Wenger is working for what comes after him

By Walter Broeckx

When we look at what happened to Manchester United we have a good view what can happen when a long serving manager wants to go out on a high at all costs. The former Manchester United legend got his 20th title and that was all he really cared about.

In fact even by appointing Moyes he somehow made sure that his star would shine even more even after his departure.  He left a squad that with the help of all involved (including Mike and his gang) won a title with a squad that was running on its last legs one could say. Mind you they still have a lot of quality in it but as we could find out from retired refs once Sir Alex F-word went, the fear factor that was good for +10 points a season was gone.

Now with us having Wenger as the last of the Mohicans (a long lasting manager) we might think about what will happen when the good man calls it a day. One day it will happen and given his age this day is coming nearer. Too near to my liking as I would love to see him around for a few more years. But we all know one day he will say goodbye to us.

First of all I don’t want Wenger to appoint the next manager like Sir Alex F-word has done. I trust the board completely on who to appoint. After all it is that board that has brought us our new stadium and that has had to guts and the nerve to keep on supporting the manager when he and they were under great fire from the media and the fickle part of our fan base.  They acted as wise men then so I expect they will do the same when they have to appoint someone to step in the footsteps of Wenger.

But no matter how I dread the day that Wenger will announce his departure I do have a feeling that he will not do what Sir Alex F-word did to Manchester United. In his long career at Arsenal he has in multiple occasions talked about the long term.  He has even talked about the time when he will be gone at times.

He has said that with building the Emirates we have put our club on the rails for the long term and not just for the now. One could say that the now (= past 9 years) have been of secondary importance in order to make sure that the long term future of the club would and will be bright.

I think that Wenger can be said to have lived with the principle that has been said in an old Greek expression :  “A society grows great when men plant trees, whose shade they know they will never sit in”.

And I think this is what Arsenal and more in particular Wenger has done and in part is still doing in the past 10 years. He knew we would face difficult times but he was willing to take the blame that he would face. He didn’t run away to a foreign team where he could have spent what he wanted, when he wanted. No he sacrificed his own personal record in order to guide our club through the difficult period.

Wenger has been the main person who was planting the seeds of the new tree that Arsenal. And given his age he probably will not be able to reap the benefits personally. Or not entirely.

But the club is slowly as it should be, progressing in the right direction. FFP does have an impact but not as much as we  would have liked of course. But our handicap against the sugar daddy clubs will be reduced somewhat by the FFP rules. One wonders if the combination of the English FFP rules and the Uefa FFP rules would have a bigger impact. But it looks as if the English FFP rules have been abandoned even before they were installed.

But Wenger has been busy planting trees all these years. And as it goes with trees at first they are small and vulnerable. But after a few years you start to recognise the little tree. And with good care and nursing the little tree will become bigger and bigger. But it is a long term work.

But now we are passed the first few dangerous years in the life of those little trees. They start to grow and become stronger and stronger. And all that because of one man looking after his precious little plants.

A man that will be a legend in some 10 years time when his real legacy will be completely visible for even the most blinded now. Well for me his already a legend now.

I hope he will be able to enjoy sitting in the shade of the trees he planted and grew all these long years for a long time even after he has gone. Give his loyalty shown in these difficult years he has shown that he is just a supporter, a foreign supporter. Just like me and so many million others.

We fell in love with Arsenal and that is something that will stay with us forever and I am sure that it will stay with him for as long as he lives. I can imagine the picture of Wenger sitting on a bench with the rest of his petanque team on the village square of his Elzasian town. Sitting in the shade of a tree and when he looks at that tree he will look at it and will see the resemblance with the trees he planted at Arsenal.

And on Saturday he will turn on his TV, look at the French Sports Channel to see his beloved Arsenal play. And he will be as thrilled as us when we win. And if we lose he even might come to Untold. To read what we loyal Arsenal supporters think and he might even spread some wisdom and cheer us up.

Well one can dream, can I?

