BBC Comments: Bradley Mentions Villa, That’s All

Update: 08/22

Moving an inch each month closer to getting a role...

Bob Bradley speaks, finally, on his current coaching predicament and specifically on the vacant Aston Villa job:

“I’d be honoured to have a conversation with Randy Lerner,” Bradley stated on BBC Radio 5 live’s Sportsweek.

“I’ve had no contact with him. There have been talks with my representatives to find out the situation.”

“Villa is a massive club, with a great history and a great following. Those opportunities would of course be of interest. It’s pretty clear that Randy Lerner has done a solid job where tradition is kept.”

The TSG Skinny:

Bradley’s comments and their timing merely show that USSF and Bradley are no closer to a deal today than they were after the Ghana game. They also, in our opinion, confirm that Martin Rogers’ report on an extension below is, in fact, bunk.

You can hear the entire interview here.


The flutter of rumors over Bob Bradley’s new Premiership top table destination have finally subsided.

Soccer House: We need Woodward and Bernstein for this one...

Then, a report on Yahoo Sports went the other way and suggested that Bob Bradley is now being courted for and offered four more years by US Soccer.

TSG followed up with USSF spokesman Neil Buethe–as we know the coaching decision, outside of finding a top-rate striker, is probably the biggest issue on the mind of US fans.

As a note, that I have no problem mentioning here, Neil Buethe is a stand-up guy at USSF and tries always to provide clarity on all reports no matter how close or far away they oscillate from the truth.

We’ll use Neil’s comments as a backdrop to provide some review and depth on what seems like a somewhat stagnant USMNT managerial situation. To Neil…

On last week’s Aston Villa rumor shenanigans….

Neil Buethe: :  The rumor that Bob had resigned, or was going to resign, and that he gave a farewell speech after the game started from a fan blog which has a history of erroneous reports.

It was 100 percent not true.

Unfortunately, that report got picked up by a number of larger outlets who didn’t really consider the source of the information or take the time to call us to inquire if the report was accurate.

The false report took on a life of its own for a few days, but eventually we were able to make it crystal clear that nothing had been decided about Bob’s future with the national team.

On a forthcoming meeting between USSF and Bob Bradley

NB: The plan is for Sunil and Dan to speak with Bob most likely this week or next. They will be figuring out the exact timing very soon. I’m not sure if a location is decided. We wouldn’t offer that information (location) anyway.

On Martin Rogers’ story…

NB: The U.S. is having discussions with Bob, but I can’t speak to anything beyond that.  That is what I told Martin last (Monday) night.

On whether Sunil Gulati has had discussions with other coaches…

NB: I have no comment on that. I am not privy to that information.

Matthew, TSG: Is there a specific timeframe or stop date that USSF has in regards to signing a coach with the Gold Cup–presumably–as the next big tournament?

NB: No. There’s no specific timeframe.


What heck goes on up there after he puts his sweats on....

So not much from USSF and understandably so.

For now, here’s how we see the situation:

• Together we stand, divided…make negotiations for both of hard…

Does USSF want a new coach? I have an inkling this is the case. Does Bob Bradley want a new gig? I have an inkling that that is the case, too.

That said, a common axiom for job seekers that applies to both parties here is, “It’s always easier to find a job when you already have one.”

If USSF wants a new coach, it’s a lot easier to negotiate with a potential candidate if there isn’t–at least perceived–an immediate need.

Further–and to use another business axiom–rule of thumb on integrating a new employee into a workforce is 3 months. It makes virtually zero sense–ZERO SENSE–for the U.S. to dismiss Bradley–if that were the choice–without the long term successor ready to go and Bradley still under contract.

What’s the sense in taking those three months to integrate a coach that is not going to be the choice anyway? Zero sense. Why spend the extra money?

Likewise, if Bob Bradley is entertaining offers from other clubs, he’s got the USMNT job in his pocket as a chip in those discussions.

• Free Readers! Get your…Free Readers

Quick, how many people in the United States? 300M.

