For a number of years, Swansea City A.F.C. have taken gambles when it comes to managerial appointments. Every manager came in with their own style, and did well to achieve results for the club. Bob Bradley is the latest ‘gamble’, but will he be able to turn the club’s fortunes around in the English Premier League?
Recently, I spoke of Bardley’s appointment with Swansea’s former player and manager, Jan Molby during his visit to Bahrain. Of the appointment, Bradley said: “People are making it out as a bit of a gamble, of course it’s a gamble. Every time you get a player, every time you bring a manager is a gamble.” The gamble that Molby spoke of isn’t something new for Swansea, for they have gone through a similar route a few times already.
Similar to his predecessors, Bardley comes in to manage for the first time in the Premier League. To make things even more difficult, his task is to get them out of the relegation zone, and to help them survive the drop. So far, Bardley hasn’t found glory in the South Wales club, where he is still chasing his first three points as manager. Things are difficult for Bardley, because he joined without the luxury of the summer transfer window, nor did he have a pre-season to allow him to assess his squad.
Bradley has to deal with the added pressure to yield results with immediate effect. As it stands, his side sit rock bottom in the league table, and they will need to start winning matches if they are to move up to safety.
When Roberto Martinez joined the Swans as a manager he came to the club having no managerial experience, when he replaced Kenny Jackett. That wasn’t all. He brought his own football philosophy to the club, which was based on possession football similar to FC Barcelona. Having been to a number of matches at the Liberty Stadium during the 2007-2008 season, I witnessed Martinez’ football revolution. It was a risk to play in such a manner in the lower leagues, but it was one that paid off as the Swans secured promotion to the Championship. His team included Leon Britton and Angel Rangel, who are still playing for the club in the Premier League.
Since Martinez left Swansea, the club went for other managerial gambles. In my view, another milestone was achieved with the appointment of Brendan Rodgers, who had only previously managed Watford F.C. and Reading F.C. In his first season in charge, Rodgers entered the history books when his team won promotion to the Premier League for the first time in the club’s history. In his side ended the season with a remarkable eleventh place finish in the league.
The club continued to make history with successful managerial appointments which included Michael Laudrup, who had never managed at the Premier League. Laudrup came in having won titles as a player in some of the biggest clubs in European football: FC Barcelona, Real Madrid C.F. and AFC Ajax. At Swansea, he took the club one step further in their football journey, when he guided them to their first League Cup win.
Swansea have been consistent in their managerial appointments, where they took risks, but these gambles proved to be successful. Bradley joins this list, but will the Swans’ luck run dry? Or will the latest gamble pay off?