Even short relationships can have messy break-ups
Since getting sacked by Swansea City, Bob Bradley has been talking to anyone who will listen to his endless supply of bitter words. Shortly after he got the boot, bastion of dubious claims the Daily Mail, reported that Swansea players had nicknamed Bradley “Ronald Reagan” for his antiqued training methods.
Now, presidential nicknames aside, accusations of faulty training methods are fairly common when a manager is abruptly dismissed. It’s the kind of justification that the press and public can’t argue against since training is something that largely goes unseen by anyone outside the club. And in Bradley’s case, it reinforces the notion that the American was out of his depth. In other words, whether right or wrong, it was the perfect story for the club to push.
But Bradley has now responded to this insult with one of his own. From the Guardian:
Bradley, who took eight points from 11 matches, was reportedly given the nickname by insiders, who felt he was old-fashioned in his methods — a throwback to the 1980s when Reagan was US president.
But in an interview with the Times, Bradley said: “Trust me on this, not one of those players knows who Ronald Reagan is.”
Yes, take it from the man who knew these players for a whole 85 days—exactly none of them are aware of a person who was leader of the free world and part of the west’s pop culture within their lifetimes.
It’s a strange thing for Bradley to be so certain about if he isn’t just trying to retaliate against a public slight, so it seems that’s the most likely explanation for his comment. That said, it creates an amusing headline that does little to reinforce the image he has of himself as a top level manager who should be taken seriously as such. It probably would’ve been better if he ignored the claim all together.
But ignoring jibes is something Bradley simply could not do. As the first American manager in the Premier League, he was always going to have snickering doubters making snide remarks about his pedigree and he fell into the trap of debating every criticism or joke tossed at him instead of ignoring it and letting his work do the talking.
— Alexi Lalas (@AlexiLalas) December 29, 2016
The press exposed an underlying insecurity within Bradley and in a business where projecting confidence is arguably the most important job requirement, his endless rebuttals just might poison his chances at another top level job. But, hey, at least he wasn’t nicknamed Max Headroom.