13 men who might or might not take over after Arsene Wenger

By Tony Attwood

Although I don’t want it soon, one day it will happen.  Mr Wenger will leave Arsenal.  So who will we get?

Will Arsenal do a Man U, and appoint a seemingly decent manager, fail to give him the proper support he needs, and then chop his head off after a year, wasting a lot of money in the process?

Or will Arsenal do a Man U part two, and bring in another manager who spends, spends, spends, and incidentally isn’t really doing anything more than the first one (apart from spend)?

Of course the problem is, who is available and willing to come.   The way Man U picked up Everton’s manager suggests that some managers are willing just to walk into the big time job, but even so, who would come to Arsenal?

The problem is that although Arsenal did very well to pluck Mr Wenger from Japanese obscurity the board at Arsenal have a pretty grotty record across the years over who they pick.

Arsenal have had 18 managers who have run the club for a season or more.  The table below shows them in order of number of games up to the end of last season.

I think the win percentage is of particular interest, because it reflects how managers have coped with the seasons after success – Bertie Mee for example was notorious for the way the team collapsed under him just three years after the Double.  Arsene Wenger has the highest win percentage – and he has been edging it up year after year.

By the way if the table overlaps on the right side on your computer press Control and minus (Ctrl -) at the same time and the size will adjust.

Pos. Name From To P Win% Top 4 Honours
1 Arsène Wenger October 1996 1010 57.23 17 3 League
5 FA Cup
2 Bertie Mee June 1966 May 1976 539 44.71 3 1 League
1 FA Cup
1 Fairs C.
3 George Graham May 1986 Feb 1995 460 48.91 6 2 League
1 FA Cup
2 Lg Cup
1 CWCup
4 Tom Whittaker June 1947 October  1956 429 47.09 3 2 League
1 FA Cup
5 Terry Neill July 1976 Dec 1983 416 44.95 2 1 FA Cup
6 Herbert Chapman June 1925 Jan 1934 403 49.88 4 2 League
1 FA Cup
7 George Morrell Feb  1908 April 1915 292 35.27 1*
8 George Allison May 1934 May 1947 279 46.24 3 2 League
1 FA Cup
9 Leslie Knighton April 1919 May 1925 268 34.33
10 Harry Bradshaw August 1899 May 1904 189 50.79 3*
11 Billy Wright May 1962 June 1966 182 38.46
12 George Swindin June 1958 1 May 1962 179 39.11 1
13 Phil Kelso July 1904 Feb 1908 152 41.45
14 The Committee August 1893 May 1897 118 44.92
15 Don Howe Dec 1983 March 1986[ 117 46.15
16 Jack Crayston October 1956 May 1958 77 42.86
17 Bruce Rioch June 1995 August 1996 47 46.81
18 William Elcoat April 1898 20 Feb 1899 43 53.49

The staggering achievement of Wenger in getting this achievement over that many years should not be under-estimated.

The * indicates second division achievements.  The complete table with many other analyses is available here.

But we should note that same of our long serving managers have done particularly poorly: Leslie Knighton, the man who came before Chapman, Billy Wright, George Swindin, Bertie Mee (with his short spell at the top and then the club flirting with relegation), Terry Neill (the almost manager), Don Howe, Bruce Rioch.  Even Chapman took five years to get us a trophy.

So we can’t assume success, just because the manager is new.  But still let’s see who it might be and what they might think about it all.

If coming from overseas the first thing they’d notice is the taxation – although with the benefit of a government that seems not to care too much about the very well paid who don’t pay all the tax they should find a way around that.

So getting over that hurdle, they have Arsenal’s record of consecutive seasons in the Champions League.   Would it matter if that went during a “rebuilding” year?  Indeed would two rebuilding years, as Man U have had, or what about Liverpool’s four seasons from 2009/10 coming 7th, 6th, 8th, 7th.

Then there is the Arsenal Academy.  Would it matter if that were by-passed in a frantic round of sign-sign-sign?

