There are certain snobberies I can’t abide by in the world of internet fandom. I have mentioned them many times before, my least favourite being people that openly admit they don’t like transfer gossip. You’re an out and out threat to society if that’s your stance.
I read a great story about The Athletic; the fancy af premium sports app every journo in the world is joining. One of their snippets was the not-so-shocking insight that player trading gossip drives the most clicks.
I absolutely LOVED this quote.
Feedback loops aren’t always kind to journalists, who want to believe that readers care about finely tuned phrases, hard-won insights, and nuanced portraits. But traffic data show that what many want are rumors about where free agents are going to sign, reminders about what time the Super Bowl starts, and opinions about whether, if LeBron James had a time machine, he could beat Michael Jordan one-on-one.
THIS THIS THIS
If you have read this site regularly, you’ll know my fave thing to write about is football infrastructure. It’s my thing. Nothing gets me to 2000 words quicker. I spend a HUGE amount of time extracting insights from people at Arsenal and around the world to land a fairly sharp narrative about what’s going on and what’s needed to succeed…
I’ll post it out with a standard headline… traffic is meh. Only the nerds care (love you guys).
If I post a shite story titled ‘GERMAN WUNDERKIND TRACKED’, the numbers go through the roof.
People who say they don’t like gossip are a bit like vegans that say they don’t secretly eat bacon butties when they’re alone. It’s a straight-up lie. I know it because I am the Eye of Sauron for the meat industry.
People that moan about clickbait are of a similar ilk. Like, honestly mate, is your life so uneventful you’re noisily going to complain about being cyber-hoodwinked by a 17-year-old intern that fooled you with a subversive ‘Messi to Arsenal’ headline?
The real-life equivalent of venting that fun-size chocolate bars are actually not that fun. Or reading a 600 word self-penned Facebook post about Brexit, aloud, at a social gathering because you had an above-average engagement rate on it. Telling your mates you made a deep and meaningful connection with a stripper in Magaluf, and she’s told you the £1,500 you handed over will be used to visit you in March.
Where was I going with this? Oh, I think I just wanted to moan about an article I read that was headlined ‘FAN REACTION TO CEBALLOS GOAL.’ The worst sort of journalism. I didn’t even click it. It’s like pointing out a window and shrieking there’s a pretty normal cloud there. Except the cloud has more substance than the article. Gathering tweets for such articles must be the 2019 version of writing listicles for Buzzfeed.
You know what else I find super boring? Away fans moaning about fixtures like they are doing the world a serious favour. Ok, ok, you bought an away ticket. We get it. Calm down babe. You are going for a piss-up in Portugal with your mates, you’re not saving mountain goats in Syria.
While we’re here, a few people have asked me to define what sauce is when I reference it regarding the manager.
Sauce. Aura. X factor. That special something. Presence.
Elite leadership is not simply about knowing things. There are literally thousands of examples throughout history in sports, business, acting, singing and countless other endeavours where special sauce or whatever you want to call it has stood people out beyond the basics of good technique.
A simple example.
Steve Wozniak was the brains behind the early Apple products.
Steve Jobs was the special sauce.
If Woz was left to his own devices, he would have lived within the confines of his perceived limits and never pushed the startup to greater things.
Steve Job bent reality to his will. He pushed people to levels they didn’t know existed. He changed the world as we know it.
The whole idea of special sauce is intangible, but you know it when you see it.
Arsene Wenger, despite what you may think about him, has it. His presence in a room was electric. Truly special. That’s coming from me. I felt it like an unwanted hand on the thigh.
Mourinho in his early days WAS the special one. He was a translator that dominated football for 15 years. He STILL commands a Sky Sports studio rammed full of alphas.
Allegri. Klopp. Pep. Zidane. Simeone. Nagelsmann.
Elba. Bowie. Moss. Liam G. Iggy. Warhol. Elvis. Lennon. Allardyce.
Certain people have an effortless ability to create electricity. It cannot be learned. It cannot be copied. It is just there, the perfect storm of knowledge, presence and control.
Why is it important to football?
… because you have to command 25 powerful men, that are badly educated, and incredibly rich. You have to push people who have already succeeded to go to war for you.
At the bottom of the game, even the middle, knowledge is enough. The manager is a kingmaker at a smaller club because their ideas are making more out of less and players futures are less guaranteed. At the top, you are guiding greatness, which is a different ball game. It’s more nuanced. It’s fragile. It requires something beyond what you can read in a Robert Greene book.
That my friends, is special sauce.
Finally, it’s Le Grove’s 12th birthday today. A huge thanks to all of you that continue to join the word Arsenal infused word vomit party every day. This year has been the busiest ever, more visits, comments and listens than ever before. It is still mad that it exists, so THANK YOU!
Right, that’s me done. See you in the comments. xxx