When Swansea City’s owners decided to part company with Italian boss Francesco Guidolin in October this year, people were surprised for a number of reasons. Whilst it was not a huge surprise that the board decided to part company with the unpopular Italian, the surprise was more surrounding the appointment of a guy who had no previous experience of football management in any of the top European leagues before, let alone the toughest league in the World. In fact, the only football management experience Bob Bradley had in Europe was in France’s Ligue 2 with Le Havre – even when he was manager there, his record was underwhelming to say the least.
In the end, the decision to hire an inexperienced, unproven American boss backfired big time on the Swansea City board. Bradley lasted just 85 days in the job, picking up just 2 wins, losing 7 and conceding 29 goals in the process. Whilst some fans, neutrals and experts argue that he should’ve been given at least the January transfer window to bring in some of his own players, Swansea showed no signs of turning around the abysmal form and the 4-1 boxing day defeat at home to West Ham; a team who are struggling theirselves, proved to be the final nail in the coffin for Bradley. The atmosphere turned toxic in the stands and at the final whistle, the boos were deafening. It was a reaction from the crowd that the owners simply couldn’t ignore.
The situation at Swansea is similar to Alan Pardew’s sacking at Crystal Palace – the board had to make a decision as to whether they were going to back the manager in the January transfer window and see if the form and performances improved, or bite the bullet and hire someone else in the hope the new appointment revitalises the club and helps them beat the drop.
Swansea have always been a club who are considered to be well run. In the time of billionaire Sheikhs and Red-Bull owned Football clubs, owner Huw Jenkins has seen the club promoted to the Premier League and consolidate itself whilst playing fantastic football and promoting home grown welsh talent. Brendan Rodgers, Roberto Martinez, Michael Laudrup, Garry Monk, Joe Allen, Ben Davies, Michu, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Michel Vorm and Wilfried Bony are just a few of the Managers and Players who have been huge successes to play for the club in the last few years.
However, that reputation is now in danger of falling to pieces. At the time of writing this article, Swansea are joint bottom of the Premier League, equal on points with Hull City with 12 points from 18 games, including just 3 wins. In the summer, the club broke their transfer record to sign Borja Baston, a Spanish striker from Atletico Madrid for £15m. To date, the record signing has played 11 games this season and scored 1 goal – hardly a return the fans and board were expecting when paying all that money in the Summer. They are now about to employ their third manager of the season, with Ryan Giggs, Gary Rowatt and Chris Coleman amongst the favorites to be given the job. It seems as if the stability and preference to promote youth has been forgotten in the past year or so.
The next appointment to replace Bradley is crucial, but I can’t help but think this whole situation would’ve easily been avoided had they stuck with Garry Monk last season when the going got tough – he has proven what a top manager he is with the work he is doing at Leeds this season. I would love to have seen Monk’s face when the news broke about Bradley’s sacking yesterday.