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July 2021

Changing long serving managers : a case study

By Walter Broeckx

Speculation is around that Wenger has agreed to sign another extension to his contract for another 3 years.  Now it is needless to say that if this would be the case, Untold Arsenal would be a place where a wild celebration might take place. I heard Tony has ordered a lot of crates with champagne just in case and just to be sure that we can start celebrating immediately when the news is announced.

News that might include also that a few players will have signed a new contract. Our Big F****** German one of the players mentioned. And also Rosicky has been mentioned. In fact the only player they are waiting for to make it a big announcement would be Sagna. The right back has been talking with Arsenal but it is no secret that a French club wants him. And that French club has loads of money. More money than Arsenal anyway.

And so we might worry a bit about Sagna staying. I would feel very sad if Bacary leaves the Arsenal. For all those years he has been a very loyal servant of our club. Solid and hard working. Named in a few teams of the year as right back and I think he is the best right back in English football over the last years. Just over a year ago he was one of the victims of the evil spirited people who call themselves supporters without really supporting.

After having suffered from two broken legs in one year Sagna had some troubles to find his rhythm again. And as usual when you misplace one pass or make one mistake the bloodhounds are out to get you and they try to shred you to pieces. If it had been up to them Sagna would have been given away for free as another useless player to have worn the shirt. He was another Ramsey at that time.

But just as with Ramsey, Sagna has shown that once completely fit and recovered he is one hell of a player at right back. He is one of the important pieces of us not conceding many goals. And as he has shown at the start of the season he can fill in at the heart of the defence when needed because of injuries to other central defenders. So I hope that Bac will sign another contract at Arsenal. I think his replacements are not completely ready yet. Jenkinson or Bellerin will take his place but if it was down to me not for this season and the next if possible.

But back to the main man: Wenger. There will be lots of gnashing teeth among some fans if he stays. The ones that have started hating him (as they seem to have the need to hate someone, anyone, all the time) will be very upset. While we drink champagne they will cry in their dark rooms and hope again that we will not win a game and they can demand the head of Wenger on a plate as he has no clue, doesn’t do tactics, doesn’t allow Bould to sort out the defence, is a stubborn French (has to be mentioned) **** who always dithers in the transfer market and with whom we will never ever compete.

Silent as they might be for the moment they will come back at the first sign of trouble. Don’t worry.

Replacing a long serving manager is difficult. And in a way it is not a very good idea to do so. If we look at the PL era we see that the most successful managers in that period were managers that were given time by their clubs. Ferguson was having a terrible start at Manchester United but their board gave him the time as they new it would be a long term project. Just as the Arsenal board has given Wenger time in our long term project.

With the departure of Ferguson at United we have a nice case study on what it can do to a club to change a manager after so many years. And then to think that those who wanted Wenger out have been suggesting to give the Arsenal job to David Moyes. Moyes who was far better than Wenger they said. I bet they feel pretty smart at this moment. After having seen Moyes taking the same squad that won the league with some 11 points more than the team that came second to now being 14 points behind the league leaders. League leaders that is Arsenal by the way in case you hadn’t noticed.

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But this case study shows how long it takes to take a club from being top to being almost a mid table team. It only takes you some 6 months to do the job. Building up a mid table team to a top team takes you longer. If you look at how long it took City and Chelsea to become the power they are now you will notice that it took Chelsea 1 or 2 years but for City it took them 3 to 4 years of spending like crazy. Doing it the other way round seems easier.

Is there anyone out there who wants Wenger out who still wants Moyes to take over? What is happening to Manchester United is what the pundits have been predicting what would happened to Arsenal for the last 6 or 7 years at the start of each season. The fact that we still finished in the top 4 each time was laughed away by some. But I think that many Manchester United supporter today would love to finish 4th and they might even celebrate it after seeing the position they find themselves today.

This could have happened to us not just in the pundits’ minds but in reality if the board of Arsenal had listened to those who shouted “Wenger out”. And who shouted that we should give Moyes the job. Or (how is it possible) to Arry and his dog. Can you remember even Sam being called a better manager?  I bet they feel very smart these days.

Untold Arsenal has always backed players and manager as much as we can. In his press conference Wenger said that there is a moment of making the decision and that there is a moment of announcing the decision. To be honest I would love to hear the decision as soon as possible.

If the rumours are true that Wenger will spend another 3 years at Arsenal I will be a relieved supporter of Arsenal. I will know then that we will have another 3 years of teams competing (and certainly with our higher spending power). If not and just thinking of that possibility sends shivers down my spine I will prepare myself for life after Wenger. And I will lower my ambitions for the next years. I will support the club and the players as ever. But I will hold my breath and fear the worst.

