The New Boss: Do Staff Changes Mean Announcement is Near?

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.

School’s Out

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.

’til Tomorrow.

52 thoughts on “The New Boss: Do Staff Changes Mean Announcement is Near?

  1. I’d imagine there’s just as much chance of Gazidis and co being the motivators behind getting rid of Wenger aligns staff as an as yet to be identified new hand in the background.

    That said, I wouldn’t discount it entirely either.

    I think the press generates a whole ton of un-useful noise at the best of times.

    Who knows what the team and BOD are actually thinking right now.

    I’d be comfortable with Nagelsman, maybe Patrick.

    Although I think it would be somewhat more than just left-field, if Arteta arrived, as much as I don’t personally think it might be a good move, I’d be inclined to give the guy a chance to show what he can do.

    I suppose the one thing we can count on is that neither us nor the media really have a clue where this is going or when it’s going to happen.

    I do agree that Bould is likely to be having some introspective thoughts on this too.

  2. The divas want arteta or mickey Flanagan. Yes two guys with feckall experience, that should make Wenger look better.

  3. MikeSA,

    Hmm, some rather interesting spelling, grammar and punctuation in there, not much of it excusable on the basis of autocorrect.

  4. Morning All

    I am hoping no news is good news re Jardim, his lack of english shouldn’t be a problem as there are interpreters, both Terry Venables and Bobby Robson managed in Spain. They must be close to making a decision, with the news that some backroom guys having to re apply for their jobs.

  5. Hi Guys,

    I think there far far far too many Ch apathy going on to Arteta being the new manager. That will be a disaster in every single level.

    We will regress as a club by at least ten years with his appointment. If he is appointed it’s time to go all out to get rid of Kroneke once and for all. I just don’t understand how some people can even say let’s give him a chance.

    He has zero experience at managing, was not an inspirational captain and is not an Arsenal legend in anyway. He will unite all the fans against the club from day one and the last two years of protest will look like a joke.

    Let’s all get together to send the club BOD and that prick Kroenke a message that we will no longer tolerate mediocrity at the club.

    Arteta will attract no players, change nothing defensively, will not be able to challenge senior players, in short he has nothing to fall back on when the games don’t go through that because why should they listen to him. He has done by thing in the management game.

    Even his name being mentioned is joke. Gazidis is a joke. They are trying to mug us off again with this rubbish appointment so we can be a midtabke team.

    Let’s join together to stop this madness.

  6. Paul Johnson’s ability to make and hand out cheese rolls will be missed.

    Anybody else remember him from Travel Club special trains way back when? How he managed to make his way onto the staff is a mystery.

  7. Mickey Flanagan, Dukey?

    The divas want arteta or mickey Flanagan. Yes two guys with feckall experience, that should make Wenger look better.

  8. MikeSA

    I’m guessing you’re used to it with the slapdash standards I apply to the daily posts. Oh, you’re talking about the post? My bad.

  9. Yogi
    “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.”

    I think this is very important. You would think these “sackings” could not have happened without the new guy’s input.

  10. Good stuff, Arsenal post Arsene is proving to be a clear out too but it was always set to happen.

    It feels like the clear out is with a man or two in mind with them telling the club what and who they want. I fancy Bouldie to stay on and we will see his worth, was he his defensive influence being limited by Arsene or is he just a shit defensive coach.

    Arteta might be short-listed.

  11. If Arteta is going to be the man than it will be VERY interesting and important who he picks to his staff. If he picks a strong #2 and gets his backroom right then that will change everything. For all of Pep’s success, he has a strong backroom staff who he counts on not only with idea but coaching up the players to play his style.

  12. Surely all the moaning, sniping ,online abuse , hate mail , booing , boycotting, planes with Wenger out banners attached, Wenger out posters t shirts and mugs is all for ….mikel Arteta.!

  13. Primorac wasn’t a shock, but the others have been for sure. Although, and this won’t sound good, I was always a little prejudiced about Neil Banfield because of his burgeoning gut. It wouldn’t be cool to point it out in 99% of other professions, but I wondered what sort of message it sent out on an elite training ground.

    I can think back to a few “big paws on a puppy” moments with Arteta, so I’m excited. But we won’t know what he’s about until it’s underway. And that even applies to his style – I’ve always wondered if managers know what sort of football they want their teams to play until they’ve put it all into practice. I think we can assume he’ll be classy and thoughtful in interviews.

