On Tuesday, Swansea City fired manager Bob Bradley after the American picked up just eight points in his first 11 matches in charge of the club. It also may have been because in a press conference a few weeks ago Bradley said the term “PK” which is how Americans say what the English call a penalty, or because Swansea City’s ownership is proving to be completely incompetent. It also could have been a combination of all three.
The fact that Bradley, who was hired in October, was let go before even getting a transfer window to mold the team in his own image sends the pendulum leaning towards option C.
The ice that Bradley was standing on started getting thin a few weeks ago when the American used the term PK in his press conference. This small reference caused an uproar not only among the Swansea City fanbase, but in all of England as the entire country somehow found it unacceptable for a manager to refer to something in his native dialect. Imagine what kind of uproar there would have been had he referred to the sport as soccer instead of football?
It’s exactly as ridiculous as it sounds and reflects the centric viewpoint that has plagued British football into becoming nearly irrelevant on the international scene in recent years. When it comes to football, the English, and clearly the British, believe their way is the best and their coaches and managers must be internal. Clearly the results have differed.
The fact that there was uproar to Bradley using the term PK just shows how hard a mountain Bradley was going to have to climb anyway. Why is it even a big deal that Bradley used American terms? Jurgen Klopp has used German terms that the English don’t use in his press conferences so how is this any different?
Of course the answer is because of the stigma America has when it comes to soccer. Stigma or not, football prides itself on being the ‘world’s game.’ No matter where you are in the world, the game is the same. Two goals on opposite sides of the field, only the goalkeeper can use his hands. Simple. Just because one person says garbage and the other says rubbish doesn’t mean his ability to coach a team should be judged any differently.
And that’s the thing about Swansea that everyone should be able to agree on. The team that Bob Bradley took over is garbage. In two of the past three seasons, Swansea have sold their best players from the previous season (Ashley Williams, Jordan Ayew, Michael Vorm and Wilfried Bony) without even attempting to replace them. That’s simply incompetence by the board which has left the club with a squad that simply isn’t good enough to play in the Premier League, regardless of who their manager is.
I can safely say that Bradley wasn’t just fired due to the PK comment, and hopefully the Swansea board and its American owners didn’t take that into consideration, but it didn’t help matters. There are reports that there may have been some behind the scenes issues as well.
If the players stop listening to you (seemed like it with Britton's comments), you're essentially "dead man walking" as manager. https://t.co/iOzYUgVdIH
— 32 Flags (@32flags) December 27, 2016
It’s not easy to lose a locker room after just 11 games, but if a team believes their managers tactics are questionable and their claim that he’s saying the same thing after every game, it’s certainly possible.
Bob Bradley has a fantastic resume. He did tremendous work with the Egyptian National team, he turned a Staebek team around from a relegation contender in Norway to clinching a Europa League berth and nearly got tiny Le Havre promoted to Ligue 1.
But that doesn’t make it unfair to question his tactics. This is a man who started Ricardo Clark and Robbie Findley in three World Cup games. When in charge of the USMNT, his tactics were often, sit back, defend, and hope that Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan can make magic happen. Often times at Swansea it looked as if the Swans were simply trying to defend and hope that Gylfi Sigurðsson pulls off that moment of magic.
However, Swansea should have known that this was exactly what they were getting when they hired Bradley. The lack of due diligence on the managers tactics and knowing if he would fit the squad they currently had doesn’t make it acceptable and only makes this firing after just 11 games look worse for management.
The fact that this comes right on the heels of the recently fired Alan Pardew, a poor manager but has a firm seat on the Premier League managerial merry-go-round will only add to the speculation over the next few days, but I guess one man’s trash* is another man’s treasure.
*I’m sorry, rubbish.