How many people in the United Kingdon? About 50M.

Hyping things “American” in English papers drives traffic to Web sites and readers to papers. It’s that simple.

Here’s the thing, you can be sure that Bob Bradley–who we’ve all heard say he wants to coach in England–was not in serious contention for either the Aston Villa or Fulham job.

Too much risk for either of those clubs, period. Having an American coach–who is not proven at the level–doesn’t sell tickets. It risks ticket sales. Not a good economy to be doing that.

There are many candidates available, why take a shot on the risky one?

Mind you, not saying that Bob Bradley isn’t qualified, merely that there is too much risk in hiring an unproven coach in the EPL…who doesn’t have previous ties to the Queen puts a team at risk in the current economic climate.

• Judgement again by Asamoah Gyan

If you’re Bob Bradley, one of the reasons we’re suggesting he probably does want to move on–if and only if the correct situation presents itself–is because his success likely comes down to how the US does in one or two games in 2014.

As Bradley and others have stated previously, the goal for World Cups is to qualify (maybe be first in your CONCACAF group) with a team that doesn’t practice together, save for a few days before each match.

So judgment on qualifying performances aren’t something that will improve Bradley’s resume.

No, it’s the knockout rounds of the World Cup…and that’s four years away.

• So what if Old Trafford or the Bernabeu call

Highly implausible opportunities for Bob Bradley, but we’re illustrating a point.

Will Bob Bradley be able to leave before another 4-year term is up if he signs on?

If we assume that “negotiations are on-going,” one of the issues to resolve would be, “Can Bob Bradley walk away from the job if a better one to his liking comes along?”

Everything is at least somewhat about money, so the answer is, “Bradley will always be able to leave, but what is he penalized if he does? Are their restrictions on what teams Bradley can go coach for?”

Big question here, “How firm is another 4-year commitment from both sides and what does that entail…from a compensation, operations, and severance perspective.” That does take time.

• The TSG Skinny

Remember, Bob Bradley wasn’t Sunil Gulati’s first choice.

Bob Bradley likely can’t “prove” anything in the US job and certainly not prove it–and take advantage of it–until 2014.

That said, a better question may be, “What is the better alternative for either of them?”

Most conversations we here across the spectrum start with Jurgen Klinsmann, sprinkle in the name of the a coach who was just in the news: Dunga, Martin O’Neill, and throw in one of the best in MLS, Dom Kinnear to be well-rounded. None of these conversations are rooted in news or information any of the aforementioned candidates is, in fact, being considered.

U.S. Soccer is not going to make a change just to make one while Bradley would likely not take a job like, say, DC United, unless he had to.

To invoke Chris Rock–unbelievably–“a man is only as faithful as his options.” Applied here, it would seem the Bradley-USSF tandem is going to the altar for another for more years unless those options appear here…fast.

31 responses to this post.

  1. I hope you’re wrong. While Bob has done an acceptable job, I think it’s time to shake things up a bit.

    I’m not necessarilly of the “hire a foreign name” type, but it’s hard to argue with the results that Jurgen (and Jachim Loew) have had on the German National Team setup over the last 3-4 years. And, with Claudio providing a uniquely American,though groomed aborad, perspective we could finally see a unified approach to youth development. The biggesty question is who would be Jurgy’s #2, the guy figuring out the gameday tactics? Also, would Jurgen be as good a figurehead for the American program as he was for the Germans?

    Is Dom Kinnear the answer???? I don’t think his track record at developing young talent will translate to the international level since he’ll only have 12-ish dates in the calendar to impose his coaching philosophies and “grooming” on our young starlets.

    Is there a silver bullet? I doubt it, but I can say with reasonable certainty that Bob Bradley is not the man to lead us for the next four years. Maybe at some point down the line it’d be great for him to come back, but the USMNT needs a different leader.


  2. Posted by Ryan on 2010/08/18 at 8:17 PM

    What if I agree with three of the options in the poll on the right? I’m not sure we can get anyone better, I think the player pool is a bigger issue than the manager and ideally I’d like to bring in a new manager (although I think Bobbo did a solid job) because two cycles is a loooong time.


