If Monk goes, the world really has gone mad

THE MEDIA has been preoccupied with the daily trials and tribulations of Jose Mourinho, but there’s another manager who is rapidly becoming the talk of the tabloids, Swansea City’s Garry Monk.

This is the manager who some were tipping to be the next England boss , which in itself was a ludicrous suggestion given Monk’s lack of experience. Along with Brendan Rodgers, Monk represented the next generation of managers that could help shape the future of the game in Britain. Even Monk’s predecessor, Michael Laudrup, was considered as part of that new breed of manager. Laudrup went, mysteriously, Rodgers was recently fired as Liverpool manager, and now Monk is in the firing line. So much for the new breed. Watch out Eddie Howe and Slaven Bilic, I say.

Monk’s current run is worse than the final days of Laudrup

If Monk does go the way of Laudrup – and short-termism is the name of the game these days – it will be no great surprise, but it will also confirm that football management is more precarious than ever before. Last season, Monk led Swansea to eighth place and a record points haul in the Premier. His team was applauded for its approach and Monk was heralded for maintaining the momentum of the past few years. He should have known that you can easily fall from your perch with the Swans – Laudrup won the Football League Cup in 2013 and at the start of 2014, was fired for breach of contract.

Laudrup has always been his own man, he’s renowned for that, but a few months before being sent back to Copenhagen, everyone was singing his praises (as only the Welsh can) and linking the Dane with bigger – and arguably even more precarious – clubs.

Laudrup’s final weeks saw Swansea in the midst of a depressing run – three wins, one draw and five defeats in nine games. Monk’s current scorecard is worse than that – one win, two draws and six defeats, so little wonder there is growing anxiety at the Liberty Stadium.

  Manager Appointed Predecessor
Arsenal Arsene Wenger October 1996 Bruce Rioch (14 months)
Aston Villa Remi Garde November 2015 Tim Sherwood (8 months)
Bournemouth Eddie Howe October 2012 Paul Groves (6 months)
Chelsea Jose Mourinho June 2013 Rafa Benitez (6 months)
Crystal Palace Alan Pardew January 2015 Neil Warnock (4 months)
Everton Roberto Martinez June 2013 David Moyes (11 yrs,
Leicester City Claudio Ranieri July 2015 Nigel Pearson (3 yrs, 7m)
Liverpool Juergen Klopp October 2015 Brendan Rodgers (3yrs, 4m)
Manchester City Manuel Pellegrini June 2013 Roberto Mancini (3 yrs, 5 m)
Manchester United Louis van Gaal May 2014 David Moyes (9 months)
Newcastle United Steve McLaren June 2015 John Carver (5 months)
Norwich City Alex Neil January 2015 Neil Adams (9 months)
Southampton Ronald Koeman June 2014 Mauricio Pochettino (16 months)
Stoke City Mark Hughes May 2013 Tony Pulis (6 yrs, 11m)
Sunderland Sam Allardyce October 2015 Dick Advocaat (7 months)
Swansea City Garry Monk February 2014 Michael Laudrup (20 months)
Tottenham Hotspur Maurico Pochettino May 2014 Tim Sherwood (6 months)
Watford Quique Sanchez Flores June 2015 Slavia Jokanovic (7 months)
West Bromwich Albion Tony Pulis January 2015 Alan Irvine (6 months)
West Ham United Slaven Bilic June 2015 Sam Allardyce (4 years)

But despite the recent poor run, with a squad that many people in South Wales consider to be the best the club has ever had, Swansea would be foolish to let Monk go without due consideration. Recent performances have suggested that the team is low on confidence and lacks some discipline – similar accusations aimed at the final days of Laudrup. So incensed was Ashley Williams after the most recent setback that he demanded a dressing room inquest. Swansea are averaging only a goal a game so far this season and this is partly due to an abysmal run by striker Bafetimbi Gomis, who has managed just two on-target shots in 514 minutes.

Monk admits that “football is about very fine margins”, and that his team has been “punished for lapses of concentration”. He was given a new deal in the close season, so the Swansea board must have felt there was serious mileage in the man, but he looks decidedly hangdog at the moment.

Let’s hope that Chairman Huw Jenkins keeps faith with Monk. Although Swansea’s track record with managers is actually quite mixed (John Hollins was the last man to work three years for the club – between 1998 and 2001), you don’t get the feeling that Jenkins and his colleagues have the same attention span as irrational oilmen or oligarchs. Jenkins was named CEO of the year recently in the Football Business Awards, so he has great credibility.

They’ve had some decent managers in charge at Swansea, notable the trio of Martinez, Rodgers and Laudrup, all of whom were viewed as progressive coaches. But most have not lasted long.

  From To Outcome
Garry Monk February 2014 To date
Michael Laudrup June 2012 February 2014 Sacked
Brendan Rodgers July 2010 July 2012 Moved to Liverpool
Paulo Sousa June 2009 July 2010 Moved to Leicester
Roberto Martinez February 2007 June 2009 Moved to Wigan
Kenny Jackett April 2004 February 2007 Resigned
Brian Flynn September 2002 March 2004 Sacked

There were rumours that Jenkins wanted to bring in an experienced head to help the fledgling manager and that Monk had baulked at the idea. Monk will be only too aware that this type of arrangement usually ends with the incumbent moving on and the “avuncular aide” taking over.

Monk needs time to get it right, but Swansea should be reminded that any young manager learns on the job and Monk is now dealing with the problem they all suffer from occasionally. In years gone by, the manager would not get shown the door after one bad run. A poor sequence of results is how managers, teams and players learn. Expectations today are win or bust, but sooner or later, clubs like Swansea will realise it may just be they don’t have, either now or in the future, the resources to guarantee success. Bigger and more monied clubs cannot even secure that.

twitter: @gameofthepeople

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