An Amer­i­can in Bri­tain: Meet Swansea’s new boss

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

IF self-be­lief was any guar­an­tee of foot­balling suc­cess, Swansea may have picked a win­ner in ap­point­ing Bob Bradley as their new boss. The 58-year-old be­came the first Amer­i­can ever to be ap­pointed as head coach of a team in one of Europe’s top five leagues on Oc­to­ber 3 when he was named to take over from the sacked Francesco Guidolin at the English Premier League side.

For Bradley, the ap­point­ment is the op­por­tu­nity he has long craved to prove he is ca­pa­ble of mix­ing it at the high­est level af­ter a ca­reer which has in­cluded spells as the coach of both the US and Egypt as well as stints in Ma­jor League Soc­cer, Nor­way and France.

In an in­ter­view with Sir­ius XM ra­dio ear­lier this year, Bradley main­tained that de­spite his rel­a­tively mod­est CV, he be­lieves he is in the same sort of bracket as some of the lead­ing coaches in world foot­ball.

“When I have a chance to ob­serve dif­fer­ent man­agers, the ones that do good work, I men­tion [Mauri­cio] Po­chet­tino, [Jur­gen] Klopp, [Thomas] Tuchel that took over for Klopp at Dort­mund, he’s a fan­tas­tic young man­ager,” Bradley said.

“We haven’t even talked about the [Pep] Guardi­o­las and the [Carlo] Ancelot­tis. But I’ll tell you what, maybe I’m stupid, but I think I’m a man­ager in and around that level.

“I’m not say­ing I’m bet­ter than these guys – I haven’t had those types of op­por­tu­ni­ties – but I think peo­ple that have played for me have al­ways felt that the ex­pe­ri­ence in the team was dif­fer­ent, that train­ing was chal­leng­ing, that there were a lot of things done to help them be­come bet­ter play­ers and bet­ter peo­ple.”

Globe-trot­ting ca­reer Bradley, who did not play pro­fes­sion­ally, has en­dured highs and lows dur­ing a globe-trot­ting coach­ing ca­reer.

He took the US into the last 16 of the 2010 World Cup, qual­i­fy­ing from the first round ahead of Eng­land. Bradley was fired from the US job in 2011 af­ter a dis­ap­point­ing de­feat to Mex­ico in the fi­nal of the Gold Cup, ul­ti­mately pay­ing the price for the per­cep­tion that his team had stag­nated un­der his reign.

The Prince­ton grad­u­ate was not out of work for long, how­ever, tak­ing over as coach of Egypt in 2011. He earned re­spect for opt­ing to con­tinue to live in Cairo dur­ing the un­rest in the years that fol­lowed the coun­try’s rev­o­lu­tion, eyes fixed firmly on the prize of help­ing the Pharaohs reach the World Cup for the first time since 1990.

Ul­ti­mately, though, Bradley’s reign ended in dis­ap­point­ment, his team soundly beaten 7-3 on ag­gre­gate in their play-off with Ghana.

Bradley re­turned to club foot­ball af­ter that set­back, spend­ing a year with Nor­we­gian side Stabaek and help­ing them qual­ify for the Europa League af­ter se­cur­ing a third place fin­ish.

In 2015, Bradley headed to France, and came within a whisker of gain­ing pro­mo­tion to Ligue 1 with sec­ond tier side Le Havre.

Le Havre just missed out on a place in the topflight af­ter a wild fi­nal day of the sea­son, when his team won 5-0 but fell one goal short of sup­plant­ing Metz for the fi­nal pro­mo­tion spot.

Per­haps un­der­stand­ably, Bradley’s ap­point­ment has so far failed to cap­ture the imag­i­na­tion of Swansea fans.

Shrewd foot­balling mind An­nounce­ment of his ap­point­ment on the club’s Twit­ter feed on Oc­to­ber 3 drew howls of an­guish from sup­port­ers, many of whom ex­pressed anger at the sum­mary dis­missal of Guidolin by the club’s new Amer­i­can own­ers af­ter only nine months.

Those who have worked with Bradley, how­ever, speak of a shrewd foot­balling mind who would have been granted a job in one of Europe’s top leagues be­fore had it not been for his na­tion­al­ity.

“I am 100 per­cent con­vinced if he wasn’t Amer­i­can he would have got a big job some­where,” Le Havre as­sis­tant Pierre Bar­rieu told the New York Times in Jan­uary. “There is this US tag on his back.” Other ob­servers are less sure. Gary Lineker, the for­mer Eng­land cap­tain turned broad­caster, was among many who ques­tioned the ap­point­ment.

“As gam­bles go, this is right up there,” Lineker wrote on Twit­ter.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Myanmar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.