- Being a visionary is not as easy as it looks
- Fifa appeals to Swiss courts against Court of Arbitration in Sport ruling
By Tony Attwood
The consequence of building a stadium was for Arsenal difficulty in repeating the period of Arsene Wenger’s greatest success, The problem for Tottenham with having built the stadium is that it was a more ambitious project which has failed so far to find a sponsor, built for a club that had not been having nearly so much success – and there was no previous success to build on.
Add to that Arsenal also had the benefit of one manager providing continuity. Tottenham have had 12 permanent managers this century (Arsenal 3) and five caretakers (Arsenal 1).
But hidden behind these figures is the fact that if we look at Tottenham’s managers with the highest win percentage only one of those three is a 21st century manager.
|Rank||Manager||Years||games Managed||Won||Win %|
|Rank||Manager||Years||games Managed||Won||Win %|
The fact is that Arsenal’s three most successful managers in terms of win percentages are the last three full-time managers, suggesting Arsenal are currently at a high point in their history. For Tottenham the three most successful managers all managed under 100 games, one was from the 19th century, one did the first season after the second world war, and just one was a 21st-century manager.
Indeed the sacking of Villas Boas came after what was called in the media at the time a “humiliating home defeat” They were seventh in the league at the time – a fact that makes an interesting comparison with Arteta who took Arsenal down to 15th before achieving the remarkable rise up the league as we have so often noted on these pages (see Key Data Tables 2020/21)
And now with Tottenham seemingly searching for their 12th permanent manager of the 21st century, the media is getting interested. Indeed the Telegraph alone has four articles on the theme today:
So given they are our near neighbours we might be forgiven for giving a little space up, not to laugh at Tottenham’s misfortune, but rather to ask, what is it that Tottenham get wrong and Arsenal get right?
It seems to me (and obviously I look at the situation with Arsenal-orientated visions) Tottenham are a club who don’t win things (except the League cup in 2008) but who think they should be winning things. So although it is true that many Arsenal fans got fed up with the run of third and fourth positions as the club paid off its stadium building debts, there were others who felt that a stream of third and fourths was a damn site better than mid-table obscurity from 1973 to 1986.
And the fact is that most clubs don’t win things most of the time – while those that do (Liverpool is a prime example) generally come unstuck in the end.
Yet Tottenham seem to have fallen into that trap of finding something that doesn’t work (like sacking the manager) and then doing it again and again in the vague belief that it might work next time. “Daniel Levy, the Tottenham chairman over the past 20 years, has hired 10 permanent coaches, who, between them, have won 61 trophies before and after managing Spurs.
“Sadly, the combined total of trophies those same coaches managed to win with Tottenham remains at just one – the 2008 League Cup – and this will finish as another trophyless season for the club no matter who is in charge at the end of it.” (The Telegraph).
But there is a little more to it than this: for if every time there is a failure to achieve the demanded results the club sacks the manager, that means it is never having a chance to build a team around a manager’s vision and get them to flourish. Each new manager comes to a club that has spent its budget.
Plus there is the fact that if players are at a club where they know the manager is going to be sacked soon, why should they put in all the extra effort for a man who is not going to last? They know nothing is going to be won, so let’s just hold on, see who the new guy is, and then be transferred out at his request, and so pick up another huge signing-on fee.
In that sort of scenario the players start to hold the power. At Arsenal on the other hand there was no feeling that this was happening under Wenger. Under Emery it is harder to say what happened because he was sacked during his first and only bad run, but we know for sure that with Arteta at the helm, Arteta is running the show. We only have to think of Aubameyang and Ozil to see who took control.
Of course, I don’t know if it is strictly true that as the Telegraph says, “Mauricio Pochettino briefly bucked the trend of the dressing room holding all the power, but when results dipped after the Champions League final, Levy eventually opted to do what he has always done – replace the coach and allow the players to dictate the culture,” but that is certainly what it looks like at Tottenham.
And if that is true, why does Levy allow the problem to continue? Presumably because like most very rich and powerful men, he believes in himself too much.
Of course some clubs can win trophies while constantly changing their managers: Chelsea is an example. But in the end that policy will crumble and not produce results: again Chelsea is an example.
Under Arteta Arsenal have finished 8th, 8th and 5th. And he’s still there. Tottenham have finished 6th, 7th and 4th – which is better throughout and have had Mourinho, Espirito Santo and Conte as managers. But this season Arsenal will finish first or second, and Tottenham will finish fourth or fifth (given that Newcastle have two games in hand) and change managers again.
Maybe that shows that ultimately a club really does have to have faith in someone.
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