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In the end just changing the manager is rarely enough, unless you want to do it a lot.

By Tony Attwood

I read a comment on Untold after last night’s match in which a correspondent said that he had “not renewed my membership to the club” having been watching the club for 50 years.  I am not sure what the “membership” is that he has, and since the renewal notices for red, silver and gold memberships haven’t gone out yet I am not too sure of the exact meaning here, but within the comment was the notion that the club had now sunk so low he could no longer give it his financial support.

Being very much an old timer myself, my association with Arsenal goes back even further than 1967, and obviously over that length of time the memory starts to fade a bit.  But I do remember the consecutive seasons in the mid 1970s when we just avoided relegation under Bertie Mee, the seven successive defeats during Terry Neil’s reign, and being the lowest scoring team (40 goals in 42 league games) during George Graham’s time at the club – 1992/3 to be precise.

Of course being a fairly positive sort of chap I tend not to dwell on these issues most of the time, but prefer to remember the good times, but yes some of those memories linger, like the run of nine matches in which we scored a grand total of two goals.  I am not sure the moaning was at such a level then.

What I find interesting in trying to have such a debate is how quickly the essence of the debate changes; if these points above are brought up and put into its historical perspective then immediately the argument is changed into one which suggests things ought to be better because the cost of football has gone up.  But then that applies to every club in the Premier League.  Indeed when I started to go to Arsenal entry to the terraces behind the goal at Highbury was the most expensive in the country.  And (and I kid you not) when Woolwich Arsenal increased its season ticket prices by 50% during the Boer War there was outrage.

But this season I must also confess to despair; despair at my inability to have reasoned conversations on the issue of what Arsenal should do now in the light of this disappointing season.   Quite why removing the manager and replacing him with someone else is the preferred option of some people bemuses me.  Yes of course it might work, but all the evidence shows that it is more likely not to work.

Tottenham have been trying it for over 20 years chopping and changing managers very regularly – there have been (I think) ten permanent managers at Tottenham since Mr Wenger joined Arsenal, and during that time the trophy haul at WHL has been somewhat limited in terms of what some Arsenal supporters call trophies.  While Chelsea have changed manager and had a great success with it, Man U and Man C have found the journey more problematic.  And that’s really my point – even with the super rich clubs which have owners who will pour their personal finance into the club, changing the manager tends not to work, more often than it does work as a way of winning the league.

Of course Mr Wenger will go at some stage, whether it is at the end of this season or in two years time, but looking at the way it has worked in Arsenal’s history, or in terms of other clubs, this in itself is no guarantee of success.  Rather the most likely outcome is more of the same or a further decline.

So why do some people want to change the manager?  When I have managed to have calm and rational conversations on this matter with people who believe Mr Wenger should leave, we’ve never been able to get beyond the notions that anything would be better than this, which is palpably untrue.  I suspect David Moyes would not be better than this, nor Sam Allerdyce,  nor indeed Tony Adams – who has just taken over at Granada.  Of course someone, somewhere will be able to take over the club and make us champions again, but I don’t know who, and I am not sure anyone else does.

That doesn’t mean that we don’t change manager, of course (I have to keep saying this because people keep writing in and accusing me of wanting Mr Wenger to stay forever).  But it does mean that pinning all one’s hopes on a change of manager as a way of taking the club to the top of the league next season or the season after, is not much of a strategy, based as it is on its very minimal success rate elsewhere.

So what else could we do?  Well, taking that statement literally, nothing, because supporters can’t do much in relation to a club they support.   We can stop renewing our “memberships” of course but there is no certainty even then that the owner would make a decision that would lead to Arsenal being top of the league, or even in the non-trophy zone of the top four.  He might appoint David Moyes – just as Man U did.

But even if a top four finish could be guaranteed, as it has been for the past 20 odd years, what then?  Well, we have already seen what then.  Such a run of finishes, which is better than anything achieved at any previous time in the club’s history (better even than the 1930s),  then leads to the “fourth is not a trophy” view.  In Spain where two clubs fight out first and second spot most seasons, coming second is not a trophy and the manager goes.  In Germany where Bayern have to win the league, not winning the league is not acceptable.  The demand for more is eternal.

What I find when I try to have this debate while including some evidence along the way, is that more often than not the conversation descends into abuse.  When it doesn’t the one thing that we end up agreeing is that there is no sure fire solution.   That supporting a club is about enjoying the moments of great triumph, and being thankful that one had the chance to be there at that moment, while recognising that in a truly competitive league (by which I mean to exclude league such as in Spain, Germany, Greece etc), such triumphs don’t go on forever.

That is the simple reality, as is the fact that changing manager (just like buying high quality players) is not a sure fire solution of anything.  Nor is changing the manager a lot (unless like Tottenham you are willing to do it for 50 years or more and still not win the league).

Nor come to that, is changing the owner.   I read the interview with Alisher Usmanov in Bloomberg this week, in which Mr Usmanov seems to blame Stan Kroenke rather than Arsene Wenger for the failure to win the league this season.  He also suggests Mr Wenger should be involved in choosing his own successor.   Which is of course what happened at Man U when Sir Alex Ferguson was involved in changing David Moyes, now manager of Sunderland.  I’m not sure about that one.

