Philippe Auclair podcast lands… | Thierry has dinner with Usmanov… why? | Lady Nina says Stan has ‘no passion’

by & filed under News Review.

Good morning people of Le Grove! First up, let’s talk Lady Nina. She’s being hammered for having an opinion this morning. Did no one tell her that was against the rules on social networks? A few years after selling her shares to Stan Kroenke, she critiqued him for having ‘no passion for the game’. Many jumped on her for selling out in the first place, which is a fair comment. However, David Dein did exactly the same and he introduced both of the moguls to the table.

Not to mention… 90% of the Arsenal fanbase were purring over Stan at the time. He was the right man according to many (so, so many). Well, he wasn’t the right man according to us and look where we are now. Hammering someone online for selling a pretty irrelevant chunk of Arsenal to a man with a property portfolio that rivals that of Robbie Fowler. Did anyone see the story about Stan ploughing $132million dollars into a ranch in states? Wow. He’s a tight ass when it comes to football, but when it comes to investing in something of a cowboy nature, he’s the first at the door with the reddies.

I won’t criticism anyone for selling their shares in the club. Lucky for me, Geoff won’t ever sell his share. If he did, I know where it would go. Until you’re in the situation where you’ve got a £17k check sitting in your safe, you have no idea what you’re going to do. If Lady Nina has a different opinion on Stan three years on, that’s totally fair, because most Arsenal fans are exactly the same. If you’re shut out of a club and you have a bundle of cash wrapped up in it, during one of the worst depressions in history… why would you sit on it? The Premiership football is hardly the bedrock of financial stability.

Anyway, it’s irrelevant. Usmanov is still hoovering up shares which he’s hoping will trigger an offer. That’ll be nice and disruptive, it’ll also test Stan’s resolve. Does he really want to continue operating a a club that he doesn’t care about? Wouldn’t he prefer to take a massive profit, the equivalent of 2 mega ranches in Nevada and run? I hope so. I’d rather see someone of questionable character take the club forward off the back of immaculate business prowess. Give me that over the hands off, ‘let it rot’ mindset Stan has.

Ideally. I woudn’t want either. I’d have Danny Fizsman at the club. I’d have the Fanshare scheme on a much larger scale. We’d have a say. The club would listen. We’d have accountability. I think we do well on those things to a certain degree. I think Ivan tries his best to maintain that culture at Arsenal, but ultimately, he’s not in charge until Wenger has used up enough rope to hang up his career boots and leave.

Ultimately, one of the points I was trying to make yesterday was around the manager and the diminishing importance of the role at the top clubs these days. It’s just as much about the team around them as it is the person. Back in the day, Brian Clough would have been doing the majority of everything. Nowadays, clubs can have up to 60 people in their back room teams. Some football clubs take three video analysts to games. They’re doing this stuff at half time. You have highly specialised doctors, you have different types of fitness coach, you have Opta specialists, Prozone guys, you have GPS experts… the list goes on. Everyone does their bit. There many cogs in a success machine. What this does with smaller clubs is give them control. The club is in charge of employing the experts. The days of the 40 man Capello entourage are over. When small clubs sack small managers, they don’t have to foot the bill for the backroom staff as they employ them separately.

That’s the model Arsenal might adopt. That’s unlikely if we bring in Pep Guardiola, but I’d imagine even then, the club are unlikely to bow to his every whim. Pep understands heritage. He’d likely bring a number of his specialist staff, but I doubt he’d be given as much control as Wenger. Maybe thinking outside the mega managers isn’t the worst idea? Football in the UK is finally moving to a place where we have pro licensed coaches. We have managers from lower teams who are regularly outsmarting the managers of big clubs. It’s an exciting place to be. The Premiership hasn’t deteriorated that much, just the quality of manager below the top 4 has improved drastically, as have the teams.

Remember, the big advancement Mourinho brought to the Premiership was taking the American way of doing sport and extrapolating it all over Chelsea’s system. Data driven management. He was one of the first. He just stole the best ideas from the NBA, NFL and Major League and made them his own. If it’s good enough for him, Gazidis should be asking why it’s not good enough for Arsene.

The reason Ivan needs to be asking these question is that he’s trying to sell a club at the moment. Nike are talking about a new deal with Arsenal, but according to people in the know, they’re very much of a take it or leave it attitude. Why wouldn’t they be? What would they be buying  into? A club that doesn’t invest in players. A club that doesn’t really boast superstars. A club without trophies.

Remember this, brands buy into successful clubs, not successful balance sheets.

Off topic a bit, but did you read this comment from Robin?

‘I have to thank the manager for his speeches and the way he makes us ready for games. It’s different class.’

‘Those speeches are very important for every single one of us. The things he says and when he says them – before, during or after a game – is all very direct’

That my friends is a direct strike at Wenger and his way with the players. When I said that Wenger doesn’t motivate players the other day, that above comment is exactly what I’m talking about. He doesn’t have the passion to motivate players when they’re on the floor confidence wise. Robin is full of snide jibes like that, just watch out for them as the season goes on.

So onto the podcast. I recorded one with Philippe Auclair last night in Kensington. Finally I’ve cracked sound quality. It was in conjunction with the launch of his fantastic new book on Thierry Henry. It’s a no holds barred account of his life. It really isn’t too kind to him in many places, which I’m sure didn’t sit well with the Frenchman. We talk about French football, we talk about Arsenal and we touch on the Usmanov / Thierry meet yesterday. Any Arsenal fan interested in the view of a writer who helped coin the phrase ‘fox in the box’ should jump into this podcast. I’m trying to make sure everything I do on that front has some sort of legacy. I think this one does, a truly fascinating hour.

