The onslaught of the media-inspired denigration of Wenger’s 11th FA Cup and his supposed 4th place ¨trophy¨ ambitions has prompted me to analyze the real differences between a professional football manager and the AAA couch-potato variety we often have the misfortune to see on UA. By the way a couch-potato, if you are unfamiliar with the term is someone who spends their time watching sporting or other events from the security and comfort of their couch, but usually isn’t to be found in any of the real action.

Lets start with a shortlist of qualities an actual professional football team manager should have to succeed, as Wenger has, over his 34 year career:

1) Professional Football experience – while not necessary for a successful manager, it helps to have played the game at a high level and to understand what demands and pressure a pro athlete is subject to.  Many of the best managers have been former pro players, many have not. Wenger was never a great success as a player but his credibility is certainly enhanced when he can do what his players try to learn.

2) Management training – It is only fairly recently that British managers and coaches have had to obtain an FA coaching badge, as far as I know. However the coaching badge is a technical certification which does not emphasize the non-technical day-to-day management and administration of a club. That skill is learnt over a period of decades, as a neophyte manager begins, often by trial and error, to improve his understanding of management and the game. Wenger certainly has considerable skills built up in this area.

3) Economic and financial expertise – Most professional clubs have employees and/or board members who possess the required financial background to ensure that the Club’s economic and financial decisions are well made. Ivan Gazidis is a good example at AFC. This skill is not necessary to be a pro manager but, like professional playing experience, is an added benefit if the manager is a capable head with figures and economics. Wenger definitely has this skill, and unlike Redknapp, whose dog has more than him, uses this to ensure that his decisions are grounded in financial reality.

4) Excellent judgement and integrity – For me, this is the core of being a great manager. If a manager cannot inspire confidence and security in those who work with and for him, then it is almost inevitable that there will be friction, mistrust and ultimately negative vibes across the club. Wenger is the epitome of sound judgement and integrity,,,that cannot be said of certain other managers.

5) Sound player potential assessment skills – 1.  We all hear our minority of witless plastic fanboys lamenting the ¨fact¨ that Wenger has so often ¨failed¨ in the transfer market as compared to their folk-heroes like Moanhino, Klopp, Simeone etc. My answer to that is : Henry, Pires, Viera, Ramsey, RVP, Cesc, Szcesny, Koscielny, Nasri, Per, Sagna, Ozil, Cazorla, the Ox, etc,etc,etc……if anyone has shown the other managers how to do it properly, it is him. He is the acknowledged guru when it comes to finding diamonds in the rough, that are affordable and reliable.

6) Sound player potential assessment skills – 2.   No manager can succeed for long without displaying some loyalty and commitment to his employer and his employees. Moanhino is a case in point. He flits from club to club and is perceived as a ¨specialist in career management¨ but not loyalty or integrity. Wenger, as we all know, is far superior to ordinary loyalty and  commitment. Many of our aforementioned plastic fanboys lament and bemoan his protecting ¨deadwood, players unworthy of the shirt, ‘failures’, losers, injured or unstable team members,¨ etc. What they ignore is that he has built up such a rapport with his charges that they break down when talking about him and KNOW he will always have their backs. This is priceless and impossible to replicate with another manager.

7) Personal pride and dignity – Too many managers display rather awkward character traits (or lack thereof) in their dealings with the media, other managers, players and other stakeholders in Football. Wenger is the epitome of a restrained but justifiable pride in his team and club, dignity when faced with constant criticism and negativism from all quarters inside or outside the club and a certain elegance in victory or defeat that transcends the ordinary.

Now lets compare (on a scale of 0-10) Wenger with the couch-potato managers spawned by the AAA swamp, with regards to these Football management requirements:


1) Professional football experience    

Wenger 9              Potato 1

2) Management training       

Wenger 10             Potato 1

3) Economic and financial expertise

Wenger 10             Potato 1

4) Excellent judgement and integrity  

Wenger 10             Potato 0

5) Sound player potential assessment – 1

Wenger 10             Potato -1

6) Sound player potential assessment-2

Wenger 10             Potato -2

7) Personal pride and dignity  

Wenger 10             Potato 1


We could continue but my point is that those self-inflated egos pretending to replace Wenger’s nous with their delusional and pitifully inadequate managerial ¨advice¨ are basically swamp gas filled clowns that, like the gas they ingested, dissipate with the light of reality. By the way I credited some of them with minimal skills or knowledge because, who knows, they may have actually played serious football, studied management or finance/economics or taken sports science courses or even hold an Fa coaching badge at an amateur level. The amusing thing is that people who actually know about football rarely make definitive and arrogant statements about managing. At least NOT on UA!

