EPL

Swansea’s Make Or Break Moment

Appointing a new manager regardless of when you do it is never easy. In Swansea City’s case they found out that the process incredibly difficult despite their Premier League status and recent history of success in the League Cup. Following the dismissal of Gary Monk in early December, Swansea were linked with a variety of well known managers including David Moyes, Marcelo Bielsa, Gus Poyet, Brendan Rodgers and Roberto Di Matteo. Over the next few weeks, Chairman Huw Jenkins engaged in initial conversations with all the candidates with the Argentine Bielsa quickly jumping to the top of the list. Jenkins made frequent journeys to Bielsa’s South American retreat where he had been living since surprisingly resigning from Marseille only one game into the new season. Despite several conversations, Jenkins was unable to convince Bielsa to take over with the legendary coach for one reason or another so the search continued. With the clock ticking down, Jenkins made a startling decision and appointed interim coach Alan Curtis as the manager on a full time basis until the end of the season.

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Alan Curtis was appointed on January 7th 2016 as full time manager but will now step aside (Image from Huw Evans Picture Agency)

Swansea legend Curtis played for the Swans over 400 times during the 70’s and 80’s and returned to the club in 1994 after retiring operating in several backroom roles before being promoted to first team duties in 2012 under former coach Michael Laudrup. As a well-liked and trusted member of the coaching staff, it proved too easy for Swansea to turn to Curtis to temporarily fill the managers chair when the club dismissed Laudrup and then Monk. But handing him full control was always going to be a risky move by Jenkins, something he was all too aware of. Initially given the job on a game by game basis, Jenkins was hoping to see an improvement in the performances and latterly the results which is exactly what he got. Under Curtis, spirits were lifted with an impressive performance in his opening four games in charge which resulted in one win and two draws heading into the new year. On the 7th January, Jenkins announced that Curtis would remain in charge until the end of the season as reward for his efforts up to that point. But things change quickly in football especially in the highly competitive Premier League and as results began to falter, Jenkins was forced to backtrack on his initial decision.

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New Swansea boss Francesco Guidilon has a challenge on his hands (image from Getty)

Without a win in 2016, Swansea have slipped down the table and now sit in the relegation zone with only 19 points from 21 games. Curtis now looks set to step aside and will be replaced as manager by former Udinese manager Francesco Guidolin. Curtis will remain as part of the backroom team assisting Guidolin who will take over following tonight’s game with Watford. The appointment of Guidolin may come as a surprise given that his name has not been touted as a potential candidate until this point but it shows how desperate Swansea are to find a manager. The 60 year has been out of work since leaving Udinese in 2014 but does come with some pedigree having managed at several clubs in Italy including Palermo and Parma as well as at Monaco in Ligue 1. But managing in the Premier League is a different ball game all together and will require Guidolin to hit the ground running, something he may struggle to do. His lack of knowledge about the league and more importantly the team could b a major factor in deciding whether or not Swansea are relegated. With that said, he will have a secret weapon at his disposal in Curtis who knows this club back to front which should ease the transition. The next few weeks will be defining weeks for Swansea and Jenkins who will be hoping the club can turn things around under its new management and do what is needed to stay in the Premier League.

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