Mr Usmanov said, “I don’t think the coach alone is to be blamed for what’s happening,” suggesting the board “bear huge responsibility.”   Maybe, but if he really did make the point, as the interview report suggests, that the commercial division needs overhauling because our income is 30% less than Man U’s I think he is off-target.   A historical perspective is needed here.  Arsenal were the first ever club to get into serious football marketing under the leadership of Henry Norris, when he moved the club to Highbury.  He developed every strategy in the book that was available at the time, to build on the name of Arsenal and create the 1930s success story.  The problem was that the board members that succeeded him thought marketing was a dirty word, and when the successful run came to an end in 1953, there was nothing to prevent the decline of the club.  It was soon after that Man U copied Norris’ approach but this time took up on a world wide scale.  Arsenal however slipped back.

Mr Usmanov’s single stated strategy since 2012 has been for more investment in the club, but as Man City has shown, although owning 10% of the world’s gas supply can buy you lots of things, it doesn’t automatically buy the trophy.   His plan of providing the money so that Mr Wenger could buy the very best players in the world, might have worked.  It might well have been fun.  But even that combination of Wenger + Usmanov is not a guarantee of success.

Strong leadership from the board could help, and historically when Arsenal have made great leaps forwards that is what has powered it.  It happened in 1891/2 when the through the work of men like Jack Humble the club went professional, and saw off the dirty deeds of the faction that eventually split from the club to found the rival (and ultimately doomed) Royal Ordnance Factories FC.  It happened from 1910 onwards when Henry Norris took over and started the journey to Highbury and topped it all by bringing in Herbert Chapman in 1925.  It happened when David Dein chose Arsene Wenger in 1996.

Great visionaries whose visions work are hard to come by, but just consider those extraordinary moments in the club’s history I’ve just noted.  And particularly think of the visionary Henry Norris bringing in the visionary Herbert Chapman.  The visionary David Dein brings in the visionary Arsene Wenger.    The key in both cases is that one achiever brought in another.

In the end, just changing the manager is never enough.

From the Arsenal History Society

 

50 comments to In the end just changing the manager is rarely enough, unless you want to do it a lot.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Thanks , Tony . Nice retrospect.Needed a little boost there.

    While I didn’t get to watch the game , the score didn’t freak me out too much ! Seeing that we have been having more downs than ups this season. And lets not even mention the antics of BIGMOB !Oppss !

    And that all manner of fools are all coming out of the woodwork , sprouting their crap as if only they have all the answers and the panacea for all our ails. Not even close !

    I sometimes feel like this guy , pointing out the obvious.
    https://i.ytimg.com/vi/MtVANFSdwQc/hqdefault.jpg

  • Patrick Harrington

    Using that logic, Terry Neill would still be in charge.

    Is a change of manager a bad thing? Look what happened when George Graham replaced Don Howe or when Arsene Wenger replaced Bruce Rioch.

  • Alex

    Good morning Mr Tony
    Bottom line no any change is good on your opinion.You point to historical point that changes do not work.

    I think you are to emotionally connected to Le Prof and you are scared for a change but not many fans that i know.

    It is obvious that Le Prof has built his managment team and all personell appointed by his blessing was choosen not by their ability but by their super loyalty to him.And he made sure they are paid handsomely.

    So i aggree that changing the manager will not do the trick.

    In any other club this morning after such a repetitive embarassment one or two within the club will come out and say or do something.Not in arsenal because from top to bottom yes men make sure that will not happen.

    I belive we are heading same way as Manure because the board has left uncheckered Le Prof for long time and surely there is more than a manager that need chopped.

    Arsene is a dictator.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    WHAT A WONDERFUL PRAYER!!
    It says it all!!

    Lord, You know that I am growing older.

    Keep me from becoming talkative and possessed with the idea that I must express myself on every subject.

    Release me from the craving to straighten out everyone’s affairs.

    Keep me from the recital of endless detail.

    Give me wings to get to the point.

    Seal my lips when I am inclined to tell of my aches and pains. They are increasing with the years and my love to speak of them grows sweeter as time goes by.

    Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally, I may be wrong.

    Make me thoughtful but not nosy; helpful but not bossy.

    With my vast store of wisdom and experience, it does seem a pity not to use it all. But You know, Lord ––

    I want a few TRUE friends at the end!
    Amen… 😎

  • MickHazel

    Alex
    You make some fair and well put together arguments in favour of changing our manager and a lot of supporters will agree with you.
    Then you go and spoil your post with the the ‘dictator’ crap.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    And Lord , grant me ‘second wind ‘ so as to enable me to bash ‘them’ on this site !
    Give me strength to fling their crap back at ‘them’ !
    What they do on other sites bothers me none .So begone !

  • nicky

    Tony, an extremely sobering post.
    Arsenal’s biggest problem is to consider its immediate future leadership.
    A decision that cannot be delayed for too long.
    The Summer break beckons and our future in Europe is not yet decided.
    Arrivals and departures in the dressing room are certain.
    The availability of finance is not a problem.
    What IS near impossible for loyal supporters to understand is the behind the scenes action
    on present and future contracts.
    And the presence of the investment-minded Kroenkes doesn’t help matters.
    As my Gran (who cleans at the Ems)is often heard saying “Football is being cast aside by too many other things”. 😉

  • Alex

    @mickhazel
    The dictator thing is his way if managing style reference.
    Dictators all over the world they do not think for the benefit if the country they rule.They just do what ever to prolong their stay.

