Bradley out to earn re­spect

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORT -

SWANSEA, Wales (AP): BE­ING A pioneer doesn’t sit com­fort­ably with Bob Bradley.

“The Amer­i­can stuff I can cover in 30 sec­onds,” Bradley said yes­ter­day at his Swansea pre­sen­ta­tion as the first Amer­i­can to man­age a Premier League club. “Then I can push that out the door.”

Af­ter a long pause to gather his thoughts, the for­mer United States coach con­tin­ued his an­swer in a mod­est ho­tel in the south Wales city with a pop­u­la­tion of less than 250,000. “With foot­ball in the United States, we have al­ways un­der­stood we have to earn re­spect,” said Bradley, who left French sec­ond-tier club Le Havre on Monday. “When I was with the na­tional team, ev­ery time we got a chance to play in Europe, the play­ers and I would un­der­stand, ‘To­day is one more day where we can show what the game is like in our coun­try,’ so in some ways, this helps. I am proud what I have been able to do.

“This stuff about pioneer, I’m not an Amer­i­can man­ager. I’m a foot­ball man­ager.”

And he is plung­ing him­self straight into a scrap to pre­vent Swansea from be­ing rel­e­gated, with Francesco Guidolin fired af­ter win­ning only one of the first seven league games.

“We have got to find a way to re­store con­fi­dence,” Bradley said.

But Bradley is de­ter­mined to seize the op­por­tu­nity.

Through­out the arduous years, from work­ing in dan­ger­ous con­di­tions in Egypt to the edge of the Arc­tic Cir­cle, Bradley al­ways hoped to land a job in the top flight in a lead­ing Euro­pean league. The 58-yearold New Jersey na­tive was linked to Premier League jobs in the me­dia, but rarely came close.

“You guys have writ­ten my name a few times,” Bradley said. “Most of the times, I never got on a short­list, maybe once. In those kind of sit­u­a­tions, the de­ci­sion-mak­ers may not know who I am.”

What helped at Swansea was the club hav­ing Amer­i­can own­ers, just like at Le Havre.

Steve Ka­plan, a mi­nor­ity owner and ex­ec­u­tive vice-chair­man of the NBA’s Mem­phis Griz­zlies, and Ja­son Le­vien, a part-owner of DC United, took con­trol of Swansea in July.

Bradley made his name as a coach in­ter­na­tion­ally at the 2009 Con­fed­er­a­tions Cup, where the Amer­i­cans beat Euro­pean cham­pion Spain en route to the fi­nal. The US team fol­lowed it up by reach­ing the sec­ond round at the 2010 World Cup, but he was fired in 2011 and is still ag­grieved with the cir­cum­stances.

At his first Swansea news con­fer­ence, Bradley com­plained that Jur­gen Klins­mann “was al­ready jock­ey­ing for the job” while broad­cast­ing at the 2010 World Cup.

Bradley took a bold step by mov­ing to the Mid­dle East to coach Egypt through the Arab Spring up­ris­ing. The ‘Amer­i­can Pharaoh’ – as he be­came known – gained ad­mi­ra­tion there by stay­ing through the vi­o­lence but left af­ter fail­ing to qual­ify for the 2014 World Cup.

Bradley moved to Stabaek, which he de­parted af­ter se­cur­ing qual­i­fi­ca­tion for the Europa League last year. He im­pressed in his next job, too, in France, where Le Havre only missed out on pro­mo­tion to the top di­vi­sion in May on goal dif­fer­ence.


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