If Ancelotti had been at Arsenal we’d have kicked him out

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

34 Replies to “If Ancelotti had been at Arsenal we’d have kicked him out”

  1. Now that Ancelotti has taken over at Chelsea lets ring every penny out of him for Adebayor – no doubt then that Wenger will give the board most of it and we will go out and buy a 15 year prodigy that no one has ever heard or will hear of again – my mistake he has done that already with Jamie Edge – the answer to a wuestion no one will ever ask ! When we have Man City splashing the cash on players left right and centre and Man Utd, Chelsea and Liverpool no doubt strengthening their squads with established world class players we will have Wenger scouring around the bargain basement looking for “potential” in the french lower league. I am tired of hearing about “potential” – Do you ever hear of Ferguson talking about “potential” ? If Wenger screws it up again this coming season (and who honestly believes that he won’t screw it up?) then he should be removed from his post. People want to see continued success on the field and not optimistic talk about “potential” because we are all tired of seeing something mediocre being talked up as being something good

  2. It’s quite disheartening to hear so much harsh criticism of Wenger. I must admit I find it difficult to comprehend some of his decisions but he has been our most successful manager and he has had a tighter budget to work with than a lot of other Premiership teams. The fact that teams like Spurs blow millions and get no-where should make many of you grateful that we do have a coach like Wenger. Who else would you bring in? Someone willing to blow all of Arsenal’s money and financially ruin us, only to merely compete with Man Utd, Liverpool and Chelsea? We all know where we need to strengthen the squad and I hope Wenger realises this, but excessive criticism is not the answer. If I had to face the sort of criticism many of you are putting out there I’d be more inclined to say ‘sod you’, mess your team up and then leave for Real Madrid where cash is never an issue.

  3. The thing is that it was widely reported that ancelotti was actually released by milan after two poor seasons where he has actually taken them backwards. How does that back up your arguement ? Surely, if anything, it shows that a big club is willing to sack a manager based on performances in the last few seasons regardless of what he has won years ago at the club and if that is the case then it can only back up the viewpoint that if wenger has taken us as far as he can then he should go regardless of sucessess in his past ?

  4. Mason, there are two ways of looking at this, but each has its own logical consequences.

    a) Ancelotti was released by Milan after 2 poor seasons. Then the interesting question is why Chelsea, with all the money to spend, and the choice of almost anyone, should go for him – a man who is failing. If he is all there is, then that suggests that all Arsenal could do, on sacking Wenger, is get a manager who is failing like Ancelotti. And I would say Ancelotti has had more money and yet has failed more than Wenger.

    b) Ancelotti was not released by Milan who wanted to retain him, but who recognised his desire to move on. In that case, that suggests that Milan, like Arsenal, like Man U when Sir Alex had two years of coming third, recognise that you can’t always win all the time. Milan, like Arsenal, recognise that managers have good and bad spells – the latter especially during a rebuild.

    Both possibilities raise issues, and both suggest that just throwing Wenger out would not be helpful. But you have to pick one, and see the argument through.

    The only way your argument that Wenger should be removed could stand up would be if you said

    1. Who we might reasonably expect to replace him
    2. How we would fund the transfers that you say are required, in the long term, without destroying the club financially within the next five years and without destroying the long term heritage of Arsenal.

    Of course, you could say, “I don’t care about the long term heritage of Arsenal – let’s do a Chelsea” – which is a point of view. I don’t think I have heard you say that, but if that is where you come from, then you should put it in your argument.

    If you supported your argument with those two points then we could all judge if Newman would do better with his new purchases than Wenger will do as the young team he has built over the past 3 years will do now that they are coming to maturity.

    We can’t make any comment on your argument thus far, because you won’t give that sort of detailed information.

    My argument for retaining Wenger is a complete argument – it includes the financial situation, details of the squad and who is in it, and how the club goes forward over the coming years.

    In my personal opinion (and it is of course just my opinion) your argument does not go into that much detail. Because of this (I believe) the debate never goes anywhere.

