By Tony Attwood
Take a look at the blogs and newspapers and you will find article after article about how Arsenal’s performance has declined this year and how vital it is for the manager to be changed.
What these self-same blogs and newspaper journalists are not writing about is how two years ago many of them were writing the same thing. And they got what they wanted. The manager changed. Arsenal were sixth when Mr Wenger left and are sixth now with Mr Emery, so the strategy has not worked.
Which raises some very simple questions such as why is a managerial change now, or indeed at the end of the season, likely to work when the last managerial change didn’t work – at least not in their eyes?
Or is it just Arsenal that gets it wrong
I haven’t seen any answers to this one, but I really would like to be offered a few. Particularly if the answer is nothing more than “we got the wrong guy last time, we need…” Because as recent statistics show, there never is a guarantee that the right manager will be chosen and that when he is chosen that manager will be able to put things right. In fact most of the time new managerial appointments don’t make it work.
Indeed the decline rate is over three quarters. That is to say over three quarters of new managerial appointments in the Premier League, since the time Mr Wenger left, lead the club to LOWER achievements than they had under the manager who was sacked, or at very best, the same league position.
And the same is bad news, not just because the fans will continue to moan and bitch about the new man, the directors and everything else, but because they will demand another change, leading to even more insecurity.
In sh0rt, the risk of sacking the manager or letting him go is enormous, and the odds are the next manager will do worse or just the same, as the last man.
Let’s have a look at the most recent managerial changes for Premier League clubs. This table shows all the managerial changes from Mr Wenger onwards. There have been ten in all. Of these 80% of the clubs are worse off, or in the same position, when compared to the time when the previous manager leaves.
In short, sacking the manager has only a 20% chance of success
|Team||Outgoing manager||Date of vacancy||Position in table||Incoming manager||Position now|
|Arsenal||Arsène Wenger||13 May 2018||6||Unai Emery||6|
|Everton||Sam Allardyce||16 May 2018||8||Marco Silva||15|
|West Ham United||David Moyes||16 May 2018||13||Manuel Pellegrini||16|
|Chelsea||Antonio Conte||13 July 2018||5||Maurizio Sarri||3|
|Fulham||Slaviša Jokanović||14 November 2018||20||Claudio Ranieri||7 (Championship)|
|Southampton||Mark Hughes||3 December 2018||18||Ralph Hasenhüttl||19|
|Manchester United||José Mourinho||18 December 2018||6||Ole Gunnar Solskjær||7|
|Huddersfield Town||David Wagner||14 January 2019||20||Jan Siewert||19 (Championship)|
|Leicester City||Claude Puel||24 February 2019||12||Brendan Rodgers||2|
|Fulham||Claudio Ranieri||28 February 2019||19||Scott Parker[b]||7 (Championship)|
And even if they do make things better, most managers don’t manage to make it work repeatedly in the way that Ferguson did at Manchester United.
So the chances are very strongly in favour of Mr Emery doing worse than Mr Wenger, and if Mr Emery is pushed out, the next man will do worse again.
So supposing Arsenal gets rid of the current manager, and replaces him with another who again fails. How long should he be given? And how many times should this approach of getting rid of a manager and then bringing in another one who fails be used?
For ever? For as long as it takes? And how much money should each new man be given? People regularly say we need to get rid of the low quality players Mr Wenger bought, and then when Mr Emery goes, the point will be that we have to get rid of the players Mr Emery bought. And how long with the owners allow that to go on?
The fact that few people, if any, are facing this question, is not really very surprising because the people who are running the “it failed last time so let’s do it again” campaign are the same people who ran the “We Care Do You” campaign which also took us nowhere.
“It feels as though Arsenal is at the crossroads” that campaign said. “Things need to change”. And “as signatories to this statement [we] want to see meaningful action by Stan Kroenke to reinvigorate out (sic) football club. ”
So they would probably now argue that things have not changed, and that the strategy of Arsenal Supporters Trust, Red Action, Arseblog and others in signing up to this document has failed. So it seems to me to be a valid question, what is their strategy now?
If it were to be more of the same, given the statistics above showing that 80% of new managers fail to improve on the position of the last manager, we have to ask why keep on replicating the same failing strategy over and over.
Now I don’t think all of the people who argued for Mr Wenger to be replaced, and who are now arguing for Mr Emery to be replaced, are utter fools. They can see statistics like this as well as I can and I am sure they know these stats as well as I do. They know another managerial replacement is more likely to take the club down further than to get it to rise up the league and stay there.
So why are they demanding another managerial change when they know it will lead to more and more failure?
That is not a question many blogs and newspapers are asking, and I’ll go into this more in future articles.
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