  3. Posted by Randy on 2010/08/18 at 8:55 PM

    Please Please Please let it be Kinnear if Bob leaves.


    • Posted by Ryan on 2010/08/18 at 9:37 PM

      He’s too American (I know he’s actually Scottish) and from MLS! He can’t be any good!


  4. Posted by Evan on 2010/08/18 at 9:27 PM

    The obvious answer is the best available selection. That’s what any coaching decision is and should be based on. But the decision-makers tend to have arbitrary metrics for making such decisions. When analyzing Bob going forward, I think he has to be commended for doing what he did given the situation surrounding his hiring. He was always on the brink of being let go (at least according to fans). So kudos, on that Bob.

    Going forward, I don’t think it’s realistic to expect anything different as far as results next cycle. We’re not going to win in Azteca, and it’s hard to see us progressing further in the 2014 WC, given that not only will the draw be more difficult, but the Red Sea of a path to the semis that we saw this year will most certainly not re-appear. Given more difficult circumstances, I can’t see Bob navigating the team to better results.

    Klinsmann has to be available, and he has much less leverage than he did last time around. I don’t think hiring one of these MLS dudes offeres anything drastically different schematically. I think Klinsmann offers us not only a schematic upgrade, but an intangible upgrade. He’s been there as a player, was almost there as a coach, and is a vocal leader. I, for one, would appreciate that.


  5. Posted by Nelson on 2010/08/18 at 10:02 PM

    It should be up to fans. If a private club like barca can have fans vote for a coach, why can’t America, posterchild of democracy, vote for a coach. My vote goes to klinsmann btw. Klinsmann 2010, play for glory and fun!


  6. I also hope you’re wrong. I hope Bob comes to DC.


  7. Posted by Randy on 2010/08/19 at 1:42 AM

    If Klinsmann took the job I don’t think he would make it to 2014 without resigning.


  8. Posted by yo on 2010/08/19 at 1:42 AM

    he has to stay so he can prove that starting 3 holding midfielders is the answer and that kljestan and clark are world class. i understand that the US won their group but i cannot forget that they were minutes from getting knocked out of the group stage with one of the easiest paths they could have hoped for. plus when can you remember the team playing really well for a full 90? egypt and spain at confed cup is about it. the best is when gulati said that the results werent good enough. guess what shithead, when you hire a mediocre employee you will probably get mediocre results.


  9. Posted by Jim from NC on 2010/08/19 at 4:58 AM

    While I disagreed with several of Bradley’s decisions over the last cycle, I do think he did a decent overall job, in part due to his loyalty or stubbornness to stick to the same core players in big games. I know he has tried many new players out, giving them their first cap, but it seems that in the big game, the same core players trout out on the pitch, Is anyone else worried that if Bradley coaches another four years, that we will have a defense with an average age of 34? Maybe he makes a change, but I bet it comes at the expense of some disastrous point in qualifying.


  10. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/08/19 at 5:07 AM

    Why wasn’t Klinsmann hired after Arena? The stumbling block was purely economic, right? So what makes people think that the USSF are willing to meet these now? I also read that Klinsmann wanted complete control of the youth teams up to the seniors. And that is a huge comittment for US Soccer. Maybe it’s worth looking into because the German U17s, U19s and U21s haven’t done too badly in the last decade, have they? (Klinsmann and Low were instrumental in ringing in change at the DFB).

    My point is that I am not too sure that hiring somebody of Klinsmann’s ability only as a coach would change much – I think it is more to do with the players coming through. Yes, the US has really progressed since 1994 but to make that next step, which you’ve been on the cusp of doing, surely requires a rethink. I know I have been a critic of Bradley but to be 100% fair to him, personally, I think Bradley did OK given the resources he had, and as Evan mentioned, the environment he worked in.


    • As I understand it, the stumbling block to the Klinsmann hire was the amount of control he demanded, not the amount of his compensation.


