By Tony Attwood
Steve McManaman is hardly a person who would make my Xmas card list but I have to say that his dealing of the banner that half a dozen AAA had brought with them and snuck into the WBA game, was very good. He pointed out the sheer utter lunacy of what that bunch were doing very clearly, with heart-felt emotion, with honesty, (“As you know I am no Arsenal supporter…”) and for once I thought, here is a pundit who speaks out, analyses logically and is his own man. If Keown had said it, we would have felt he was reflecting his natural Arsenal feelings. McManaman saying it was a refreshing step.
“Arsène, thanks for the memories, but it’s time to say goodbye” was what it said, Mr Wenger got it right too. He said, “I don’t comment on that.”
Such an event overshadowed the key issue of the match – Monreal, Gibbs and the Ox all suffering further injuries. Just how much more of this can we take?
The big plus was that Santi Cazorla has played himself back into form. From a period when his shooting could end up here there and everywhere but the goal, suddenly he was back on target, playing the perfect passes and knowing that his is an utterly ambidextrous talent. OK he’s still not scoring, but his passing is back and his shots are much more on target. It’s a great sign.
So what of the banner?
The notion that the Daniel Levy approach to dealing with managers is one that Arsenal should adopt could only have come from the AAA. Let’s change because everything is not how we want it at the moment, without any thought of who might or might not come in instead and whether the process works. Yes managers leave when they retire or have had enough, but just sacking them for winning the FA Cup and getting into the knock out stages of the CL for 15 years… no that is daft.
The fact that it fails has been shown by just how many times Levy has tried the trick and failed to get the result. This earlier article gives a clue in case you have forgotten how often it has been tried.
But we don’t just have to look at the Tiny Totts. Why not consider other clubs in the league, like Man U who chose exactly the man they wanted, placed him in the job, and then had to pay him a fortune to leave, and start all over again. Of course the maniacs will say well yes, it worked, they are above us in the league, and they beat us, but if you are going to consider a manager based on the last few weeks, I would suggest we should part company here.
Or we might try to look at Liverpool with their arrogance, and willingness to buy any player going, and their almighty windfall of having Barcelona give them such a mega profit on Suarez. Since 2010 it has been Benitez, Hodgson, Dalgleish and Rodgers, and a lot of talk of moving on Rodgers.
For Man C we have Pearce, Eriksson, Hughes, Mancini, Kidd, Pelligrini, plus for quite a bit of time all the money you can imagine and no FFP to stop you. Yes they won the league, but with that much money so they should.
Chelsea have the same – all the money in the world and Grant, Scolari, Wilkins, Hiddink, Ancelloti, Villa-Boas, Di Matteo, Benitez, Mourinho. OK they are flying away at the top of the league, but that ever revolving door has involved the club in pay out to ex-managers since Mourinho quit the first time which would eat up about a quarter of Arsenal’s budget for players. And yes they have had success – but I would say that is the money, not the managerial revolving doors. And if it is the revolving door that works, look how often they have to do it to get it right.
Money can buy a certain amount of success, true, but of course that is now getting much harder to organise since FFP came along. The Premier League FFP seems to have gone quiet, but the European version affects the top five or six, so it is a restriction now.
There is also the fact that changing managers like this is not part of the Arsenal tradition, and I would argue that when you buy into Arsenal as a supporter you buy into tradition. The issue with Rioch was an exception, not the rule – look at our managerial history and you will see.
Changing managers is not of itself a guaranteed way to get more success. Indeed it is more likely to bring failure than success and to lead the board to become like drunken gamblers always having one more throw of the dice to try and find the lucky numbers.
At least 13 Premier League managers were sacked last season – I lost count part way through – and at the very least you can see at once that 12 of those sackings much have been failures. Did it help them?
And all this is before we get to the issue of whether the man we want actually…
a) wants to leave his club
b) isn’t holding out for the unlimited offshore personal income that Real Mad, Barcelona, PSG, Monaco, Zenit, Man C and Chelsea could offer
c) fancies facing up to the AAA – something that is not experienced in most other clubs but has been part of Arsenal at least since 1930.
d) recognises that there are only three major competitions to win each year and there is no guarantee of winning any of them – and if they don’t the AAA will be onto them
e) there is the level of injuries caused by refs not stopping insane tackles and the extraordinary actions of the PGMO vis a vis Arsenal
f) doing better than 15 years in the knock out stages of the Champions League and winning the FA Cup is a starting point.
Quite simply, I can’t imagine who we are going to get when the time comes, which is why I am in favour of that time being now.
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- How a 14th monk described Arsenal’s failure to buy Moisés Caicedo and Mykhailo Mudryk