    There is no need to be sentimental against Le Prof.

    I liked Untold during our long austerity times.And rightly so as everything was written then made sense.And vacked Le prof all the way.

    Reality now is different.Untold need to speak the true for the betterment if the club not the manager.

    I want Le prof to leave on a high .Unfortunately he surround himself by yes men rather than propper footballing personell and they do not have a clue on how to get iut of the mess we are in.

    As an elite manager le prof he suppose to face head on the new challenges but he opt cowardly to be surrounded by yes men rather than accept critics and challenges.

  • GoonerDave

    While changing the manager often makes things worse, we cannot live by that – at some point we will need a new manager anyway.
    Besides, I have massive faith in Silent Stan – I am 100% certain he will find a manager to keep us in top 4. When it comes to protecting the value of the asset, Kroenke Sports Enterprises is truly a world class organisation.

    p.s. Arsene’s biggest mistake was when he stopped being a manager and became a mouthpiece for Stan. This is how he ruined his legacy – by distancing himself from the fans who loved him. By claiming it was classy not to spend – while the club sold players, raked in the cash and paid off debt for Stan.
    I hope that when AW leaves, all fans will finally see our thieving owner for what he really is. Time for the fans to unite again or we will win nothing.

  • Skooner

    I haven’t spoken to a single rationale person who think changing the manager will guarantee success, but I would argue that unless you classify top 4 as success not changing the managers pretty much guarantees we won’t be successful.

    I honestly believe the first game post Wenger will be the most excited about a game for about a decade. Not because I’ll be sure we will be better but because I don’t know what is going to happen. And football should be unpredictable, it is one of the great things about the game. Under Arsene, there have been persistent problems for many years around defence, tactics etc. and the fact they still exist today shows he either doesn’t believe they are problems or he doesn’t know how to fix them. Either way, it marks him out as not having what it takes to improve the team.

    The identity of his successor should not be directly linked to whether he stays or goes. He should be judged on his performance and if he isn’t meeting targets and doesn’t look like he has the ability to do so in the future that should be the end of the conversation.

    The separate topic of who could succeed him has lots of angles. The Arsenal managers job is a prize job, in an attractive league and a city that is a draw for players and managers alike. Allegri seems an obvious choice to me but I don’t for one minute believe he guarantees success, no one does. But whoever it is, lets hope they are hired to be a football coach, not an accountant, an architect and tea lady. And they are also accountable for their results and rightly put under pressure in the event they are not up to scratch.

  • Will

    As, expected a “be careful what you wish for” post from Tony, post loss once again. We seem to have one every 2weeks now. Just to comment on a few points
    1. You say… “Quickly the essence of the debate changes.. when the historical perspective is brought up and the argument changed to suggest things ought to be better because the cost of football has gone up”
    .. well, i honestly doubt you’re being generous with the truth (expectedly so) probably picking a part of the argument you can easily pick apart. My take on the matter is this, this might not be the absolute worst moment in the club history, doesn’t mean it is a good one. The record for worst moment doesn’t have to be broken for for fans to be justified to complain

  • Will

    2ndly, you say “i despair at my inability to have reasoned conversation on the issue of what arsenal should d now in the light of this disappointing season”
    .. Maybe one reason why you despair is that you too haven’t brought reasonable debate to the table. For example, while discussing possible lines of action the club could take to do better, you ask “so what else could we do? ” and reply “nothing, because supporters can’t do much in relation to a club they support” I couldn’t help but notice your ingenuity in dodging the question. The background discussion is on what the club could do to get out of the rot, the question is then asked “what can we(THE CLUB) do? But the answer “nothing” then relates to the fans. Dodging the question of what the club can do, is this because the club indeed can do much but you’re not comfortable discussing what it can do?

  • bjtgooner

    My impression of Usmanov was that his intrest was more aligned with taking money out of Arsenal and/or taking control so that he could manipulate the resources to his advantage – not by any consideration an improvement over Stan.

  • Spurs is better than the mighty Arsenal?,,?Seriously???what a bunch of deluded fanatics. you boo our team off the pitch?? The next matches are far more important than those we have played. manure is in europa & Its fine,its ok why not us,why is it a disaster when we play in europa?,? Give us a break magwampas n go to other teams. Lets go ARSENAL we need to crash man$hity.

  • Jack

    Dear Mr. Attwooo,

    First of all I would like you to know that I am a big fan of your articles. They are I depth and informative. About the present state of Arsenal FC. I understand that some fans want us to win all games which may not be feasible, at the same time there are fans who have remained patient while we were repaying the loan for the stadium. My personal belief is we started rebuilding the club since we brought Ozil and the subsequent talent acquisitions like Sanchez, Mustafi but we haven’t done the rebuilding process with conviction. This will lead talented players to leave the club and I am afraid we will be back to square one.

    Most importantly there’s a feeling that football has moved fast and younger managers are catalyst in bringing the change. While we are always stuck in 4-3-3 conundrum. I am sure you would remember the Arsenal(A) vs Man City (H) match. When Pep tactically changed Man City’s approach and we were lost. The the away game at Chelsea when we knew they had changed the formation from our previous game with them but we kept our formation the same 4-3-3. Please see this through the prism of Germany vs Italy match in the last euro cup. Where Mr. Lowe changed German’s formation to counter Italian formation that is similar to what Chelsea are presently playing and they were successful in beating Italy.

