Heeeeeey ho, let’s go.
What a way to start Friday. I went to something called Barry’s Bootcamp. In England, that’d be a place behind Tesco, where Barry, local slag, whips fat stay at home parents into shape. This one though, geez, 4 different flavours of shampoo and towels that DID NOT smell of bleach.
I know what you’re thinking, who cares? I do. There is no point in going to the gym if you don’t tell people about it.
So there’s this thing people keep telling me about Arsene Wenger leaving… ‘Look, Stan is the problem, it’ll be tough for the new manager’… and it riles me.
Why? Because I think it’s just another way to make you think twice before hammering Wenger for being past his sell-by date.
Here are the factoids:
I am not defending Stan K. He’s not a great owner of franchises. We’ve been saying it for years, the stupid campaign that went around at the time of his purchase – marveling at what a great franchise owner he was – really wasn’t well thought out. We didn’t want a grotesque Eastern European boogeyman sacking managers and interfering with the team. No, we wanted the quiet brooding cowboy who just let the club run itself.
10 years on or whatever it is, we’re bitching on Stan for being too hands off. We’re moaning that a man who we knew treated his sports clubs like property assets doesn’t care what’s going on as long as they’re accruing value year on year. We’re upset that he isn’t a bit more aggressive, like that passionate modern owner at Chelsea who keeps winning things.
All of this is left wing Arsenal fan speak for…
‘I JUST WISH HE’D SACK WENGER’
Fair play, I get that. For me, Stan’s biggest failing is he just can’t quit Arsene. However, the Arsenal fans switching to this narrative have been sitting on their hands about it being over for Wenger for years.
‘I’m just not quite prepared to have an opinion here lads’
Here are some more factaroonies, for all of those folk fearing what a ghastly time we’ll have post Wenger.
1. Infrastructure issues
Arsene Wenger is the reason we have poor infrastructure. He’s the last of jack-of-all-trades managers. You can’t run a club on your own these days. You need a modern CEO style manager who oversees specialists. The reason Arsenal don’t have a sporting director is because that would be an affront to Wenger’s power grip. The reason Wenger keeps hangers on like Priromac, Colbert and Peyton at the club is they are yes men who protect his empire.
Once Wenger goes, that all changes. The deadwood leaves with him. We can hire a sporting director, Director of Football or a General Manager and leave the vision to whoever that is. It will not take long to whip us into shape. We have a lot of talent at the club already. A world class medical team, we have a great fitness guy in Shad Forsythe and I think there are some great old guard there already + ready to join as soon as Wenger goes. It will not take 5 years for someone smart to come in and start the revolution.
Also, it doesn’t take long to make an impact in sport. It’s not like you’re affecting change in a company of 1000 people. It’s not like working in a normal business where things like budget apply. You aren’t in there rebuilding a fine tuned machine, because the machine is Arsene… you’re building a new model that add structure, philosophy and vision to a club that has none. We have all the money any sporting director would need, we have all the prestige major clubs dream of and if the job is to do things better than Arsene, we also have a deliciously low barrier to improvement.
I do not know how many times I have to reiterate this. Arsenal’s wage bill last season was £1.8m short of Manchester City. You know, that club we all bitched about for financial doping. That disparity is just over half a Kieran Gibbs. About half a Diaby. Or two-ish Carl ‘I won’t leave because I earn too damn good’ Jenkinson. Is it the biggest wage bill? No. But as Leicester – who had a £40m wage bill when they won the league proved – it’s probably enough to do some damage.
The new manager can come in, send the dross to train on their own until they leave, regulate the wage bill to market value, then we can work out a way of fixing our socialist structure to be more of a capitalist pig one.
3. Spend Spend Spend
We have the 3rd highest net spend over the last 5 years. We literally don’t sell players anymore. Arsene Wenger hoards British players like my nan hoards newspapers. Chelsea would not hold onto crap like we do.
Stan K would give Wenger his leg if he asked. The money is there to spend, the reason for the reserve cash pile can be speculated on until you’re blue in the face… but if it’s LA Rams stadium financing, Stan has leverage because he married a Walton. If it’s rainy day time, cash in the bank is not a smart business move when player appreciation over 5 years has a return of 35%.
We don’t dip into our owners coffers, but we make £40m more per season than 16 other clubs, we have the 2nd highest gate reciepts and we earn a bucket load from the new TV deal. The new manager can’t drop a Paul Pogba, but nor can Atletico, Bayern, Dortmund, Monaco or Sevilla and they’re all hitting the quarter finals of the Champions League.
Stan will provide what we make to the manager. That is not an issue. Not just that, we have enough premium dross to add to the coffers. Chambo, Theo Walcott, Kieran Gibbs, Mesut Ozil will all pick up good numbers if we decide to sell.
So, have we covered that off now?
Stan is a business man, for sure. But he’s hardly a terrible owner in the grand scheme of a Leeds, Villa or a Leyton Orient. He’s just too passive and his hardon for Wenger is embarrassing.
Let’s keep the focus on Wenger. He is the one making the decision to stay or go, hopefully he’ll go… but hey, top bantz for him ruling himself out for a job no one was going to offer him (Barca).
The point of this post is don’t buy into the post-Wenger scare mongering. It’s ill-informed and it’s off the mark. Where were all the infrastructure experts 5 years ago when I was taking pelters for berating our fitness setup and lack of backroom expertise? Funny how it’s all of a sudden become an insurmountable challenge. NOT TRUE!
Remember, Arsenal are a plum job. We’ll have half of Europe rubbing their hands at the prospect of making us a global giant and I truly believe with a few smart hires, we’ll be a true elite of world football.
Finally, some extracts from Ozil’s book are interesting. Jose Mourinho called him a coward and he threw a shirt at him. Wonder if Wenger has ever done that?
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