Swansea hire Bradley, Premier League’s 1st Amer­i­can man­ager

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

Bob Bradley be­came the first Amer­i­can man­ager in the Premier League af­ter being hired by Swansea yes­ter­day, fi­nally land­ing the op­por­tu­nity in a ma­jor Euro­pean com­pe­ti­tion he had been chas­ing.

Swansea an­nounced the hir­ing of the for­mer US na­tional team coach while say­ing it had fired Francesco Guidolin. The Ital­ian coach has only been at the south Wales club since Jan­uary but has lost his job af­ter the team opened the sea­son by win­ning only one of its seven league matches.

Swansea swiftly se­cured the re­lease of Bradley from French sec­ond-tier club Le Havre, which he has been coach­ing since leav­ing Nor­we­gian side Stabaek last year.

Bradley called the Swansea job “a unique op­por­tu­nity” in a part­ing mes­sage on Le Havre’s web­site.

“He is highly re­garded as a coach and has a wealth of ex­pe­ri­ence on the in­ter­na­tional and do­mes­tic front,” Swansea chair­man Huw Jenk­ins said. “He is well aware of the club’s foot­balling phi­los­o­phy and will pro­vide us with strong lead­er­ship qual­i­ties and a re­newed be­lief to com­pete at this level.

“It is never easy chang­ing man­agers, but we are look­ing at a long-term ap­point­ment and we are con­fi­dent Bob can set­tle us down and sta­bilise mat­ters on and off the pitch.”

Bradley’s coach­ing rep­u­ta­tion grew af­ter 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 2014 World Cup.

Af­ter being fired by the US, Bradley took on the chal­leng­ing task for manag­ing Egypt through the Arab Spring up­ris­ing.

The “Amer­i­can Pharaoh” - as he be­came known - gained ad­mi­ra­tion there by stick­ing with the job even as Egypt was being shaken by deadly fan dis­or­der, part of the wider an­ar­chy in a na­tion go­ing through vi­o­lent street protests and bloody se­cu­rity crack­downs.

Bradley left Egypt af­ter fail­ing to qual­ify for the 2014 World Cup and moved to Stabaek, which he left af­ter se­cur­ing qual­i­fi­ca­tion for the Europa League.

In an in­ter­view with The As­so­ci­ated Press last year, Bradley spoke of his frus­tra­tion that he was over­looked for jobs in ma­jor Euro­pean leagues.

“I think that in many cases de­ci­sion-mak­ers play it safe,” Bradley said last year. “There’s cer­tainly a net­work. There are still a lot of good man­agers. There are also a lot of bad man­agers. It’s not to say that some­times you don’t shake your head at how cer­tain guys keep pop­ping up in jobs.”

He im­pressed in his next job in France, where Le Havre only missed out on pro­mo­tion to the top league in May on goal dif­fer­ence.

Like Le Havre, Bradley will be work­ing un­der Amer­i­can own­er­ship in Swansea. Steve Ka­plan, a mi­nor­ity owner and ex­ec­u­tive vice chair­man of the NBA’s Mem­phis Griz­zlies, and Ja­son Le­vien, a part-owner of Ma­jor League Soccer’s DC United, took con­trol of Swansea in July.

Bradley is not the only Amer­i­can man­ager in English soccer. David Wag­ner has started the League Cham­pi­onship sea­son at Hud­der­s­field by win­ning eight out of 11 games, tak­ing the north­ern English team to top spot in the sec­ond tier.

Bob Bradley, now in charge at Swansea City

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