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  1. Don,

    Now that you have done this, be ready for a shit-storm of indignation and push back from our keyboard expert football managers.

  2. But wasn’t it ever so! I’ll admit to being guilty of most of the second list most of the time, and probably will continue as a C-PM. Funny though, I’ve never played the Premiership Manager game as I find it far to difficult.

  3. I think you should have added another field, Wenger’s total doesn’t have good connotations. Or perhaps the score has to be given in percent? Wenger scores 98.6%.

    I would never be a football manager because of having autism. My estimated score is 24.3%. I suppose there will be a tendency for all applicants to overestimate their score.

  4. Not enough coffee today. The easiest way to convert to a percent, is to shift the 1-10 score by 1 (0-9) and add. Counting properly, and depressing one score, I will revise that score as 12.9%.

  5. Arsene’s score of 98.6 has been pipped by my own score of 99.1.
    As I sit, fairly upright, on my well-worn couch (formerly called a settee) I simply cannot understand why Peter (and now Chips) haven’t called for me to run the show at the Emirates. They have my couch’s ‘phone number.
    For a start, not many know this but Arsene works on French time, which is an hour ahead of British and this plays havoc with the players’ watches and time-keeping. He has the key and opens up Colney before the cleaners even arrive. Then he leaves training an hour before everyone else and has yet to see the second half of ANY game throughout the season.
    I may be giving away secrets here but to me, managing Arsenal from my couch is the simplest thing in the world.
    Firstly, I would ban all Belgians from English football and confine them to their own country to make chips, chocolate and beer. In this way all our refs would not have to suffer unfair scrutiny over their decisions. I would see that they each received a fergie-hamper every Christmas and Arsenal would be injury free for ever and ever (no more need for shin guards). No more red or yellow cards against us and the award of penalties in our favour will be guaranteed.
    I can’t wait for that call…..

  6. Ring ring.

    Hello, is Nicky there? Could you tell him that Ralph Krueger is calling.

    Ring ring.

    Hello, is Nicky there? Could you tell him Mike Ashley is calling.

    Ring ring.

    Hello, is Nicky there? Could you tell him Tony Fernandes is calling.

    Ring ring.

    Hello, is Nicky there? This is Neuhaus of Belgium calling. We don’t want any footballers, they keeping trying to use their feet to make the pralines. We want Olympic wrestlers.

    Ring ring.

    Hello, is Nicky there? This is Cantillon of Anderlecht calling. We don’t mind footballers working here, but no athletes foot. It overpowers the wild yeast used to make kriek.

  7. Gord,
    You should be ashamed to ridicule an old man. You will be old yourself one day.
    (I got all excited to start with….. and that doesn’t happen very often now) 🙂

  8. I gather I am not quite as old as you, but I am not a spring chicken either. I am close to Walter’s age I believe (mid 50’s).

    I have no doubt you would make a far better manager than I would Nicky.

    1/7 = 0.142857 142857 142857 …

    1/70 = 0.0 142857 142857 142857 …

    100 – 1.42857 142857 142857 … = 98.57 142857 142857 142857 …

  9. oooh 10s…

    But can Wenger beat my 1000+ hours in Football manager since FM 2007????!?

  10. How do we pick this up?

    If a person was to look for another goaltender, my thoughts would be to look at teams which let a lot of shots end up on target, and then look at save percentage.

    So, I made a visit to, and while they will feed you statistics, they have nothing with the above point of view. So, where does one go? How would you scout the lower leagues for goalkeepers?

  11. Don – It is implicit in some of your categories, but you don’t explicitly talk about developmental quality: how to improve players. Wenger is absolutely peerless in this.

  12. Looking for data about possible goalkeepers to come in, it is apparent that nearly all the academy players that are not being kept at Arsenal, leave on free transfers.

    This has to be a policy of Arsene Wenger’s? Reading about other young players, there are often “sell on” clauses in the contract. By releasing players on a free transfer, I am guessing this breaks the chain of “custody” and stops sell-ons?

    This likely makes it easier for any of these players to find new teams to play for (fewer fees inflating prices), but it would seemingly reduce the flow of cash back to the places where these players first started (if outside Arsenal).

    On a related note, Bendtner is effectively out of contract, which should make it easier for him to find a new team. Except he (apparently) has somewhat inflated wage demands.

