Bob Bradley was dealt an awful hand with Swansea City and the first American manager in the history of top-flight English football was sacked today after only 85 days on the job.
Bradley’s lack of top-flight experience coupled with Europe’s condescending attitudes toward American soccer made Swansea City fans skeptical of Bradley from the get-go after he was surprisingly hired on October 3 by Swansea’s American owners. Since moving on from the United States National Team after the 2010 World Cup, Bradley spent time in the backwaters of professional football with stints in Egypt, Norway, and France’s second division before receiving his big break at Swansea City.
Bradley hoped to prove the naysayers wrong by leading Swansea City out of the relegation zone, but after posting a dismal 2-2-7 record at the helm, Bradley was unable to convince the skeptical Swansea City supporters that he was the right man for the job.
While Bradley’s quick firing wasn’t unexpected in England’s ephemeral managing climate, that doesn’t mean it was the right decision. Bradley didn’t have enough time to make an imprint on the helpless team he inherited from Francesco Guidolin, nor a transfer window to bring in the reinforcements that could turn Swansea around.
Sure the results weren’t encouraging, including a 4-1 home loss yesterday to West Ham, but firing a second manager in a single season diverts the blame away from the players’ lack of quality and form. While Bob Bradley may not have been able to save Swansea from relegation, if Swansea believed he was the right guy less than three months ago then they should have shown some resolve and given him a real chance to prove his merit.
Bradley’s firing will reaffirm the perception in England that American managers are inadequate. But in truth, it’s a silly notion that just because Bradley was fired prematurely, that American managers are any worse than the mediocre English coaches like Harry Redknapp, Alan Pardew, and Sam Allarydyce, who continuously get opportunities solely because they’re known commodities.
Hopefully one day an American gets a chance to prove himself in better circumstances than Bradley had at Swansea City. I wouldn’t expect that to happen anytime soon, though.
Here are some of the reactions from American soccer commentators about Bob Bradley’s firing: