The astonishing depths to which the Premier League has sunk,
And 10 things the next Arsenal manager must consider
by Tony Attwood
English – not to say European – football is at a very low ebb. Here we have a team that managed to win its Champions League group unbeaten and so qualify for the last 16, and that gained the runners up spot in the Premier League, the so-called best league in the world last season, and which is in the top four this season, and which is (and I know this because the media told me)
- Full of malaise
- Lacking in English players
- Continual troubles
Now if that is the case of a team in the top four of the English league and last 16 of European football this year as for many many years in the past, (and I know it is because I read it on the internet) it is hard to imagine just how awful teams that finish outside the top four in the Premier League must be.
That a team so bad as Arsenal, so badly managed as Arsenal, and so badly run as Arsenal, can persistently be in the top four in England, and the top 16 in Europe must surely stress that football in Europe is in a truly, truly appalling state.
Because if a team near the top of the league – indeed the top scoring team in the league at the moment, and as I mentioned, last season’s runners up and top four material for 19 years is this bad, how bad are the teams below them in England and Europe? Goodness, they must be so, so, awful.
Indeed it must be generating nightmares for the people running Sky and BT Sport to have seen a team as utterly, utterly awful as Arsenal (as I understand they are, reading all the commentaries in the media while I have been in Australia these last few weeks) win their group, be top of the Premier League for a while this season, and still be in the top four. I mean how bad is the Premier League? And how long will it be before the people who pay for it really start to turn off such an appalling league?
Some of this of course will come as a relief for the next manager of Arsenal who must be looking at the club and thinking, “wow, if a club that is apparently this terrible, this wrecked, this hopeless, this useless, under a manager this inept, this appalling, this lacking in ideas, can actually be runners up last year and fourth at this stage of this season, then my job is going to be so easy. I’m clearly a better manager than Wenger, so this is going to be money for old rope. The league must be totally crap.”
There might however be a few problems and I think it only fair to mention them.
To help the poor sap who takes on the job when Mr Wenger goes, and who is thinking that utter mediocrity and a total lack of ideas is enough for a top four finish, last 16 in Europe, runner’s up in the league last year and a couple of FA Cup wins in the years before here are a few things to worry about…
1: The aaa
They have been at the club since the days of Herbert Chapman, when they were called the boo-boys, and they are now more powerful than ever, having strong links to every TV channel, radio station and newspaper.
The whole basis of this loose coalition of negativisits is that Arsenal are rubbish – they have no purpose and no point when Arsenal are doing well, so Arsenal have to be bad for them to exist.
No one, who has become a focal point and gets media exposure gives it up easily. They will be there no matter what the new man does.
2. Talk Sport
This radio station gains its audience by getting the aaa on air, and if the aaa backed off now it would lose its purpose and its audience. It would still be there, pushing its wild stories about injuries, lack of tactics and general hopelessness but it would act quickly to create a new aaa. Watch out for them.
3: Sky and the English fixation
Sky has of late picked up on the notion that English football will be better with English managers and English players in it. If the new man is foreign he will still be expected to bring in English players. Lots of them. The only fortunate part in all this is that since the whole Premier League is so appallingly awful that it allows a dreadful team like Arsenal to come second last season, it doesn’t matter who you sign.
The level of evidence that there is something fundamentally wrong in terms of the PGMO and the way it runs referees is utterly and completely overwhelming. The structure and approach is utterly different from that in all other major leagues and if the new man is not used to this he is going to get a shock. It is not going to change any day soon.
5: The need to do better than the past three years
The very basic basic point for a new manager is that he must do better than the last three years of Arsenal. That means better than two FA Cup wins and a runner’s up spot, with qualification for Europe a constant. The dropping out of Europe as Chelsea and Man U have done, and drifting about in the Europa league like Tottenham choose to do, is not on.
6: £40m plus £1 and other fake stories
Fake news has focused on Arsenal for years, and the £40m plus £1 tale of Arsenal’s supposed bid for a Liverpool player was so outrageous that even the Liverpool owner admitted in a conference in the US that much of the story was an invention. From day one stories will be made up by the media and other clubs and will be treated as true even when denied.
7: The “shambolic nature of Arsenal’s transfer business”
That curious notion (curious given that we have at the club such purchases as Alexis, Ozil, Santi Cazorla, Bellerin, Koscielny, Mustafi and the like) is in the Guardian today, so it must be true. Sorting out the shambolic nature of anything takes time. It could take years to sort out the transfer mess of a club that brings in truly awful players like this.
8: This power vacuum above Wenger
Apparently the entire club is a vacuum according to the press, with Wenger running the show. But Wenger is a dolt, an idiot, a useless schmuck (I know this because the media tells me). In short there is no structure.
9: Is there anybody senior at the club with extensive football knowledge?
That question is asked in the media today, and the answer they give is no. There is nothing, the whole club is a shame. Which again goes to show how awful every other club is that fails year on year to get above Arsenal in the league.
10: Don’t mention the youth system
Best not to, so I won’t.
In short the only thing that will save a club that is as awful, useless and badly run as Arsenal is the fact that clearly most clubs in England are the same – otherwise Arsenal would be in the National League by now.
Arsenal History Books on Kindle
The novel “Making the Arsenal” by Tony Attwood which describes the events of 1910, which created the modern Arsenal FC, is now available for the first time on Kindle. Full details are here.
Also available on Kindle, “Woolwich Arsenal: the club that changed football” the only comprehensive history of the rise of Arsenal as a league club, and the attempts to destroy the club, from within and without. For full details please see here.