For the second season in a row, Swansea have had their manager poached from under their noses. 12 months ago Wigan swooped for Roberto Martinez for whom the lure of the Premier League proved too much, and now this summer fellow Championship club Leicester have secured the services of Paulo Sousa. The loss of Sousa is not as bad as that of Martinez a year ago, with the proviso that Chairman Huw Jenkins made a quality replacement, but does the arrival of new gaffer Brendan Rodgers fit that brief?
The summer period hasn’t exactly proved to be a good time for the Swans in recent years. The departure of Martinez and top scorer Jason Scotland a year ago looked on paper as though it would be disastrous, and I for one was surprised at how well Swansea fared in the Championship, just missing out on the playoffs once more. Just when the Liberty Stadium club are looking to strengthen, yet again their manager walks out on them and Swansea have to rebuild once more.
It’s never a good sign when a new manager comes in and says he’s determined to win over the doubters, fighting what could well be a losing battle right from the start. Brendan Rodgers has to do just that, and it’s no wonder given his managerial CV to date. Seven months at Watford was followed by six months at Reading, before he was sacked due to the club flirting with relegation, which resulted in a dramatic upturn in fortunes for the Championship club. So the pressure will be on Rodgers right from the get go, but will it be an environment he can thrive in?
Nicknamed the Special One because he worked under Jose Mourinho at Chelsea, the real Special One has always believed in Rodgers. “I like everything in him, he is ambitious and does not see football very differently from myself” Mourinho has previously said. Thus should his time at Reading just be viewed as a blip? A time when he was building a young team and who knows, maybe he would have got them to the right end of the table if given time.
I’ve no doubt that the Swansea faithful will fully get behind the Northern Irishman but will not tolerate a similar start to the one he had at Reading. The 37-year-old has a tough task ahead of him, and will firstly have to fight off Premiership interest in key players such as Darren Pratley and Ashley Williams, before looking to strengthen for the upcoming Championship campaign. Having failed at Reading, is there any reason why the fortunes of Brendan Rodgers will be different at Swansea? I’m not overly confident.