20 Replies to “Wenger is working for what comes after him”

  1. Great article

    it reminds me of cryuff – even though cryuff was a legend at barcelona as player and a manager as he won them there first european cup when in charge – he was sacked later.

    he helped create la masia academy – van gaal was laughed at when he said one day they could win the champs league with home grown players – they won it in 09 with 8 home grown players
    Cryuff may not be the manager at barcelona but the pride he must have witnessing his work and vision, to pay off shows his selfless aim for a club he loved

    my point like you said ” in 10 years time” . wenger sacrificed trophy hunting to help arsenal with the youth system, the stadium and keeping us competitive.

    my biggest concern when he does leave is we dont just go for a trophy hunter as we dont need that, but someone who will come in and want to progress the club and have a vision.

    we have been linked with martinez who i dont agree with, klopp – yes and no – if he was a success he would obviously leave to bayern one day.

    where can you find a manager like wenger who wants to help and progress a player

  2. It’s more likely someone(s) who Arsenal will be monitoring closely for the last 2-3 seasons if not longer, and definately someone who will(be able to, want to) carry on the vision of Arsenal.

    I cannot see Arsenal going for “a trophy hunter” but hey, this is business in the end, and that may well the next step in Arsenal’s plan, to compete with the big boys in the market place too.

  3. Thanks Walter – a great “big picture” view. I am trying not to think about life after Wenger… will really be a voyage into the unknown with very high risks attached.

    Onto more short-term stuff, but Skrtel has been banned so will miss our game. Good. That thug needs to be kept away from our players. I really wouldn’t back the Liverpool defence to keep us out. None of their centre backs are really up to it. Heaven knows what the “ALL” make of it all?!

  4. Para – If you get all the building blocks right then the trophies should come. And they have already started to come!

    Unless winning trophies requires behaving less scrupulously – in which case I would rather they didn’t come…

  5. I’m desperate for big success to happen in Wenger’s last years, and hope for as many as possible of them ( the end of this contract is very likely to be it, though, I’d guess). I also believe there’s a really good chance of it going that way, i.e some big success.

    However, another very possible scenario is that we don’t quite make it (title, last stages of CL) in the next two years, at which point Wenger leaves and a new man comes in who does win a title/deep in CL.

    I think it would be overestimating our press, and some supporters, by a huge margin to expect their main narrative to be :’ look at this amazing platform Wenger gave the new guy’.

    In that scenario, more likely they’d be saying : look, Wenger didn’t win it for years, this new guy comes in and immediately starts winning…blah, blah.

    Still, what matters is the truth, and at least we all know he will leave an excellent platform for someone when he goes, and that he has done astonishing work for the club.

    Thankfully, that stuff can wait a while and we can enjoy his remaining time.

    I find it intriguing that while Bellerin looked class whenever i saw him for youth teams, there were another four who struck me as being around his level, and then there’s another 3 a bit younger than that, and another couple younger than that. And then the shake up with the Dutch coaches. We’ve more money now, but I’d also wager we’ll get a few more good youngsters come through in the next period.

  6. You’re assuming Arsene is winding down. He’s 65 and fit as a flea. Why shouldn’t he continue for another ten years? How old was SAF when he retired?
    I think we’re going to get at least another five years from him and hopefully ( with some successes ) another five after that.
    Stop the speculation, it’s not helpful.

  7. Wenger has been at Arsenal for about 19 seasons. There are 19 other teams in the EPL (ignoring a minor detail), which means in that time there have been 361 seasons for all other teams. The Daily Mail said that in the time Arsene has been at Arsenal, there have been 156 management changes in the EPL, or about 0.432 seasons per change. If we call a season 9 months long, the “life expectancy” of a manager in the EPL is 3.888 months.


    You can imagine how many hits one finds, searching the news for “Arsenal”. Apparently, there is a new king of the block in terms of spicy pizza (they have spice in their arsenal). I’ve never been to London, so it took me a while to find out that they are nowhere near Wenger/Emirates stadium. They are in Soho, and called Mayfair Pizza. It looks like they are midway between Bond Street and Oxford Street subway stations (are they on the same line?), which isn’t convenient for people to try them out. Want the article? Look for Grazia Daily dot CO dot UK.


    A Newcastle supporter’s website (The Mag), looked up TV audience data in the USA
    1,353,000 Barcelona vs Real Madrid beIN Sports-Spanish
    ..950,000 Liverpool vs ManU NBCSN
    ..755,000 Barcelona vs Real Madrid beIn Sports-English
    ..604,000 Hull vs Chelsea NBCSN
    ..532,000 Chivas vs Toluca Univision Deportes
    ..500,000 Newcastle vs Arsenal NBCSN
    ..472,000 Monaco vs Arsenal Fox Sports 1
    ..451,000 Barcelona vs ManU ESPN Deportes
    ..439,000 ManCity vs WestBrom NBCSN
    ..399,000 Barcelona vs ManCity Fox Sports 1

    The medja has been full of stories about Akpom being loaned out, possibly to see Lansbury at Forest. There is no news of this at Arsenal.com, but there is news about Semi Ajayi being loaned out to Cardiff City.


