By Tony Attwood
There are, we know, some people around who want Arsenal to lose matches so that the board are forced to refrain from offering Mr Wenger a new job.
But it struck me the other day that even for the most hardened anti-Wengerian pro-aaa pro-AAA person there must be a limit somewhere. Someone who is disliked so much that he or she would just say, no, if that is going to be the new manager, I’ll stick with Mr Wenger.
When I have tried this argument out I have on occasion had the “anyone but Wenger” reply back, but today TalkSprout have come up with someone that might, just might, spook all but the totally bonkers.
Now we all know that many a footballer can’t make it as a manager no matter what they try. Paul Merson had a go with Walsall I recall, Paul Gasgoigne tried it with what was at the time one of my local teams: Kettering. (Kettering were then kicked out of their stadium, although the old ground is still standing there, rotting, a testament to the lunacy of a previous owner). (Actually Mr G now lives in Poole, and I live in constant fear that one day he might get to manage another team that I have a soft spot for – having lived there for eight years.)
But occasionally an ex-footballer can make a manager. It is just the case of whether you would want to take the risk.
Sir Bobby Charlton for example managed Preston in somewhat disastrous circumstances as well as Oxford City, where he had the chirpy chappie Arry Redknapp as he sidekick. That’s Arry who also lives in Poole. I wonder how he gets on with Mr Gasgoigne – although I see Mr Redknapp moved out this week.
Anyway back with the football I can’t find any record of what happened to Oxford City under this interesting leadership.
Elsewhere, but following the same strand, Alan Shearer got one win in eight at Newcastle where he was hailed upon arrival as a saviour.
Of course it is easy to laugh at players without managerial pedigree coming into a club but sometimes men who have success then come to believe in themselves that little bit too much. Take Paul “The Governor” Ince who did ok at Macclesfield and MK Dons. But then he was a disaster at Blackpool, MK Dons again, Notts County and Blackpool.
Tony Adams has actually been mentioned as a manager of Arsenal and is indeed temporarily back in management again after not doing too well at Wycombe and Portsmouth before coaching Gabala FC in Azerbaijan, later becoming the club’s sporting director. But to be fair to him, he has said it would be a miracle if he stops his team being relegated.
He is now vice-president of the Chinese company DDMC, which owns Granada and the Chinese club Chongqinq Lifan. DDMC is about to buy two more clubs, one of which seems to be in Belgium and one in England. Its intention is to then add a fifth.
Of course lurking in this list is another manager that might not be totally welcomed at Arsenal as manager – Arry Imself who has just taken over at Birmingham City. We have no news of his dog.
There are of course many more managers who probably now leave the fact that they ever were managers off their cv. People like Nigel Worthington (at Norwich), John Carver (Newcastle), Ian Dowie (Palace and Charlton), Brian Laws (Burnley)… the list goes on and on.
Arsenal of course have not been immune. Leslie Knighton was a disaster who wasn’t so much waiting to happen but was actually happening. Twenty years later he had the almighty cheek to publish an autobiography which claimed none of it was his fault and made up total porkies about the club in his day, which lots of people still believe. You can add George Swindin and Billy Wright to that list of not so good Arsenal managers too.
The problem I suppose, is the job. I sometimes wonder if it is a bit harder than it looks.