    My point Mr. Attwood is if Arsenal has to move forward there has to be a catalyst to change from the board as you suggest and every board member (Chairman) included need to do their job. Not be a passive observer while the club is going backwards.

    I don’t mind if Arsenal play consistently well trophy or no trophy. I do believe Arsenal is a club with values and it is important for Arsenal to triumph so that the young generation understand people/club/community/nations with values can also win. One shouldn’t have to sacrifice values to win in life.

    Last but not the least, we shouldn’t allow fear of unknown to stop the change that is required we may make a mistake. While not changing the course and expecting a different results is a very apt definition of insanity.

    Please to accept my regards and my respect for your articles on Arsenal.

  • Will

    3rdly, you say changing managers doesnt work most times and i ask, based on whose assessment? Yours? How did you arrive at that conclusion?
    If Sunderland who have been rooted to the bottom of the table all season change managers now and escape relegation in 17th place, would you say there’s no improvement because they didn’t win the league, or because they finished 16th last season? Or if next season the new man battles relegation again and gets sacked would you say the change was not justified?
    My opinion is a lot of managerial have worked (certainly More than you give credit for) performance of a manager should be judged on expectation. The expectation on a man utd manager should be different from that placed on a Sunderland or torquay utd manager. You harp on and on about chelsea having a bad season last year, but when someone says arsenal had a bad season last year you’ll come up with 94 clubs in the country would rather be in arsenals place, how come you never say 94-8 clubs in the national leagues would rather have been Chelsea last season? I digress…. If Tottenham under juande Ramos was flirting with relegation, switched to H Redknapp, who steered then to mid table finish, isnt tht success? If the said Redknapp improved the squad to become one regularly expecting top 4, isnt that progress? If that squad with regular champions lge expects starts battling relegation isnt it obvious they are no longer meeting expectation and should consider changing some things? The sacking of Ranieri being a case in point. And indeed a team with regular top 4finish and champion’s league participation, shouldn’t there be expectation that they push on from there and aim for the titles? A manager knowing this expectation shouldn’t he then make plans to cope with and meet these expectations? Except he considers them unfair?

  • Pat

    Ferguson bought Van Persie and managed to go out on a temporary high, before the problems kicked in.

    It will be very sad if our manager, who has achieved so much more with so much less in every way, were to go out on a low.

    And where does all this stuff about dictatorship come from? Every manager seeks colleagues with the same football philosophy as himself. We are very lucky we have had the benefits of Arsene Wenger’s football philosophy and not Tony Pulis’s or Sam Allardyce’s.

  • Hi Berry

    Yes, I get your point Tony….changing managers certainly didn’t work out for Palace, did it?

  • MickHazel

    Alex

    ‘Unfortunately he surround himself by yes men rather than propder footballing personell.’

    And you know this how? From the media I would guess as unless you have intimate inside knowledge of the inner workings of Arsenal FC that is the only other way you could form your conclusion.

    So who are these yes men and what positions do they hold within the club.
    The truth is you have absolutely no idea about how the club is run on a day to day basis. You haven’t a clue as to how the responsibilities of running the club are delegated. You have no right to accuse Wenger of being a dictator

  • Will

    Finally, its not fair to put people like SAF and Juup Heynkes in the usual statistics for managerial changes. This is because in their cases, managerial change was not due to the clubs not being satisfied with the output of these coaches. These were highly successful managers meeting and indeed surpassing club expectations when they voluntarily retired. In that situation, the bar has been set maybe higher than club expectations, so when the new man doesn’t do so well its expected. However the the club should still set minimum expectations for the new man

  • para

    Everyone knows that change is the basis of life. If things do not change they die.

    I like everyone else don’t like change but have to realise that it is necessary now.

    It’s not just about AW now, it’s about Arsenal and if the want to progress(which as proclaimed by the club, they want to compete with the likes of Manu, Manc and Chel$) they have to implement some sort of changes to how the club(the football part) is run.

    Of course one can say that if not for Manu, Manc and Chel$ Arsenal would be top of the pile, but even that is not true anymore.

    Why? Because Arsenal has become ineffective in the game. I really feel for the youth who have to continue training in this ineffective system.

    And all the other teams have become stronger, catching up to Arsenal, while Arsenal has actually lost some of it’s play.

    So anyone can see that change is needed, whether it’s the manager, the training system, the medical team, the players, the board or the owner.

    A combination of them all is more likely and i’m sure that they will be doing(planning) something about it, but we may just not like what they do in any way or form.

  • Matthew

    So fear is now the main reason that Wenger should stay?

  • grolski

    Mr Atwood is a Spud. Fact!