  13. Nicky….I was informed by Ivan Gazidis that AFC tried to contact you numerous times but your number was always occupied. I had a police friend of mine check the dates and phone records and he found that you were accessing a number belonging to ¨sweet young things R us¨ each time so I guess your statement:¨I got all excited to start with….. and that doesn’t happen very often now¨ depends on your telephone credits?
    Gord…..any effective scouting network will depend on locals who watch a majority of their teams’ home (and maybe away)games. They belong to a network of people the AFC scouts rely on to ¨tip¨them off about not just keepers but outfield players as well. Where the problem lies is that these ¨scouting assistants¨ don’t always have the training or skills to identify EPL potential players.

  14. Bootoomee


    Now that you have done this, be ready for a shit-storm of indignation and push back from our keyboard expert football managers”

    Not much of a “shit storm of indignation and push back” ,is there ? LOL.
    Not surprising really, after you guys have told all those ” keyboard expert football managers” to fuck off , and banned those who wouldn’t 🙂

  15. Tom

    I think the lack of comments is my fault. I wasn’t meaning to screw things up.

  16. Don,
    I have an extra point for AW as I gave him a 10 for Professional Experience.
    I gave -10 to Potato Couch Manager in every category, the maximal negative mark.

  17. @ Gord – I disagree , its not you fault . May be those said couch potato managers need quite a bit of time to understand and digest such a superior article .Their loss .
    But a very fine piece Don , thanks .
    Gord , you tend to try and clarify and simplify in you own way , but some of us may not be able to see it as clearly .
    My brain would stop functioning at 36-28-36 ! Dry lips and blood flowing southwards and all that !
    Others just chose to be crass and obfuscate the issue out of spite .I’d love to see them being ‘bitch slapped’ !

    ob·fus·cate confuse, bewilder, or stupefy.
    2. to make obscure or unclear: to obfuscate a problem with extraneous information.
    3. to darken.
    1. muddle, perplex.
    2. cloud.

    1. clarify.

  18. Reading Untold, I think I could be the next in line for a call by Mr. Financially Irresponsible Footballing Ignorant Club Owner – which being a Spanish name, of course, should make my phone ring pretty often. Too bad I’m in Seattle.

  19. Most of the commenters here chose to treat this article humorously, which is about what it deserves.

  20. Please do not dis(respect) the Couch managers by calling the AAA that. This is a serious profession that brings a lot of fun to us would be/wanna be/past life managers, and we know we are not taken that seriously.

    Seriously, it’s about emotion and some of us have to release that emotion sometimes.

  21. Tom,

    It is good to know that the annoying keyboard football managers have fucked off (although I am not sure that I am that persuasive). The fact that you are still around here posting your 2-faced disingenuous comments show that your claim about banning people that we disagree with is false. There is no surprise there though; making stuff up and playing the victim is what you do.

    Remember, putting smileys after dickish comments does not make them any less dickish, dick.

  22. @omgarsenal,
    OK Om I’ll come clean. I DID contact “sweet young things R us” but only because I’d been told that the ‘phone number was that of a French patisserie and I fancied some chocolate eclairs.

  23. Never have I enjoyed myself so much on here as I am doing now. Though I had missed quite a few funny banters in the recent past, catching up is not quite the same as “live”.

  24. LRV
    I suppose there have been mostly funny comments on this article, but I don’t think that’s the response the author intended. Still, it has been a bit of a laugh.

  25. Great post Don.

    Which AW? ‘He is well past his prime’….’He is suffering from diminishing returns (he should know that as Economist though)’….’Arsenal need a young, energetic, tactical and motivational manager like..bla bla bla..’ of course like me and krazymunky 10:18pm. :smiley:

    Come to think of it, Football Manager is not all that simple too. You may have loads of cash and yet the players you bid for won’t come. And some matches are so tough that it does not matter how many times you replay them, the best you can get is a draw. You only win such if you alter the opponent’s ability to the minimum and yours to the maximum (That sounds like getting a helping hand from the PIGMOL or something Feggieresque ).

    Well, the AAA still thinks AW has the easiest job in the world. shame on them.


  26. Tom

    And there I was thinking you’d finally had enough of us when out of the blue, like a bad penny, you’re back.

    You say:

    “Not surprising really, after you guys have told all those ” keyboard expert football managers” to fuck off , and banned those who wouldn’t”

    That’s funny, because on the ‘Should we just give up on 4th” Thread I was asking where you where.

    Do you remember posting some rubbish about our injuries being down to our players being ‘over played’ in the small games, specifically mentioning the Cup competitions’?

    Do you remember that?

    Well I took the time to post all the details regarding who did and did not play in each cup game, and you mysteriously disappeared like a rat out of an aqua duct !”

