|A New Hope At the Liberty?|
Written by BarneyLW on Wednesday, 28th Dec 2016 17:17
A feeling of déjà vu rose with the sun over Swansea this morning. Another manager out the door, another few days of links, speculation, supposed sightings of candidates spotted outside Rossi’s sampling the scampi. But for the first time in recent memory, there is hope in the air.
There was no warmth for Bob Bradley, only cautious and somewhat desperate hope for him to succeed, at best. Predominantly though, there was confusion and frustration at a nice man who spoke well of the game and was as dignified as he was genuinely knowledgeable. But the truth is the first American was never the right man to take over from Francesco Guidolin. The somewhat bizarre social experiment was doomed from the start, with seven defeats in eleven games and a hatful of goals conceded from a previously solid back line. While the American is by no means the sole point of reference of culpability for Swansea’s current league position, the West Ham horror show highlighted the team had not only gotten worse under Bradley, a man who had been caught well out of his depth, but he represented a choice from unpopular owners who have done little to cement positive relations with the fans.
So what now? Well, the usual, yes. But so much more than that, there is hope; there is optimism from a fan base that more than likely would like to collectively consign the last few months to history. The links to a third manager only halfway through the season are not only more qualified than Bradley, but they show progress from the board to appease the fans. The sceptics will say they caved, having wanted to stick with Bradley, but the harrowing atmosphere at the West Ham game on Boxing Day will have changed their mind. However, you would have to go back to the days to find such resentment and pure anger aimed at the club’s hierarchy, even longer to find anger aimed at the manager in such a way. The Supporters’ Trust have released a statement confirming they are to be consulted on the new appointment, which few could argue is not justified, as they not only have a legitimate stake in the club’s running as shareholders, but as fans have been here long before Steve Kaplan and Jason Levein and will be there long after them. There have been assurances of money to spend in January, whoever it is in the dugout.
The early favourites range from Ryan Giggs, Chris Coleman, Alan Pardew, Harry Redknapp and Gary Rowett. With Giggs, it is difficult to see why he is linked, with Bradley’s main criticism being his lack of experience. Being a fantastic player does not necessarily translate into being a great manager until they have plied their trade. Previous discussions have also shown there has not necessarily been instant mutual chemistry between the club and Giggs. Chris Coleman would not only be an incredible lift to a club going through a slump in confidence and morale, but his efforts with the Wales national team show the local boy can get the team rapport back on track despite his up and down record as a club manager. Alan Pardew has experience of taking over a club mid-season and steadying the ship, although he may be a short-term fix with his record usually starting well and tailing off, with his Crystal Palace side having the worst 2016 record in all four divisions. While Harry Redknapp’s self-enforced link to the job would be a media sensation, especially with the January transfer window conjuring up images of the experienced manager leaning out of his Range Rover. Although it is not the obvious choice, with more preference seemingly placed on the man who pipped him to the England job, Roy Hodgson. The final strong contender, Gary Rowett has a touch of the Garry Monk effect about him. A young British manager, hugely unlucky to be dismissed from a Birmingham job which he largely excelled in. He has no experience managing in the Premier League, but he has taken a team from obscurity and relegation threatened to play-off chasing. The jokes will remain that such skills will come in handy next season for a Swans side with three Premier League wins in 18 games, but there is no getting away from the feeling that the club has turned a corner. It is difficult not to feel sympathy for Bob Bradley, a man who did nothing wrong coming into a difficult job which would be tricky enough without fan resentment, but it looks to be that the club that has a reputation for getting the big decisions right may be back on track- Off the pitch for now at least.
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Matches of Yesteryear - U's v PNE 3/5/15 by wessex_exile
Although not an avid collector, I recently catalogued my collection of football memorabilia and I have 175 items, mostly programmes, some fanzines, and a few ticket stubs which aren’t accompanied by anything else. I have no idea how many more may have been misplaced during house moves, clear-outs etc., but the collection spans nearly 30 years (the earliest is the programme from our 1990 Boxing Day game against Barnet at Layer Rd), and is almost universally Colchester United related (though not quite all of it). I have decided to try and put this to some use, by choosing one at random prior to each match and writing a short article about the match, maybe the programme, and even any personal recollections I have of the game (notwithstanding enforced enfeeblement due to excessive libation). I will try and do this ahead of each game this season, but my apologies in advance if I don’t quite achieve that.