Entering the Unknown
“It is the first time in nearly 10 years that the club has parted company with a manager in this way.”
February 7th, 2014
Those were the words of Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins on the sacking of manager Michael Laudrup this week. In their recent history, they have been a club who have acted as a proving ground for managers before moving on to other opportunities. Roberto Martinez left to replace Steve Bruce at Wigan; Paulo Sousa joined Leicester City, while Brendan Rodgers was tempted away by the prospect of manager Liverpool. Even when Kenny Jackett left in 2007 as the club struggled for consistent results, it was Jackett’s decision to resign, a move which surprised his chairman.
Not since March 2004 and the departure of Brian Flynn, when the club were floundering in the bottom tier of the Football League, have the South Wales club sacked a manager.
On this site last month, it was pointed out that the Swans were on a run of form which had them looking over their shoulder towards the relegation battle which seems to be sucking in half the league this season – and with a tough run of fixtures ahead, plus the return of European football, their Premier League place for 2014/15 was far from safe.
Since then they have lost to West Ham and Tottenham, either side of taking three points against Fulham, but sit just two points outside the bottom three. While they are still far from being favourites to be plying their trade in the Championship next season, the fear of dropping out of the top flight has motivated the powers that be at the Liberty Stadium to act sooner rather than later.
It might seem odd timing, having just made it through the January transfer window, and having been an active club in the market, but perhaps the board felt a shake-up was needed to boost their chances of getting a positive result from their upcoming derby against Cardiff – a game which has become the classic relegation six-pointer.
So by jettisoning Laudrup, Swansea have stepped onto a path that so many other clubs have trodden, into uncertainty and instability. Garry Monk, who has been at the club since 2004, has been placed in caretaker charge “for the foreseeable future”, and the defender has expressed his interest in taking on the role permanently.
He faces an incredible baptism of fire in welcoming Cardiff to the Liberty Stadium this weekend, but his former manager Rodgers suggested that he sees Monk as the right man to take the club forward, and if he can guide them through the minefield that is what remains of the Premier League season and retain their place in the so-called ‘promised land’ then he will have done his chances of landing the job on a full-time basis no harm whatsoever.