So the saga of the summer has finally reached it’s conclusion and Steve Cooper is no longer the manager of Swansea City.
There had long been rumours of this happening since the Play-Off final defeat to Brentford at the end of May and yesterday’s news finally put an end to the speculation.
The manager had barely said a word in pre season. We had to wait two whole weeks for any comments from him and after the friendly at Plymouth on Tuesday, he didn’t give the impression of a man who saw his long term future here, and now we know why.
The only conclusion we can draw is that both the Swans and Cooper were hoping another club would poach him, thus giving the manager an opportunity elsewhere and the club a chance to move in a different direction with some compensation to go with it.
Crystal Palace, West Brom and Fulham were all linked, but when the latter appointed Marco Silva, it appeared that Cooper would remain in South Wales for another year.
But that gave the Swans a bit of a dilemma. They now had a manager who wanted to move on and only had a year left on his contract, which he was unlikely to extend.
They could either see how things went and act accordingly or they could act now and bring someone else in.
For me they’ve made the right decision, all the uncertainty was bound to have had an impact on results and Cooper could quite easily have been out of a job in the autumn.
But what I can’t understand is how it took two weeks to sort this all out. Julian Winter’s revelation left me flabbergasted. Pre season is a hugely important time for every club, and if there’s a new manager he needs as much time with his players as possible.
I know severance packages aren’t always agreed overnight and I’ve no doubt we’ve been talking to people in that time, but it’s shambles. This should have been sorted by the end of June at the latest, not 17 days before the first game at Blackburn.
It’s just another example of the shoddy regime behind the scenes who have shown in the last half a decade that they have no idea how to run a football club.
In spite of that you have to say that Cooper has done a good job for the Swans. He saw players sold, but used the loan market and his contacts very well to strengthen the squad, and to finish in the Play-Offs twice was a good achievement.
But I can’t say I’m sorry to see him go as strange as that may sound. I detested our style of play under him, I lost count of the amount of times we seemed to get lucky last season. The wins over Stoke and Middlesbrough in March are a good example.
We changed from being a free-flowing side under Graham Potter to one that liked to sit deep, frustrate the opposition and somehow steal a goal. It worked very well to a point, but in the end we got found out.
This club’s success in recent history has been with managers who want to play possession football and Cooper was not one of those.
The best way to achieve long-term success when you’re a club without a bottomless pit of money is to have a clear playing style and not to deviate from it.
Cooper was eroding that playing style, and although results didn’t reflect that, I have no doubt they would have eventually. You can’t keep getting lucky with 1-0 wins despite only having a couple of chances per game.
Cooper has, and deserves the respect of the Jack Army, but he has never really taken to our hearts, probably in a similar way thats Kenny Jackett, even though he also did a good job on the whole.
Whoever is next I just hope they want to play the Swansea way. This is a tough job, we’ve lost our top scorer and best centre half from last season and the squad looks woefully short of pace and creativity, which needs addressing immediately.
Having, at most, two weeks with his players is not ideal for a new manager at all, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we start the season slowly – but ultimately it’s better to wrap this up now, rather than the Swans and Cooper struggle on in a loveless marriage that had clearly run its course.