By Tony Attwood
There are quite a few calls around for Mr Arteta to go, with as always, some fans being swayed by press commentary. The notion of the bumbling buffoon who didn’t know what he was up to was promoted in the Guardian’s headline Arsenal fans need Mikel Arteta to work out what he is trying to do.
That’s now the standard line, for journalists do like to copy each other in order to make it look as if they know what they are talking about – and can promote the concept that a Premier League manager doesn’t actually know what he is trying to do, while a journalist does. It is an idea so ludicrous as not to be worth examining – managers earn far more than journos, so why don’t these journalists swap jobs if they know it all?
But we can perhaps get a better idea of what is going on this chart showing points per game.
|5||Emery first season||38||21||7||10||73||51||22||70||1.84|
|8||End of last season||38||18||7||13||55||39||16||61||1.60|
The closeness of the points per game at the end of last season to the points per game that we had when Mr Wenger left shows that we have in terms of the points per season, been going around in circles.
The fact that the failure to qualify for Europe hasn’t happened for 25 years shows us just how strong a manager Mr Wenger was and how talented he was in keeping us in the top four, for longer in fact than any other club not just in the Premier League but in every other major league in Europe except for Real Madrid in Spain.
But of course celebrating our past successes is not what the media want to do. What they wanted was each manager to be sacked, and a new manager brought in, so they had a story given to them.
And yet as the data above shows, bringing in new managers is what we have been doing and it clearly is not working. So why keep on doing the same thing that we have been doing, over and over again?
The answer from the journalists’ point of view is associated with pure laziness. If Arsenal’s manager is sacked they can run their “Arsenal in chaos” headlines and then spend time guessing who the next manager will be, while drawing up lists of players that we need to get rid of.
But that brings us back to another twist. It was the media who endlessly said that we had to buy more and more players. In Mr Wenger’s days of course they never got anywhere with that – even the regular chants of the Anti-Arsenal-Arsenal mob, now closely linked to AFTV, of “Spend some fucking money” didn’t get anywhere because he knew that the journalists were lacking in all understanding of football management (which is why they were journalists and not managers).
Few of the journalists who are currently employed have tried to be managers – Paul Merson for example managed Walsall, but without notable success. Indeed if we look at our list of managers since the first world war we find we have had 20. Take out the temps and we have had 15 of whom seven have won something – so new managers bringing in trophies is not a given.
|Manager||Started||Ended||Trophies / status|
|Mikel Arteta||23 Dec, 2019||Present||1 FA Cup|
|Fredrik Ljungberg||29 Nov, 2019||23 Dec, 2019||(Temp)|
|Unai Emery||23 May, 2018||29 Nov, 2019|
|Arsene Wenger||30 Sep, 1996||14 May, 2018||3 League titles 7 FA Cups|
|Pat Rice||16 Sep, 1996||30 Sep, 1996||(Temp)|
|Stewart Houston||12 Aug, 1996||16 Sep, 1996||(Temp)|
|Bruce Rioch||08 Jun, 1995||12 Aug, 1996|
|Stewart Houston||21 Feb, 1995||8 Jun, 1996||(Temp)|
|George Graham||14 May, 1986||21 Feb, 1995||2 League titles, 1 FA Cup, 1 CWC, 2 League Cups|
|Steve Burtenshaw||25 Mar, 1986||14 May, 1986||(Temp)|
|Don Howe||16 Dec, 1983||22 Mar, 1986|
|Terry Neill||8 Jul, 1976||16 Dec, 1983|
|Bertie Mee||1 Jun, 1966||4 May, 1976||1 Uefa Cup, 1 FA Cup 1 League title|
|Billy Wright||1 May, 1962||1 Jun, 1966|
|George Swindin||1 Jul, 1958||1 May, 1962|
|Jack Crayston||1 Nov, 1956||1 May, 1958|
|Tom Whittaker||1 Jun, 1947||24 Oct, 1956||2 League titles, 1 FA Cup|
|George Allison||1 Jun, 1934||8 June 1947||2 League titles, 1 FA Cup|
|Herbert Chapman||11 Jun, 1925||6 Jan, 1934||2 League titles, 1 FA Cup|
|Leslie Knighton||1 May, 1919||1 Jun, 1925|
But here is one thing I would point out, and which is often missed. Sir Henry Norris as chairman brought in Herbert Chapman in 1925, and his name is still, quite properly recognised in the club. And in my own small way I did a bit to help that, persuading the club to put up the Chapman statue looking up at the ground.
Yet Chapman was not an immediate trophy winner. He had four seasons without winning anything and in his first trophy season (the FA Cup in his fifth campaign) in terms of league position was…
- 1925/26 – 2nd
- 1926/27 – 11th
- 1927/28 – 10th
- 1928/29 – 9th
- 1929/30 – 14th (won FA Cup)
In short, Arteta is doing better than Chapman, in that in his complete season he’s won the Cup and come in 8th.
But I rather suspect, under the guidance of the media, we are going to keep on changing manager after manager, and getting rid of them faster and faster. So the chances of finding another Chapman are vanishingly small.
Looking forward: 2021/22
- How can Arsenal up their goalscoring this coming season?
- What’s gone wrong in the transfer market? In essence, everything.
- How EU foreign subsidy rules could harm football
- How the media got it wrong last season and will do again in 2021/2
- The illusion that it is all about the quality of the players is an illusion
- Beyond any doubt Infantino is getting his way. Next: Fifa will leave Zurich
- World Cup chaos: the bits you may have missed
- Fifa establish their unchallengable right to change football rules as they go
- Extraordinary report claims Arsenals’ FA Cup win was not a major trophy!
- 2022/23 Women’s Champions League Juventus v Arsenal – match preview