But then maybe the difference between Ferguson and Wenger will become completely visible. Because I think Ferguson gambled completely on winning the 20th title for United and then left the squad incomplete (mostly too old). I think Wenger will not allow such things. And by the way he has assembled players and made sure that the next generation is ready to start taking the places of players that are getting older I just think that he will do all he can to keep us near the top.

As this is where Wenger stands out compared to others who only look at the short success for themselves. Wenger loves Arsenal too much to leave it behind in a bad shape. But when Wenger goes we are not guaranteed anything. Because a new manager can try to destroy the Wenger legacy in 6 months.

But let us just hope that Wenger will sign a new contract. I sure do hope so.

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27 comments to Changing long serving managers : a case study

  • Sammy The Snake

    Walter, Champaign is not my favourite. Please reserve me an ice-cold beer instead! Cheers…

  • bob

    Beautiful homage to Bacary Sagna. And I’m glad you advocate his staying on for two years. As we can afford it, and as he has so much nous to impart to the young, I hope we’d give him 3 years and a high enough rate to give him something to think about. Seems (from meedja leaks, where else) that one key issue is that third year. In my book, he’d still be effectual coming in off the bench and in rotation as high quality ensurance. And he’s earned the right to it, with the broken legs and withstanding lots of aggro attacks. He’s a special athlete and gives it all every time.

  • bob

    “I think Ferguson gambled completely on winning the 20th title for United and then left the squad incomplete (mostly too old).”
    Totally agree. I wish (as a matter of principle and disgust for the Rednose XX) that we would have done everything to refuse to give him RVP. The full story of that will perhaps be found in AW’s memoir. Long may he stay, and that book to be will surely guarantee his comfortable retirement.

  • Naj

    A well thought and well presented article. We shall all celebrate now don’t contemplate his replacement and enjoy this moment. Thank you Mr. Broeckx

  • WalterBroeckx


    We published an article on Untold I think even before halfway the season. It was a fairy tale about SAF calling Wenger and promising him that if Wenger sold him RVP he then would retire.

    Wenger knowing that the ref-influence would then at least go away for a big part agreed with selling RVP.

    It was just a story invented by someone but it might have been true. RVP won him his title, he retired and refs spoke about his influence on them and now he is gone MU seems to not getting much more.

    In a way that article at the time was showing the long term strategy from Wenger compared to the short time strategy from SAF at that moment.

    Come to think of it…it might have been the truth and nothing but the truth… 😉

  • bob

    It’s a good one, that surmise. At least I can have a laugh when that most painful transaction bubbles up. AW as zenmaster (the long-long view – outlasting Don Fungus). Hmmm… Let’s keep the long-term watch on that untold (full) story, as it continues to unfold, while keeping the faith. 🙂

  • Others have their ‘sugar daddies’, we have Arsene Wenger. There is only one Arsene Wenger. He is our best ever signing.

    I hope Sagna signs and Rosicky too. These guys deserve it based on their commitment to the club.

    I don’t drink but I’ll celebrate their putting pen to paper in my own way.

  • bob

    Your posting on Bac and Ros might be the only thing we ever agree on. Something at least. 🙂

  • Mandy Dodd

    The omens are looking good that Wenger will soon sign, hopefully his staff as well – including Bould, Primorac, and whoever is helping Szcz improve so much.
    I would imagine the players will be delighted at him signing – and hopefully as many of them as possible extending contracts.
    Wenger has steered us through some hard times, he deserves his shot at being in charge of what the club are fast becoming

  • WalterBroeckx

    Interesting thing is that our new academy manager has been officially announced on the

    Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger added: “I am very pleased that Andries is joining us. He has a big reputation in the game and was a key part of the team which developed the structures which are now producing such strong young players in Holland. I look forward to working with him.”

    As we know Wenger his contract ends at the end of this season. And as we know that Jonker will start from 1 July.

    Add 1 + 1 = 2. Yes it is.

  • bob,

    Actually we agree on more than that based on many of your other comments that I have read. We started poorly and the negative feelings have lingered. I seldom agree with anyone on everything but I hope that the things that we agree on can at least overcome those that we don’t.

    Here’s to truce and Arsenal winning this league!

    (I still don’t know how I’ll react when (not if) we win the league. It has become a kind of obsession for me 🙂 )

  • Gf60

    Very good article on AW in Positively Arsenal

    Couldn’t agree more on Bacs and Tomas.

  • Mandy Dodd,

    I hope I’m not jinxing it but you might recall my confidence that Arsene will definitely extend his contract. I just can’t see him walking away now that his project is coming together. Besides, the board and Stan have the highest regards for him even if a section of the fans can be disgruntled from time to time. But for those troublemakers at PSG, my confidence would have been close to certainty. I just can’t see Arsene leaving the team at the moment.

