121 Comments

Arsenal Plan And Execute Managerial Appointment Perfectly

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By and large I try not to feel sad for people, but I do feel slightly sad for all those outraged at the appointment of Emery. The concept of a management team maybe putting together a job description, employing Headhunters, compiling a long list, inviting applications, holding interviews, possibly then moving on to a second set of interviews before making their final decision – and then the HR and Legal Teams working out exact details of contracts and remuneration before the decision is made public is clearly alien to them. That all this has happened seemingly so quickly – remember Arsene only announced his resignation a scant month ago – suggests to me that the process, far from being the panicked rush that some claim, has actually been carefully managed and orchestrated.

Arsene’s announcement – the eloquent tributes already in place, the talk of the future and his replacement (and don’t forget all those other appointments made this year), the magic final match, celebrations and presentations, the secrecy since then, the poignant pictures of Arsene leaving Colney for the last time – and then only hours later the bombshell announcement from Ornstein. Impressive work, I reckon, and a sign to me that the club from Kroenke down have made some cold-blooded and logical decisions with the express aim of restoring Arsenal to its position as undisputed leaders of London football – and exceptionally well-placed to mount a serious challenge to all clubs, both English and further afield.

Tim Head

@foreverheady 

227 Comments

Arsenal and the Brave New World

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@GoonerReverend ponders the hereafter this morning and the Great Leap Forward

Football waits for no man and as recent events at Arsenal have shown the show always goes on no matter what is happening or who is leaving the game that is the English Premier League. Arsene Wenger & Arsenal have parted company after 22 successful years and the club is much stronger & much better positioned than when this partnership started back in 1996. The King is dead “Long Live the King” but now we have to prepare for the next chapter in the history of The Arsenal Football Club. Replacing a manager is never easy replacing a long serving manger is nigh on impossible and you only have to look at Manchester Utd to truly understand the scale of the task facing the powers that be in the Arsenal board room. Everyone has a view on who should be Arsenal’s next manager but at the end of the day the only opinion that matters is that of the Arsenal board members designated to choose Wenger’s successor.

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The future is both exciting and frightening at the same time because nobody really knows what is going to happen when the new man takes over. Arsenal supporters all have their ideas on who should be the next manager with many demanding the appointment of a high profile manager like Max Allegri or Luis Enrique but the reality is that Arsenal have never been a club that appoints this type of manager in their entire history & are more likely to appoint a young manager with ties to the club as they feel that appointing a manager that fully understands and believes in the Arsenal values & principles will be of far greater benefit to the club’s stability than employing a short term fix that may or may not bring instant success. Fans have always been good at spending money that is not theirs because they don’t need to worry where this money is coming from and it is no different with the forthcoming appointment of the new manager.One of the fan favoutites & Juventus current manager. Max Allegri reportedly wants to know how much the Arsenal board will give him to spend on new signings & has supposedly said he would need to bring in up to 5 new players to make the team competitive. Now this is all media speculation as Arsenal never publicly divulge any discussions they are having or may have with candidates they have identified, The other alleged issue is that he is unsure if he can work within the new management structure implemented by Arsenal. Ivan Gazidis has now taken a hands-on role with the football club and moved his office to the training ground to be closer to the action along with Raul Sanllehi Head of Football Relations and Sven Mislintat Head of Player Recruitment.

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This new structure is not going to suit everyone and Gazidis stated that he is looking for a manager that will be similar in his philosophy to Wenger’s along with the clubs philosophy of developing young players while working within the club’s self sustainability model. In this current climate of spend spend spend the Arsenal manager position may not be as attractive to some big name coaches as many Arsenal fans would like to believe it is. Luis Enrique has reportedly priced himself out of the position which is very believable when you look at Arsenal’s spending policy. Joachim Low has just extended his contract with the German National Team & despite the numerous rumours and many Arsenal fans insistence that he is coming Allegri is still contracted to Juventus and they will be very reluctant to let him go. If you believe the British press former Arsenal mid-fielder and current Manchester City No.2 Mikel Arteta is the red hot favourite to be the next manager of Arsenal. Sure there are a number of reasons why Arteta is not seen by many fans as the ideal replacement for Wenger as they believe his lack of managerial experience counts against his ability to transform the current squad into a title contending squad.

