There is a comment on this blog which reads thus…
If Arsenal is very business like and is run like a business, then I think it’s time for Arsenal fans to think in business terms. What have we won in the last four years???? Is it okay for a business to have a good boss for the first 4 years but then go way off mark in the next four years????? WENGER HAS DONE NOTHING IN THE LAST FOUR YEARS, HE HAS CONTINUED TO SAY WE WILL TROPHIES AND HE HAS FAILED TO DELIVER. Surely in business you would be fired, regardless!!!!!!!
(The italics are mine, not the writer’s.)
Ever since I saw that comment I have been thinking about it. I am not within a billion miles of the Lord Wenger in terms of knowledge about football, but I do earn my living as chairman of a plc, so when it comes to business maybe I know one or two things. Not many, but one or two.
This year my company has lost in one year more than we earned in profits in the last four years. I have not got the slightest idea if we will be back in profit next year or the year after, but I know we will be eventually, and we will survive and come out back on top.
But (as far as I know) there is no pressure to have me removed, because those with an interest in the firm think mostly about the long term. (You’ll understand we are not in the financial industry, so we do think beyond 6pm each evening).
For more years than I ever care to remember we have brought in modest profits, raised salaries, had a good time, and survived through two previous recessions.
Let me try this from another direction: I can’t recall anyone ever saying “hey that Gilles Grimandi – bloody brilliant player.” The opposite in fact. But he did a job when playing, and more than that he also then became the most important regional scout we have ever had – the scout for France. Without him some of our greatest players would simply not be there.
The Grimandi situation was long term – and it has benefited the club. The notion that Wenger should go now is short term.
There is also the story about Sir Alex F Word who had a really bad start with Manchester Bankrupt where the club was on the verge of sacking him – but he won a cup game and survived. If the supporters who wanted him out had been believed he would have gone elsewhere.
The timing is not the issue – Ferguson was early on in his era, Wenger is trying to build another successful squad, in my own small way I’ve been with the company for years and years and am trying to invent a new solution to our current downturn.
The issue is simply long or short term.
There is a story which the Lord Wenger himself tells about his early days in Japan. It goes something like this.
He wanted to change the club dramatically and change the style of play. He did it – but the results were awful, and the club lost game after game. Eventually the chairman called him in (after something like six successive defeats) and said, “There is a problem”.
The Lord Wenger said, “Yes there is – I am having trouble putting my ideas across to the players. They don’t understand what I want.”
The chairman said, “Yes we must make a change.”
The Lord Wenger said, “Do you want me to resign?”
The chairman said, “No – I thought we might need to sack your translator.”
So it goes – short term or long term. I have watched Wenger give us two doubles and the unbeaten season. I am seeing a magnificent new team develop. I see the speed and pace and belief return. I have watched most of the 20 games unbeaten. And I think, “yes – more please”.
Others want a trophy today – or else change. Each person to his own – but I stay with my belief.
(c) Tony Attwood 2009
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