Swansea’s decision to appoint Bob Bradley as manager is a brave and bold move by the Premier League club, one that goes against the grain and posits plenty of doubts and fears about the American’s chances of turning around the team’s future.
But despite the negativity, Swansea City supporters should keep the faith. After all, Swansea City has a history of surprise managerial hires including Roberto Martinez in his first taste of management in 2007. Then there was Brendan Rodgers being appointed gaffer despite being being sacked previously by Championship club Reading. The naysayers were out in full force too when Garry Monk was hired as manager with the task of helping the club stay in the Premier League after sacking Michael Laudrup. In all of these examples, the decisions by Swansea Chairman Huw Jenkins paid off.
In Swansea City’s appointment of Bradley as replacement for Francesco Guidolin, it’s a decision that no doubt was aided by Landon Donovan’s role as advisor to the club (see our recent interview with Donovan where he shined light on his part ownership of the Swans). If any footballer knows Bob Bradley, it’s Donovan. And his close bond with Bradley will see the former USA and Egypt national team coach seize the opportunity with both hands.
Having Bradley coach this team will be a breath of fresh air for the Swans. While Martinez, Sousa, Rodgers, Laudrup and Monk all made slight tactical changes to fine tune the Swansea team, Guidolin made the team too predictable in their setup and player selection. Before he had been hired, much had been made of Guidolin’s 3-5-1-1 formation he employed at Udinese. But he only used it once at Swansea, in the first 40 minutes of the game against Chelsea. For a manager with more than 30 years experience in management, it was surprising how conservative and defensively-minded he kept his Swansea teams playing.
Bradley, who is a keen tactician himself, has the players at his disposal in South Wales to keep the club up this season. Swansea has been playing better in the past 2-3 games, but individual mistakes coupled with poor in-game management from Guidolin has prevented Swansea from picking up valuable points in games they should have gotten more points from.
The international break is perfect timing for Bradley to share his vision. He’ll have time to bring in his backroom staff, share his coaching philosophy with his players, as well as working with his team in preparation for the next game (against Arsenal on October 15). Bradley is very organized, and an excellent communicator who will be able to get his points across in a clear and precise manner — something that may have gotten lost in translation with Guidolin’s broken English.
With Bradley, finally he has been given his chance to show the Premier League what he’s made of.
“When I have the chance to observe different managers, the ones that do good work, I mention Mauricio Pochettino, Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel who took over from Klopp at Dortmund,” said Bradley during a recent interview with Sirius XM FC. “I will tell you what, maybe I’m stupid, but I think I’m a manager in and around that level.”
Swansea City needs that type of confidence at the Liberty Stadium this season. In Bradley, the club has the right man to deliver it and keep the Swans flying high in the top flight for years to come.
It could even open the door for American coaches such as Bruce Arena to be given the chance to coach at the highest club level. But for now, Bradley will be laser focused on outperforming the expectations placed on him. He’s the right man for the job.
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