The decision by Swansea City’s board of directors to sack manager Michael Laudrup today makes very little sense at a side that has been a role model on how to successfully run a Premier League club.
There’s no denying that Swansea have had a poor run of form — only winning one of its last 9 league matches. But numbers often don’t tell the whole story. Not included in that statistic is the FA Cup wins against Manchester United and Birmingham City. And out of the matches that the Swans did lose, they were against Manchester United (1-2), Tottenham (1-3), Manchester City (2-3), Chelsea (0-1) and Everton (1-2).
The one and only loss Swansea experienced in this poor run of form was the 2-0 defeat to West Ham United at Upton Park on Saturday at a stadium and against a type of opposition that Swansea always have a problem playing well against away. In fact, the last time Swansea beat West Ham United at Upton Park was 1956.
The decision to effectively sack Michael Laudrup only days before Swansea’s biggest match of the season at home against Cardiff City smacks of either desperation or chaos inside the club, not the pitch. Under the leadership of Swansea City Chairman Huw Jenkins, the club has always been focused on the future and has been one never to make rash decisions, so the decision to let Laudrup leave the club now is particularly mysterious.
In reviewing the statement by Jenkins on the club website, here’s portions of what he said (with words bolded for emphasis):
“…We had to remove the constant uncertainty surrounding the club and Michael’s long-term future with us.
“I had a meeting with Michael today in a final attempt to support him and establish a way to improve the work of the backroom team to secure the results we need over the final 14 Premier League games.”
Reading between the lines, the only plausible explanation is that Laudrup had already lined up a new job in the summer with a different club, or that he refused to discuss the topic in more detail with Jenkins. It also sounds like Jenkins wanted to bring in a new coach or assistant coach to work alongside Laudrup, and that the Dane refused to work with the new person.
Whatever the case, Swansea City supporters deserve to know the complete story. The decision by Jenkins and the board to sack Laudrup doesn’t make sense. Swansea City is not the type of club that makes reflexive decisions.
I honestly don’t believe that the decision to sack Laudrup was based on the team’s run of form or performances on the pitch. Except for the match against West Ham United, Swansea have continued to play the style of football that they’re renowned for and have been unfortunate not to get more points from recent games. Plus, add to that the injury problems the side has faced with Michu and Michel Vorm out, while other footballers (De Guzman, Hernandez, Britton, Rangel, Dyer and Bony) have recently returned from injury.
If Swansea had continued under Laudrup playing the type of football they’ve done this season, I would have been confident they would have stayed up. They’re not playing as well as they ought to, but given that Michu is close to returning to full fitness, a player of his quality could have been the difference to turn the season around.
Meanwhile, Swansea City captain Garry Monk is in charge of the Swans team for the foreseeable future, a defender with zero managerial experience. How Monk could be a better option that Laudrup at this stage of the season, I do not know. But for Swansea to sack Laudrup at this stage of the season only days before the game against Cardiff is completely irresponsible of Swansea City FC. That’s why the Swansea fans deserve to know the whole story behind why the club would sack the manager, the man who helped the club win the League Cup and qualify for Europe for the first time in 22 years.
Perhaps Laudrup’s vision for the future of Swansea City no longer mirrored that of the Swansea board of directors. If that’s the case, then I believe Swansea City supporters deserve to learn more. If Laudrup was no longer making Swansea his priority and not being in line with the club’s ambitions, then perhaps it was best for him to leave. But based on the little information that the club has shared thus far, it’s difficult to understand why he has been let go.
For more Swans coverage, read the Swansea City team page for news, analysis and opinion.
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