Throwdown Thursdays: No faith in the Monk

Welcome to another Throwdown Thursday! As always, we pick a topical issue and discuss/argue it. This week we debate Gary Monk’s sacking by Swansea City. If any proof was required that it was coming, we debated it on our latest Coshcast a few days before the announcement. Have a listen to what we thought back then:

Did Monk deserve the sack?

Bernie: On the Coshcast, I said he did deserve it. I’m not a fan of sacking managers but the team was in a serious tailspin. Players who were once in the form of their lives have shown no belief. When players are consistently playing with their heads down, they have either lost faith in the manager or in themselves. Whichever it is, it’s up to the manager to rectify the situation. So on this basis alone, yes Garry Monk deserved the sack. However, when you look at how much time the usually trigger happy Roman Abrahamovic has stood by the beleaguered Jose Mourinho, it makes you wonder if reputation or the lack thereof had more to do with this. A slight 30 million clause in Mourinho’s contract might also be a factor here.

Swansea’s situation, although precarious, is far from dire so maybe giving Monk until Christmas would’ve been better. We’ve seen this before at Swansea. Michael Laudrup did well before his side went through a shocking spell and now Monk (his replacement) has endured the same situation and the same fate. Maybe it’s not an issue of the manager but Huw Jenkins himself.

Mo: In short, No. In long, … well … Maybe.

If i say “Newcastle” this season, you automatically think of a team that is playing horrible football and deserve to be in the relegation zone. I say “Swansea”, and without looking at the table, you think, well they are struggling slightly but they will be fine. The difference between the two sides? One measly point.

The “Facts” are why Monk got sacked. 1 win in 11 games and a point outside the relegation zone a third of the way into the season. The intangibles though are that Swansea started well and were playing good football with Monk hailed for his free signing of Andre Ayew. Swansea haven’t been collecting the points but that’s not through lack of effort or low quality of football. They are going through a rough patch and I truly believe that the players at the club respect Monk as their manager and he is the best candidate to turn this around.

As Bernie said, Monk should have been given at least till the new year to try and turn this ship around. Looking at how bad Newcastle, Aston Villa, and Sunderland are, I doubt he would’ve been in that relegation zone come boxing day. The problem with the amount of money tied to staying in the premier league, “I doubt” wasn’t good enough for the owners.

Too soon if you ask me. Too soon.

Was he any better than his predecessors?

Mo: I really really really liked Monk in his first year in charge of Swansea City to the point where I envisioned him one day taking over Arsene Wenger. I’ll admit that at the start I was very Skeptical of his appointment. Laudrup had done a fantastic job and replacing him with a fresh ex-player who had no managerial experience was a big risk.

As the days went by, Monks style of meticulous planning and detail oriented reign really excited me. Swansea were playing some of the best football in the country and finished in a very respectable 8th spot last season. Higher than Laudrup’s best of 9th.

What Laudrup did do well, is manage the cups. He led Swansea to their first ever major Cup final after defeating reigning European champions Chelsea 2–0 on aggregate over two legs in the League Cup semi-finals. He then went on to beat Bradford city in the Final, bringing Swansea its first major honor.

Overall, Laudrup edges it for me.

Bernie: Ask me this question 6 months ago and I’d have easily have said Laudrup was better than Monk. I mean, he won the first and only trophy of note for the club. Problem is, he did it in the Capital One Cup, the trophy no one cares about. Swansea played great football under Laudrup but to be fair they always have done. Under Monk I saw a team that banded together around a cause, partially because Monk had been a part of that cause as a player. It’s very difficult to argue against a trophy so I might be clutching at straws here but I genuinely feel that Swansea was a family under Monk. Creating a family feel at a club is a very difficult thing to do and often goes unheralded. By doing so, Monk set a record points tally for the club in the Premier League. He lost his best player in Wilfried Bony to Man City and still kept the Swansea ship on course. A club like Swansea should’ve failed under such circumstances but Monk performed wonders.

My heart says Monk even if the brain leans towards Laudrup.

Mo: Another Facts vs Intangibles situation. Its very tight. Both managers improved on Swansea’s previous finish in their first year. Laudrup taking them to 9th from 11th and Monk to 8th from 12th.

Lets look at transfers. Laudrup bringing in influential names such as Michu, Bony, Ki Sung-Yueng, and Shelvey. Monk bringing in Fabianski, Gomis, Sigurðsson, and Montero. Comparable. The difference? Laudrup’s net spend over two seasons was 14 million pounds, while Monks over the same period is sitting at NEGATIVE 3 million (In so small part to Wilfried Bony sale)

So , yeah Im back to sqaure one. I cant decide. Its too close to call.

Who should replace him?

Bernie: I’m going to go with David Moyes. I’ve always liked Moyes, he’s a man for a project and we saw the success he had at Preston North End and Everton. His experience at Real Sociedad will only serve him well. Many attribute the failure at La Real, to the Scot refusing to integrate into the society. The other half of the equation is that he just wasn’t supported in the transfer market as he was initially promised. It was by no means an absolute failure.

What Swansea need is someone to come in and instill a defensive shape. This is something David Moyes can do. They also need someone to get Bafetimbi Gomis firing again. This is also something Moyes can do. Not many know how to use a target man better than David Moyes and in Jefferson Montero he has a pacey winger with a decent cross. The one-two punch should suit him perfectly.

Other candidates like Brendan Rodgers may want to play a tiki-taka esque style which may not suit this iteration of Swansea. Money will have to be spent and I’m not sure there’s much to spend. I also have the feeling that Brendan will use Swansea as a stepping stone for a bigger job, AGAIN. Stability is what the Swans need and David Moyes is the man for the job. Question is, does he think he’s bigger than the job? He might just.

Mo:  I think Gary Neville could have started his managerial career here instead of Valencia (We discussed this last throw-down).

Regardless, there’s only one man now for the Job; Brendan Rogers. Honestly, for the lack of a better option. He’s a Swansea man through and through and knows the ins and outs of the club. I think the fans would welcome him back, after all hes done for them. The only issue, as Bernie mentioned with Moyes, is whether Brendan will see it as a step backwards. Which is probably the correct way of looking at it.

I look at Managers like Moyes and Brendan, who are currently jobless and just think, where could they go? There are way more managers out there than there are clubs sitting around with open arms. I think this position at Swansea, with the good crop of players they have and stable board, is a great place for such managers to get back into the scene for at least a few seasons.

Bernie: Brendan should go abroad. I don’t think there’s a club in the Premier League that wants that one handed salute within the walls of their stadium. His big ego makes him think he can manage a big team so let him go out and fail at that once again. Alex did mention a Brit who does like attacking football and is currently unemployed. He suggests none other than Harry Redknapp. Maybe Alex has taken in too much sun on his vacation in the Dominican Republic but one thing’s for sure, anyone but Brendan please.

It will be interesting to see who Swansea announce as their new head coach in the coming days. In the mean time. let us know what you think about the decision to sack Gary Monk 15 games into the new season.


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