  • norsgeneral

    Tony, as someone who wants Arsene to step down, I have decided to just watch and observe from now on. Getting angry with the manager’s failings is not good for the health and this has been happening for 5-6 years now. So I will try to calmly put the other perspective to your questioning the abuse many conversations over this descend to. This debacle we find ourselves in, is purely down to poor management and tactics given to a talented group of players. Pure and simple. To argue against this, is what fires up the abuse from the other side. Its not referee’s, although I agree with you with regards to the bias at time or lack of money or the board, its the manager. I love what Arsene has done in the past, but if you are to praise that, then you have to have the courage to call him out, when he fails. He is failing massively at this level now, but you refuse to acknowledge this. Hence the abuse. And your post’s question, what point changing the manager, is an example of you trying to deflect. Arsene has run his course, I do not want to dance on his corpse as, after GG & HC, he is our greatest manager, but his time has come. Please have the courage to accept this. We after all, love the same this, ARSENAL FC.

  • Jammy J

    Alex – You couldn’t possibly have even the slightest idea about what goes on, inside the inner workings at Arsenal, so how you have the arrogance to say things such as “Arsene is a dictator” or “he surrounds himself with yes men”, as if they are absolute bonafide fact, is truly beyond me. There is not a shred of evidence that points to that being the case, yet you genuinely believe it, don’t you? That is arrogance born out of ignorance at its very best.

  • Benjamin

    Hello,

    As a first time poster, I think there needs to be a more reasoned debate. Change is inevitable now, the question has to be ‘what kind’?

    Gazidis has said as much, that change is inevitable. The overriding question is if Wenger can change with it. If he can accept, like many other managers, a sporting director and increased oversight then there is a future for him, for a maximum of 2 years.

    If he cannot and will not, then he should leave at the end of the season. That’s really the only two options, as this year has shown that the current ‘as-is’ set-up is not competitive in the modern premier league.

    The division in the fan base cannot be allowed to continue and a conclusion needs to be reached, and reached soon. Intransigent positions of ‘leave now’ or ‘stay indefinitely’ need to be put to bed and a proper vision for the future must come to the fore.

    Personally, I don’t care what that is as long as it is in the best interests of the success of the club.

  • Alex

    @MickHazel

    Yeah carry on leave on denial.Take this for a change :

    “You cannot any kind of opinion on football unless you had managed before”

    This is what they hide when there is no way can win the argument.

    True i do not have any inside knowledge of the club.
    But i played/watched football and work all my life as you do i guess.Certain things you can tell by the way they look.

    Have you heard one single entity thought all this shambles come and say differently ?
    Have you seen any kind of different opinion to suggest that slightly differ from anyone ?

    Even at home we disagree with our family .There is nothing wrong in it.You correct things for the better and you move on.

    Le prof in his empire made sure no player is recruited that he can challenge his methods or opinion.And for that matter no any other personel.

    Now if you know things work otherwise tell us or enlighten us .
    Other wise it is just a dismissive statement for my opinion without giving any kind of hint.

    Yes i stand by my opinion that Le Prof acted like a dictator and i dont see anything to make me think otherwise.

  • I think this is about the most bonkers post I have seen this year so far so I thought I would actually let it through. Gave me a smile

  • Flares

    “Players lose you games, not tactics. There’s so much crap talked about tactics by people who barely know how to win at dominoes” – Brian Clough

    There are three main issues at the forefront of our problems for me, and they are:

    1/ Not nearly enough ruthless aggression or clear direction within our transfer policy. I appreciate AW likes to keep a lid on things but I would prefer an open book attitude in which our targets are identified early and we stop at nothing to get them. Both Ozil and Sanchez were bought because they were available for modest money at the last minute. Ozil was on the way to Untied until the eleventh hour when the deal collapsed; neither one is suitable for our club and should be sold this summer. Attitude and application are poor. Not fit to wear the shirt, indeed. Dead wood should be moved on quickly and replaced – with our finances we can afford several world class players in the first team at any one time. We’ve had that already with Henry, Denis etc. and we’re making huge profits in comparison. Walcott, Ramsey, Ox etc have stagnated and their time should be up NOW.

    2/ We haven’t replaced David Dein. This is a HUGE problem. (See above)

    3/ There is an as-yet unidentified problem with the motivational abilities of Arsene Wenger and his team. The contract mystery over Ozil, Sanchez and Wenger himself is a pitiful excuse for these players to be uncoordinated, apathetic and lacking in competitive spirit. Some of the football played last night was attractive and free flowing, but one particular incident sticks in my mind: midway through the second half as Palace built an attack four players lined up across our area, all waiting for the ball to arrive; nobody talking, organising, shouting or showing any kind of team-awareness. Players jog half-pace when they should be sprinting to break up play, heads go down and hands go on hips, there’s walking about and staring into space when the other team has possession. There’s no fire or anger or players willing to get in each others faces and coat each other off. It’s like your local church team playing the boy scouts for charity. Sterile, sterile Arsenal. The only people now showing some spirit and fight are the fans. Good on them. There’s an attitude problem at Arsenal, and, like every business, it starts from the top.

  • Alex

    @ jammy j
    I believe your mind is jammed and reflect your name or nickname.

    No one had inside information dude.No one.
    Counter my opinion with your EVIDENCE if you have so.
    But you are brutally brain washed anything said in regard Le Prof make you go crazy.

    Relax le prof is gone or his days are numbered.

    Support atsenal .

  • MickHazel

    Alex
    ‘Now if you know things work otherwise tell us or enlighten us.’
    No I do not know otherwise which is why I do not make unsubstantiated comments like Wenger is a dictator. You admit you don’t know how the club operates and organizes its day to day running as well so what are your ‘dictator’ comments based on then. Certainly not fact.

