It has today been announced that Swansea City have sacked manager Francesco Guidolin after nine months in charge. This has clearly been on the cards for a while as the Swans have also announced the appointment of 58-year-old American Bob Bradley to the role.
Speculation as to Guidolin’s future has been rife the last couple of weeks but the announcement of Bradley has come as somewhat of a shock due to the strong rumours linking former Manchester United assistant manager Ryan Giggs to the job. Although, Giggs is believed to have met with Swans chairman Huw Jenkins. The appointment could come largely down to new owners, Jason Levien and Steve Kaplan, whose consortium bought a controlling stake in the club in July 2016 and are American.
Guidolin saw it coming
The Swans currently find themselves in a difficult position in the Premier League. They sit 17th on just four points, having lost their last three and not won since the opening day. The only thing that separates them from West Ham in the relegation area is their goal difference. Perhaps, it was this worrying form that made Guidolin fear for his job. When asked before Saturday’s game against Liverpool whether or not he was facing the sack, he responded: “It could happen, maybe” before adding “We need to win – it’s clear for me, clear for the chairman, clear for everyone.”
The decision was taken in light of Swansea’s 2-1 defeat at home to Liverpool, a game in which they had led before losing courtesy of a James Milner penalty. The Swans could have levelled right at the death but Mike van der Hoorn missed a golden opportunity. To make matters even worse for Guidolin, today is actually his birthday. The only present he received from his chairman though was his P-45. In a club statement, Jenkins said ““We are obviously disappointed to part company with Francesco…Unfortunately, we have not been able to carry performances over from last season and we felt we needed to change things as soon as possible in order to move forward in a positive way.”
Bob Bradley has international experience
The man chosen to fill the Liberty Stadium hot seat lacks Premier League experience but he sure has plenty of it in the game in general. He joins from the Le Harve, who currently sit in 4th place in the French second division, having had previous spells in Norway, America and with the Egyptian national side. However, he is best known for his time as manager of the United States national team. After working his way up through the ranks of American football with Chicago Fire, New York Red Bulls (then Metro Stars) and Chivas USA, he was given the ultimate honour of being appointed manager of his country in 2006. He led them to the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup, two subsequent Gold Cup finals and the 2010 World Cup, where they exited in the last 16 round to Ghana after famously finishing ahead of England in the group stages.
Although he was relieved of his duties in 2011, he is still seen as a trailblazer of ‘soccer’ in America and his successes can be seen as the starting point of the resurgence of the United States national team. His management of Egypt in times of political turmoil will also have given him invaluable life and footballing experience. Yet, this is the Premier League and as many foreign players and managers have found out over the years, it isn’t like anything else in the world. Bradley will have to work hard to hit the ground running, if he does not then the Swans could find themselves embroiled in a relegation battle and face the very realistic prospect of losing their Premier League status.
For sure many Swansea fans were getting excited about the prospect of Welsh hero Ryan Giggs taking over but alas the board have decided to go in a different direction and it will be up to them to get behind the team and the new manager and hopefully drive them away from the threat of relegation. Bradley faces a baptism of fire as his first game in charge will be Arsenal away on 15th October, however, Swansea do like facing the Gunners and could see it as a chance to get the new era off to the best possible start.
Featured Image Credit: Christopher Elkins