What is it that the recent serial League winners in England have in common?

By Tony Attwood

And so it has begun.  The Express is running a story in which it talks about the need to get rid of Mikel Arteta as manager.

This might seem a bit early to run, but as is often noted by criminologists that crimes tend to be committed by people who regularly commit crimes.  In other words there are people who don’t commit crimes and those who do.

So it seems there are clubs that change their manager at the drop of a hat, and those who don’t.  We did not used to be in the former group, now one more change would put us absolutely in that group.

But does changing the manager a lot result in lots of titles, or is there something else that links regular title winners?  Or is there some other factor involved that regular title winners now have?   These are the question I hope to answer in this, and the next article.

Of course everyone has an opinion on this – spending loads of money, changing manager, changing the team, having a settled team…  But which one is it.

To begin with the manager, history shows changing managers by and large doesn’t work for Arsenal.  Only once has the replacement of a manager who won things, been followed by a manager who has won any major trophy.  That was Bertie Mee being replaced by Terry Neill – and Neill only won one trophy in a six and a half year reign.   Here’s the Arsenal manager list since the second world war.

Manager Started Left Games Win % Trophies Total trophies
Tom Whittaker 2 June 1947 24 October 1956 430 47.21 First division (twice). FA Ciup 3
Jack Crayston 24 October 1956 19 May 1958 81 41.98
George Swindin 21 June 1958 1 May 1962 186 40.86
Billy Wright 1 May 1962 13 June 1966 182 38.46
Bertie Mee 20 June 1966 4 May 1976 539 44.71 First division, FA Cup, Fairs Cup 3
Terry Neill 9 July 1976 16 Dec 1983 416 44.95 FA Cup 1
Don Howe 16 December 1983 22 March 1986 117 46.15
George Graham 14 May 1986 21 February 1995 460 48.91 First division (twice), FA Cup, League cup (twice), Cup winners cup 6
Stewart Houston 21 February 1995 15 June 1995 19 36.84
Bruce Rioch 15 June 1995 12 August 1996 47 46.81
Arsène Wenger 1 October 1996 13 May 2018 1,235 57.25 Premier League 3 times, FA Cup 7 times 10
Unai Emery 23 May 2018 29 November 2019 78 55.13
Mikel Arteta 22 December 2019 Present 16 50.00

The Express story mentioned at the start, can be summarised roughly by saying there are two reasons why Arteta has to go.  One is that he is not doing well enough and the other is “the availability of Massimiliano Allegri.”

There are of course also two reasons why he should not go.  One is that changing managers by and large doesn’t work, and the other is that it seems unlikely that the board would sanction another round of expenditure on players, which is why new managers by and large like – and which Allegri has had at Juventus.

The Express’ summary of the situation is that “Arsenal are a team in crisis. Arteta isn’t up for the job and, though a sacking isn’t likely yet, that’s growing clearer by the week.”

But let us also consider what has happened to Liverpool since their days of winning the title year after year.

Their last serial winner was Dalglish who won the title three times and FA Cup twice in six seasons – a remarkable record and one only emulated by Arsene Wenger who won the League three times and FA Cup four times in eight seasons.

But when Dalglish left and was replaced by Souness, Evans, Houllier, Benitez, Hodgson, Dalglish again, and Rodgers, and none could win the League.

Klopp has been at the club since 2015 making this his fifth season – and so although we cannot denigrate his achievement (although the remorseless appearance of the same referee in their matches is somewhat odd) the fact is that even a club that was winning the league so often has taken 30 years to work out how to do it again.

So what is the trick?  Surely Arsenal can find it, for after all Arsenal are no slouches when it comes to winning the top division, having done it 13 times – a total only beaten by Manchester United and Liverpool.

Looking at the last ten years the winners have been Manchester City (four times), Chelsea (three times), Manchester United and Leicester City (once each).

So what have Manchester City and Chelsea got in common?  In fact it turns out there are two things they have in common – although you won’t ever see the newspapers, or TV commentators admit it.  But those two factors are there, staring us in the face

I’ll look at that in the next article.

The slavery files

6 Replies to “What is it that the recent serial League winners in England have in common?”

  1. Great article. I love your evidenced based approach, it’s so refreshing and unfortunately rare in football, especially amongst the journalists. I remain hopeful even excited to see what Arteta could do given enough time and support.

  2. I hope the Daily Express are equally as damning on the experienced and accomplished Jose and Ancelotti as they are on Arteta, these two sit in a similar position to Arsenal as things stand

  3. I notice that it’s now being touted that Guendouzi may face a three match ban for grabbing Maupay after the game on Saturday. Talk about injustice. This is beyond a joke when our player ends up in hospital.

    I also note that three of our players were unable to participate at Man City because of a false positive from a virus test…….carried out by the Premier League!! And despite the fact that Arsenal got independent evidence that it was a false positive the player in question and two others with whom he’d been in close contact, were unable to participate. This is manna from heaven for the powers that be to disrupt Arsenal even more.

  4. It seems amazing to me that the media is now touting Liverpool as the club to admire and city /Chelsea are used as examples of clubs used to compare with The Arsenal.

    So many different scenarios to talk about – owners who want to win and support the club – clubs who have broken rules – clubs who haven’t had the expense of new stadiums – clubs who invested in players and not let valuable assets go for nothing.

    How we were hounded for not winning anything for years and yet Liverpool are given grace and favour for thirty years, including klopp taking five years to make the club a force once again.

    What did our club ever do that generates such double standards on and off the pitch?

  5. Mikey

    Honestly this is getting depressing. Not the lads. I can take winning or losing, it’s part of the game. We were the only unbeaten team in 2020 in the premier League, now we’ve lost 2 games, one away to one of the best and most expensively assembled teams ever, with 3 players out thanks to a (accidental ?) cock-up by the PL, others out with injury and 2 carried off after 20 mins, and one in which yet again a referee refereed us in an entirely different way to that of our opponent. So hardly the end of the World. But oh no of course it is, it’s Arsenal.

    But this is different. We are used to being screwed but they really are going for it now.

    I really do despair.

  6. OT
    It appears that the thug Maupay who was responsible for injuring Leno has previous for assaults on opposing players.
    He has twice been found to have deliberately stamped on a grounded player, one of which against McGinn of Villa resulted in a suspension. He also upset Chelsea by trying to score from a dropped ball instead of returning it to Chelsea.
    He sounds like a very nasty piece of work and confirms my feeling that his barge into the airborn Leno was deliberate.

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