  • Polo

    @ Alex, dictator? Have you heard what most of his ex-players who no longer under his control think of him? Majority of them have only kind words, why? Because he treat them as human beings not a commodity, so most respect him. On your comment, ‘sure no player is recruited that he can challenge his methods’ how do you know this? Unless you are involve with the team training, which I highly doubt. My understanding from reading many articles and books on AW is that he allow his players to have the freedom to play as they see fit, meaning he allow them to self develop on the field instead of being robots, doing drills after drills. Reason for this is he believe that circumstances change constantly in a football match, therefore the players need to develop their thinking process to adapt with the changing circumstances. Similar to a martial arts master teaching his pupils the techniques, the tactics, the knowledge but it’s up to the pupil to decide on how to use that knowledge to solve and win the battle.

  • Jojo

    Tony, this is going to be a long one, but hopefully some here think through what I’m about to write.

    The word “just” in the title, I respectfully think, is misleading. I don’t think there’s a Gooner out there who wants change and thinks “just” changing the manager is all that needs to be done or a magical solution to everything (I’ll explain further on). Likewise when a much larger majority still supported Wenger but wanted HIM to change (not to be changed-out), it wasn’t “just” about spending money as conveniently caricatured (rather also things like tactics, player recruitment changes, substitution patterns, injury management etc.). I get it, it’s easier and more convenient to caricature those with a different view than spend time listening to their views, their often many diverse views.

    Anyway to the premise of the article, a few things to think about. As Gooners we have hung on to this notion of stability and consistency (some cling to it way too hard in IMO) as almost the most important factor in running a football club, especially managerial stability and consistency. This notion becomes IMO, especially problematic, when it’s wrapped up almost entirely in one person.

    But if you look at several examples around football, personally, I think the view of that kind of stability at all costs, doesn’t really/regularly have the real world results to support it.

    What’s, in my opinion, far more important is: stability of system/structure/culture; delegation of football and operational duties/decisions; and, a variety of football minds with decision making power within the hierarchy of the club. In doing so, the manager (while still of course very important) becomes less singularly important, and the club is able to adapt to, and be resilient to change more easily. I’ll submit a few examples.

    At the top of the table, one needs to look no further than Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus and Bayern Munich. All of these clubs have changed managers quite regularly and have won lots, not only in the domestic leagues which they of course have the resources to dominate, but also in Europe (or in the case of Juve, while not winning the CL, maintained an excellent standard in Europe compared to clubs with more money). All of these clubs have structures that ensure they can be more resilient to managerial changes, as they have a dissemination of football, player personnel and operational decisions and duties. Be it from more hands-on ownership/leadership, various directors/VPs within their hierarchy with decision making powers, decision making committees (such as transfer committees) etc.

    Now am I saying that we must have a meddler like Florentino Perez? No. However, one cannot argue against these clubs having structures/cultures that ensure the system of the club can continue at a relatively high level with relatively regular managerial change. It also helps that some of these clubs have had football men (forgive the cliché) like the Nedveds, Rummenigges, and others who have come in and out, in positions that help to drive football operations and decisions. These clubs collectively have had a lot of managerial change in just the last 5, 6 years and between them still have multiple Champions League titles, not to mention domestic honors.

    But setting the financially elite aside. Teams like Dortmund (while not having as much regular managerial change as the rest) has negotiated a big managerial change while maintaining a relatively high standard, thanks in part to their structure and having club legends like Michael Zorc in director positions. Sevilla, another, has won 5 Europa Leagues/Uefa cups over the last decade while negotiating at least a half dozen managerial changes. Like with many of these clubs who negotiate regular managerial change, they also have football minds, (and a former club stalwart) like Monchi in a football director position charged over those years in scouting outside of Spain and developing a productive academy.

    But even further down the football pecking order are clubs like Southampton, who also have, over the last 5,6 years, successfully negotiated regular managerial turnover, and have maintained an excellent standard (relative to their resources and player turnover) and playing identity (to some extent) despite their inability to hold onto managers who use them as a stepping stone; and, routine turnover of their key players, thanks in large part to a culture and system of good youth development, excellent scouting, and more that helps to ensure that they can better negotiate routine managerial change.

    Then there is Chelsea, yes they have a deep pocketed owner (although their model has become more and more revenue driven and independently sustaining) but maybe we have to shift away from the thinking that ANY involvement from an owner in football matters is automatically and always a negative. And I will quickly disclaim that I don’t want an extreme situation like Chelsea who have had what? Some 8 or 9 managers in a similar amount of years? But they also have a ton of trophies in that time, including the premier league, Champions and Europa leagues with a lot of growth in their global brand to boot. Their situation is an extreme, but the point is they also add to a wide variety (wealth, location, structure) of clubs who manage to successfully negotiate regular managerial change with lots to show for it.

    The thought here seems to be (forgive me if I’m wrong) that regular managerial change is always, and can only result in a negative. Personally, I think 5-7 year cycles, max, are ideal for today’s rapidly and constantly changing football landscape. But that’s a discussion for another day.

    Routine refreshing doesn’t have to be looked at as a negative but maybe a smart way of operating. I know that’s counter-intuitive to many AFC supporters, but maybe it’s time to open one’s mind to different things?

