Cleat Geeks

Monk’s overachievement last season cost him his job

Garry Monk’s dismissal by Swansea City didn’t seem to come as a shock, which is perhaps the most surprising thing monk about it.

After Saturday’s 3-0 defeat at home to Leicester City, all the talk in the media was about Swansea’s poor run of form; one win in 11 games and a slide down the league table from 4th to 15th over the last two months.

David Moyes was already being asked whether he was in the running to take over from Monk before the 36 year-old had been relieved of his duties, and one bookmaker had even stopped taking bets on Monk becoming the next Premier League managerial casualty.

And then the hammer fell.

Incredibly, the last two months of Monk’s tenure outweighed the previous 20, in which he had led the Swans to an 8th place Premier League finish, amassing 56 points in the process, the club’s best ever finish in their history.

That sensational finish last season came despite the sale of star striker Wilfried Bony to Manchester City in January, and Monk’s faith in second choice striker Bafetimbi Gomis was vindicated as the France international took up the goal scoring mantle from the Ivorian.

However, despite a good start to this campaign, the Welsh side’s recent loss of form has seen them slide into the bottom half of the table, to which chairman Huw Jenkins said: “something has to change.”

It’s worth remembering that Swansea were in League Two as little as 10 years ago, having previously narrowly escaped relegation out of the Football League.

monk plMonk himself was apart of Swansea’s meteoric rise over the last 10 years, making 250 appearances as the Swans climbed out of the footballing doldrums into the Premier League.

It seems as though that level of dedication only created ‘hesitation’ in the Swans’ boardroom however, but was not enough even to buy Monk a couple more months to invest in the January transfer window.

There doesn’t seem to be a real threat of relegation in the air around the Liberty Stadium, and given that there is still more than half the season to go, there are plenty of opportunities for Swansea to improve their form and move back into the top half of the table.

Unfortunately for Monk, time is rarely afforded to Premier League managers, no matter their loyalty to the club or previous results and successes.

If anything, Monk overachieved last season and that has, in the end, cost him his job. For a club like Swansea, who have improved more or less every season for the past 10 years, no backwards steps are allowed. Had Monk’s men finished 12th or 13th last season, he would probably still be in charge now.

Is it realistic for a relatively small club – in Premier League terms – like Swansea to continually finish in the top eight? You could argue that Leicester are managing it this season, topping the table at the time of this writing, but not many expect them to be there come May. And next season; does anyone really believe that the Foxes will be able to lead the Premier League at any point? Are they now one of the divisions’ ‘big teams?’

Only time will tell, but you can guarantee that if Leicester are in the bottom half of the table next season, they, and manager Claudio Ranieri will be judged against this season’s finish.

That appears to be what has happened to Monk. A highest-ever finish one year is the minimum requirement the next. And instead of a successful campaign counting positively in his favour, it is instead used as a damning indictment against him when things start to go wrong.

But that’s just Premier League football today.

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