    If you would like to write an article which does more than just point out Wenger’s failings, but actually goes beyond this and creates a detailed position of what should happen, I would be very happy to publish it here in full, without any editing. But I would say that the argument does have to be detailed in that way, otherwise it will just be a repetition of what we have read before.

    If I may put it like this, this is one of the more intellectual of blogs, in which argument is developed and various angles covered, and I am just asking you to use the same approach in putting up your alternative arguments.


  5. Gooneroone , I understand that you are trying to defend wenger but you cannot point to the scum spending all that money and not getting anyway is a reason to applaud wenger. The only thing that I will ever give the scum credit for is the fact that they are willing to spend a few quid in trying to improve themselves and bridge the gap while our club would prefer to spend fcuk all and be content with a 4th place finish

  6. I fail to understand always the Doomers tunnel vision of Arsene’s ambitions for the club and his achievements. Arsene is NOT spending OUR money is a favourite chant among the gloomers which is amplified and fuelled by similar media bias in the popular press.

    Yes, there has not been a Samuel Et’o, Kaka, Villa, Deco signing for Arsenal but in the last 2 seasons, we have had Sagna, Eduardo, Nasri, Arshavin – all world class players who did not feature on the radar of Chelsea, ManU or Liverpool. Dont get me started on the huge potential of youths coming through like Wilshire, Walcot, Gibbs et al.

    FFS, give Arsene a chance to deliver on his promises. If you have to wait another 1 or 2 years for a trophy, then so be it.

  7. Tony, You question why the chavs would want a guy who has been failing at milan but that dont stand up – would many clubs go after wenger should he leave us ? Fact is that managers, like players, can go stale at a club and a move might well invigorate them again. Aside from financial issues there are many knocks on wengers performances of late and there is a real possibility that he is too close to his players and can no longer see the wood from the trees

  8. Wenger has one more season and the crowd will turn. Displays of so called loyalty as at the Stoke game usually preceed a negative reaction. Performances like this season and a listless side full inexperienced “kids” just aint good enough. Wenger is making too many mistakes to be deemed irreplaceable. Its human, he was good but he has lost it. Would it all fall apart if Wenger went? It shouldnt if the board had proper succession planning in place ¿ but we know they haven¿t! Why isn¿t Steve Bould been moved up to take over from Pat Rice next season? Wenger has meddled in too many non footballing issues and needs to get back into his football box. Also his arrogance in not refreshing his coaching staff is in stark contrast to the more successful Fergie who always looks for strong no2s and has had great coaches in his period as boss. As for replacing Wenger there are candidates. Hiddink, Capello(both available after next years world cup) and Moyes are potential replacements. Roberto Martinez and Owen Coyle are managers with great potential. There are other candidates out there in Europe. Remember, Wenger was in the football wilderness before coming to us and George Graham was at Millwall! Our problem is that we don¿t have anyone on the board like Dein who actually knows anything about football or has the footballing contacts Dein had. Anyway don¿t worry Kameron, the board wont get rid of Wenger. He is the new Bertie Mee, unsackable. With our money woes, we will have to wait for a new set of owners who will actually want to make the club a footballing success by putting money into the club and appointing a manager with a desire to win. Not one who talks gibberish! Manure, Chavs, Lpool are going to invest big time this summer. We will be out-gunned money-wise again. Maybe the future should be orange and round!

  9. Cumulative net spending 2004-2009 (Total of Transfter spending-transfer receipts per year)

    Arsenal: -4.79
    Chelsea: 142.6
    Man Poo: 66.3
    Liverpool: 89.92

    Source: Times

  10. mason @ 1:53 pm

    be careful what you wish for…

    Pool and ManU have leveraged their assets and invested in transfers (in Pool’s case foolishly.. except for Torres) – in effect mortgaging their future for present success. What has Pool won last 2 years+? . ManU is skating on a thin edge – a season without CL football would probably bankrupt them.