But most of all there is the poisonous toxic media, the crazed AAA, and the extremely dubious refereeing.  Everyone in world football knows about these in relation to Arsenal, and it is a fairly potent reason to look at it and say, “Abuse from day one, bizarre refereeing, daily media intrusion?” and think, “no”.  And that’s before anyone reminds them of Mr Wenger vs The Media on Day One in the current boss’ day one on the job.

I never mention what the story was that the media and their Man U allies cooked up on 1 October 1996 but we all know they will have something else on the go ready for the next manager.

So he’s going to have to be brave or foolhardy.  Who could it be?

1: Greece sacked Claudio Ranieri after the Faroe Islands defeat I’m told.  So there’s one.humiliation.  Maybe he can take it.

2: Dick Advocaat resigned as Serbia coach after their home defeat by Denmark.  That’s another.

3:  Andre Villas-Boas knows what it is all about in London,  so he might want to have another bash, although that might not go down so well.  He’s at Zenit.

4: Marcelo Bielsa is at Marseilles who are top of the league above PSG and Monaco!   But would he really want to face the abuse of the British press and their AAA allies when he can go anywhere, or indeed stay at Marseilles?

5: Guus Hiddink is not available until the summer of 2016… now that is a thought.  Trouble is he is older than Mr Wenger.

6: Michael Laudrup?  The problem is that he was sacked last time around.

7: Roberto Di Matteo is manager of Schalke 04.   Roman Abramovich sacked him so he can’t be all bad.

8:  Ole Gunnar Solskjaer?  Maybe not.

9: Giovanni Trapattoni is 125 years old and… no I guess not.

10: Frank Rijkaard‘s last job was in charge of Saudi Arabia, and he’s a mystery and a half.  What happened to the man who ran Barcelona?  Well as far as I can see in 2013, Florida prep school Montverde Academy hired Rijkaard as their Advisor of Player Development.  Now that is weird.

11: Tony Pulis.  Ho ho.

12: Tim Sherwood.   Tiddly pom.

13: Mauricio Pochettino from Tottenham.  He was good at Southampton, and Tottenham are bound to sack him next season.

Tough job this, choosing a manager.

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41 Replies to “13 men who might or might not take over after Arsene Wenger”

  1. I’m pleased you haven’t trotted out the usual Simione, Klopp or Koeman suggestions, but not sure why.

  2. Why would you not include Koeman, Klopp, Guardiola, Conte, Martinez, Rudi Garcia, Ancelotti, Low, De Boer or Simeone? No mention of Paul Clements either. Hmmmmm not a very thorough assessment

  3. Have a feeling the board dread the day Wenger departs as much as at least SOME of the fans.
    Difficult shoes to fill, just hope the new man gets an easier ride than Wenger, but depending on who it is , somehow I doubt it. There is….as mentioned the press, AAA, and being expected to compete with those with vastly more resources, I do not buy all this money in the bank stuff that our stubborn manager refuses to spend, but I would wager only a fractionof whatever there may be is available for transfers. Does beg the question as to what the reserves are available for …but perhaps for another thread.
    Have a feeling Martinez may be the favourite with the bookies, though cannot be sure. He is a manager with potential, but we need to see how he does, I am not convinced
    I would imagine Arsenal may want an internal continuity appointment…but is Bould really the man? a combination with an ex legend…which suggests De Boer/ Dennis could be an option…or perhaps an appointment so far left of field, he …..or she…is on nobodys radar!!
    Some interesting names in the post above…could they do it in this league,imagine a few of those might very well
    We hopefully have Wenger for the next two and a half seasons, but we cannot make the mistakes Utd…Spurs, or maybe Liverpool look to be making.

    Or, we could go with the old AAA blog choices, Moyes, or Owen Coyle himself? That would be nice.

  4. Personally for the long term, I’d like some continuity such as Bould or Bergkamp, but think there needs to be a fall guy before like Moyes was for United, because it’s impossible to fill the shores of a legend

  5. To unite the various Arsenal fractions , could I suggest an Englishman ? Any Englishman !
    Having written it , it does sound quite funny , nay almost bordering ludicrous !