    Also at Arsenal.com, is a single historical article (originally 2008?), which points to other articles. I believe this is Tony’s work.

    Laying the Foundations

  8. After Arsene’s final leaving party, I feel the real test will depend on the actions of each of our two biggest shareholders.
    I get the impression that Arsene has had a calming and restraining influence behind the scenes, mainly due to his successes, coupled with his own strong personality.
    But after his departure,Messrs Kroenke and/or Usmanov will have the opportunity to materially affect the future of ArsenalFC if they choose to take it.
    Both are successful businessmen and the monetary power each man will wield may well be a weapon too tempting to set aside.

  9. Oh just found out French is very common in Belgium along with Dutch and German. 🙂

  10. Dear Walter

    A few trees short?

    This is due to the extensive nature of the dense landscape
    planting along the training ground boundaries and the extensive woodland created on the northern section of the site where some 20,000 trees have been planted. These trees border Bell Lane and provide some protection to the training ground from the vehicle activity on the M25 motorway. The overall impression of the site is of a natural landscape which is extremely well managed.

  11. @Walter,
    Great article. I too get worried about the time after Wenger decides to retire. He has built this club into a great squad with a long term vision and set a great platform for the next manager. I personally think Wenger will stay and extend until at least the 2017-2018 season, and retire with the title of most games managed in the PL and hopefully most FA Cups.

  12. Nice, Walter, very nice. And that’s why the media and their allies rally against Wenger and all he stands for. They cal also see the shoots of a giant redwood.

  13. IF Wenger really is leaving at the end of this contract, imagine they may well have identified his successors, I am sure Wenger will have an input if not the actual choice.

  14. Wenger has brought (or started) big data to football.


    > In the UK, Premier League soccer team Arsenal has recently invested millions in developing its own analytics team to make better use of the data it is now collecting. One important data stream comes from 8 cameras installed around its stadium to track every player and their interactions. The system by sports analytics provider Prozone tracks 10 data points per second for every player, or 1.4 million data points per game. The system is also used to monitor 12,000 soccer matches around the world, which are all analyzed using automated algorithms as well as manual coding of every interaction with the ball to increase the accuracy and value of the analysis.

    10 points? If I was to specify 6, that would be hip, knee, ankle on both legs. I want to know where the player’s head is, in particular the center of his forehead. I want to know where the player’s chest is, preferably midway between neck and bottom of rib cage (xyphoid process). It would be nice to know shoulder, elbow, wrist for each arm. I don’t know what 4 are augmenting the 6 of the legs.

    FIFA/IFAB don’t want to allow computers on the players in play, because of concerns for the player, and for opponents. Computers are getting small, I have read a few articles about putting tracking devices on insects such as bees. The Forbes article talks about instrumented tennis rackets. In the context of that, putting a computer in the boot makes a lot of sense. It could be well protected (so that no player could be hurt). a 16 GB (or bigger) microflash could go in the heel, chip should be near base of toes.

    A game is nominally 5400 seconds (90*60). Sampling a foot at 10 per second isn’t enough for me, I think 512 per second would be nice. Which means a game is on the order of 3 million events which need to be analysed. I would like 3 mutually perpendicular sets of accelerometers, 2 is easy. The 3rd would take a bit more work. Can we get strain gauges in the shoe too? An event is probably less than 100 bytes, so GB scale micro-SD flash is more than enough memory in each boot.

    I seen at the Arsenal website, they had another sports medicine conference (1 day event). Members can see pictures. I see no mention of proceedings. I went looking on the Internet, and I don’t see mention of proceeedings for any of this conference. Which is a bummer.

  15. Maybe Arsenal will replace Wenger with a rejuvenated Moyes!
    (Sorry, teasing the aaa who , on a multitude of sites wanted wenger out, Moyes in)

  16. Kroenke is the owner of lots of sports clubs and I think we already know how he operates by looking at how he manages his other clubs. I would not expect any surprises from Kroenke as he tend to run his clubs very professionally and for the long term.

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