Afternoon all, a belated greeting on what is quiet week. And that is just what the players needed having ventured into the world of rugby football over the past week or so. Jack Wilshere‘s injury is not as bad as first feared with the incident which caused the injury now downgraded to a collision as opposed to a foul.
Sometimes you miss the good old days. I’m not talking about the silverware, Highbury or standing on the terraces; the days when there was a good old managerial bust-up, mind games in the media have been replaced by suppine pleasanteries about opponents. No more do we hear about apologies being sent by horse or men believing they have the prettiest wife at home. Needle is largely the preserve of fans; managers have turned nice.
At first most thought it was the lack of any substantive challenge for silverware on the part of Arsenal, a patronising respect from the likes of the Sith Lord in Manchester. That may in part be true but to be honest, it is not the real reason; managers are just boring now when they talk to the media. Oh ‘Arry might be triffic for a quote and Darth Ferguson keen to ban journalists who upset him but where are the bust-ups, the pointed remarks. If we are reduced to having noisy neighbours we might need some fresh blood at the top, someone who is incapable of doing anything but self-promotion and belittling the opposition.
But it seems that Jose Mourinho is not likely to be going to Manchester United, as many sections of the media would like. Since his pitchside slide, the Portugeezer has been touted as a potential Sith Lord even when he was at Stamford Bridge. West London seems to be his most likely return to the English game this Summer, if it happens at all. Arsène’s poured cold water on the notion that Ferguson would step down just to accommodate the ego of another, a logical step. I wonder if the Scot will want another Champions League to sign off with, a flourish to end his time at the top.
That and Wenger’s departure from Arsenal leave big decisions to be made by the respective boards. Following in the footsteps of managers who will leave indelible imprints on their clubs requires strong characters, managers will proven track records. United have trodden this path before, failing miserably when Sir Matt Busby stood down. The game has changed a lot since then, it has changed a lot since Arsène took over from Bruce Rioch (or Pat Rice, if you want to be pedantic). Expectations have been raised by the respective successes of the current incumbents and the difficulty is in sustaining or recapturing former glories as required.
This is not just about the manager though. Arsène’s conservative economics suited the board through the stadium build and the sale following Danny Fiszman’s untimely death. A new manager who follows the same philosophy will be hard to find; Jurgen Klopp would be the nearest in that sense but with the pool of talent in that sense is very limited. If they cannot find Arsène II, the board will have to compromise not just on their managerial target but also on their business philosophy.
The assumption can be made that KSE will stick rigidly to the self-sustaining principles; will it be a stumbling block to their first choice? If the preferred candidate does not want the purse strings so tightly held, it will come down to how much the board, owners want that individual. Life is about compromise and whilst the loosening of the pay structure has been brought about by repeated Summer departures but also a nod to the future and setting the playing field for future managers.
It is a tough decision for the board, one that they have not been involved since the departure of George Graham. Arsène was the leg work of Dein with backing of Fiszman, a fait accompli. It is a long time to go without appointing a senior executive which suggests that the current manager will need to have some input but is that necessarily a good thing? Even with the best will in the world, Wenger would be drawn naturally toward people who share some similar characteristics, philosophies; it is natural and something for which he should not be criticised since it is a human trait we all share.
Perhaps a complete break with the past will happen, maybe Arsène won’t want to move ‘upstairs’ for fear casting a negative shadow over the new manager. I think that would be a shame, a waste of the footballing knowledge he has but perhaps put the development side of the younger players under his control but maybe that would not be desirable on his part. That changeover represents a good time for KSE to restructure the board, a natural break with the past, to bring in younger management who would hopefully bring about a more dynamic approach to the everchanging commercial moods. Whether there is impetus on the part of Kroenke to effect such a change remains to be seen.