  6. @Vincent Andreetti

    Haha, the way Stewart Robson acts he will say that “I’m too good to be manager.” 🙂

  7. Brick – what are you looking for Nigel Farrage or Tony Blair? Perhaps the best to ensure success Riley!!! We wont have to win FA as everything will be laid on.

  8. I can not agree with this view. Wenger was un-known when he joined first. Second, a time factor for every thing.
    Personally I like ‘O Niel'( Former Aston villa Manager ) in charge of Arsenal. I think he is capable of getting the best from his players and with the current talents and resources available at Arsenal, he will defenitely achieve much more than what Wenger do.

  9. For continuity purpose and all other things being equal at the time of making the appointment, I think Steve Bould, the current Arsenal FC assistant manager should automatically ascend to the hot seat of Arsenal manager regime. Apart of being a past Gunner himself, Mr Bould has had a good coaching career at Arsenal. Where he has coached the Arsenal academic team and he is now assisting with coaching the Arsenal senior team. Mr Bould knows the inside and the outside of Arsenal system of operation. And that should put him at an advantage over any incoming manager who may have to take his time to learn to know the football terrain at Arsenal. And may even possibly embark on unecessarily rebuilding the team if the early results deserted him. But for Mr Bould who is already within the system, he will easily adapt to his new role of the Arsenal manager and could rapidly move to success like his boss, Mr Arsene Wenger has been having.

  10. One thing that has gone lost a bit is that amazing table and win %. Wenger really is the biggest manager we have ever had.

  11. Moyes all the way for me.

    Because Man united they fire him in one season it doesn`t mean is rubbish.
    Contrary to that will fit the Arsenal bill.
    Why ????

    Pressure to win a trophy at Man united is immense while at Arsenal is just enough to be on the top 4.Fans want to trophy but the owner has other ideas/money.
    Moyes is a fantastic manager that rely on youth and tactics proper for the english game.
    Sad that he went for Spain but i don`t think if Arsenal come calling will refuse.

    In another note see this link from Germany .The guy has an interesting reasoned article for the mainly failure of Wenger`s .


  12. Hilarious. As if the AAA are going to scare any potential manager. Never heard such nonsense…..oh er yes I have because Tony has been banging on about a few noisy supporters terrifying grown men for ages. No other team has hostile supporters of course, only Arsenal. If anyone can name a manager who’s not moved to a club because of the fans please tell me. Personally I wouldn’t want such a weak man managing the team.

    Don’t know why you picked all those rather average managers, is this a joke? Or just that you can’t face the prospect of Wenger retiring? Obviously this isn’t a serious piece as it’s far too soon to be discussing the next manager.

  13. Sorry for the OT above.


    With Respect To a new manager, I thought I would run this up the flagpole.

    There is someone with aspirations of owning a football team, who has peripheral involvement with Arsenal already. I’ve no idea if he would make a good manager or not. He was involved with the England 2018 bid. David Beckham.

  14. Alex. What on earth are you smoking. David Moyes????? Oh dear.

    Gord. FIFA has an axe to grind with England. Mind you, they will be making a huge mistake if they go after us.

    FIFA is a joke. They ‘cleared’ countries on teh basis that they actually refused to co-operate with the investigation! They even named a Qatari whistle blower, despite guaranteeing her anonymity and then have tried to discredit her claims.

    We all know brown envelopes changed hands. This is to the tune of Millions of pounds. Over the years there have been so many people resign from FIFA due to corrupt activities, I am amazed Blatter is still getting away with it.

    This whitewash and legal action could explode in FIFAS ugly, corrupt faces. I hope so.

  15. When a list of Wengers achievements is published there are one or two things that never get mentioned.It isn’t just about the trophies he delivered.

    In terms of the magnitude of the achievement, the ‘Invincible’ season does not have anything other than a PL trophy against it. The stadium is another ‘achievemnt’ that has no silver award. These achievements were not attributed to a massive injection of cash, or bought, as Chelseas and Man Citys have been. They were achieved on a fairly even playing field or one where only man Utd were spending big.

    In the future, trophies will be won by our club because of the work Wenger did during the years he resided over the management of the team. I always argued that the 9 year goading was disingenuous. The Media have tried their best to discredit wenger and unfortunately there are a lot of Gooners that have fallen for it.

