Can you believe it?
Sir Chips might throw in the towel because he’s being left out of decisions making and doesn’t have a voice.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
Arsenal don’t have a board, if we did, we’d not be in the mess we’re in now. We’d have moved Wenger on when his time was up, likely hired someone like Klopp or Pep when they were interested, and we’d still be in the Champions League.
The BoD at Arsenal was for years absolutely complicit in accepting the elite level mediocrity that Arsene Wenger was bringing to the table. They all sold out. They all accepted the deal with Stan that they’d take their ceremonial salaries and STFU.
Now we’re in 2019, and they want to have a voice on Unai Emery? Quite amazing. They’re like the Arsene apologists that ignored the obvious for years, but now suddenly have Gary Neville like analytical superpowers.
I’m no fan of Raul and the very odd relationship he’s cultivated with Emery’s tenure. For a footballing man raised on the cutthroat approach of Barcelona, he sure does seem to be weirdly tied to giving his man every chance to fail. The manager has lost the fans, the players, the press, and his self-confidence. I don’t know a single person that thinks he can rescue it. But still, I wouldn’t want the board having a say on any decision. They’re the zealots that have us in this mess, weighing in like white knights on this issue is not acceptable.
Arsenal need a refresh at board level.
Sir Chips Keswick – 79
Stanley Kroenke – 72
Ken Friar OBE – 85
Richard Carr – 81
Lord Harris of Peckham – 77
Josh Kroenke – 39
Average age without Josh – 78.8
Average age with Josh – 72.2
Those are staggering numbers, what makes the number worse is the lack of know-how. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with age if it’s backed by elite levels of vision. The Fenway has a senior board, but they’re unreal at what they do. Reality with names that don’t have a surname starting with K, is none of them are of this era. They all believed in Wenger for too long, they were always out of touch with the fans, they all signed off on Unai Emery being shunted through the door last minute.
I’d say it’s time for a fresh lick of paint at board level, but the reality is simple: There is never going to be any power there. The direction of the club is Stan and Josh. Which really means that a majority of the thinking comes from Raul and Edu. If those two can’t deliver, we really are fucked for the foreseeable.
Mutterings from the papers are confused because there’s no strong narrative either way behind the scenes. The bottleneck on Emery is Raul. He’s going to try and tee him up for success as much as he can, but I think it’s apparent to everyone that the maternal approach isn’t going to work. I think you’ll see a decision when events start to impact Raul’s position in the hierarchy, I think that’s coming soon.
Spurs have made a decisive decision which helps us immensely. I think longterm, it’s a bad one. But short term, Jose is one of the most capable in the world at landing you top 4. He has a great squad of players, he’s on best behaviour because this is literally his last chance at a job he’d deem at his level, he also has a group of players very suited to his methods. Point here, Spurs binned a world-class manager 4 months after he took them to the Champions League final, and they’re already a point behind us.
Arsenal spent next seasons transfer money. Champions League is imperative. Chancing on a Europa League strategy is very, very flawed as we saw last season. At least we had a run of games to give us hope that the Emeryball machine could challenge. Not so much this season. This is very different. The players don’t want to be part of the turnaround. You saw that in the ground when we scored a winner, it was elation from Lacazette, then the slap in the face of reality… he just extended the circus another two weeks.
Arsenal have options on the table as far as I am concerned.
1. Rolling with Freddie.
Pairing Freddie Ljungberg with someone like Per Mertesacker is the fans choice. The Big Fucking German is an immense personality behind the scenes, I was explicitly told that in his last season with us, despite being mostly injured, he was monumental behind the scenes. Things would have been SO much worse without him. I only hear great things about how smart he is and I like that he has very thought out views on the game.
Freddie is the face we all dream of in the dugout. He’s good looking, he has deep, deep heritage with the fans. The kids love him, they might not remember him playing, but they speak extremely highly of him in the press. He’d be a good stop-gap until we find a suitable replacement.
I love the player, but I don’t think there’s enough on the resume to indicate that he’d be good longterm. He’s been at two places, Arsenal and Wolfsburg. He went to Germany with Joncker and saved Wolfsburg from relegation. Then the whole team were fired inside 6 months. This from the press release:
“Decisive for us in taking this step at this point in time was not just the impression made upon us during the game against Stuttgart, but rather based upon the perception of stagnated development amongst the team, which was to a great extent newly formed during the summer.
“We expressly wish to thank Andries Jonker and his coaching staff for rescuing VfL’s position in the top flight at the last minute at the end of last season.”