    I also believe that by the time that AW leaves, there would be a solid transition that will put our minds at rest. If it wasn’t the plan before, it must be now with the debacle at Old Trafford.

  • Walter,

    Excellent deduction. How can they work together unless their times at the club overlap?

  • bob

    Agreed. And let’s agree to scream with delight on that blessed, hard-earned day. 🙂

  • Am always happy when hard work is been rewarded, pray Bac & Ros will b given new contract. Will b glad 2 see Wenger also sign new contract that will give the likes of Ramsey,Jack,Gibbs,Ox,Gnaby,Sanogo nd the up coming guys the freedom 2 play there Football nd improve knowing that the chances is there for them in Hands of Wenger if they can step up there Games.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Hope they all put pen to paper soon and keep the good ship Arsenal FC on course for future success.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Walter , for those who won’t be joining in the toast to them signing , I found just the right thing !

  • AL

    That’d be some very positive news if they all sign. I think Ros And Bac will get their contract extensions as AW looks like he doesn’t want to unbalance the team at the moment. Well, think he’s already confirmed Rosicky will be here next season. We need our good old trusted generals around to show the up and coming youngsters the ropes.

  • Ben

    Another thing, Ozil said he hopes Wenger will sign as he was the reason he joined Arsenal after speaking to him on the phone.
    I dont think Wenger will do a SAF and disappear after signing an outstanding player like Ozil and spent all that time convincing him to come over.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Apples are to doctors as garlic are to vampires ?

  • OlegYch

    Any idea where would Liam Brady go or why was he replaced?

  • Mandy Dodd

    Yes, remember your comments and Think you are right Bootoomee, the OT debacle must be avoided. Wonder if Sb is being groomed to one day take over…if he wants to of course to keep continuity….but hopefully nothing like that to worry about for a few years. But as I say, if we keep Wenger, we keep the wonderful coaching staff as well…they also deserve some of the credit. I don’t want to get into the bould wenger debate, but Boulds stock must be at an all time high, then there is boro primorac who has worked alongside wenger from day 1. Many will celebrate ..when…and surely when is the case…the announcement is made.
    Olegych….not sure about Brady…a lot of crap out there….but…maybe he is just retiring? If so, hope this legend has a long and happy retirement, but would guess there would be work to do as an ambassador for the club?

  • Pete

    Re Man Utd.

    To finish 4th they need to overcome two teams 6 points ahead and one team 5 points ahead. There are 16 games left. They would have a fair chance of overhauling one team (one only has to look at last season…) but only a very slim chance of overhauling three. Perhaps only a 10% chance of making it? As for the League title – about 0.2%?

    For the same reason, it must now be almost impossible for any team outside the top 3 to win the League.

  • Linz

    Brady is going because the Academy is in a real mess and was very nearly stripped of its first class status which would have seriously affected the recruitment of top quality youngsters in the future.The coaches are not up to the job and all in all the situation does not look good on the club at all.Brady was basically given a leave or be pushed ultimatum.I believe that he will be found another role within the club if he wants one.Check AFC Academy on twitter for all academy info/gossip.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Indeed Pete,
    we did this job in the past but then had to overcome one team 😉 But MU has to overcome 3 teams well in front of them.
    Looking at the league table now…I wouldn’t mind it being the final table to be honest. Maybe for the sake of it let Everton take that 4th spot from Liverpool. Then again no Liverpool and Spurs in the CL. That would be really funny.
    And it would mean that MU has not European football at all unless they win the league cup and have to play qualifying rounds (even 2 I think) That would mess up their pre-season a lot and with the world cup in the summer…

  • Nelson Wong

    Arsene’s span is still a few years short compare to Ferguson’s. I really like to see Arsene stay that long, or even longer. That way we can see what each brings to the club in a more fair basis. At the very least, let’s hope Arsene stays a few more years so he can manage a team with the full financial power avaiable instead of having his hands tided and mocked by others fighting in such circumstance.

    It is a bit hard to catch up with Man U’s record especially with one or two trophies in the European theather. Whenever he decides to leave, Arsene will leave Arsenal with a special gift in the form of a new stadium. Not only did he took part in planning, he helped finance the project by reducing transfer cost and keeping performance at a good level so that sponsorship, ticket money and prize money keep coming in.

    In a way, I also want to see Arsene manage one of the “rich guys” after he leaves Arsenal. I want him to show how good he is with that sort of money. On the other hand, we would be happy to see him retire at Arseal with great result and full honour.