Spent the whole day on my own yesterday poncing around Tribeca. The dawning reality that I’m moving to a place and literally starting again. I’m the f*cking weird guy reading a book in a bar on their own, eagerly trying to bust into your conversation.
‘Oh, no sugar in your mojito? Amazing, I’d love to know why you made that decision’
Truth is, I don’t give a rats arse, but I’ve just smashed 5 beers in an hour on my own and I haven’t spoken to anyone in 15 hours.
BUT HEY. Bar people are fun. Like strippers for conversation! 20% gets you, what, 35 seconds of small talk?
I did kill some time watching Belgium play Cyprus. The Cypriots did themselves proud. Real end to end stuff. If they had an finisher, they’d have probably beaten Hazard’s boys who only just scraped a win.
It did make me realise what an absolute toilet international football is. I know it serves football associations, but it really is challenging. It’s like that part of the game hasn’t evolved. Like world associations haven’t sensed the fatigue the qualifying rounds bring to players and fans alike.
It needs a 20/20 (Fast paced cricket game) like boost. It needs a refresher. Why don’t we cancel the European Championship (is that what it’s called?) and bring in international cage football? There was a game quite like it in a really bad FIFA execution about 10 years ago.
We shorten the game, we have rolling subs and only squads of 10 can play.
Imagine the scenes…
I mean, not far off futsal. Which is crazy skilful to watch.
Football needs souping-up in the international arena and I’m quite happy to take on the challenge.
So, sifting around the news, there’s not much going on.
Theo reckons he could be the saviour of English football this summer. Great news Theo, could please be the saviour of our forward line first?
Benzema said he was never going to move this summer.
“There was nothing in the talk of a transfer away from Madrid,”
Well Karim, many have said that in the past before getting the Florentino open handed bitch slap out of the club. Don’t count your chickens, one day, before you retire, you’ll probably be asked to leave. Then we’ll all laugh.
I was thinking about this the other day. When one of my Arsenal pals was hailing the following transfer strategy from Arsene Wenger, captured, perfectly by this comment.
‘If the right type of special player comes up, we’ll move’
I mean, look at the intent in that sort of comment. If something comes up, we’ll move. It’s such a passive approach to transfers. It’s supposed to come across as a smart strategy and True Believers™ talk about it like you’ve just been exposed to inner workings of Nikola Tesla’s mind. But think about it… what coach wouldn’t move for a world class player if they were offered, on a plate, at a price so low the world would say ‘isn’t Arsene a genius for ripping off that dopey big club’?
We’re vultures. We’re not predators. We hang around the big names and see if anything drops out of their mouths as they’re savaging other institutions for their best players.
Fuck it, Ivan / Dick, I’m going to suggest something here. This is all falling down because of process. I don’t work in football, but I know whenever something breaks in marketing, you put a process in place and everyone is happy.
How hard can this be?
Challenge: To showcase that just because the team is on a good run, it doesn’t mean it is somehow complete.
Approach: Kill Wenger with data and his own words (metaphorically)
1. Speak to Arsene Wenger right now and ask him to compile a list of his squads weaknesses.
2. Ivan, bang the answers in a spreadsheet.
3. Return to Arsene Every 2 weeks and ask him for the weaknesses
4. Ivan to start building a dossier, based on what the manager says are the weak areas of his squad.
Challenge: Getting Steve Rowley to leave the office
Approach: Spoon feed him what he needs to do, then put him on a performance review if he doesn’t deliver
1. Take the squad dossier (compiled above) to the scouting department
2. Ask scouts to bring a list of global names that could improve squad
3. Tell Steve Rowley to hand in his resignation if he tells you there’s only one striker that could better us globally.
4. Build the lists by squad challenge into 3 sections.
- Mega Players (35m+)
- B-Listers Players (Elite from weaker leagues)
- Up and Coming (Young players on the ascension)
- Old Dogs (One year left in them)
5. Get buy in from the manager on the players he likes on a monthly basis by asking him to rate them.
6. Present back the final list to the manager at the start of December, pass dossier onto Dick Law and tell him to start working his magic early. Same approach to the summer. Finalise the list by March, then send Dick Law to work. No waiting around. Just a pure, aggressive, decisive approach to the summer.
By starting this approach now, we build a profile of what Wenger needs. If the pattern is that we lack depth in defensive midfield, we make a defensive midfielder a priority. If the pattern is that Wenger is bemoaning the fitness of Danny Welbeck all year, we sign an up and coming striker. If the pattern is that we don’t have striker, we start negotiating with clubs from January and get Wenger’s buy into the names early doors.
The point of the above list is that we have options. If plan B doesn’t work, we have 3 other plans with accompanying names. We can’t lose the summer because we’re prepared.
This approach negates the manager saying he’s happy with the squad… come the end of the season, Ivan and co have the data across a the year. His thoughts when things were bad and his thoughts when they were good. You also have an open dialogue about these weaknesses on the regular. You build rapport, you use this rapport to manipulate his view. So when the manager dithers and says he’s happy, there’s a case for disagreeing.
Ivan become the solutions man. He has the ability to grind the manager down like David Dein did. He becomes the trusted advisor.
‘I know you had a great run, but your great run was only for half a season. Here’s what you were saying when your players weren’t all fit / here’s what you were thinking when the chips were down and there wasn’t a leader. Arsene, we’re bring Yann M’Villa into the fold.’
I feel our transfer windows are too passive. I feel like this one was a reaction to a good 2015. How do you combat that? Well, you get to know the manager a little better during the season.
Maybe, just maybe this is going on. But, maybe it’s impossible for the manager at his age, with his total dominance on the club and Stan Kroenke’s mind, to get involved in games like this… but something has to change, and I have my doubts that’ll be him leaving any time soon.