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At this point in season two, Mr Wenger’s record was much the same as AVB’s. Maybe Tottenham should have kept him.

When compared with Mr Wenger at the same point in his north London career, AVB was not doing that badly.

By Tony Attwood

And so here we are again and again.    Arsenal v Bayern Munich in the Champs League and Tottenham sack their manager.

We’ll deal with Bayern anon, but let’s just pause and try and say something new about Tottenham sacking their manager.

It is difficult to find much new to say because they do it so often – there’s a list of the famous fourteen who have managed the Tiny Totts since Arsène Wenger came to power at the end of this piece.

But can one compare the Tottenham manager with Mr Wenger?   If we can, the most obviously way would be to compare their win percentage and their first two seasons up to this point in the campaign.

Let’s look at win percentages first.  I have read on one site today that AVB’s winning percentage in all Tottenham first team games is the highest of any Tottenham manager since 1899 at 56.25%.  I’m not sure if this is right, as Wiki is quoting that he had 80 games and a win percentage of 55%.  But it is somewhere in that area.

Now we have to be careful about win percentages to see exactly what is included, and I am not sure how these are calculated.   Are European games in?  Are League Cup games in?

Either way, the figures we have for Arsenal suggest that only one long-term manager at Arsenal has beaten this:  Mr Wenger on 56.92% up to the end of last season which means it is over 954 games, including league cup matches in which weaker teams are fielded.  It is of course fractionally higher now.

But with either set of figures AVB has exceeded the achievement of such Arsenal luminaries as

  • Bertie Mee 43.71%
  • George Graham 48.91%
  • Tom Whittaker 47.09%
  • Herbert Chapman 49.88%

although of course again we have to say that he only had a small number of games compared to any of those.    Perhaps AVB was helped on a little by having the Europa league to play in, in which he won all eight games.

But as for the first two seasons – this is where it really gets interesting.  Mr VB got a 5th place last season.   Mr Wenger took the team to third in the league in his first season of 1996/7.

In the second season by 16 December 1997, Arsenal were fifth.

 

 

 P  

 

 W  

 D

L

F

A

GD

Pts

 

1

Manchester United       

18

 

12

4

2

44

13

+31

40

 

2

Blackburn Rovers

18

 

10

6

2

33

19

+14

36

 

3

Chelsea

18

 

11

2

5

41

18

+23

35

 

4

Leeds United

18

 

9

4

5

26

19

+7

31

 

5

Arsenal

18

 

8

6

4

32

21

+11

30

 

6

Liverpool

17

 

8

4

5

30

17

+13

28

 

7

Derby County

17

 

8

3

6

33

27

+6

27

 

8

Leicester City

18

 

7

6

5

23

17

+6

27

 

9

Newcastle United

16

 

7

4

5

20

21

-1

25

 

10

West Ham United

18

 

8

1

9

25

28

-3

25

 

Now here’s the funny thing.  on 16 December 2013 we find

 

 

P

W

D

L

F

A

GD

Pts

1

Arsenal

16

11

2

3

33

17

+16

35

2

Liverpool

16

10

3

3

39

18

+21

33

3

Chelsea

16

10

3

3

32

18

+14

33

4

Manchester City

16

10

2

4

47

18

+29

32

5

Everton

16

8

7

1

27

15

+12

31

6

Newcastle United

16

8

3

5

21

22

-1

27

7

Tottenham Hotspur

16

8

3

5

15

21

-6

27

8

Manchester United

16

7

4

5

25

19

+6

25

9

Southampton

16

6

6

4

20

15

+5

24

10

Swansea City

16

5

5

6

22

21

+1

20

Tottenham you will see were two points worse off than Arsenal at this point in the manager’s second season.   Arsenal were 5th with 30pts at this stage in the second season of the manager, Tottenham are 7th with 27.

So what happened to Arsenal in that second season?  In the close season Mr Wenger brought in eight players – comparable with the transfers in from Tottenham in the close season between years 1 and 2 of the managerial reign (see below).

Also Between 1 November and 13 December Arsenal had a shocking period winning just two and losing four.   In fact it was not until 26 December that Arsenal went on the run that would win the league and the cup – Arsenal’s second double, and of course Mr Wenger’s first.  But even there it wasn’t all plain sailing – we drew with Port Vale in the third round of the FA Cup, and there were mutterings around.

