Less than three months after becoming the first American to manage a club in the Premier League, Bob Bradley has been sacked by Swansea today. Unfortunately, it is well-deserved.
Swansea have been an unmitigated disaster under Bradley. In 11 league matches, the Swans only picked up eight points, mainly owing to their atrocious defending. Yesterday’s 4-1 beatdown—the 8th time they’d given up at least three goals in Bradley’s 11 matches in charge—at the hands of a struggling West Ham team was the final straw. Here’s part of Swansea’s official statement:
“We are sorry to lose Bob after such a short period of time,’’ confirmed Swans chairman Huw Jenkins. “Unfortunately things haven’t worked out as planned and we felt we had to make the change with half the Premier League season remaining.
“With the club going through such a tough time, we have to try and find the answers to get ourselves out of trouble.
“Personally, I have nothing but praise for Bob. He is a good man; a good person who gave everything to the job. His work-rate is phenomenal and we wish him well for the future.’’
(Hmm. “A good man” and “a good person,” but not a good manager?)
Fans were skeptical of Bradley’s hire from his first day in charge. Most of this was due to the somewhat surprising decision to get rid of the previous manager, Francesco Guidolin, who had done pretty well the season prior, and the (probably accurate) perception that Bradley only got the job because he was American, which appealed to the club’s new American owners. Bradley’s résumé was much lighter than what you’d typically expect of a manager taking charge of a Premier League team, and that, plus some dumber concerns about Bradley’s use of American soccerisms instead of the standard British jargon, never made him a popular figure.
Ultimately, the team’s dismal performances were never going to convince anyone that Bradley was in fact deserving of the gig. Sure, he did inherit a bad team and never got a transfer window to improve it, but Swansea looked even worse after Bradley came in than they did before. With the team playing so poorly, and with fans so irate with the new owners for the decision to hire an ill-prepared coach like Bradley in the first place, he had to go. And now he has.