Buy the book as well, an excellent Christmas present… links below.

Podcast for non-iPhone

itunes Link

Buy the book here


164 Responses to “Philippe Auclair podcast lands… | Thierry has dinner with Usmanov… why? | Lady Nina says Stan has ‘no passion’”

Jump to comment form ↓

  1. Jeff

    Just watch this video of Gervinho mucking about with a football. His legs are matchstick thin. Even when he’s standing around he looks like he’s about to fall over like a toddler learning to walk. He has no lower or upper body strength. You can see this without seeing him kick a ball. So I ask you in all honesty; how can anyone rate this player good enough to play for Arsenal or any other club in the Premier League; and yet he’s passed through the net no problem when he came to the notice of AW.

    Here is a more comical look at his actual performance on the pitch against Man City.

    And of course how could we forget this

    It is not his fault. He may well have regressed under Wenger, as some commentators suggest but no player could regress to that extent. He never really was Premiership material to begin with and certainly not Arsenal; well maybe this Arsenal anyway which is fast becoming a circus show.

    This is just one example of numerous bad buys and flops we have seen in the last few years and it all smacks of Wenger trying to dazzle us with his ability to pick nothing players and turn them into world class ones. Unfortunately none of the last dozen or so “nothing” players he’s bought have been anything but “nothing” and continue to be “nothing” and win “nothing”. Gervinho is but one glaring example. We have Squillaci, Santos, Chamakh, Ramsey, Park, Bendtner, Denilson, Djourou, Frimpong; the list goes on.

    If you tot up the amounts paid for each of these players we’re talking over £100m down the drain not to mention the silly wages they’re on. That’s scraping the barrel you may say. But if we go a little higher the difference in quality is only marginal and sometimes even comparable. So if you are the manager responsible for bringing these players in; you have to ask yourself a very serious question. Am I really doing the best I can for this club as he keeps claiming. If that is the best, I’m afraid it isn’t good enough.

    I was reading an article last night and it was pointed out that since Bergkamp left (the last of the players that Wenger inherited) we have won nothing which means we have won nothing with any team consisting solely of players that Wenger himself brought in. When you look at facts like that you wonder whether AW isn’t really just a very lucky boy who happened to be in the right place at the right time and is now being found out. All the evidence points to this and wittingly or unwittingly he’s contrived somehow, dare I say it very much like the Inspector Clouseau character, to convince everyone that he is an exceptional individual, super talented at what he does. Maybe he never actually was and more likely, never will.

    Given this, if you found yourself in a position like that, would you leave? Anywhere else, and he would have to start from scratch and his new masters won’t be as kind as those at Arsenal. The point is he can’t leave and I think he knows it. There is no success for him anywhere else because he knows the axes are much sharper and fuses considerably shorter at other clubs and the ruthless controllers aren’t afraid to act. One strike and you’re out.

    At Arsenal, AW enjoys extensive powers to do as he wants and I would suggest it is that which he doesn’t want to relinquish; more than the money. He knows it is not possible to forge such a reputation and position at another club because lightening doesn’t strike twice and understandably he’s reluctant to let go. I am convinced that if he started managing Arsenal after 2005 and won nothing for several seasons, the story would be somewhat different.

    The combination of the first eight years of success helped by existing players, good buys with the help of those around him at the time, he has managed to build the kind of godlike status that other managers only dream of. On top of that, his luck in matters other than football has continued to flourish as we were taken over by a toothless, clueless moron accompanied by a board whose only ambition is to just keep everything ticking regardless of what happens on the pitch. A cosy little clique where everyone sings from the same hymn sheet as they stand at the boardroom door going “after you, no after you, no after you, no after you”, all day long.

    It is pathetic and it will fall; it is only a question of time.

  2. Hunter

    Your Comment Hereyou can see from his press conference of yesterday that he in no way is going to go without a push,as he says you cannot judge him over one Capital Cup game,it has to be over the premiership season,so there you have it we are stuck with him until next May at the very least.he clearly recognises that there are faults but none of them can be attributed to him the senile old fool!he is in self denial and its everyone else problem.There is but one way to get him out,the board wont do it,the owner won’t do it,so it has to be the fans one way or another.i do hope the press keep the pressure on but it really needs some home supporters to push the button.Somehow the stadium must be the point where protest begins,I can’t see the crowds boycotting the home games but we should be allowed to protest in other ways just like the Chelski fans are doing with Benitez?Until that happens forget all the talk about this nutter leaving it just wont happen!!

  3. Arben

    Morning Grovers

    Well said jeff Arsene Wenger has been the most lucky manager to be in the business for so long,Arsenal was the right place at the right time for him. He won all these trophys with Graham Defence.
    I think that he is not as talented as some people think, i have even been told few yers back that his number 3 Primorac pick the team and make tactical decisions thats why Wenger keep him with him all the time and everywhere, but it look like even him is running out of ideas, his time is comming to an end .

  4. SUGA3

    Pedders, to say that the chunk of shares NBS sold to Kroenke was ‘irrelevant’ is pretty damn ridiculous, given that AU would own about 46% of the club if she chose to sell to him instead, SK would have much less of an argument not to invite him on board without looking like a twat, which in my eyes he does anyway, but if if was nearer 50/50 it would be much more of a common agreement 😉