Steve Cooper has been unveiled as the man to manage the boys representing Swansea City next season and whilst he might not be the exciting appointment some fans were hoping for, he is perhaps the best suited for a club that will once again be relying on raw young talent.
The search for a replacement for Graham Potter has been an exhaustive one for Chairman Trevor Birch with a horde of applicants keen to grab an opportunity at a Championship club, irrespective of the financial situation.
Many lesser known names – Cooper no doubt among them – will have taken note of Potter being plucked from relative obscurity and profiting from a Premier League opportunity on the strength of finishing mid-table with a strapped for cash Swans side filled with prodigious young talent.
Simply keeping the Swans up last season after a ferocious fire sale was enough for Potter to catch the eye and there were quite a few who thought they could do the same.
For Swans fans though it was a bit soul destroying as the names linked with the top job hardly whet the appetite…the likes of Gus Poyet, John Eustace, Michael Appleton and existing Swans u-23s coach Cameron Toshack hardly set pulses racing.
Indeed there are a fair portion of Swans fans that aren’t particularly impressed that England U-17s boss Cooper has burst through the pack to claim the coveted post of Swansea City Head Coach. Some cite his lack of experience coaching in senior football, some the fact that his ex-referee dad Keith is a Cardiff fan whilst others bizarrely label him too “ugly” to coach our side…
…personally I don’t care if he looks like the bastard offspring of Luke Chadwicke and Anne Widdicombe as long as he can get the Swans playing attractive and winning football!
The bottom line here is that Cooper’s appointment is a gamble, perhaps a bigger gamble than appointing someone like Appleton or Poyet, but it is one that is worth taking considering the resources we have at this moment in time.
Pursestrings Still Tight
There’s no doubt that the financial rebalancing is going to continue over the summer and the nucleus of our squad will once again be players at the start of their careers; we’ve already lost one prodigious talent in the shape of Dan James and we risk losing a few more unless the high earners like the Ayews can finally be shifted off the wage bill. But money will remain tight and the likelihood is that we will be plundering the U-23s again for this season and perhaps relying on cheap loan options. And Cooper could be a shrewd appointment on both of those fronts.
As an U-17s World Cup winning coach Cooper is used to handling and getting the most out of inexperienced youngsters. And the word amongst the national journalists is that Cooper is highly respected amongst Premier League clubs when it comes to handling their brightest young talent – which may just open the door to us landing a potential star or two from the Premier League big guns.
Although it is a bit fanciful that we’ll be taking Phil Foden or Jadon Sancho on season long loans, we may grab one or two of the lesser lights in Cooper’s U-17 World Cup winning squad. Former Swans loanee Josh McEachran’s talented younger brother geroge anybody??
The fact that Cooper went through a rigorous multi interview process and impressed Leon Britton and Alan Curtis should also provide some reassurance – although cynics might say that the presence of the two Legends in the appointment process is a way of shutting down criticism should the appointment they were part of go wrong.
I prefer to think though that Birch has been as good as his word and looked to appointment someone with a penchant for passing football and a demonstrable ability to work with young players.
Reacting to the appointment on the official site Birch said:
At the forefront of our thinking was the appointment of a head coach who was hungry, ambitious, had a clear track record of playing our style of football, plus a pedigree to work with and develop young, talented players.
Steve matched all those requirements in abundance and his views, coaching ethos and presentation were extremely compelling.
Experience on Tap
As for Cooper’s lack of coaching experience in senior football it is worth remembering that he’ll have former Liverpool and Huddersfield first team coach Mike Marsh alongside him in the dug out and he’ll also have the vast experience of Club President Alan Curtis to call upon.
Let’s hope that Cooper’s appointment is a continuation of the gambles on the likes of Roberto Martinez, Brendan Rodgers and of course Potter, which paid off in spades.
As fans though we need to remember that we have a responsibility…a responsibility to give the new guy the same time, patience, backing and understanding that we lavished on Potter last season.
On behalf of all at A Touch Far Vetched I welcome Steve Cooper and Mike Marsh to Swansea City Football Club and hope that your time here is successful and filled with football for us purists!