Adam Davern discusses the appointment of Garry Monk as interim Swansea manager and believes the Swans are in good hands.
When Michael Laudrup was sacked by Swansea City earlier this month, the decision was met with raised eyebrows by many observers. Having lost six out of their last eight games in the Premier League, Swansea were on a dangerous spiral down the table. However, the quality of the opposition certainly did not help the Danish coach – Man Utd, Man City, Spurs and Chelsea would prove difficult for any side. His dismissal, coming almost a year after guiding the Welsh team to a League Cup victory, saw him replaced by former Swansea centre-back Garry Monk.
Despite the decision being a surprising one, Monk has made a fine start to his career in management. At just 34 years of age, he is the youngest manager in the league but passed his first test as interim player-manager with an incredible 3-0 victory over arch-rivals Cardiff City – now there’s a club in real trouble. A creditable draw versus Stoke City in the league was followed by a disappointing 3-1 defeat by Everton in the FA Cup. Despite this set-back, Monk’s men produced a Europa League performance packed with character and class at the Liberty Stadium against Italian heavyweights Napoli on Thursday night. The Welsh side created several attacking opportunities and were comfortably the more dangerous team with Rafael Benitez’s men fortunate to escape from south Wales with a 0-0 draw.
Swansea City are a fine example of a club who are doing things properly in the Premier League at the moment. By hiring coaches who encourage their teams to play good football – Roberto Martinez, Brendan Rodgers and Michael Laudrup – the Welsh club have proved that by using players with technical ability you can achieve so much more than players who favour thumping long balls into the box for big target men. Coaches like Martinez and Rodgers, now at Everton and Liverpool respectively, have shown us that their possession-based game plans, which were first tested in South Wales, can be successful at bigger clubs also.
Although Laudrup no doubt had a good eye for a player, Swansea were probably making him look better than he actually was. The Swans have a policy of selling their best players and then re-investing the money back into the team. The money raised by the departures of Joe Allen, Scott Sinclair and Danny Graham have enabled Swansea to sign the more talented, technical players like Wilfried Bony, Michu and Chico Flores from elsewhere in Europe, who have been key in improving the side every season. It is a very good way to run a club and Swansea appear to be following the model of clubs in Germany whereby the clubs are much more careful in their transfer dealings than in England.
Back in 2003, Swansea were on the cusp of falling out of the Football League but survived in a famous win on the last day of the season versus Hull City. Local Business man Huw Jenkins took control of the club, hired Roberto Martinez and within a decade has turned a club in danger of going extinct into a team capable of holding Italian giants Napoli to a draw in the Europa League. Jenkins has done a superb job running Swansea down through the years by hiring the correct managers and Garry Monk will no doubt be of the same calibre.
Pundit Arena, Adam Davern.