In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the VFL was strategically interested in seeing a club based in Sydney, as part of a long-term plan to broaden the appeal of the game in Queensland and New South Wales.
On 29 July 1981, the VFL formally accepted the proposal, and paved the way for the Swans to shift to Sydney in 1982.
They have a strong supporter base in Victoria with attendances for Swans games in Melbourne being much higher than other non-Victorian teams.
Cheer, Cheer The Red and The White,
Honour the name by day and by night,
Lift that noble banner high,
Shake down the thunder from the sky
Whether the odds be great or small,
Swans will go in and win over all
While her loyal sons are marching
Onwards to victory!
To the tune of the "Victory March"
The league had started moving a few premiership matches to the Sydney Cricket Ground annually since 1979, and in 1981 was preparing to establish an entirely new, 13th VFL club in Sydney after the Fitzroy Lions staved off a proposed relocation to become the Sydney Lions in late 1980.
These plans halted when the South Melbourne board, recognising the difficulties it faced with viability and financial stability in Melbourne, made the decision to play all 1982 home games in Sydney.
The club had been operating at a loss of at least $150,000 for the previous five years. News of the proposal broke on 2 July 1981, after which a letter was sent to members outlining the board's reasons for making the proposal and noting that the coach and current players were in favour of the move.