Key to that statement is that after 6 months, leadership felt the club had stagnated. That’s a huge red flag. He’s not been part of a winning machine or even just a good shithousing operation like Hassenthutl was before he went to Leipzig.
I simply refuse to believe we won’t be making phone calls to the best coach out of a job at the moment. The exSpurs manager would be the biggest coup for a football CEO that’s struggling. He’s perfectly suited to the squad, his style of high octane pressing would excite the fans, and his ability to actually coach players would be a dream.
Additional factors that could sway thinking. His two sons work in football in London. One plays for Spurs, the other just quit the sports science team. That means his family live here and are settled. I’m also pretty sure he doesn’t speak German.
Major watch-out is his deal post-exit. £12m a year will no doubt have clauses galore, I’d be hard-pressed not to think Levy had the Arsenal job opening up in his mind when he was negotiating, but hey, who knows. You can’t stop someone taking a job at a rival in the UK.
Weirdly, the exSpurs manager is the most unifying figure we could bring in. There would be no problems. The guy is a class act, a perfect remedy in a post-Emery world.
There are leaks all over the place about Arteta. I don’t know where they’re coming from, but I have my doubts it’s Raul doing the dirty work. The Spaniard was top of the shortlist before he was lumped out in favor of a very bland hire that was unsuited to the job. His stock has only risen. The Spaniard has the Manchester City IP, he has a huge reputation in the game despite never having managed a club, and he has Arsenal DNA. He joined the club when Per was there, the German is winning the power war behind the scenes with scouting and the youth, I can’t believe there’s not a fan there.
The hire would be a divisive move, no doubt. The experience issue would be a huge red flag. Some fans see his tenure as a player as miserable one. I don’t share the same fears, I think he has a few things going for him:
- He’s been captain at Everton and Arsenal, he’s a natural leader
- He was a very good player, trained in La Masia. He can command respect in that sense.
- He has elite level endorsements from top players and top coaches
- He’s worked at the Apple of football clubs, he’s bringing a winners mentality with him, those ideas will captivate players and push us to another level. He’s an obsessive as well, he’s had a one-track vision of becoming the best and he’s made all the right moves chasing that dream.
- He knows Arsenal
4. Hire a progressive coach in the summer
The idea that there’s a lack of great coaches is a false one. There are lots of young coaches breaking out all over the world. The major challenge is finding someone that has ideas that can transfer into the Premier League. Marco Rose, Paulo Fonseca and Erik Ten Hag all play exciting brands of football, but bringing them over is always a risk. Ralph Hassenhutl, based on his last 2 jobs, should not be at the bottom of the league, but he is, does that tell you something? Maybe.
This sort of approach to hiring really needs a lot of time and a lot of honesty. The club would need to articulate a vision that goes beyond “MAKE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE, MABYE THROUGH EUROPA.” If we establish how we want to play, then determine how we want to activate, mapped to the realistic resources we’ll have available, we’ll be in a good position to know who to hire as a manager.
Brighton don’t have money to splash. They need to do a lot with a little. They needed to move their football forward. So who did they hire? A manager that built his rep on making the most of broken parts, a progressive thinker, and someone with a reputation for building outrageously effective cultures at clubs. It might not pay off, they could still get relegated, but the move was smarter than hiring in Alan Pardew hoping he could repeat the fluke of Newcastle finishing 5th way back when (which is basically what we did when we hired Emery without checking the reality of his career to date).
Arsenal’s reality is that without Champions League football, we’re going to be struggling for money next season unless we sell some of our best players. We could see 60 goals walk out the club. We’d doubtful be able to replace at the same level and some of that money will need to go towards a rebuild. That means young players. That would mean we’d have to hire in a proper coach that could build a team of the future. To make that happen, you’d need someone with a strong personality, big ideas, and the patience to deliver. You’d also need a manager the fans could abide by, so either an explayer, or someone that’s walked this walk before.
That’s why Mourinho wouldn’t have worked. That’s why Enrique and Allegri likely aren’t suited. That’s why this decision is very, very tough… and likely why the club don’t have an answer.
But something has to change, we can’t dither forever. The saddest indictment of yesterday, a comment I am stealing from the internet, is that Hassenthutl usually plays a back 5, but he dropped it against us yesterday, opting for 4-3-3. 19th position Southampton came to play at Unai’s Arsenal. That’s not the Arsenal we want. Let’s hope change brings a more exciting future.
Right, on that note, drop your managerial thoughts in the comments. x