      • Posted by scweeb on 2010/08/19 at 10:57 AM

        I hope that who ever takes the next stage of coaching it soon so they can have time to rework the youth system. I think everyone wants usa to move forward in soccer and i don’t think it will happen unless are youth system gets some help. So please please get us a coach who wants it all and has a game plan not only for the senior class but also has a vision for are youth system.


  11. Posted by Chad on 2010/08/19 at 6:59 AM

    Bob Bradley isn’t the same coach that he was when he started coaching the USMNT. I think that when he was forced to insert Charlie Davies at the Confed Cup, it completely changed Bob’s mind about the (un)desirability of having a forward who doesn’t add much more than hold up play and linking with others. This change in thinking was sorely needed. The next big change the next coach needs to make is to find some way to develop some sort of possession game as a change of pace–lung busting counterattacks work well for the US but this strategy needs to be augmented. The US doesn’t need to look like Spain, but they need to maintain some possession to change the flow, take some rest or preserve a lead. Bob Bradley took the right players to the WC. He completely changed his substitution pattern bringing in players much earlier than in prior competitions. I don’t care whether it is a new coach or not, but given his willingness to learn and change Bob Bradley would do fine over the next 4 years. Also, can’t help but think that people are over-emphasizing Arena’s second cycle when they think about 4 more years for Bradley. If the US beats Ghana in 06, does anyone really care that “8 years is a long time?” For this past 4 year cycle, the big issue was that the US needed to create more chances and score. Bradley did a good job on what was the most pressing issue and he did it without a completely reliable goal-scoring forward.


  12. Personally, I want to give Bob 4 more years. In fact, I’m surprised he doesn’t get more applause for his performance. Look at the results for the US squad since Arena was fired not just in the World Cup, which was an acceptable loss in the first round of the knockout stage, but also in what the team accomplished in other tournaments and friendlies. The US qualified first in CONCACAF… not exactly hard given our talent compared to the rest of the confederation, but still a good result. The US improved its record on European soil and came close to beating Mexico in Mexico City. The US beat Spain and hung with Brazil in the Confederations Cup. Also, the US cruised to first place in the 2007 Gold Cup to earn a spot in the Confederations Cup. Finally, look at how the team reacted to him as a coach… there was no drama between the players and coaches at all. I mean, what else do we expect from the coach of our team? I think we’re in serious danger of taking a “the grass is greener on the other side” mentality… could things be better with a new coach? Maybe a little. Could things be worse with a new coach? Sure… anywhere from a little to a lot.


  13. I’d be perfectly happy with Bob Bradley returning as head coach for the next 4 years. He did a fine job with the resources he had. He greatly expanded the player pool, he radically improved the quality of the opponents we played in friendly matches, he had some of the best results we have seen.

    Even the lineup decisions that everyone criticizes – namely Clark i the Ghana game – I have less of an issue w/ that given the choices he had. The previous games had run our D-mids to exhaustion. Would you really have wanted them out there against Ghana?


  14. Posted by Nelson on 2010/08/19 at 8:38 AM

    incredulous…ricardo Clark and Robbie findley should not have made the roster. If you wanted speed bring Robbie Rogers at least he can shoot. As far as Clarks position we already had so many midfielders capable I’m sure it would’ve have been better to bring another defender. give Holden or Edu the starting spot. What really annoys me is even if CD 9 doesn’t make the team, you should bring him as moral support.


    • Posted by yo on 2010/08/19 at 10:16 AM

      robbie rogers has not done a thing in 3 years


      • Posted by Antonio H. on 2010/08/19 at 12:15 PM

        see Gold Cup matches & his last two matches with the senior squad


        • Posted by Luis on 2010/08/19 at 2:26 PM

          what annoys me the most is that stuart holden had been playing really well leading up to the world cup and even earned a spot in Bolton’s EPL teams and didnt see a lick of action in the world cup. Holden was great at hustling and providing the team with good crosses out wide which was the width we desperately missed. Why did Robbie Findley keep starting at striker and not Deuce????? Bob needs to go


        • Posted by dth on 2010/08/19 at 2:47 PM

          Holden had little to no match fitness: remember de Jong? Thought it was a fair decision to leave Holden on the bench.

