Bob Bradley was yet to be informed that he had been sacked when Ryan Giggs was installed as the new favourite to become the next Swansea manager, with the American put out of his short-term misery hours later.
The former Manchester United midfielder, whose management history spans four matches at the end of the 2013/14 season after David Moyes was sacked, has been installed as the very for near-enough every job that has come up this season in the Premier League and Championship.
Before Swansea confirmed that Bradley had been axed, bookmakers saw odds on Giggs becoming their next manager go from 20/1 to 4/7 in the space of three hours, although the reports coming out of Wales on Wednesday suggest that he’s behind former Birmingham City manager Gary Rowett and current national team boss Chris Coleman in the running order.
And that’s no surprise. Giggs may be a long-term option that, given time, could work out very nicely for Swansea that gives them a sense of direction and the chance to build themselves an identity over a number of years. But Bradley will have expected to have done just that, had he been given more than the 11 matches that he was afforded by Swansea’s American owners Stephen Kaplan and Jason Levien.
By sacking Bradley so swiftly, Swansea have set out their stall in aiming for Premier League survival and nothing else. The problem is that it is not a case of survival at all costs, given they have been happy to sell players and not attempt to replace them in the transfer market with enough quality to remain in the top flight for a sustained period.
So they need a manager who can come into the club and immediately change the mindsets of the players into winners, something that Giggs has no proven track record of doing. The only issue is that the best in the business at doing that, Sam Allardyce, has just taken up residence at Crystal Palace, and while Harry Redknapp has thrown his name into the hat, he has not managed in the top flight since his turbulent three seasons at Queens Park Rangers ended in February 2015.
There are other who fit the bill, Alan Pardew and Nigel Pearson have recent history on their side in keeping teams afloat, but when all this is pieced together, the ultimate question is why does Giggs always emerge as favourite?
There’s the obvious hindrance that, as a Premier League icon, fans want to see Giggs succeed in the Premier League. But it’s been proven time and time again that being an elite Premier League football does not necessarily translate to being a top level manager, and to those who argue that Giggs can only succeed because of his knowledge of the game and qualities that he proved over a 20-year period, you wouldn’t put Sir Alex Ferguson up front in the dying seconds of a match because he knows how to win games in ‘Fergie Time’, would you?
Next Swansea City manager odds
Jokes aside, there’s an example for Giggs to follow, and Real Madrid are currently reaping the rewards of this model. After his trophy-laden career ended in 2006, Zinedine Zidane took some time out of the firing line before joining Carlo Ancelotti’s coaching team at Real as his assistant. This progressed to taking the head coach role with Real Madrid Castilla, effectively the club’s B team, and after two years he was promoted to the senior role once they dismissed Rafa Benitez.
Since his appointment, Real have lost just once in the league, and are currently on an unbeaten streak that stretches 37 competitive matches back to the start of April last season.
Giggs should take note, take a step down from the pedestal that Premier League fans appear to have lifted him on to, and look for a coaching role where he can learn his trade and enjoy the time to adapt. The decision to leave United after Jose Mourinho refused to offer him a role as assistant manager now looks a costly one, as the working with the United academy would fit the bill perfectly.
He’s already missed out on the Swansea job after an unsuccessful interview resulted in Bradley getting the job in October, so something is obviously missing in what he can offer. Until he fixes that, he’ll continue to be the bookies favourite and nothing more.