    But that’s what you do isn’t it. Post baseless bull with nothing whatsoever to back it up.

    So don’t whinge about being asked to ‘fuck off’ when you do so voluntarily when it suits.

    Or perhaps you can explain to me now exactly what you was talking about?

  27. Tom

    Please don’t ‘fuck off’. Well, not yet anyway 🙂

    I’m still waiting for you to point out who was ‘overplayed’ in the Cup matches.

  28. The BBC is running a story about Southampton, and Ralph Krueger looking for a new manager.

    He doesn’t say Nicky is in the queue, but then again he doesn’t say Nicky isn’t in the queue.

    We could be seeing the first English manager from within Untold Arsenal ranks.

    Good lucky Nicky!

  29. In line with most of the regulars choosing to take a lighthearted and humourous tone in this post , here’s an e-mail sent to me today.


    A little girl had been shopping with her Mum. She must have been 6 years old, this beautiful red haired, freckle faced image of innocence.

    It was pouring outside. The kind of rain that gushes over the top of rain gutters, so much in a hurry to hit the earth it has no time to flow down the spout. We all stood there, under the awning, just inside the door of the Woolies.
    We waited, some patiently, others irritated because nature messed up their hurried day.

    I am always mesmerized by rainfall. I got lost in the sound and sight of the heavens washing away the dirt and dust of the world. Memories of running, splashing, so carefree as a child came pouring in as a welcome reprieve from the worries of my day.
    Her little voice was so sweet as it broke the hypnotic trance we were all caught in, ‘Mum let’s run through the rain,’ she said.

    ‘What?’ Mum asked.

    ‘Let’s run through the rain!’ She repeated.

    ‘No, darling, we’ll wait until it slows down a bit,’ Mum replied.

    This young child waited a minute and repeated: ‘Mum, let’s run through the rain.’

    ‘We’ll get soaked if we do,’ Mum said.

    ‘No, we won’t, Mum. That’s not what you said this morning, ‘the young girl said as she tugged at her Mum’s arm.

    ‘This morning? When did I say we could run through the rain and not get wet?’
    ‘Don’t you remember? When you were talking to Daddy about his cancer, you said, ‘If God can get us through this, He can get us through anything! ‘

    The entire crowd were completely silent. I swear you couldn’t hear anything but the rain. We all stood silently. No one left. Mum paused and thought for a moment about what she would say.

    Now some would laugh it off and scold her for being silly. Some might even ignore what was said. But this was a moment of affirmation in a young child’s life. A time when innocent trust can be nurtured so that it will bloom into faith.

    ‘Darling, you are absolutely right. Let’s run through the rain. If GOD let’s us get wet, well maybe we just need washing,’ Mum said.

    Then off they ran.

    We all stood watching, smiling and laughing as they darted past the cars and yes, through the puddles.

    They got soaked.

    They were followed by a few who screamed and laughed like children all the way to their cars.
    And yes, I did. I ran. I got wet. I needed washing.

    Circumstances or people can take away your material possessions, they can take away your money, and they can take away your health.

    But no one can ever take away your precious memories…

    So, don’t forget to make time and take the opportunities to make memories everyday.

    To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven.


    They say it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them, but then an entire life to forget them.

    If you don’t send it to anyone, it means you’re in a hurry.
    Take the time to live!!!

    Keep in touch with your friends, you never know when you’ll need each other –
    And don’t forget to run in the rain!–Idh3AHf55o/Um2_mgJGClI/AAAAAAAAO6M/lKw83YQjkvc/s1600/1186826_687010284647312_1274831639_n.jpg

  30. Well Brickfields, I got wet running through the rain to check the mailbox today. Not soaked, just wet. 🙂

    Have a great night!

  31. @ Gord – Nice . Here’s one in praise of the sun . When I get something about the beneficial effects of sleet and snow , I post that too !

    Vitamin D – Fifteen Facts

    Highly useful information for us because we now live in an artificial environment by blocking SUNLIGHT.
    Please read on. We used to hear from our parents “Get out and get some sunlight” How true, Yet one more reason why more people should take up gol

    Fifteen facts you probably never knew about vitamin D and sunlight exposure.

    Vitamin D prevents osteoporosis, depression, prostate cancer, breast cancer,and even effects diabetes and obesity.

    Vitamin D is perhaps the single most underrated nutrient in the world of nutrition.

    That’s probably because it’s free: your body makes it when sunlight touches your skin.
    Drug companies can’t sell you sunlight, so there’s no promotion of its health benefits.

    The truth is, most people don’t know the real story on vitamin D and health. So here’s an overview taken from an interview between Mike Adams and Dr.Michael Holick.

