Just imagine what would have happened if Ancelotti – late of AC Milan now of the KGB in Fulham had been at Arsenal.
At first the club’s world-wide supporters would have rejected his credentials. Here is a man whose greatest achievement in Europe prior to joining AC Milan was to win not the Euro Cup or Champs League, not the Cup Winners Cup of old, not even the Diddly Widdly UEFA cup – but… The Intertoto Cup with Juve.
But AC Milan don’t think this way. They saw him, they saw potential, and gave him a chance. And in his second season he won the Champs League. Next year he won the Italian League.
And then, two years later they got to the final of the Champs again again and despite being 3-0 up at half time they blew it and lost on penalties. But two years after that they won it again.
So fairly secure you’d think, even in the “Wenger has lost it” world of some Arsenal supporters, in which you are only as good as what you have won in the last couple of years.
But let’s look at that record a different way.
2004-5, 2nd in the league, 2nd in Champs League
2005-6, 2nd in the league, semis in the Champs League
2006-7, 4th in the league, Champs League winners
2007-8, 5th in the league, Champs League last 16
2008-9, 3rd in the league, UEFA Cup last 32.
See what I mean? Those last two years have not just been awful by their own high standards. Worse even that Arsenal under Wenger (for our supporters who measure things this way).
Not qualifying for the Champs League. Not even getting to the final of the UEFA Diddly Cup.
Our two 4ths and a Champs semi is way ahead of the KGB’s new man over the last two years. True, we’ve not won the Champs League but our earlier golden age included a couple of doubles and an unbeaten season in a league that is considered by many to be tougher than Italy.
So did AC Milan fans say the new manager didn’t have the winning mentality when he came along having only won the Intertoto? And are the fans of the KGB saying he’s useless because for the last two years he’s been… useless.
Actually I’ve no idea – but I suppose there are odd-balls everywhere.
My point is that KGB Fulham is not buying in a man who guarantees wins all the time. They are buying in a man who generates trophies some of the time, and then has a poor run by his own higher standards.
Who is to say what he will do with Terry scowling in the background and the KGB censoring his every other word and re-writing the reports of the fans’ forums to exclude any bits they don’t think fit.
But my point is that the new man in charge of the KGB in Fulham is what you get at the top level. Win some lose some. True Sir Alex F Word is having another good run at the moment, but that is exceptional, just as Wenger’s two doubles and the unbeaten season were. You get exceptional seasons from exceptional managers – but you don’t get them year after year after year without stop.
If Wenger were to be forced out by the nutters we would be looking at candidates of Ancelotti’s standard – so prepare to accept someone who can’t actually get a club with the finance of AC Milan into the top four in Italy every year.
(c) Tony Attwood 2009
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