          You’re (obviously) right that a Jozy-Deuce combination would have been more productive. Though given the fact that the U.S. put up 7 goals (counting improperly disallowed goals, as I do), and given the fact that the U.S. led the Hex in goals scored (and only finished in fourth in goals allowed), and given the fact that the U.S. did quite well in terms of offensive productivity at the Confed. Cup, I’d suggest U.S. fans’ complaints and attentions would be more profitably directed at the defense.


  15. Posted by dth on 2010/08/19 at 9:02 AM

    If the new coach is an MLS coach, Piotr Nowak would be perfect. Haven’t been hearing build-up about him, but he’s got all the right stuff: successful at MLS, been a national team assistant, coached the Olympic side in 2008, has some foreign experience as a player.


    • Posted by dth on 2010/08/19 at 9:03 AM

      In addition, has the Union playing a fairly attractive style while remaining competitive despite some…issues not of his doing.


  16. Posted by Johninho on 2010/08/19 at 10:39 AM

    The only way I ‘sign off’ as a fan on another cycle for Bradley is if there is a full airing and reconciliation of mistakes in this one, not just on Bradley’s part, but Gulati, Garber, the players, and everyone else in and around US Soccer, including the prominent bloggers and journalists. Klinsmann or Gullit can moderate, as can any impartial, soccer-cognizant third party.

    I’d focus on team selection, any meddling (perceived or real) with team selection by people outside of Bradley and the staff, sub patterns, player performance, and what US Soccer can do further to facilitate the hard job of getting ready for a cycle. I’d make everybody sit through match film. It’ll take two weeks with the doors locked at the downtown Hyatt, but it has to get done if we’re going to progress beyond merely scoring at Azteca, and relying on the one call we get in the last round-robin to pull out a result.

    I’m not looking to see this aired out, mind you. And I know it’s at best a super-tall ask. I just want to know that everyone involved in the USMNT can take an honest look, man up and move on for the future. Expectations are MUCH higher this next Cup, like it or not, and I can’t even imagine us living up to them in the slightest without an honest look and a plan.

    Because it won’t matter who is Coach if, for example, Gulati’s interference keeps us from putting our best team forward for this country. It won’t matter who’s Coach if CD9 doesn’t understand to keep his fucking car under control when skipping out on camp for a little nookie. And it won’t matter who’s Coach if said Coach doesn’t play the best players he has, or doesn’t have the best players, whether that’s his own fault, or someone else’s.


  17. Posted by Nelson on 2010/08/19 at 11:18 AM

    Yo, I’d still take a stale Robbie Rogers over findley. I’m not afraid to say it most of my friends that played rec and high school soccer have more sense and ball control than findley.


    • Posted by yo on 2010/08/20 at 1:05 AM

      wait, youre not suppose to run over the end line with the ball? what about coming to a complete stop during a break?


  18. Posted by Nady on 2010/08/19 at 5:15 PM

    Bradley has got to go! He the most boring, dull, uncharismatic, lousy tactician of a coach US has ever had. I can’t even stand to see his ugly face on TV. We need a new coach with some personality and a knowledge of the game, to take US soccer to the next level. That man is, Jurgen Klinsmann. He’s available. Let’s hire him now, before it’s too late. Otherwise it’s going to be 3 and out in Brazil 2014. I can guarantee you that. USSF and Gulati need to get their act together and give Klinsmann the control he needs to develop the National Team.


    • Posted by Antonio H. on 2010/08/19 at 11:38 PM

      I think your argument is more of an ad hominem against Bob than an explanation of why he has to go…


  19. Posted by Soccernst on 2010/08/19 at 6:22 PM

    See vengeful pat’s comment: 1


  20. […] As we mentioned yesterday, Bob Bradley went on BBC live to comment on his interest in the Aston Villa […]


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