    1. Vitamin D is produced by your skin in response to exposure to ultraviolet radiation from natural sunlight.

    2. The healing rays of natural sunlight (that generate vitamin D in your skin) cannot penetrate glass. So you don’t generate vitamin D when sitting in your car or home.

    3. It is nearly impossible to get adequate amounts of vitamin D from your diet. Sunlight exposure is the only reliable way to generate vitamin D in your own body.

    4. A person would have to drink ten tall glasses of vitamin D fortified milk each day just to get minimum levels of vitamin D into their diet.

    5. The further you live from the equator, the longer exposure you need to the sun in order to generate vitamin D. Canada, the UK and most U.S. States are far from the equator.

    6. People with dark skin pigmentation may need 20 – 30 times as much exposure to sunlight as fair-skinned people to generate the sam e amount of vitamin D. That’s why prostate cancer is epidemic among black men — it’s a simple, but widespread, sunlight deficiency.

    7. Sufficient levels of vitamin D are crucial for calcium absorption in your intestines. Without sufficient vitamin D, your body cannot absorb calcium, rendering calcium supplements useless.

    8. Chronic vitamin D deficiency cannot be reversed overnight: it takes months of vitamin D supplementation and sunlight exposure to rebuild the body’s bones and nervous system.

    9. Even weak sunscreens (SPF=8) block your body’s ability to generate vitamin D by 95%.
    This is how sunscreen products actually cause disease -by creating a critical vitamin deficiency in the body.

    10. It is impossible to generate too much vitamin D in your body from sunlight exposure: your body will self-regulate and only generate what it needs.

    11. If it hurts to press firmly on your sternum, you may be suffering from chronic vitamin D deficiency right now.

    12. Vitamin D is “activated” in your body by your kidneys and liver before it can be used.

    13. Having kidney disease or liver damage can greatly impair your body’s ability to activate circulating vitamin D.

    14. The sunscreen industry doesn’t want you to know that your body actually needs sunlight exposure because that realization would mean lower sales of sunscreen products.

    15. Even though vitamin D is one of the most powerful healing chemicals in your body, your body makes it absolutely free. No prescription required.

    On the issue of sunlight exposure, by the way, it turns out that super antioxidants greatly boost your body’s ability to handle sunlight without burning. Astaxanthin is one of the most powerful “internal sunscreens” and can allow you to stay under the sun twice as long without burning.

    Other powerful antioxidants with this ability include the super fruits like Acai, Pomegranates (POM Wonderful juice), blueberries, etc.

    Diseases and conditions cause by vitamin D deficiency:

    * Osteoporosis is commonly caused by a lack of vitamin D, which greatly impairs calcium absorption.
    * Sufficient vitamin D prevents prostate cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, depression, colon cancer and schizophrenia.
    * “Rickets” is the name of a bone-wasting disease caused by vitamin D deficiency.
    * Vitamin D deficiency may exacerbate type 2 diabetes and impair insulin production in the pancreas.
    * Obesity impairs vitamin D utilization in the body, meaning obese people need twice as much vitamin D.
    * Vitamin D is used around the world to treat Psoriasis.
    * Vitamin D deficiency can cause schizophrenia.

  32. @Brickfields

    WRT Vitamin D and prostate cancer. There is a chance that prostate cancer is a communicable disease, vaguely like that disease affecting Tasmanian Devils.

  33. @ Gord – I had to do some research to find out what you were on about ,and found this at the following site..

    “Called devil facial tumor disease (DFTD), this rapidly spreading condition is a rare contagious cancer that causes large lumps to form around the animal’s mouth and head, making it hard for it to eat. The animal eventually starves to death. ”

    Weather the above is due to a lack of Vitamin D or not is highly debatable ; but as the Tasmanian Devil is highly nocturnal and the prostate is situated ‘where the sun don’t shine’ , you may be on to something !

  34. Sorry Brickfields, I wasn’t suggesting this facial tumor in Devils as being related to Vitamin D.

    I had run across a report, that suggested prostate cancer may also be a contagious cancer. If it is, a person might have to revisit any Vitamin D connection.

  35. About Shelley Kerr resigning from Arsenal Ladies. The BBC is running a story on this:

    In there is a quote:
    > One of the fans at a recent game abused Shelley so badly I don’t know how he didn’t get thrown out of the stadium

    Did some member of the AAA decide to see how the Ladies team would take abuse?

    It is a good article, looks a little at reasoning behind this move.

  36. @ Gord – I’m quite sure that the researchers have their fingers on the problem !

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