    You are calling for so called “saviours” like Usmanov to pump in money into the club. Yes, they might – but using Arsenal’s assets.

    be careful what you wish for…

  11. Wenger is a fantastic manager performing miracles year in year out. I hear the likes of Mason saying Wenger should get out of non-football stuff. Maybe fans should get out of all that too. I don’t care who Wenger chooses as his number 2. It’s all his prerogative. And I am not intrested with board politics beyond caring about not concentrating ownership in any one person.

    Wenger is unsackable because as Tony here would tell you, no board would ever sack a manager who’s multiplied their wealth several times. Just look at that table above and see Chelsea spending more than 100 times what we’ve spent on players, Liverpool 90 times, and we’re still competing with them. In the real world, no board would sack a manager like that.

  12. Mason “would many clubs go after Wenger should he leave us?” are you really asking that as a question? I mean REALLY?!

    Even the most anti-Wenger D&G merchants must have some inkling that
    he is arguably the most sought after manager in the world?

  13. Wenger is the reason Mourinho was sacked. The shady Russian looked at Arsenal and saw that trophies could be won while playing good attractive football. Moaninho is totally incapable of delivering that. Hence the sack.

  14. And for the umpteenth time this rise of dissatisfaction with wenger has fcuk all to do with winning trophies but has loads to do with the team going considerably backwards in the last few seasons

  15. You list Eduardo, Vela, VanP and Adebayor and proven finishers. Eduardo and Vela are potential only at this stage and have not proven anything in the Prem. Although I like them both as players from what I have seen so far. VanP is not a main striker and will at best average 15 goals a season. Adebayor is one of the worse finishers going. Last season when he scored 30 goals he missed about another 30 that were sitters. I would happily trade Ade for someone else. The more I look back on the 2007/08 season, Wenger’s poor judgement really comes to the fore. In Jan 2008 we could have bought Anelka and Woodgate for 25m in total. An absolute bargain. We may have gone on to win the Prem with them in the team and would not have been held to ransom in the summer by Adebayor and his wage demands. 25m looks insignificant now compared to the level of investment we need to put into the team to even keep our 4th spot for next season! Uncle Mike, you can throw all the stats you want about Denilson but in big games he goes missing. Stats are misleading.

  16. Agreed Ole, though I don’t think Mason cares a jot about about attractive football – he has already said, winning is EVERYTHING.

    In fact for all of the suggestions mooted why Mourinho is not his immediate suggestion as Wenger’s replacement? We already know JM savours a return to The Prem, he would probably jump at the opportunity (just to wind up Chelsea and to be the big man at the centre of a maelstrom), he has an amazing managerial record both on The Prem and abroad and he will spend big if money is available.

    In fact would have thought Mason’s blueprint for success would be to have Usmanov buy out the shareholders, install Mourinho as manager and then have him spend mega-millions on big name signings.

    Personally I’d sooner eat my own feet.

  17. The Guardian today: Arsenal the only team accumulating debts to invest (that is to make purchase of capitals and players). Liver and Manure’s are speculative debts dumped on them by owners who borrow to finance their purchases of the clubs. For all their silverware, MU are incurring annual loss due to interest payments (to echo what Tony says all along). May the CL replica cup one day be melted into enough silver to pay back all that for them.

    Mason doesn’t know which way is forward, which way is backward – that is his problem. The only “backward” season we had football-wise was the year we went to the new ground. The year after that we were about 4 points away from 1st place and got kicked out of CL by ref’s howler. The year after that (last year), well, have you ever seen Arsenal in top four of CL, FA and EPL in the same year?

  18. a very intresting debate going on, and trust mason to throw a spanner in the works, I can see where you coming from with soem of this but Arsenal fans wouldn’t have kicked him out because 1 We’re not the once making the decsions 2 The club cares very little what the fans think about anything at all 3 There are lot of fans that would happy with it (not spaking for myself)

  19. I am implying that a manager does not become unwanted after a few bad seasons if he has a history of winning and without doubt wenger has that

  20. I am implying that a manager does not become unwanted after a few bad seasons if he has a history of winning and without doubt wenger has that

    so good, we keep Wenger then.