    And after all the changes, both above and below the next coach, I don’t know how anyone could see this as more of the same.

  14. I think a lot of people may misunderstand Arteta. I would remind most folks that Wenger and Sanchez had a fall out, Sanchez was benched against Livepool in the second half of the 16/17 season.

    I am making this point because, these players are professionals, and they also watch other clubs’ games. If there is a structural problem and the players know it, the onus is on the manager who chooses the team and not the players, who were chosen.

    Only God knows the number of players who have experienced different coaching styles and who kept mute under Wenger, because they were earning their pay. Wisdom suggests that such players particularly the post invincibles would have Wenger as a negative mentor i.e. an example of how not to undermine an attacking team, how playing favorites can mess up a team, and how blind loyalty undermines objectivity.

    The reality is that some players might not like Arteta or Vieira , but if they can execute a game plan professionally, then that is what they are paid to do. The sack of Colin Lewin and the move by Ivan Gazidis, to a new office with a view of the training ground, means Gazidis will be more involved and the era of complacency is over.

    Plus the fact that Josh Kroenke and Ivan Gazidis are going to incorporate the Kroenke management model and so the era of non performance will be over. Think Walmart, the game hunting t.v saga and realize these guys do not joke with their investments. They are in it for the money and glory. At least, Josh sounds like the glory seeking exec, while Stan is the balance sheet executive.

  15. There are many better coaches out there With experience having to even mention of arteta is another cheap yes man alternative baffles me

  16. Appointing a boy to do a man’s job is fraught with risks. Arteta has no experience of managing a team alone, and if he stumbles pretty badly in the next season, his career will take a very huge tumble too. It is clear , he is a YES man, and will accept whichever players arrives sought by the chief scout.

  17. Given that it is likely the new manager will have a limited pot (to piss in) and will have to generate further cash himself, I can’t see how an inexperienced manager can make any sense at all. Whoever the new man is, he will need to be able to get the very best out of the players he already has. He will need them to be willing to play for him from the off. I just don’t see how players like Ozil are going to be respectful to a manager, like Arteta for example, who is still green. We know that Aubameyang can also play up for managers if he doesn’t get his way and it seems like the perfect opportunity to grab some attention. Arteta may be the new messiah at some point in his managerial career, but now doesn’t seem like the time to give him a run at a big job. If we are going to employ a transition manager, it should at least be someone who has some experience.

  18. skywalker,

    Arteta won’t be managing the team alone. The hierarchy is CEO (on the board of UEFA), Director of Football and Chief of recruitment and scouting as advisers to the CEO and overseers to the club’s playing squad. The manager or head coach will have his coaching crew too. So like most modern clubs, the manager is solely in charge of football performance. He might have suggestions on contract extension, but that is beyond him. He is to motivate, implement and select the best team.

    If Arteta is cut out to be a good coach, he will pass the interview. Make no mistake, there is a shift in the way the club is operating and it will no longer tolerate complacency.

    The line also needs to be drawn between what constitutes a yes man and what is a One man army. The new man will be accountable, it does not make him a yes man.

  19. Spot on! I would say go for Anceloti with Vieira as his deputy for 2 years and then Vieira taes over.

  20. @lari That could be wishful thinking. Young Kroenke sees this as another American NFL thing, and given that Kroenkes do not care for silverware, I am not that confident. To me an inexperienced manager in the dug out is a disaster.

  21. Wavey,

    Hopefully we can offload Ozil, and recoup a bit on the transfer value. His posturing with Erdogun hints at a state funded move to one of the Istanbul clubs.

    Looking at the press stories about PEA’s wages it’s clear he didn’t come to Arsenal to play for Wenger.

  22. skywalker,

    The Los Angeles Rams? The Kroenke’s NFL thing?
    Appointed the youngest Head Coach (age 30) in the league after a 4-12 season in 2016.
    Sean McVay, with no previous head coaching experience, took the poor team he inherited and went 11-5 in 2017. The Rams made the playoffs for the first time since 2004.

    The Kroenkes have also hired two other head coaches with little or no head coaching experience for both their NHL hockey team the Colorado Avalanche and the NBA Denver Nuggets.

    In both those instances the teams experienced very good results either the first or second season after those new coaches were hired.

    Arsenal appear to be the next in line for a less-experienced Kroenke appointee to lead a club.


