I wish I were more artistic to be honest. In my mind’s eye, the hilarity knows no bounds as the shipwrecked soul surveys his island home which has been swamped by bottles from The Emirates. “I wish they’d bloody lost if this is how many messages they send when they win,” or some such punchline would be tagged to the ink sketch in the style of Matt Pritchett.
The managerial merry-go-round is picking up speed with Jurgen Klopp apparently set to be named as Brendan Rodgers replacement. It broke the hearts of many and the same ludicrous logic began to be applied to the German as is used against George Graham. Having gone to White Hart Lane, Graham, according to some, can never be respected for the titles and cups won at Arsenal.
If Klopp goes to Anfield, the warped logic surfaced that he should never become Arsenal manager for that reason; anyone who has been Liverpool manager can’t be Arsenal boss at any time in the future.
No, I couldn’t work it out either as it seems to be based on the fact that he will be a failure there and thus not good enough for Arsenal. Given that all bar a handful, most managers have been sacked at some point, I am not sure who is left to assume the mantle of heir apparent.
Of course, Klopp has always been onto a loser in the stakes to succeed Arsène. Too revered for the liking of some, his final season where apparently finishing in the Europa League spot was not good enough which only serves to underline the high standards he had previously set.
Klopp though suffers from being labelled ‘the hipster’s manager’, trading on his reputation as a footballing purist. Some see him as Arsène-lite whilst others have reversed the roles. You can’t please all the people, all the time. Or when it comes to Arsenal, any of the people, some of the time.
It’s a tough audience Jurgen, as Coyle and many others have found before you.
His departure from Dortmund was an interesting exercise in club management. He knew he had taken them as far as he could and made the decision to step down. Of course it was ego-driven but displayed a hint of self-awareness not usually associated with football. Like Manchester United when they knew that, second time around, Ferguson was leaving, the players responded.
But Klopp and Ferguson were the opposite of Arsène, taking time to depart as opposed to the “instinctive” departure he spoke of making last week. Not for Wenger the grand procession around these shores; his will be a short announcement and a quick clear out of the locker. There won’t be a farewell tour unless he changes his mind.
The nature of that decision-making process was reflected, I think, in his contract renewal in 2014. Even though the offer had been on the table for a while, it struck me as being signed in the same manner. The exuberance of that year’s FA Cup final victory influenced the outcome more than it should. It may yet prove to be the right decision if he re-establishes Arsenal as title challengers but I don’t think he will.
Leaving at relatively short notice may be both a blessing and curse for the Arsenal board. They won’t have that much time to appoint a successor which lends itself to the thought that they will panic a bit. This time they won’t be able to sit silently and wonder what to do; they must have a plan and not leave it all to Arsène.
Unless of course, they ask him to make the appointment. Some will tell you it’s a good idea and that his experience would be invaluable. The warning comes from Ferguson’s succession. There’s no other way to describe it other than a complete cock up. It was a shambles, not least of which was appointing a Ferguson-lite in David Moyes. Well, he was Scottish, I suppose.
It’s harsh on Moyes to some extent. He didn’t inherit a squad so much as an XI. Ferguson had built a title-winning team, centred around getting a full season out of Robin van Persie. Moyes was always on to a loser with any side built on that basis and the Dutchman didn’t disappoint the following year with eighteen Premier League appearances.
That’s a crucial difference between Arsenal and United at this point. Arsène, in fairness to him, has more of a squad albeit, as usual, it’s a couple of players short and next summer will require some serious activity in the transfer market, strengthening as well as replacing ageing players who will be departing.
The biggest mistake United made was in appointing a manager without a substantial reputation or track record. Like Arsenal, there is no internal candidate to take over from a long-standing manager who is entwined in the club’s structures. Given that he created a lot of them, it’s no surprise that Wenger is seen as having an unhealthy level of control but when he retires, that is the opportunity to extricate the manager’s role so that the structures survive change in the most precarious of professions.
We won’t or are unlikely to, see another two decade reign at the club. When Wenger goes, the merry-go-round will spin at Arsenal with stops, most likely, every three or four years. That time, it seems, is still some way off. Is that right for the club? The owner, at this moment, is happy to see the value of his investment rise and will, no doubt, try to stave off making that decision for as long as possible.