    We have created a huge dependence on ONE person, wherein so many (others may argue far too many) of the club’s operations, are wrapped up seemingly, entirely in him. To the point now where we are effectively paralyzed until he makes a decision, with seemingly no structure and dissemination of powers and decision making to take that decision away from him. Is that really a healthy situation?

    And after 21 years, are labels of fan impatience really fair?

    Personally I think said dependence on once person may not be healthy, and structurally it makes it harder to negotiate managerial change here. Hence so many gripped with fear IMO, at the thought of simply, well, change.

    To be crystal clear, I’m not necessarily endorsing any of the aforementioned clubs’ respective models, but rather simply showing, that well yes, managerial turnover, even relatively frequent turnover, can be managed while maintaining a relatively high standard over time and even achieving a lot of success. The manager is important, but needs to be much less important than the overall club structure.

    So now to the “beware what you wish for” thought, constantly referencing Manchester United as the example for not changing. To me, that was simply a bad appointment in Moyes.
    Which is NOT hindsight, but rather overwhelmingly most thought it was a poor appointment AT the time. Moyes did himself no favors either by hastily getting rid of all the backroom staff etc., which was a key part of that regular winning structure/culture at United and would have helped in transition. It also shows the nonsense of letting a manager (no matter how great like Ferguson) hand-picking his successor. Hopefully whenever Wenger’s time comes, he isn’t allowed to do that. Yet despite how we laughed at United, and on their 3rd manager in a few years now – they’ve still won (at least) two trophies so far, and look a good shot to qualify for the CL. Yes they spend a lot of money, but it’s theirs to spend, they arguably make more than any other club out there.

    To wrap this up, maybe it’s time to think of stability differently, and in thinking of stability, shift more towards the club structure and its various parts, and away from an overwhelming amount of stability being dependent on one person.

  • Sid

    Not so sure that Wenger is a dictator – rather he is omnipotent ……..

  • Pat

    Well put, Polo.

  • Alex

    @Polo

    No one can deny we are going throu turbulent time.Footballers the one really hurted for not winning get ungry even at times fight each other.Here rather the tiepid …oh we let the fan down…tweet i did not witness anything to make me thing otherwise.Player/winners start questioning methods and tactics applied.I do not see or hear anything.To me is becoming acceptable mediocrity.

    Who recruit this players to accept mediocrity .Him Le prof.

    Mourinho and Guardiola they had a fall out with doctors and Physios.Here at arsenal important players every single season miss the entire season and Le prof does nothing .No one is accountable.
    This season alone for the shambles of Santi the only mudfielder that can retain the ball get missed for the entire season and no one questions or vents his anger at the doc or physio.
    Who is recruiting them ?
    The judgement of their ability is second first is loyalty abd that is clear indication of ….yes dictators.

    The stupid question people ask that one has to be in the training ground to say this is just excuse to defend the indefensible.
    This is what i sense and believe if you got different view tell us or enlighten us .

    One thing for sure Le Prof is beyond any doubt that he is finished as an elite football manager.

    Ciao

  • Norman14

    We’ll never know if Wenger + Dein + Usmanov would have worked, because it wasn’t allowed to happen.

    As to the current situation – if Red & White were allowed to invest £250 million in the squad, we would then perhaps know if being cash rich would work or not. Regardless of who the Manager is.

    My take on things is that Invisible Man, sorry, Ivan Gazidis, wants to change the structure of the football club, but whilst Arsene insists on doing everything, the Board are not willing to facilitate those changes.

    That puts the onus on the Board, and if they won’t back their CEO, and the owner won’t step in, then we are probably headed in the same direction as Newcastle.

    It doesn’t bear thinking about!

  • Stevo

    Alex
    Who are these “yes” men and how do you know. One name would be good but all these names could change the way we will think about our club. Don’t include Steve Bould as that would be scratching the veneer only.

  • Georgaki-pyrovolitis

    Some chaps on here have so much patience to debate Alex.

    Why bother? He is ignoring, or probably doesn’t understand the parameters of Untold Arsenal.

  • Flares

    “One thing for sure Le Prof is beyond any doubt that he is finished as an elite football manager.”

    Nonsense. PSG are openly sounding him out about finishing his career in Paris, and Real Madrid have long been admirers; reports still persist that they are interested in taking him there for a couple of seasons if he decides to move on from Arsenal. You’re batshit mental if you don’t think the top European clubs aren’t watching his contract situation very closely. He’s rated extremely highly by the elite managers and his reputation is only being called into question with regards to his staying on too long. He could walk into St Germain right now and win the French league standing on his head – I doubt La Liga would be much of a stretch either, and both those clubs would present a far more realistic chance of winning the CL than he currently does with us.

  • Kamiel

    Protesting governments and banking systems makes sense. Protesting a football club is stupid.

    People act like Arsenal is a nationality or something. You seriously don’t have to be here if you don’t like it. I mean if it’s so hard for you then why stick around?

    Previous uncharted successe is obviously bringing you no joy and complaining isn’t helping. Make it all stop. It’s easier than you think – just think about it: You can sell your season tickets, save some cash, take a holiday, play the sports you like to play and move effortlessly between all the teams that win. You TOO can be a winner!

    Me? I used to throw my toys out the cot every time Arsenal lost. Losing after an entire season unbeaten was difficult after all – I wasn’t used to it. But I’ve since learned to shrug off losses and appreciate victories.

