Whichever way he turns, Ivan is getting advice on who to appoint as Arsène’s successor, how it should be done, what mistakes he’s making. All the while, he’s whistling “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head”, and reciting Paul Newman’s line in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, “Boy, I got vision and the rest of the world wears bifocals.”
Ludicrously, Gary Neville deemed himself ‘in the know’ at the weekend, slamming the club for not announcing Wenger’s successor already. His rationale rested on the fact that no-one keeps anything quiet in football and therefore, no news means there’s a shambles behind the scene.
David. Moyes. The two words he needs to recall when it comes to replacing a manager deeply ingrained into the club’s culture. Manchester United acted quickly, decisively, and got it hopelessly wrong. A flawed recruitment process – allowing Ferguson significant input was the biggest mistake – led to a flawed appointment.
I’d rather we took our time in appointing someone and get it right – learning from their mistakes if you like – than diving in with a hasty and ill-considered replacement.
There’s a quip in there somewhere about Ivan, learning from others mistakes, and taking time to make appoint an ill-considered replacement, but I can’t be bothered to make it.
A point well made at the weekend surrounded the appointment of previous Arsenal managers. The favourites rarely get the job. Even as far back as George Swindin’s appointment in 1958, the papers were pushing for Ron Greenwood to take over from Jack Crayston. Were any of the subsequent appointments ‘expected’ in the back pages?
George Graham wasn’t; his was a name never mentioned beforehand. That took, I might add, around eight weeks from Don Howe’s resignation to Graham’s appointment. Arsène certainly wasn’t in anyone’s frame ahead of taking the reins.
Hampered by Budgets and League Seasons?
Recruiting a manager is the same as player recruitment. If Arsenal announced Mikel Arteta at the same time as Wenger’s departure, critics would point to the lack of patience. ‘Why didn’t they wait until the summer when better managers are available?’, would be the familiar refrain.
Now, in a society where everything from food to gratification is instant, patience is in short supply. The need to know, fuelled by the ill-informed reports on back pages and websites, is insatiable. With the structure that is in place at the club now, not having a manager is an almost minor inconvenience in the recruitment process.
With Europe’s major leagues only just finishing – and in some case having one more weekend – will other clubs even consider allowing talks with Arsenal to take place? I suspect City won’t allow it until a formal approach is made, similarly Juventus, Hoffenheim, or whoever. Those ‘back channels’ will surely be open already and Ivan knows where there will be problems with the clubs. Persuading the manager is almost the secondary requirement in these instances.
There are a few out of contract as well. There’s Big Sam; Moyesy can show he knows what went wrong at United. Carlos Carvalhal. All used to working with limited budgets, which seems to be a pre-requisite if you believe the pesky back pages.
These are the same back pages which think we have over £200m to spend on players. That’s the £200m which stopped Enrique taking the job and when Allegri seemed to be ruling himself out of moving to Arsenal, it transpired he’d demanded £200m as well. Chinny chin chin.
I do wonder if we are further along the road that is being credited. It’s usual for football clubs to shake their playing staff at these moments, but the nature of those outgoing isn’t random.
Those closely associated with Arsène are gone; Banfield, Peyton, Colbert and Primorac; There’s no surprise in that at all, but usually, it’s the new manager/head coach who makes those decisions, or at the very least has some input. With Arteta, he knows the quartet – I’ve deliberately omitted Paul Johnson and Colin Lewin from this – and could rubberstamp those moves.
The intriguing decisions remain in the individuals’ courts. Can Steve Bould work with Arteta or is there desire on his part to be in charge, if not at Arsenal then somewhere else? It must cross his mind why is he apparently being overlooked? Jens Lehmann as well; if these guys are being asked to stay, then they must know who is coming in? Or at least you’d think so.
No-one is talking out of school if that’s the case and that is the Arsenal Way.