My point therefore is that there is a lot of parallels between Arsenal and Tottenham if we look at what happened in the second season of the new manager, up to today, 16 December.   Tottenham’s position at this moment is not that adrift of Arsenal’s on this day in Mr Wenger’s second season.   

The big difference is we clung on to our manager and showed faith.  Tottenham showed him the door.

So why?

Well, presumably because he spent the Bale money on Soldado, Lamela, Paulinho, Eriksen, Capoue, Chiriches, and Chadli.   

Mr Wenger didn’t have a bit pot of money but he brought in a similar number of players between season 1 and 2, players such as Matthew Upson (£1.2m), Gilles Grimandi (£1.75), Luis Boa Morte, (£1.75), Alberto Mendez (£250,000), Marc Overmars (£7m), Manu Petit (£3.5m), Alex Manninger (£1m), Chris Wreh (£300,000).

It has to be to do not with AVB, but the anxiety of the board, and their need to success now, now, now.  They want their new stadium, and they want Champions League football – and yet at the same time they sell their top player.

Personally, I’m delighted that Arsenal keep their managers, and that the one exception in modern times was the sacking of the man who made way for Wenger.

But I think there is one point that some Tottenham supporters miss – and that is that by moving on managers so quickly, they put off other applicants.  AVB went there because he is young, and he’ll get another job (especially when other clubs look at his win percentage).   But can you imagine a significant serious older more experienced manager saying, “Yep, I’ll leave the security of the current job and go to Tottenham”?   I doubt it, which means mostly Tottenham will be picking their next man from the unemployed.

Here’s the list of Tottenham managers during this period.

  1. Chris Houghton 1997-1997
  2. Christian Gross 1997-1998
  3. David Pleat 1998-1998
  4. George Graham 1998-2001
  5. David Pleat 2001-2001
  6. Glenn Hoddle 2001-2003
  7. David Pleat 2003–2004
  8. Jacques Santini 2004–2004
  9. Martin Jol 2004–2007
  10. Clive Allen and Alex Inglethorpe 2007-2007
  11. Juande Ramos 2007-2007
  12. Clive Allen and Alex Inglethorpe 2008-2008
  13. Harry Redknapp 2008-2012
  14. André Villas-Boas 2012 – 2013

Arsenal supporters make a lot of fun of the club’s board of directors.  But I think in one area we do score all the time.  We show faith.

(Incidentally, whenever I write about Tottenham it is traditional for Tottenham supporters to write in and say, “Why are you so fixated on Tottenham?”  Always happy to publish such comments (unless they get too abusive) but to answer the question in advance, I’m fascinated with Tottenham because the two clubs always seem to choose such different strategies and it is always interesting to compare the outcomes of one approach with another).

Arsenal manager index

————————

Arsenal books for Christmas at discount prices

30 comments to At this point in season two, Mr Wenger’s record was much the same as AVB’s. Maybe Tottenham should have kept him.

  • BOB

    ok give us fuckin wenger you have AVB

  • finsbury

    You get the strong impression, over the years, that Tottenham are more interested in spending huge amounts of money on footballers. Never mind the football.
    They signed Adebayor for an easy 25M. After he had blown it at: Monaco, Arsenal & City in quick succession. What were they thinking? I could go on…

  • craig

    very insightful, although the manager list is unfairly stretch by short-term caretakers, sometimes of just a few games. Really, Pleat’s only recorded stint amongst those was when he had about 3/4 of a season after Hoddle’s sacking.
    Understand your point about persisting with the manager, the maybe the AFC board saw Arsenal starting to prodce good football, whereas AVB (despite decent results in Europe) has had us playing in an unconvincing way even when we won games – his system just doesn’t seem to work and he is unwilling to change it.

  • Vikrant Dogra

    There is also one other point when comparing the second seasons of each manager: in the 1st 3 months of 1997-98, Arsenal were steamrolling teams and were clear at the top until the start of November 1997, something that hasn’t been the case at Spurs this season…

  • blacksheep63

    Tony the difference between 30 and 27 is 3 points 🙂

    AVB is going to make someone an excellent manager one day but the Chelsea and THFC jobs were too big too soon – both those sides demand instant success not long term team building.

