A Defence For The Board as Curtis Best Option In The End
Firstly, despite the mass criticism from journalists, pundits and former players for Swansea`s decision to sack Monk, they`ve been proven right in doing so - whether or not they had a replacement lined up.
I backed Monk right up to the end, but the Leicester performance, the manner of the defeat and the fact that we were looking worse and worse every week made me finally concede that Monk`s time had to be ended at the Liberty Stadium. He had lost the dressing room - for whatever reason. It`s baffling as to why really, considering last year`s strong finish and the seemingly strong bond between manager and players.
But obviously something had gone wrong this season. The Swans had a few good games at the start of the campaign, but performance levels soon began to drop week by week. The defeats at Southampton and Watford and then Norwich City suggested that things weren`t quite right. Home displays were also short of inspiring too. Spurs was probably the last time we looked like a side capable of matching a stronger opponent. And let's be honest, the majority of teams in the division right now are stronger than us.
The 1-0 home defeat against Stoke was quickly labelled as one of the worst performances at the Liberty in many years, and that was the start of Monk`s demise. 6 games followed, losing 4 of them, drawing against Bournemouth, and coming from behind to beat an awful Aston Villa side thanks to an excellent wonder strike from Gylfi Sigurdsson.
So there`s plenty of reasons to backup the club`s decision to sack Garry Monk. And soon after they did, Huw Jenkins and Martin Morgan soon began to search for his replacement. But as he stated in Thursday`s club statement - confirming Curtis` appointment, there were a number of reasons why they couldn`t bring in the "right man" - which Curtis said was most important during the search - which extended to South America - but Bielsa reportedly didn`t agree terms to take over.
Some weren`t prepared to leave their current clubs, while others weren`t prepared to put their reputations on the line due to Swansea`s low position in the Premier League. Others who did want the job didn`t meet the board`s requirements - and we have to trust them on that judgement. After all, we have to remind ourselves of some of the club`s recent appointments that have been instrumental in our rapid raise since 2004.
But while the likes of appointing in-house has worked before, Curtis will probably have to be the final one - at least for the time being. Giving Martinez his debut in League One wasn`t a huge risk. Garry Monk`s was a far greater one that has - a season and a half later - with hindsight - proven to be a risk that wasn`t worth taking.
After all, giving a rookie his debut in the Premier League is a tough ask and an uncommon one. Whilst he did achieve an 8th place last season, one season doesn`t make a manager - just ask Jose Mourinho after experiencing a similar fate at Chelsea. A title winning year followed by a season where his Chelsea lay just a point above us when he was shown the door.
But not only did Monk lack experience, but so too did his coaching staff, who were all sacked too, as the club decided that none of them were worth keeping on to support Alan Curtis during his caretaker duties. But they were all sacked as the club recognised that Monk`s replacement would insist on bringing in his own staff, reflecting the board`s intent to bringing one in.
Thursday`s news of Curtis` appointment, and the statement that went with it - which mentioned Curtis` 40+ years service at Swansea City, reminded me of Monk`s comment shortly before he was sacked: "No one knows the principles of the club better than myself and no one will work harder and fight for this club more than myself. It`s as simple as that." I think Curtis could argue his claim there.
Curtis' appointment reminds me of Monk's quote: 'No one knows the principles of the club more than myself' - you sure about that?— Vital Swansea City (@VitalSwansea) January 7, 2016
A number of highly rated managers were linked, and the better ones - the likes of Unai Emery, Jorge Sampaoli, Frank de Boer and Lucien Favre were all thought to be potentially available to bring in in the Summer. Now, for argument`s sake, if the option was one of those in the Summer, or, to bring in a short-term solution - such as Gus Poyet or another less-than-inspiring - what would you choose? There`s nothing to suggest that the latter would be better than our current situation - sticking with Alan Curtis and his sidekick Dave Adams. It would surely be worse wouldn`t it? It`s been a smooth transition - seeing Curtis take over and taking his side to Manchester City three days later. It was a very solid performance - more of one we expect - knowing the quality and potential of some of the players we have - and they were unlucky that Gomis` 90th minute equaliser didn`t prove enough to earn a point.
So to those fans who have criticised the board for their handling over the whole situation, what would you have done? Because I`m struggling to see what the better alternative was in the whole scheme of things.
It said it all when I tweeted the below last night….there was a huge lack of responses.
To those complaining of the managerial situation, what should we have done then? Kept Monk? We'd be in a worse state if we did.— Vital Swansea City (@VitalSwansea) January 7, 2016
Wales Online`s article that featured the different fans` reactions to the news used one particular opinion as the headline - "Appointing Alan Curtis till the end of the season makes sacking Garry Monk look even more pointless". Again, I`m struggling to see how Monk`s sacking could be seen as pointless? There`s enough evidence, not just results but the manner in those games, to back up the decision.