  23. .C,

    totally agree, a lot of negativity around the possibility of Arteta, now, i’m not saying he’s the best choice, but if he got his back room right and the correct players in, he wants to play similar to pep which is attractive and fast football, it’s very arsenal, but it could all go very wrong. But so could Allergri etc…..No point in worrying about it until it’s announced. The reports circulating that we’ve sacked backroom staff and apparently looking to buy players would HOPEFULLY indicate to me that something somewhere has been decided and it’s the first steps in that direction.

    All i can say is anyone BUT Rogers and Ancelotti

  24. If its not Simeone then I don’t really have a second choice. Whomever it is will have a big job to rebuild the culture of the club. We don’t have any leaders among the playing squad. Our highest paid biggest reputation player is certainly not someone who will help the manager a better culture. Quite the opposite. PEA who looks like he will be our leading scorer does not have a great reputation. I am not sure which player could possibly step up and lead by example.

  25. If Arteta is appointed, I could only say to my local club whose teams I have watched for 3 decades-Good Luck in this PL where Jose, Pep, Jurgen and Maurico operate and if things go belly up, Kroenke Jnr will leave the young coach on the way side and walk away!

  26. Sounds from the backroom departures that something is going on. From a corporate standpoint, risk managers know that the best managers are those that get BETTER people around them. The biggest crash in corporate history (RBS post ABN Amro) happened because the CEO had a yes-man BoD. I spent years lecturing and writing on the subject. If Arteta gets top guys around him (like Guardiola has done) then we are on the way to a trophy or two – soon.

  27. It is either Vieira or Arteta. I just saw an article in the mirror about Arteta improving Raheem Sterling, and talk that we might be about to sign Jean Seri. Interesting times.

  28. Fabian,
    Much as I dislike walrus face Kroenke, you cannot just launch a campaign to get him out. It’s his club/property effectively. If you don’t like it , hand in your season ticket. It’s a very difficult situation, but I think it’s the only way, that and boycotting the merchandise to step up outside pressure. You cannot simply switch to an alternative product if you are a true supporter. He knows that so do we.
    There’s always the option of burning him in effigy, printing his face on some toilet paper and using it, or a voodoo doll.

    Let’s support the team. If it goes Pete tong again we won’t have a long wait for a change.

  29. I think it’s clear that Sanllehi, Mislintat and Burgess are going to ‘run’ the club and they are therefore looking for a coach rather than manager.

    I’m actually quite excited about the prospect of Arteta coming in. If there is one thing the squad needs is better coaching.

    Also looks like we might be in for Seri. Add that to the rumour that we are also in for Caglar Soyuncu (never heard of him myself) then we might get our business done early this window.

  30. James,

    I’ve spent over 30 years doing my job-and I’m at the top of my trade…and I still make mistakes…whats your point?…other than self promotion

  31. Hopefully Arteta wouldn’t try to get the squad to play Pep ball. Pep has always had unlimited resources to build his squad and playing like that requires a significant talent advantage which we will never have. Playing Pep ball also requires an incredible level of mental energy and commitment on both ends of the pitch. How do you change a whole squad from the laguid style of Wengerball to the all out energy style of Pep ball?

    My other concern for Arteta is that he was a team mate of many of the current squad and I think it would be tough to change roles from teammate and friend to manager. He may have a tough time getting the players to take him seriously and he has a lot of work to do to change the Wengerian culture of complacency especially since he was a part of that culture when he played here.

  32. If its a choice between Vierra and Arteta then I would much rather have Vierra. Everything I have heard about him suggests he was the leader in that dressing room and he was the one who would make sure sure the other players knew their role and were putting in necessary effort level especially on the defensive end. He also has the advantage that he has never been a team mate of any of the current group

  33. The rumours around Arteta seem to be firming up. I hope that it’s just the so-called ITK’s jumping on a bandwagon but it could also be the club floating the idea so we get used to it and any criticism will be more muted.

    It’s not just that he’s inexperienced, for me we need to address the failings that Wenger left us with, a lack of organisation, no interest in defending, no discipline, and a failed philosophy based on possession football. Arteta doesn’t strike me as a man to rectify those issues, at least on the surface he appears to be the ‘Wenger-Lite’ option.

    It would demonstrate a clear lack of ambition and reinforce the perception that for the sixth richest club in world football ‘success’ is defined as taking part in the big competitions (read CL qualification) while making no real effort to win them.

  34. Actually, it was Joe Mercer who was favourite to take over from Jack Crayston. It was Bob Wall who wanted the Bertie Mee type role with Ron Greenwood as his coach.

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