    But as for attracting good managers Tony I personally doubt sp*rs will have a problem. After all AVB will be walking away with a massive payout so what’s to lose? You take a job, get paid handsomely, if it works out you stand to reap big bonuses and maybe land a job at a big club (sorry sp*rs fans), if it goes tits up Levy will sack you and you get £millions in compensation. Win win

  • finsbury

    Arsenal blew up their previous squad and spent two seasons rebuilding (whilst many groaner a were calling for “change”). Now they had a settled start to a season, and we can look forward to this squad growing and developing over the next few years.

    Most I know thought that Tottenham’s path whilst far more severe, and rash, would settle next season. As AW said, it is difficult to condense such a turnover into one season (which clearly explains the path Arsenal took. Hindsight. Don’t you love it? I don’t know about any Groaners, but I’ve seen enough ‘change’ for now). But now Tottenham have dumped their manager mid-season? Can’t see them being settled in time for the beginning of next season.

    In this day and age I cannot understand why football fans bark their discontent towards a manager. It makes little sense. But it does make good copy!

  • Mandy Dodd

    Some very valid points. The spuds board have been floundering around in recent years, no doubt about it. And expensive floundering. Wonder at which point levy takes some of the blame? As a seasonal song says, tiny totts will find it hard to sleep at night.
    As for bayern, the way this year has gone, it was nerver going to be a surprise. If only we had hung on at Napoli. See Utd get their usual free pass. Good year for season ticket holders with cup credits or whatever they are called. This year we have the group of death, w brom away, Chelsea, spuds now BM. They luck of the draw gods have deserted us somewhat, except of course in the FA cup

  • I wonder if Spurs would be doing any worse if they hadn’t done the £100million+ business last summer. One thing is sure: had the Bale money been spent on starting work on their new stadium (or kept away for such), I suspect AVB would still have a job today while Levy would get all the blame. But at least, they would still have their Bale windfall.

    Smugness alert ! ! !

    http://blog.emiratesstadium.info/archives/30206 (Should Fans Be Making Decisions for Football Clubs?)

  • TommieGun

    We cannot argue with facts:

    1. The Spuds have changed a lot of managers over the last 14 years.

    2. The Spuds have not done better than us over the last [insert huge number] of years.

    HOWEVER (**some devil’s advocacy ahead**):

    1. I actually thought that they played quite attractive football over the years, even though they always had that loser mentality. That quality was gone with AVB, and they played boring, sluggish football. This might be the reason for him being kicked out.

    2. AVB is NOT a bad football brain in my opinion. He has his belief and his way and it can be seen that tactically he knows what he wants: direct football through the middle, high offside line, aggressive midfield. This was how he tried to play in Chelsea (and failed, because they couldn’t play the high offside line).

    I think that the purchases that were made are along those lines. He had inherited a good defense, bought some decent aggressive midfielders (Paulinho was immense for Corinthinas, if any of you follow a bit of Brazillian football; Dembele was great for Fulham) and he bought a striker who averaged 25+ goals in La Liga for the past 5 years (Soldado). [my point is: on paper, he was a better buy than Negredo].

    So it should have worked. But it didn’t. Maybe it’s that idiot Townsend cutting in from the flank all the time; maybe it’s Erikssen not providing the creative spark that they needed; I don’t know. The only good guess I can make is that he is not good, actually, terrible, in man-management, because a decent manager should have been able to compel the team to play better.

    He lost the Chelsea dressing room, and apparently lost the Spud dressing room as well. Nobody there gives a fuck about him and it was as obvious as it gets. The players did not want to play for him. How much of an asshole do you have to be, to lose the dressing room so quickly? I don’t know, but his interviews show that he is a bit of a douchebag, and that he is seriously in love with himself.

    3. I don’t think that spending a lot of money, per se, is a bad thing. We spent 42.5 on the OZ and I love it. It’s all about what do you spend it on. And as I said, I don’t think that Spuds spent their money stupidly.

