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Bob Bradley Opens Up On The Moment He Knew He Would Be Sacked At Swansea

Bob Bradley Opens Up On The Moment He Knew He Would Be Sacked At Swansea
By Mikey Traynor Updated
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Former Swansea manager Bob Bradley is the latest person from the world of sport to pen a revealing article for The Player's Tribune, as the likes of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Ronaldinho have done in recent times.

Bradley's appointment at Swansea appeared to be doomed from the start. The decision from the board to appoint a new manager with absolutely no consultation to the supporters' trust left a bad taste in the mouth, and in order to turn things around Bradley's impact needed to me immediate, as difficult as that was going to be.

The title of the article is 'I Am an American Coach', as it was clear that this was a major talking point upon his arrival in England. While players like Brad Friedel, Clint Dempsey, and Tim Howard have enjoyed success in the Premier League, a US manager was a new idea, and clearly one that not everybody was open to.

From the word go, Bradley was mocked for his use of American terminology, and this is something he addressed in his article as he claimed that his use of the term 'PK' in a post-match interview after a defeat and referring to an away fixture as a 'road game' only "made matters worse":

After 70 days with the club, I had dinner with the owners and the chairman. There was confidence and optimism that night following an important 3–0 win over Sunderland at the Liberty a few days earlier. We had won a respectable eight points from my eight matches in charge and, more importantly, had two wins and a draw in our last four games.

But in the week that followed we lost two away matches. The script was familiar. We’d start well, but concede the first goal. Playing from behind meant taking risks and opening up. Confidence dropped and we were not able to build on our positive results.

My postgame interview after a 3–0 loss to Middlesbrough only made matters worse. I said that we needed to show more resilience “on the road” (the English prefer the word away), and referred to a penalty kick as a “PK.” People on social media screamed that American sports terms had no place in the Premier League.

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It was the next fixture that sealed Bradley's fate. A damaging 4-1 loss to a West Ham side that themselves were in a spot of bother made the American coach's position untenable despite his determination to keep working towards a solution.

We lost 4–1. By the end the frustration and anger from the supporters was clear.

As always, I was the first one to the training ground the next morning. My routine stayed the same. In the morning, recovery for the starters and on-the-field work for the guys who hadn’t played. In the afternoon, video work and preparation for the next match against Bournemouth. When I arrived home that night I received a message from the chairman: “Would you meet me at the academy?”

When I got that message, I knew exactly what was happening.

As they say in the Premier League, I got the sack.

It's hard not to feel sorry for Bob Bradley. He was put in an extremely difficult situation, one that is absolutely not conducive to succeeding in a relegation battle, but while it was seriously harsh that he was mocked and judged simply for being an American coach, there's no getting around the fact that it was a bizarre appointment in the first place.

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The success of Paul Clement has gone on to show that the Swansea players needed a clear plan, something that Bradley admitted he did not have as he revealed what he said in his first meeting with the first-team players:

My first meeting with the players didn’t last long. We needed to get to work. So I gathered them together and said, “I’m looking forward to working with all of you. I don’t arrive with the answers. I have come to listen. To observe. To get to know you. For you to get to know me. To make you a better player and a better person. I have my ideas on how we should do things and what the team should be about, but this is about all of us.”

That is not what a player at the bottom end of the Premier League table wants to hear. He was doomed from the start, and while he did bring some organisation and shape to Swansea, the handling of the situation by the board will no doubt have left a sour taste in the mouth for many Swansea fans, regardless of their upturn in form.

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You can read Bradley's article in full over on The Player's Tribune.

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