Garry Monk took over as Swansea City manager last season after the departure of Michael Laudrup.
He was seen as a temporary solution to stabilise the club whilst a more permanent solution was sought. Since then, however, he has gone on to make quite a name for himself in a short space of time and looks like he fits well into life as a Premiership manager, with statistics suggesting he is doing a better job already than his Dane predecessor.
Last Saturday’s gritty draw at Sunderland took Swansea to ten points — a quarter of the way to the initial target of 40 — after only six league games. At the same stage last season, Laudrup’s side had only seven points on the board. And the season before that when Brendan Rodgers was in charge of their first season in the top flight they had five points at the same stage of the season.
Much is made in football about how vital managerial experience is before taking on a Premier League team with favour being shown to those who have been in management for a long period of time than a young, newly retired ex-player taking charge of a former club.
On the whole, this opinion tends to be correct given that in recent seasons, those who have not long hung up their football boots and gone straight into managing a Premiership team do not tend to be very successful.
Alan Shearer had a spell in the Newcastle hot-seat as emergency cover but could not stop them from being relegated. Gianfranco Zola had a very bad spell in charge of Premiership outfit West Ham with a severe lack of managerial experience and was was very soon out of his depth, failing to hold on to his job. Paulo Di Canio was another young manager who came into Premiership football too quickly and was soon out of his depth with Sunderland.
So what sets Garry Monk aside from the rest? Much has to be said of the romance associated with a former player taking charge of his beloved club, with mixed results. Billy Bonds, a much loved legend and hero at West Ham, was turned on by the fans after a poor managerial spell, which shows even the most loved of players might not have the same luck as a manager.
One has to admire Monk for his passion and grit. He displays a determination to succeed that is infectious throughout his whole club and is reflected by his players. Swansea remain aware of their real club status among the bigger boys in the Premiership with no illusions of grandeur, yet they play with a lot of confidence and gusto, often showing a winning mentality and a lack of fear that is rare to see from the so-called “smaller” sides.
Monk has the black and white colours of Swansea running in his veins after a ten year playing career for the Swans. He was established as a long serving player who had seen the club rise like a phoenix from the ashes, on the brink of extension to the giddy heights of the top flight of English football.
He saw it all and was involved heavily in most of the ups and downs at the Welsh side. This is what sets him apart from the rest. This new managerial position is more than just a day job to Monk, it is his passion, his life and his soul. Having seen the struggle to get the Swans up to where they are now, with a solid base of great football, stable finances and a decent squad to build on, he is determined to prove the doubters wrong and take his club up to the next level.
Some people will always pencil Swansea in to the relegation favourites pigeon hole despite the fact they have steered clear of any type of serious relegation dog-fight since their arrival three seasons ago.
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