    4. One thing you cannot take away from Levy that he is a great negotiator and even better deal closer. Is it relevant for success? Hell no.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Was not able to see the ManShitty game in full (and yet to see it), managed to watch the last 15 mins or so.Was feeling down but was cheered up some what with the Chelski vs Palace
    game .
    Was hoping that the Spuds vs Lverpuddle end in a draw .Fell asleep with the score at 0-1 .
    Felt a sense of joy, nay ,mirth when I heard the final score this morning on the way to work .Have been grinning since .
    AVB ‘s dismissal did not in any way damper my mood ,nor the CL draw – Bayern here we come !

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Be Careful what you Wish for…

    A woman who had been married three times: one to a wife beater, one who ran away from her and one who was not good in bed, wanted to find a good man.
    She sent an ad in the paper saying I want a man who doesn’t beat me, who won’t run away from me and is good in bed. After two weeks of waiting nothing happened, then on the third week someone rang her doorbell.
    When she answered there was a man sitting there in a wheelchair with no arms and no legs. She asked him what he was doing there and he said, I am here in answer to your ad in the paper. ” I have no arms so I can’t hit you, and I have no legs so I can’t run away form you.”
    Then the lady said “well are you great in bed?”
    He answered “How do you think I rang the doorbell?”

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Be Careful What You Wish For…

    A man walks into a restaurant with a full-grown ostrich behind him. The waitress asks for their orders and the man says, ‘A hamburger, chips and a coke,’ and turns to the ostrich, ‘What’s yours?’ I’ll have the same,’ says the ostrich.

    A short time later the waitress returns with the order. That will be £9.40 please,’ she says and the man reaches into his pocket and pulls out the exact amount for payment. The next day, the man and the ostrich come again and the man says, ‘A hamburger, chips and a coke’ The ostrich says, ‘I’ll have the same.’ Again the man reaches into his pocket and pays with exact amount.

    For a while this becomes routine until the two enter again later in the week. ‘The usual?’ asks the waitress. ‘No, this time it’s a treat, so I will have a steak, baked potato, and salad,’ says the man. ‘Yep! Same,’ says the ostrich.

    Shortly the waitress brings the order and says, ‘That will be £24.60.’ Once again the man pulls the exact amount out of his pocket and places it on the table. The waitress can’t
    hold back her curiosity any longer. ‘Excuse me, sir. How do you manage to always come up
    with the exact money from your pocket every time?’

    ‘Well,’ says the man, ‘several years ago I was clearing the attic and found an old lamp. When I rubbed it a Genie appeared and offered me two wishes. My first wish was that
    if I ever had to pay for anything, I would just put my hand in my pocket and the right amount of money would always be there.’

    ‘That’s brilliant!’ says the waitress. ‘Most people would wish for a couple of million or something, but you’ll always be as rich as you want for as long as you live!’

    ‘That’s right. Whether it’s a pint of milk or a Rolls Royce, the exact money is always there,’ says the man.

    The waitress asks, ‘But, sir, what’s with the ostrich?’

    The man sighs, pauses, and replies, ‘My second wish was for a tall bird with a big arse and long legs who agrees with everything I say.’

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Be Careful What You Wish For Ladies !
    Jokes Oct 2, 2007
    Share on print Share on email Share on stumbleupon Share on twitter More Sharing Services
    Because if you get three wishes they might just come true !

    A Woman was out golfing one day when she hit the ball into the woods.

    She went into the woods to look for it and found a frog in a trap.

    The frog said to her, “If you release me from this trap, I will grant you three wishes.”

    The woman freed the frog, and the frog said, “Thank you, but I failed to mention that there was a condition to your wishes.

    Whatever you wish for, your husband will get times ten!”

    The woman said, “That’s okay.”

    For her first wish, she wanted to be the most beautiful woman in the world.

    The frog warned her, “You do realize that this wish will also make your husband the most handsome man in the world, an Adonis whom women will flock to”.

    The woman replied, “That’s okay, because I will be the most beautiful woman and he will have eyes only for me.”

    So, KAZAM-she’s the most beautiful woman in the world!

    For her second wish, she wanted to be the richest woman in the world.

    The frog said, “That will make your husband the richest man in the world. And he will be ten times richer than you.”