    Pound for pound Wenger has punched above his weight but he is being judged unfairly for a period of time in which he was disadvantaged.

  16. Another one of these so called experts, Paul Merson!Lets just see these WengerOut! idiots what they think of the next manager after one season.

  17. @ proudkev
    Why ? What is wrong to choose Moyes as a coach for Arsenal ?

    You don’t like him maybe because is Scottish.

  18. Alex……….Moyes was poorly treated at United and said he would think twice before coming back to the EPL. He may be a competent manager but he never led Everton to much, so imho he is far behind the likes of Guardiola, Klopp and leagues below Wenger. I detect that you believe Wenger is a ¨failure¨ based o0n the article you attached to your post. Man up next time and SAY you think he is a failure with some good arfguments supporting your idea, rather than let someone else do your dirty work for you.

  19. It wasn’t meant to be a comprehensive list – just a bit of a reflection on what some people are doing, and how they have been getting on…

    The problem, as I have said so many times before, is that there are many people who simply wouldn’t want to come to Arsenal for all the reasons I outlined.

    As Gord’s article pointed out, Wenger is the godfather of modern British football, and yet from day one he has been insulted and harassed, and of late jeered. There are of course millions of people who rate him very very highly indeed – but given that very few can aspire to his qualities, and given the way he is treated by the AAA and their media pals, why would anyone want to manage Arsenal?

    Don’t forget, before Wenger, the only person we could persuade to come was Rioch, for goodness sake.

  20. @omgarsenal
    Wenger failure no.You understand me wrongly.

    The attached article it is the opinion of German guy and the criticism he has on Wenger based upon the last five years yes make sense to me .

    The writer doesn’t give much consideration when Wenger looses every season Two or Three quality players and is brushing it as it is an easy and I don’t like that bit.

    The lack of rotation that explains the injury situation of course is talking sense.

    And obviously the players that Wenger bought in the last five years explains the flaw in the overall strategy. Which is correct for me.
    Sure Wenger made mistakes and I believe he did.
    I am the type that I speak my mind maybe you are not.
    Hope I explained.

  21. Moyes yes he didn’t deliver silver things but according the media he always worked with very little budget and at Everton rely highly on their youth which has similarities with Arsenal.Add his character the man is good enough for us.

  22. You know what? After 2 years of contract completion, I know Arsene will sign another two years. Good news, of course. By then, Thiery Henry will be ready to take over. With his appointment, some of his buddies, Pires, Bergkamp and Vieira will join the wagon for complete domination! Probably Campbell and Gilberto will play a role too. After 10 years, the club will change its nickname from Gunners to Invincibles!

  23. @Tony Attwood, loads of managers would want to manage Arsenal. Every team has supporters who are lifelong critics whatever their club does. That’s hardly going to deter any ambitious manager coming to Arsenal. Rioch may have been a mistake but even he managed to sign Bergkamp, the greatest player I’ve ever seen in an Arsenal shirt. The huge wages, the CL football, the money available for transfers, all of these things are attractive to nearly every manager, the idea that we’ll struggle to find a manager after Wenger is gone is laughable and seems to be mere scaremongering.

  24. dont know if that lot will make managers Michael R, but I would certainly like to see some of them involved with the club

  25. Indeed a good link Gord.
    In fact I was planning to try to translate the whole show (25 minutes) and write them down for Untold.
    But as the writer of the article mentioned the way Wenger was received was amazing. If Elvis Presley, Mark Knopfler, Bob Dylan, Madonna, Lady Gaga, whoever and/or who else would have walked in to a studio they wouldn’t have been welcomed in such an enthusiastic way as Wenger was.

  26. Walter. All I got to see in that article was the text. I am a little paranoid about security, and I seldom watch video feed over the Internet. Not that this should convince you to make transcripts of the video. You seem to be up to your armpits in allegators.

  27. Piers Morgan is the only man who can fill Wengers intimidatingly large shoes. The mans ego alone is enough to lead us to victory!

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