    Losing sucks, of course, but I didn’t play, did I? I didn’t lose a single thing. What was worse was losing my home in the 2008 recession and not being able to pay my fees for Ad school. I had to quit my job a month before getting married and had to raid the little money I had left to pay for the ring. These things REALLY hurt.

    This is what perspective is.

    Bad things happen. If not to this Arsenal regime, then to one of the many that will follow it. Sorry. That’s how life works. Ups and downs. One day that European or league trophy will feel really good.

    But I’m not so naive to reset every season, expect success, or mud. My love for Arsenal will never change come Europa league, or no European footbal, or relagation. I watch like my parents watched at my graduations not even close to the top of my classes. Because I love my club and the sport enough to understand that success is fleeting and must savoured.

    It’s only the rest of your entire fucking life that you have to wait for your football team to achieve things. And some may never ever experience this elation at all.

    I’m lucky enough to be able to say that the team I chose has won stuff. I’m contented by these memories because that’s all any of this is. And an unbeaten season, a couple of doubles, FA Cups out the wazoo, and a 2 European finals, isn’t a bad haul, is it?

    But people can’t abide anything less than perfection every year. I’m assuming their houses are huge, their debt is zero, their fleets of exotic cars are all new, their spouses are beautiful, their kids are all blue-eyed geniuses, and their kin knows no addict nor miscreant.

    No?

    Then live with the fact that the club you yourself chose to support and love, at least for the time being, is well above average. And unlike most other comittments in life, if you don’t like it, you can actually leave.

  • Kamiel

    Apologies for the typos. Never got the hang of touchscreen typing…

  • Polo

    @ Kamiel, well said and thank you for sharing your life experience, I hope everything is all good in your life now.

    @ Alex, I understand you want AW out and I respect that but please think before you post your comments about a man whose win percentage is up there with the current best managers. Changes need to be made but it’s not the manager, it’s the structure of the club, such as the remuneration structure.

  • He is a visionary, his loyalty is to the club, not his ego or yours. This summer football is all change, you’ll see! IWIT

  • Kamiel

    @Polo Yes, it’s much improved since then. Thanks!

    I didn’t mean to overshare of course, but I think Gooners around the world are all in desperate need of some perspective.

    Arsenal is hardly the worst thing about any of our lives. But we act as though it’s everything.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Kamiel – 11/04/2017 at 10:38 pm – Well put. Most of us regulars are probably of the same mind set , and just wish for the best for the Arsenal.

  • MoW

    so changing manager isn’t important? because, what? specific managers aren’t important to success of the club? yet, we can’t change the manager, our Lord Wenger, because he is so important to the club. man, the contradictions on this site are pathological.

    Tony, you are bemused alright. very.

    To be successful you have to be competitive. few thing are as competitive as elite sport. to retain an edge you have to have the best people. that means the best players and the best management. that’s why players come and go. that’s why successful clubs change their managers from time to time. especially when they don’t deliver. the ones that do well stick around. the ones who aren’t up to it don’t last long. just the same as players. just the same as any other project. why are you bemused? people and talent aren’t “incidental” to success. they’re critical.

    and after 20 years of the same coach which, by the way, is practically unheard of in elite sport, or any other walk of life (few successful business keep the same CEO for 20 years, few successful countries keep the same leader for 20 years) don’t you think it’s finally okay to change manager?

    why are you bemused?

    would you still prefer graham to manager the club? is that your logic? if so you are not a real fan, but a very confused and bemused person. seek help.

    thanks.

  • porter

    Best reason for changing the manager is a fresh outlook on the way we play. Our possession game whilst easy on the eye doesn’t work and hasn’t done for some time.

  • Morita speaks Content and Premier League, paving the way for Aubamayang sale? Offset additional cost, viable they could get December Gea, Hazard, Lapworth and Aubamayang in one go. Morita will be make weight for Hazard. Naval will dent December Geary fee.

    That would give us shot at that top scoring toffees, who is under Henry’s tutelage which seems to be helping already.

    Nothing wrong with the manager, quality is lacking, so our passing game is off, plus disruptive anti-football tactics as witnessed by Palace to some extend, Bromley also got us.

    Someone cited City, both goals were clearly offside. We are missing our majestic and key creative central midfielder, and his deputy is on loan after reading a long lay off and a loss of determination and focus,

    Montreal died legalise similarly to Zabeleta and Gibbons is being protected.

    We integrated and bought a box to box and deep lying playmaker but not a defensive midfielder, 32m for Kate was too much, but waiting for the overspends will pay dividends.

    BAYERN CRUISING AGAINST Real.

  • Jammy J

    @ Alex – My mind is jammed? Based off the fact that I ask you to provide evidence of Wenger being a dictator? Right..

    Did you honestly just ask me to provide evidence of something that doesn’t exist? You are the one that made the claim, so the burden of proof is on your shoulders, not mine. Can you provide evidence that there isn’t an invisible spaghetti monster floating in the sky? No? Well, then I guess that means that there must be one up there then!

    You said yourself that you have absolutely no evidence that Wenger is a dictator or that he is surrounded by yes man, yet you make those claims and believe them as if they are bonafide fact and me questioning that means that I am brainwashed by Wenger? What complete and utter rubbish you are typing..