Date:Monday July 5 2010
Swansea City will again look for a new manager this summer after Paulo Sousa`s 12-month stay at the Liberty Stadium came to an end this week, as he looks set to join our Championship rivals Leicester City.
This time last year, Huw Jenkins and the rest of the board were rocked by the news that Roberto Martinez was leaving to take over at Wigan Athletic, and we`ve suffered yet another managerial setback in 2010.
The turnover of managers at this club has been a major problem for a number of years - stability in that area is something we`re still struggling to find despite our growing success.
Looking at the past couple of decades, John Hollins had the longest reign as Swansea City manager between July 1998 and September 2001, and you`d have to go back to the early 90`s to find a manager who had a longer spell here - Frank Burrows (March 1991-July 1995). Since then, we`ve had 14 managers - averaging one every 16 months.
Roberto Martinez`s loss last year was the biggest we`ve suffered in a number of years. Every Swansea City fan was shocked and massively disappointed to see him go, but the same can`t be said for his Portuguese replacement. Some supporters are happy he`s left; some aren`t really bothered while others are somewhat sad that he`s gone - a diverse range of opinions from the fans on Sousa, unlike the unanimous reaction shown towards the Spaniard`s departure just 12 months ago.
Paulo Sousa faced a tough job ahead of him. Martinez had taken the entire management team with him to Wigan, including our chief scout, goalkeeping coach and physio. Not only that, but our two highest goalscorers - Jason Scotland and Jordi Gomez - also followed him to the DW Stadium.
Despite achieving our best League finish in 26 years, Sousa never had the full backing from the Swansea City faithful. After a poor start to the 2009/2010 season, some fans wanted him sacked by Christmas, they were never happy with him in charge despite the squad showing a big improvement. His defensive footballing style was the main reason behind this - Swansea City fans got used to being entertained consistently with Martinez`s attractive style of football, but Sousa`s approach to the game was a far more conservative one. Defensively we were by far a better side, goalkeeper Dorus De Vries broke the clean sheets record, but we were one of the poorest attacking sides in the Championship. In perspective, Sousa`s games won ratio was just 38%, worse than Kenny Jackett, Jan Mobly and Terry Yorath.
Supporters of Paulo Sousa argued differently however. Many fans believed he had done a superb job in the circumstances - a loss of management staff, our top two goalscorers leaving plus a limited transfer budget. Not only that, but the pressure was on him to match Martinez`s success in our first season at Championship level since the early 1980`s. He improved on that, guiding us to 7th place - finishing just a point adrift of Blackpool - Championship play-off winners and now enjoying an unbelievable promotion to the Premier League.
Sousa`s first and only season in charge of Swansea City had plenty of ups and downs. Starting poor and ending poor with a peak in the middle. We occupied a play-off spot for a number of months, but the cracks began to appear in the spring. We were struggling for goals, and a busy period in March was too much for our squad that was hampered by injuries and "fatigue" according to our former boss. That`s when the early signs started that his relationship with the club was in decline. He showed his frustration to the press when he was rejected funds to strengthen the squad for the final few months of the season - a vital period as we were looking to hang on to a top 6 place - our form had been dropping for a number of weeks around this time.
Jenkins denied any falling out with the manager, but plenty of speculation followed, and Vital Swansea had heard from a number of different sources in April that the board were looking to part company with Sousa. Why? We won`t exactly know, but there is no love lost between the two that`s for sure.
Where does this leave Swansea City now? Can we maintain our momentum in the Championship next season with Paulo Sousa`s replacement - whoever that may be, or will we struggle to match last year`s achievements? Will we miss the 39 year-old or can we improve with someone new at the helm?
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Date:Monday July 5 2010
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