    The woman said, “That’s okay, because what’s mine is his and what’s his is mine.”

    So, KAZAM – she’s the richest woman in the world!

    The frog then inquired about her third wish, and she answered, “I’d like a mild heart attack.”

    Moral of the story: Women are clever. Don’t mess with them.

    Attention female readers : This is the end of the joke for you. Stop here and continue feeling good.

    Male readers: Please scroll down.
    .
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    The man had a heart attack ten times milder than his wife .

    Moral of the story: Women are really a bit dim but think they’re really smart.

    Let them continue to think that way and just enjoy the show.

    PS: If you are a woman and are still reading this; it only goes to show that women never listen!!!

  • Sammy The Snake

    There’s no patience in the modern world. Spurs want it all, and they want it now.

    AVB has some of the ingredients for success, but a few other attributes are missing. He lacks in man-management, and loses his cool too quickly with the fans and the media. His ego seems to be bigger than his results! Much bigger in fact.

    Spurs quality of football and results has been gradually degraded since the start of the season. Sitting by when the team is losing 6-0 & 5-0 (conceding a lot, not scoring at all) is good reason to dismiss the coach. You could say the mistake was appointing AVB in the first place.

    Another talking point is the role of Baldini at Spurs, and his influence on the transfers & the team…

  • Mare St Gooner

    Would it be fair to say that key to Wenger’s success was that he inherited the famous back four, which was a superb platform to build on? Whereas Spurs, although they looked solid in defense early in the season, surely don’t have that same quality in their defensive partnerships. (It could develop, but not there yet.)

    I think this is why Martinez has done well at Everton – he’s added attacking flair to a team that was very well-drilled and hard to beat under Moyes, and the defensive spine of that team is experienced and know each other well.

    You can add players but if you are shuffling the whole spine around it will be dangerous as players need time to form partnerships and understandings of each others’ game.

    With that in mind, I think Wenger’s big achievement when you compare to AVB is that he managed to gain the trust and to motivate his team, which was no small feat when you consider the ‘Arsene Who?’ headlines and the famous Tony Adams quotes about him looking more like a professor than a coach or whatever.

    As Tim Vickery noted on the BBC’s World Football Phone-in from this Saturday: the job of a manager is to set the 1) overall strategy, 2) team tactics, 3) motivation / emotional environment.

    AVB might have got 1) ok – we’ll never know – 2) arguable, but 3) failure at Chelsea and at Spurs.

    I think continuity is a greatly undervalued asset in modern football. For a team to become greater than the sum of its parts, continuity is key.

    (Bit gutted about Koscielny’s injury, as it disrupts possibly our own most key partnership. Big chance for Vermaelen to reclaim his spot though …)

  • Pete

    Mare St,

    Surely, two other key qualities are:

    4. Ability to coach/develop players.
    5. Scouting/talent spotting?

    If these are not important then clearly a manager’s job must be considered very short term! These attributes are two of Wenger’s greatest strengths!

    And this is one of the reasons why Arsenal’s squad of (relatively) little-known players are written off at the start of every season without fail, in contrast to the big-name big-money acquisitions of our rivals:

    Wenger is a superb developmental coach and can (and does) make unheralded players world class.

    Current team, just for starters, includes the likes of Szcz, Koz, Ramsey, Gibbs etc. Many/most of the others are continuing to develop, even the more experienced ones like Giroud.

  • fraz

    Like dean.:-(

  • fraz

    Auto correct. Mike dean

  • Mare St Gooner

    Fair points Pete, and I agree they are Wenger’s strengths – although you could say a good manager could delegate these tasks if he wasn’t able to do them himself.

    Wenger is the last of a dying breed in doing many of these things himself.

    Also, it’s not necessarily wise to set up with the expectation that a manager should be able to do all these things – otherwise, how will finding an eventual successor turn out?

    A good example is Swansea, who seem to have built a setup where the manager is essentially a valuable but replaceable cog (I believe Martinez was the one to set it up originally? Could be wrong). That way as managers come and go, the overall stategy, youth development, scouting, etc, all are unhurt by the change.

    The incoming manager can then add his skillset to a solid construct – as opposed to ripping out the infrastructure, replacing all the backroom staff, etc, losing money in payoffs, etc.

