Swansea City succession planning post Steve Cooper is already underway
Tuesday, 15th Jun 2021 18:05 by Keith Haynes
If you look at the history of Julian Winter in his football executive roles you will see one phrase ‘succession planning’ The need for a football club to be resourceful in how they manage personnel within the dominant roles of the business, and when to start that procedure.
Julian Winter spoke very positively during his time at Huddersfield Town of how the club is always succession planning and forever reviewing and evaluating the staff at the club. The appointment of Jan Siewert after David Wagner left the club was an excellent example of Winter’s acute awareness of not reacting to news, but being prepared and able to move quickly when required to do so. It wasn’t a complete success but the aspiration to promote a clean progression in key club appointments was evident. Stewart had all the credentials, as Borussia Dortmund assistance coach he succeeded Daniel Farke and the signs were extremely favourable. Not forgetting that Wagner was also appointed by Huddersfield Town - from Borussia Dortmund.
This though isn’t about success, it’s about the ability to succession plan.
On the appointment of Siewert this response was the first from the club in 2019. "Like any good football club – or successful business outside football – we have succession plans in place for our key roles. A major one here is the role of head coach” So, this transparent mindset to a fluid and professional progression will be more than evident at Swansea City. Winter won’t abandon that ethos. It’s already been seen in the youth and reserve set ups at the club since his arrival. A quick and well thought out response to the ever changing daily lives of football business management.
Many would be thinking, yes, of course you would be always planning against the volatile business of football management. However, that’s not the point. The point here is Swansea City performances last season were borderline dreadful at times. The person who takes the hit when things start to become incompatible in any business is generally the figurehead or appointed manager of that particular operation.
Then that business has to fill the position, professionally and with an already well resourced procedure in place. Absurdly in Swansea’s case failure has rewarded Steve Cooper.
If there is anyone in any doubt during these extremely competitive times about Julian Winter’s strategy please be clear. His role is to save money, oversee and implement the football clubs development, and be seen to be able to do so, time and time again. Winter knows this, and when every fan shouts “Sack him” they usually don’t think of the bigger picture. In Cooper’s case he would get a years pay off if he was dismissed, compensation, plus Marsh and likely Tate as well. Although the latter will have his eye firmly fixed on a managerial opportunity. However, due to Winter’s competence in this field it is unlikely this will happen and he will stave off any thoughts or push to do so.
Winter’s strategy has been to ride out the season, see how the business end of the last fixtures pan out, and capably search out likely replacements for Cooper and Marsh. Believe it. He can’t just sit back and wait for Cooper to say something. Their recent meeting tells us both want firm commitment. Cooper on players and Winter on Cooper staying publicly he is a Swansea City employee for the coming season. The rumours of Cooper leaving, the discussions that have already taken place between Cooper and Winter have given the club a clear message. This gives Winter time to respond with specific knowledge of where the club is. It was a play off failure and Coopers stock, no matter what people think will have risen more than ever before. Two play offs in two seasons. There’s many a club that would want that. If they do come sniffing the compensation clause for Cooper to leave would be triggered and Swansea are on an earner for his departure. The same thing every club these days incorporate in to contracts for every manager. That makes sense. Crystal Palace look the likeliest still today, but there seems to be some resistance from within the club, the fans especially.
Cooper failed again in the play offs, but it was more hopeful and far more positive. That leaves him in demand. And we can promise you this, because Winter has a proven track record in succession planning. Discussions between those that need to know will have taken place and the scenarios evaluated. The who, why, what, were, when and how thought out, analysed and agreed upon. That means that Steve Cooper will already have had his future discussed and the outcomes determined on his performance complete. Goes without saying.
Watching you, watching Huw, watching time. The reality
All that now remains is who has the green light to search out a likely replacement team ? If it’s Julian Winter making that decision, again we are certain those plans will be in motion, albeit tentatively. If it’s the American majority ownership you may well have to hold on to your backside, tie up the bottom of your chosen apparel with strong string and whistle loudly for help. The pencil up the nose is an optional extra.
But it’s unlikely.
Our bet is Winter knows what is required, who he favours, and when that will happen. Only a positive public statement will save Cooper and Marsh in the face of the fans. That’s all they have left, and if it doesn’t happen then you can be rest assured everything will be in place for a very quick and well thought out response. And of course with fans back at the Liberty next season the jury won’t take long to remind them of their position as employees of their club.
What are your thoughts today on Steve Cooper and Mike Marsh ?
Photo licensed from Reuters
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