By Walter Broeckx
Sometimes the strangest things can lead to a new article for Untold. I was sitting in my chair the other day listening to the radio when the old song “Where have all the flowers gone” originally from Peter Seeger came on. For some inexplicable reason it suddenly sounded in my head the lines: ‘Where have all the managers gone’. Meaning all those managers that the aaa have said that we had to get and kick Wenger out.
Over the years it rather has grown in to a long list. I don’t try to be complete but I just want to give a short list of the managers that people have told us that were much much better than Wenger.
At one point in time they shouted at us loyal supporters of club, players and manager, that we should sack Wenger and get ‘the better one’. Sometimes the shouting was even after only one win against Arsenal but that is completely in line with the behaviour of some fans who only look at the last match and even at just the last touch of a player to decide if he is good enough or not.
Let us see how they have done.
Villas-Boas: When he won in his only year at Porto all and everything there was to win, he was hailed as the new Mourinho. No, as the more positive Mourinho as he did it with a much more attacking style than not-boring Mourinho. However his tenure at Chelsea didn’t last long.
Then he went to Tottenham and his spell was a bit longer there. In his first season they even made a historic gap but as usual Wenger got the better of Tottenham at the last day of the season. In the days of Tottenham being in front of us, lots of Arsenal supporters told us we should have gone for Villas-Boas. But at the end of the day Wenger was the far superior manager.
Pochettino: Last season at Southampton he was hailed as the new Messias in football land. And we do admit he didn’t do too badly at Southampton. And they had a good result against Arsenal so he had to be a great manager. They finished 8th in the last season he was there and then he went to…yes Tottenham.
Oh, how they would flourish under this manager. And at the start of February we could see the last uprise of ‘what a great manager he was and how much better he was then Wenger’. That was when Tottenham won their match against us at their ground. But since then it once again showed that in the long run Wenger is better.
Moyes: I think his name has been around for many many years when it comes to saying that a manager is better than Wenger. Moyes was praised for keeping Everton in midtable. Okay that might have been a good thing from him but saying as a result that he was better than Wenger was more wishful thinking than anything else.
When he went to United we knew we would see how he would do with lots of money and a great team that had just won their 20th title miles ahead of the rest. And we all know how that story ended…..
Martinez: The former Wigan manager and current Everton manager. After keeping Wigan in the PL for a good number of years against all odds people said he was better than Wenger.
Certainly when he got a few surprising results against Arsenal over the years. And he even won a prize! Well it was a prize in those days. He won the FA cup that has been scrapped off the list of prizes to be considered since last May when Arsenal won the FA cup.
Sam Allardyce: I kid you not that I have seen people just five months ago who said that Allardyce was superior to Wenger. I don’t even know where to start on this one to be honest. Do I really have to show you what his achievements have been as a manager at his different clubs?
To start with the most important thing: he won nothing at the top. And on top of that he was more relegated than Wenger won PL titles. And yet people, Arsenal fans FFS, claimed that Allardyce would do a better job than Wenger.
In those days West Ham was in front of us and as they judge managers on their last result they came to this ridiculous judgement. Maybe the best way to judge him is by a good friend of mine who supports West Ham. Even daring to compare Wenger and Allardyce has him rolling on the floor laughing out loud. He as a West Ham supporter all too well knows how much better Wenger was, is and will be compared to Allardyce. He would swap them in an instant if he had the chance.
Koeman: Shortly after Allardyce was flavour of the month it was then Koeman who should take over. Koeman who had a great start at Southampton and who around the turn of the year said that Southampton had better chance of qualifying for the CL next season as they had more points than Arsenal and had fewer games to play.
Now Southampton are 13 points behind us and we still have a game in hand. It is Arsenal that is sure of at least a 4th place finish and who is going to Wembley to play the FA cup final. Sure Koeman has done a great job at Southampton but based on the long run it still is Wenger who came out on top.
As I said this is only a short list. And probably after our match last Monday it won’t be long or some will claim Monk to be a better manager than Wenger. After all he did the double over both Wenger and Van Gaal. So according to the ‘specialists’ he must be better. But I hope you don’t mind if I do not get very excited by the prospect of seeing my team defend with 11 players for 95 minus 1 minute.
Of course there have been more successful managers around. But how many of them did it on a zero budget to spend? How many did it when building and paying for a new stadium? Not that many and certainly not one of those in this little list of ‘managers who would do better than Wenger’.
A reminder of what it can be like without Mr Wenger, on this day
14 May 1977: Man U 3 Arsenal 2 left Arsenal without a win in the final three games as they finished the season in eighth position – a significant improvement on the 16th and 17th of the two previous seasons. Brady and Stapleton scored.
14 May 1995: Following the dismissal of George Graham mid-season, Chelsea 2 Arsenal 1 concluded the season with Arsenal finishing 12th in the league. It was the lowest finish since 1976, when Arsenal finished 17th.