New Swansea boss Bob Bradley is keen to point onlookers towards his managerial record rather than country of birth following his appointment at the Premier League club. Bradley has been coaching since 1986, and is well known for his tenure as the manager of the United States national team, where he guided them to a World Cup knockout round in 2010 after topping a group including England, Slovenia and Algeria.
Bradley also managed the US national team when they ended the 35-game unbeaten streak of European champions and number one ranked nation in the world, Spain, in the 2009 Confederations Cup. In more recent years, he has managed the Egyptian national team and Norwegian club Stabaek, which made him the first American to manage a club in a top flight European league.
France was the location of his most recent managerial job, where he narrowly missed out on promotion to Ligue 1 with Le Havre. Bradley will become the first American to manage in the English Premier League, but has rejected the thought of being labelled as a ‘pioneer’ for being the first to do so.
“This stuff about pioneer. I am not an American manager. I am a football manager,” said Bradley. His profoundness in words display his sincerity and passion, citing his experience in managing around the world. “Maybe you start at different levels. I don’t start at the top, but you don’t get free passes in the Premier League. You have to earn it.”
His Swansea side will have to earn their way to a string of results that will lift them out of their current slump, one which was deemed enough to see Francesco Guidolin dismissed after just 25 games in charge. Under Guidolin, Swansea were one win, one draw and five losses into a league campaign that sees them sitting above the relegation spots by goal difference only. To be fair to the former boss, Swansea had a tricky start to the season, playing Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool and defending champions Leicester City within the opening seven games.
Bradley is equipped for any negativity that will be swung in his direction, even if it happens to be misguided stereotypes of American’s understanding of football rising to the surface. “I love football, I love work and I believe in my ability. If someone wants to write I am an American and I don’t know shit, I am not afraid of it.”
Bradley’s current task will be to guide Swansea away from the relegation zone, but he clearly has higher hopes for the club going forward. “I understand absolutely the importance of staying in the Premier League, so on one hand that is a target. But would we be happy to say that is all we want to achieve? I hope not,” he said.
Swansea will travel to in-form Arsenal next weekend, and their fans will be hoping the American’s debut is not a baptism of fire. Life in the Premier League won’t get much easier, with a visit from Manchester United and away trips to Everton and Tottenham looming.