  21. Oh! Is THAT your point? That’s fine then, we might have to agree to differ on what constitutes a ‘bad season’, but we can all agree with that a manager does not become unwanted after a few bad seasons if he has a history of winning.

    Unless of course you’re at Chelsea or Real Madrid where…

    Dammit! I nearly thought we agreed on something.

  22. Unbelivable

    Sagna,Eduardo,Nasri and Arshavin world class! Lets look at the facts.Sagna great first season but just above average last season.Eduardo he has made less than 20 starts for us,still a lot to prove.Nasri good at home but has yet to show he can do it away.Arshavin yes he is world class. If we had so many world class players would we be struggling to finish 4th until Arshavin arrived? We have maybe 2 world class players in Cesc and Arshavin

  23. Tony – Why do you let these anti Arsenal trolls try to take over and ruin your excellent blog? They are hard at work trying to subvert the only other pro Arsenal blog I’ve found and now they are spreading their poison here.
    It isn’t allowing balanced debate it’s just imbecilic whining by people who blatantly haven’t read or understood your message.
    People who support Arsenal simply do not shout, in public, abusive comments about the club, manager or players. Supporters support. End of story.

  24. You said it, Tony. They don’t come better than Arsene. He may not be perfect, but all things considered, he’s perfect for us.

  25. To take up the question: Why do I “allow” people who disagree with the fundamental position of this site (“supporting the Lord Wenger in all he does”) to write here?

    I suppose because I am interested in what they have to say – I disagree, but I want to see the arguments, and see if there is anything to learn.

    And I don’t like censorship.

    As things stand, the only times I cut articles are

    a) When the same piece is posted twice
    b) When the article is lifted wholesale from another site
    c) When people call me a racist (which hasn’t happened for quite a while, but was a problem last year. I found that personally very offensive).
    d) When someone is so off topic that it is meaningless to have it here (about 20 posts a day fall into this category).

    I think we’ll obviously have more of this type of debate in the summer, because of the inaction on the pitch, but I’ll change the subject tomorrow. I’m expanding the list of clubs in crisis, after quite a few comments about the last one I ran.

    As before, if you fancy writing an article which is in keeping with the essence of this blog, I’d be pleased to hear from you. Just email the idea to Tony at Hamilton-House.com

  26. That was my 30 minutes well spent. Thank you tony and everyone here who posts.

    I’d take 2-3 more years without trophies as long as I can still support them in the PL 20 years on. I rest my case.

  27. All I can say is you have more patience than I Tony, and fair play to you for that. Obviously contrary views will ever be prevalent in an area which provokes so much passion. However, can we really learn anything from the repetitive semi literate trollish ravings which are so easily to be found on almost every other Arsenal blog? I hoped I’d found a calm intelligent oasis here but they are determined to undermine the club wherever they find the opportunity. Ah well. At least the main blog itself is still worth coming for even if the comment section has been infected.

  28. Off Topic :
    @Tony : can we have a rating system of comments (eg.,Guardian) and get the lower rated comments to be minimized (eg.,Daily Tech blogs) ?
    That way you wont have to censor the comments and we still be able to filter out the mason/le-gr@vers/d&g brigade from the rest.

  29. That wouldn’t work.

    If sombody wants to post and as long as they are not using foul and abusive language, then their opinion should be given air even if the vast majority of us feel like patting them on the head, giving them an ice-cream and sending them off to a creche.

  30. the grass is always greener until you manage to get to the other side, and you find its just the same or worse. in this case worse. if ancelotti is the best the world has to offer, i’m glad we’re not in the market.

    give us a name mason. who is your target? if they are that good why come to a trophyless team that cant finish higher than 4th.

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