a feel-good story. From zero to hero in ten years. It is remarkable. So all narratives about the club must be seen through that prism. They're the classic "look at what can happen if you do things right" reference point for anyone looking for an antidote to the billionaire oligarch culture. Add in the passing football and Michu's lovely hair and no-one can think of a bad word to say about them. There must be negatives but in an era where good news stories are so rare, no-one wants to unearth them.
Gaffer's media skills
Ah Michael Laudrup; he of the movie star looks and expressively floppy hair. Hasn't really put a foot wrong since taking over and the continued success of the club means he rarely has any fire-fighting to do. Most press just sit there and gaze lovingly into his eyes, wishing they were him.
Vox pop cliché fan
Barking Welsher who no-one can understand. Prone to breaking into song and thus living up to the Boyo cliché. Grins a lot and looks stunned that any of this is happening. Youngsters already starting to think that this top flight business is normal. Hates Cardiff.
Keyboard warrior ferocity
Simply nothing to be angry about. Life is good. Football is good. Cardiff are not as good. It's all good.
Rootsy. Of the local people. A Welsh football phoenix. The embodiment of The Right Way. Have found the happy knack of identifying good managers and sticking with them - and then replacing them with even better managers when they leave.
Aren't they in Wales? How come they're in the English Premier League then? Why can't my team do what they're doing? Why did nobody big buy Michu?
Archetypal news stories
'Oooh Michael, ooh, ooh, Michael, you're lush, you are'
'Bony Moron-ie - Wilf Does Something Stupid'
'Expression 'It's Chico Time' used in headline for no real reason'
John Nicholson and Alan Tyers
See Alan's new book 'Tutenkhamen's Tracksuit: The History of Sport in 100ish Objects' here
Read Johnny's book, 'The Meat Fix' here
Alan on The Ashes and more here.