We’re continuing to experiment with our video commentaries: do take a peek at Untold GoonerNews
And we’ve finally made progress on viewing this site on mobile devices. Click on an article, give it a second or two to load and click on “Show simplified view” at the bottom of the page.
By Tony Attwood
It looks like we are getting Arteta as the new manager – although at the moment I write this that is not confirmed. But Arteta or someone else: just how well has our next manager got to do?
We know that our last two managers have been hammered by the media, and from what I recall (and this really is just from memory, as I don’t keep a scrap book) the press didn’t really care too much for Rioch, Graham, Neill, and Howe, or even Bertie Mee after his first few years. (Actually nor did I, but that’s not really the point).
Anyway, I thought it might be interesting to put together a table of managers who got to 40 or more games in charge of Arsenal, in order of the percentage of wins, so that we can see what the new manager has to live up to.
We know that the crowd turned on the last couple of managers and eventually persuaded one to leave and the board to sack the other, so it is not that hard to how good the new man’s got to be. He’s got to be better than Wenger and Emery.
Which is quite a demand, since the manager with the highest percentage of wins so far in the entire league history of Arsenal is… Mr Wenger with 57.25%. And indeed the manager with the second highest percentage of wins thus far is Unai Emery with 55.13%. (And just to complete the point Mr Wenger’s record is all the more remarkable given that he also managed such a high number of games.)
So that’s nice and simple. The new manager has got to be better than Wenger – and he was our best man ever at the job in terms of win percentages, and come to that trophies.
Looking at the tables and going back in time I was reminded just how Bertie Mee destroyed what could have been a solid legacy by ploughing on and on with his policy of reducing the club’s size, moving from being hailed as the great Double win, to the man who nearly got Arsenal relegated. There’s one lesson to learn – know when it is time to go.
Now of course some would say Mr Wenger didn’t know that, but overall his record shows otherwise. Here is the managerial chart in the order of percentage of wins, starting with the worst and ending with the best. One other little interesting factor to note en route is that the manager who utterly re-wrote Arsenal’s history with a set of appalling false allegations about the club’s chairman of the day was also the worst of all these managers.
|Leslie Knighton||25 May 1919||16 May 1925||286||105||63||118||367||401||36.71|
|Billy Wright||1 May 1962||13 June 1966||182||70||43||69||336||330||38.46|
|George Swindin||21 June 1958||1 May 1962||186||76||43||67||336||330||40.86|
|Phil Kelso||1 May 1904||9 Feb 1908||152||63||31||58||225||229||41.45|
|Jack Crayston||24 Oct 1956||19 May 1958||81||34||17||30||148||151||41.98|
|Bertie Mee||20 June 1966||4 May 1976||539||241||148||150||739||542||44.71||1 League, 1 FAC, 1 Inter Cities Cup|
|Terry Neill||9 July 1976||16 Dec 1983||416||187||117||112||601||446||44.95||1 FAC|
|Don Howe||16 Dec 1983||22 March 1986||117||54||32||31||187||142||46.15|
|George Allison||28 May 1934||31 May 1947||279||129||74||76||534||327||46.24||2 League, 1 FAC|
|Bruce Rioch||15 June 1995||12 Aug 1996||47||22||15||10||67||37||46.81|
|Tom Whittaker||2 June 1947||24 Oct 1956||430||203||106||121||802||568||47.21||2 League 1 FAC|
|William Elcoat||11 April 1898||16 Feb 1899||44||21||6||17||86||67||47.73|
|George Graham||14 May 1986||21 Feb 1995||460||225||133||102||711||403||48.91||2 League, 1 FAC, 2 Lge Cup, 1 CWC|
|Herbert Chapman||11 June 1925||6 January 1934||411||204||97||110||879||616||49.64||2 League, 1 FAC|
|Harry Bradshaw||30 June 1899||30 April 1904||235||118||44||73||403||237||50.21||Promotion to Div 1|
|Thomas Mitchell||30 March 1897||10 March 1898||45||23||8||14||106||79||51.11|
|Unai Emery||23 May 2018||29 Nov 2019||78||43||16||19||152||100||55.13|
|Arsène Wenger||1 October 1996||13 May 2018||1,235||707||280||248||2,156||1,147||57.25||3 Lge, 7 FAC|
So quite with the new manager, clearly we are looking for the highest win rate we have ever seen at the club: better than Wenger, Chapman, and Graham, our three greatest managers. But we can also note that win percentage does not protect a manager from attack by journalists and bloggers. Our two best managers in those terms were hounded from office by complaints from both.
But maybe that is unfair. Maybe we don’t want our managers to be better in terms of win ratio, only in terms of trophies. So let’s try that by looking at just the managers who won something and then see how many games their sides played in order to get a trophy.
||Trophies||Games per trophy|
|Bertie Mee||20 June 1966||4 May 1976||539||1 League, 1 FAC, 1 Inter Cities Cup||180|
|Terry Neill||9 July 1976||16 Dec 1983||416||1 FAC||416|
|George Allison||28 May 1934||31 May 1947||279||2 League, 1 FAC||93|
|Tom Whittaker||2 June 1947||24 Oct 1956||430||2 League 1 FAC||143|
|George Graham||14 May 1986||21 Feb 1995||460||2 League, 1 FAC, 2 Lge Cup, 1 CWC||77|
|Herbert Chapman||11 June 1925||6 January 1934||411||2 League, 1 FAC||137|
|Arsène Wenger||1 October 1996||13 May 2018||1,235||3 Lge, 7 FAC||123|
So our most successful manager through this system of counting was George Graham with one trophy every 77 games. Second best was George Allison. Third Arsene Wenger. Then Herbert Chapman, Tom Whittaker, Bertie Mee, Terry Neill.
But of course circumstances were not always straightforward. Chapman for example had to take the club from never having won a trophy to winning its first FA Cup and League titles. And Arsene Wenger had the job of managing the club through the austerity years when the new stadium was being paid for.
So yes, circumstances are always different. But the target can be seen. A win ratio of at least 55% and a trophy every 100 games or so.
- Arsenal’s finances: another loss but going the right way
- WSL 2022-23 Arsenal v Everton – Match Preview
- Which Arsenal transfer tale is being repeated the most often?
- How much have Arsenal’s rivals spent on transfers in recent years?
- Why is it becoming so difficult to find a sponsor for new football stadium?