By Sir Hardly Anyone
Interesting note from Tony, who is at Heathrow airport awaiting his plane. Apparently the Virgin Media internet connection has barred Untold from public viewing throughout Heathrow Airport as not being suitable for those passing through the airport. Anyway, he’s smuggled a note to me, asking me to take over for a moment. Hopefully he’ll have more luck in Korea but meanwhile he is working on another piece about Arsenal under Henry Norris on the Arsenal History site. So you’ve got me instead.
Look at the little blogs and their pals in the mainstream media and what you will find is article after article attacking Mr Wenger. Fair enough, they do like the herd instinct – although I do wish sometimes people who correspond with us might actually pause for a moment and contemplate why over 10 years ago this blog was called Untold. Not Re-telling What Everyone Else Says.
That doesn’t mean that we deliberately publish views that are contrary to the majority but rather, if we agree with the majority we don’t bother to say it because everyone else has already said it.
Anyway, moving on…
Thierry Henry’s name keeps on coming up and up and up again as the possible next manager of Arsenal.
Thierry however comes with a number of problems, the most obvious of which is that he has not managed at all before and that can be a difficulty. Certainly when the club has tried managers who have not managed before they have sometimes come unstuck. Billy Wright was an obvious example.
Bertie Mee having not managed before won three trophies in two years and might be considered an exception, but he had worked with the players before he became the manager. But we must remember that his management spell was one that ended in our almost being relegated (twice), and he also had some incredibly backward looking views, seeking to get rid of the youth teams, and make the reserves semi-professional. He was also one of those “discipline is everything” men who utterly failed to adapt to changing times – hence he lost a number of players through his obduracy.
Tom Whittaker had not managed before, but he worked from 1925 to 1948 as a coach under three Arsenal managers who won the league, so he did have a lot of experience and time learning his trade. Anyone who worked under Chapman was most certainly a man with a bonus.
So reason one: he hasn’t managed before.
Then there is the fact that Thierry talks to the media. What he said in the aftermath of the City game was very modest and everyday. Something along the lines of “When I meet Arsenal fans, it’s often, ‘Why are we not winning the league? The problem that Arsenal have, as a team, is consistency. You need to be consistent.”
There is nothing amiss in that statement really, but the fact that he should not have made it, if he has ambitions to be Arsenal’s manager, because the Star turned it into
Arsenal legend Thierry Henry BLASTS Gunners in brutal assessment of Arsene Wenger’s side
The fact is that you need to be able to handle the ceaseless criticism and attacks from the media if you want to be Arsenal manager, and Thierry doesn’t do that. He might do well to look back at the attack on Mr Wenger during his first few weeks at Arsenal when crowds of journalists tried to trick him into talking about some appalling not to say disgraceful allegations about the manager. He out foxed them, showing the board exactly how good he was at the PR side of things. Thierry has not shown that sort of cunning in dealing with journalists and he really needs to distance himself and learn how to say, politely, “you are a lying scumbag and if you think I am going to give a quote that is of any value you should go and jump off the top board of a swimming pool without any water in it.” Or something like that.
The third problem Thierry has is that he would be a manager with no experience while working alongside one of the most experienced management teams in the league. As has been mentioned before on this site, the team that has been assembled is quite extraordinary, and the way it found a route out of the onslaughts over the January transfer window was something to behold.
Finally Thierry has no experience of being assaulted and attacked every day of his working life. As a journalist he gets an easy ride. Organisations like Sky bow down to him. As one of the most popular Arsenal players of the last fifty years he is adored wherever he turns up. But if he were to get a few bad results early on, he would probably find it hard to cope with the assault from those he thought were his friends.
One of the things that kept Herbert Chapman at the club through four fairly dismal years at the start of his reign was that he was used to handling the press. But even then Chapman submitted his resignation to Sir Henry Norris because of his total failure to deliver in those four years. Fortunately Sir Henry turned him down and told him to get back to work.
Arsene Wenger got over the “What does he know about English football?” comments by getting the team moving up the table quickly, and bringing in utter masters like Patrick Vieira. Tom Whittaker did it by winning the league in his first season, as did George Allison.
Maybe the media wouldn’t crucify Thierry immediately, and he would have this superb backroom team that has just come together. But he would have very little time, because the media and the anti-Arsenal want a story straight away, and by and large they are the dominant writers on the football pages these days.
So four reasons why I suspect he won’t get the job. But maybe he doesn’t want it anyway. After all he knows very well what the media and Arsenal Fan TV and the rest are like.
- The complete amazing Arsenal transfer news including the new manager & 32 players
- At least when Mr Wenger goes we won’t have a complete change of backroom staff.
- Turning the remorseless criticism of Arsenal to the club’s advantage
- Why is it becoming so difficult to find a sponsor for new football stadium?
- Corruption flares up again in Italy, as Premier League figures don’t look too clever
- How much does a club have to spend on transfers to get a trophy?
- Does the team that is top after 14 games usually go on to win the league?
- How the Taliban infiltrated the World Cup and used it to maintain its war on women