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Thursday, 08 July 2010

Swansea City: Who will replace Sousa at the Liberty Stadium?


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The bookies hardly ever get it wrong so the writing was on the wall last week when they closed the book on Paulo Sousa becoming the new Leicester boss. Despite both parties denying any initial contact, the bookmakers weren’t fooled and now Swansea are in the hunt for their second manager inside 12 months.

Sousa, the former Benfica, Juventus and Borrusia Dortmund midfielder, had the impossible task of replacing Roberto Martinez at the Liberty Stadium but he almost led them to the play-offs, just missing out in the final stretch of the season. Sousa continued Martinez’s mantra of playing football on the ground but their lack of goals ultimately cost them their play-off place.

Now the search is on for the next Swansea City manager and there is no shortage of quality candidates being linked with the post. But who would be the best man for the job? Here is a rundown of the main runners and rider and my opinion on whether they would be a hit or not at the Liberty.

Graeme Jones

The former Wigan Athletic striker spent two years at Swansea as assistant to Roberto Martinez and is one of the bookies’ favourites to replace Sousa. He knows the club like the back of his hand, has a great rapport with the players and wouldn’t cost the chairman, Huw Jenkins, the earth to sign. However, there are a number of Swansea fans who can’t forgive him for walking out on the club with Martinez last summer. And is he ready to be his own man or does he want to stay as Roberto’s right hand man in the Premier League?

Paul Tisdale

The Exeter City boss has gained rave reviews for his heroics with the Grecians and it’s surely only a matter of time before the 37-year-old lands a plum job. He’s taken Exeter from the conference to League One inside four seasons and believes football should entertain the fans. Tisdale was reportedly on Swansea’s list to replace Martinez last season and Exeter’s vice-chairman Julian Tagg has said he will not stand in his way if he wants to leave this time. Could this be the right time for Tisdale to make the step up?

Nigel Adkins

The Scunthorpe manager has been heavily linked with the Swansea job but he recently told the BBC that he is very much in the dark over the speculation. Another boss who has worked miracles on a tight budget, Adkins has guided the Iron to the Championship twice inside four years and managed to avoid the drop last season. The former Wigan goalkeeper is 45, intelligent and focused, but would he be prepared to turn his back on his efforts at Glanford Park for a new challenge at Swansea?

Sean O’Driscoll

The Doncaster Rovers boss is another one who has a great belief in playing football on the deck and was almost rewarded for his footballing ethos with a move to the then Premier League outfit Burnley last season. However, the two sides couldn’t agree on a compensation package and the 53-year-old Wolverhampton-born former Fulham midfielder stayed put. Like Tisdale it’s only a matter of time before one of the so-called bigger clubs come calling, but can Swansea afford him?

Gary Speed

The Welsh national manager and former Swansea striker John Toshack believes Gary Speed would be an excellent appointment for the Jacks and it’s hard to disagree. As a player Speed was a model pro, playing in the top flight until the age of 38, and has a wealth of domestic, European and international experience to call on. He is currently a coach at Sheffield United but he obviously has designs on being his own man. Hiring the boyhood Everton fan would be a risk as he has no managerial experience but chairmen take risks with every appointment. Speed is highly respected and has learned from some of the best coaches in the UK. Swansea could do worse than take a chance on Speed.

Tony Mowbray

If you want your team to play attractive football then there’s not many better advocate’s than former West Brom and Celtic boss Tony Mowbray. While his time at Parkhead may have been a disaster, Mowbray is still in high demand because of the attacking football he delivers. At the Hawthorns he had the Baggies scoring goals for fun – something the Swansea fans would love to see again at the Liberty. Unfortunately, defensively, his teams were always softer than Kleenex. He knows what it takes to get a team promoted to the Premier League and has a knack of finding talented players. Mowbray could do a great job at Swansea.

Other names in the frame for the vacant position include former Hull City chief Phil Brown, ex-Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate, old Wimbledon striker Dean Holdsworth, Swansea-born Chris Coleman, former Peterborough and Stockport boss Jim Gannon, John Hartson and Iain Dowie amongst many others. But who would you love to see in the dugout at the Liberty Stadium?

Whatever your view, I’d love to hear from you.

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Colin Illingworth

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