  • colario

    Mare St Gooner
    December 16, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    “Would it be fair to say that key to Wenger’s success was that he inherited the famous back four, which was a superb platform to build on? ”

    In answer to your question. Nope.

    Yes he extended their playing careers.

    Yes the ‘Invincibles’ defense was put in place by Arsene.

  • Shakabula Gooner

    I had opined in Untold that Spurs would like follow in Newcastle’s: shitty this season on account of the large intake of new players but better next season when the blending is mostly achieved.
    However, now, even if this proves correct, it will not be beneficial to AVB any longer. Whereas, Pardew is still in place at Newcastle.
    I totally agree that Tottenham’s board has served the club more poorly than some of its coaches, including AVB. They missed it with. Martin Jol who was doing so well for until they got more ambitious and more in a hurry than the nonetheless they were outta down could, realistically, deliver.

    In addition to old experienced coaches, young and talented players who are careful with their career moves will hate to sign up to Tottenham’s instabilities.

  • sperez

    Guardiola can’t stop laughing. He couldn’t have asked for a better draw.
    Wenger will once again be exposed as a poor tactician and mentally weak manager.

  • sperez

    …and Dortmund TOP OF THE GROUP will play Zenit.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Hyenas appear cute until the open their mouths !

    http://kwizamc94.buzznet.com/photos/default/?id=24550121

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Hate is a double edge sword , and the handle is also sharp!

    http://doblelol.com/uploads/14/funny-hyena-pictures-images-quotes-just.jpg

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Hyenas

    Two old men were at the zoo, one of them had a slight hearing problem. The one without the hearing problem was explaining about the wolves, when the zoo keeper overheard their conversation. “These anamals aren’t wolves sir, they are called hyenas.”

    “What did he say?” the other man asks. “THEY ARE CALLED HYENAS, NOT WOLVES!” the men with good hearing explains.

    The zoo keeper, being a bit of a talker, starts telling the two old men about the hyenas, “They are very special kind of animals, they look like dogs, but they don’t bark. Instead of barking they laugh.”

    “What did he say?” the deaf old man asks. “THEY LAUGH INSTEAD OF BARK!” the other one replies.

    The zoo keeper continues his story, “The mating takes place once a year, this is very unusual.” “What did he say?” the deaf one asks. “THEY ONLY MATE ONCE A YEAR,” the other replies.
    “So why do they laugh?” the deaf one asks.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    “The trouble with you people is that you don’t laugh enough.”
    ― L.M. Montgomery, The Blue Castle

    “Laughter isn’t a sign of insanity but a shield against it.”
    ― Richelle E. Goodrich

    “Life is too important to take seriously.”
    ― Corky Siegel

    “To live is to laugh, as to laugh is to live.”
    ― Tawna Jacobsen

  • ARSENAL 13

    “DOF”….

    What are his responsibilities?? When Mr Wenger was asked, if he would work under a DOF, he replied with a NO. He said, he would like to be responsible for the transfers. He would select the player, than the player made available to him.

    What are the odds that AVB was given the players to work with…

  • AnonymousGun

    Part of those nice winning % that AVB has in Sp*rs is due to the fact of 1. Monkey Eared Bale.

  • abe

    Interesting. I am a Spurs fan, and I was quite happy to give avb time – and was quite surprised on the decision. levy is a very quiet man, so we don’t really know what happens in the background. Everyone says blame Levy, but how do we know that it was not AVB who requested the overhaul and the players. AVB also seems to make strange tactical decisions. The high line did not work against City, and we seemed to play a more “normal” line against Utd, Fulham and Sunderland. Against Liverpool we were just atrocious. And I only assume that Levy would have not just looked at the results, but the performance. I can only guess that some discussion took place on Jan transfers, and on Ekotto and Adebayour (when you have a problem at left back and up front, and 2 players who can help are not on the scene, something is not right. Although personally I think something happened on the trip to Hong Kong. I do admire Arsenal sticking with Wenger, and if Wenger had 10 years at Spurs, rather than Arsenal – I think we would be having a different picture. Now I can just feel that the opportunity to have brought in Martinez has been lost.