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Some Arsenal fans had convinced themselves that the board would plump for a big name coach no matter what the cost but if you look at Arsenals history there is nothing to indicate that they were ever going to do that. Bertie Mee 1966-1976 Terry Neill 1976-1983 Don Howe 1983-1986 George Graham 1986-1995 Bruce Rioch 1995-1996 Arsene Wenger 1996-2018. Arsenal prefer managers with some connection to the club as they feel that if the manager has an intimate connection with the club they are more likely to respect the values of the club. Arsene Wenger was a left field appointment with no connection to the club but over the next 22 years became the focal point for the clubs values that he enthusiastically embraced and championed. Should Arsenal appoint Arteta as many are predicting it will clearly be a gamble but it will be a calculated gamble because they will be appointing a manager that clearly knows the culture and values of the club as well as many of the key stakeholders and football club staff and players he will be working with. There has been some negative comment about the possible appointment on social media but that is to be expected because everyone has their personal favourite and social media is the focal point for voicing disappointment.

Many fans believe that only a top coach with a history of winning trophies can manage Arsenal and turn them into a championship winning team but if you look at the growing influence of Josh Kronke you will understand where the club is possibly heading. In 2016 the Kronke’s fired Head Coach Jeff Fisher from their Los Angeles Rams football team and replaced him with 30 year old management rookie Sean McVey. This was a calculated gamble which has proven to be a good decision and it has become clear that Josh Kronke was central to this decision. Arsenal have always been a club that do things their own way and Josh Kronke is also a man who is very much his own man who likes to do things his way and is not adverse to taking calculated risks. There is no guarantee that the Arsenal board will appoint Arteta as their next manager but its even more doubtful that they will spend 10-15 million pounds a year on a high profile manager trying to buy success. Whatever happens and whoever they decide to appoint it is exciting times for Arsenal supporters because changing manager is a leap into the great unknown. No one really knows how it will turn out and in todays football world every new managerial appointment is a calculated risk. If Arsenal are going to take a gamble on a young manager with potential and give him the time & support to grow into the role we really are heading off into a brave new world and in the process we could be creating a new era of sustainable success for our grand old club.

147 Comments

I Come to Bury Wenger, Not To Praise Him!

Friends, Gooners, football fans, lend me your ears;

I come to bury Wenger, not to praise him;

The evil that men do lives after them,

The good is oft interred with their bones,

So let it be with Wenger…The noble Mainstream Media

Hath told you Wenger was not ambitious:

If it were so, it was a grievous fault,

And grievously hath Wenger answered it …

Here, under leave of the Mainstream Media and the rest,

For Mainstream Media is made of honourable men;

So are they all (journos, bloggers and podcasters); all honorable men.

Come I to speak in Wenger’s funeral…

He was like a friend and mentor; faithful and just to me:

But the Mainstream Media says he lacked ambition;

And the Mainstream Media are all honorable men….

He hath brought many trophies to Arsenal,

Whose glories did the general coffers fill:

Did this Wenger seem not ambitious?

When the gooners have cried, Arsene hath wept:

Surely his non-ambition should be made of sterner stuff:

Yet the Mainstream Media say he was not ambitious enough;

And the Mainstream Media is made of honourable men.

You all did see that during the barren years after building the new stadium

He was often offered bigger jobs at bigger clubs,

Which over and over he did refuse; was this loyalty or lack of ambition?

Yet the Mainstream Media says he lacked ambition;

And, sure, they are all honourable men.

I speak not to disprove what the Mainstream Media spoke,

But here I am to speak what I do know.

You all did love him once, not without cause:

What cause withholds you then to mourn for him?

O judgement! thou art fled to brutish beasts and to the Mainstream Media,

And men have lost their reason…. Bear with me;

My heart is in the coffin there with Wenger,

And I must pause till it come back to me.

Shotta’s heart was in the coffin with Wenger but has now completed his passage through the seven stages of grief and looks forward to the reign of the King being followed by the rule of the Prince, el capitan, Mikel Arteta. All who agree, say Aye!

56 Comments

Arsenal and the Seeds of Time

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Good Morning Positives,

For those of you lucky enough to find a live broadcast or a reliable stream yesterday from the John Smiths’ you will have enjoyed an end to end contest as much as I did, Admittedly the occasional muttered contribution from Owen Hargreaves (the most peculiar contributor among commentators in any sport surely?)  was a price to pay.

But what was not to like ? Bright sunshine, Arsene with a bounce in his step, with the home side showing no ill-effects of celebrating their safe passage to next season in the Premier League won at the Bridge in midweek. Indeed in the first half it was the Terriers who looked rather more on the front foot and but for some nifty keeping by Ospina and some wild-eyed shooting by Ince we may have found ourselves slightly embarrassed in the opening 20 minutes.

We steadied though, took possession of the ball and, on 38,  opened Huddersfield up with a classic AFC passing movement, finished by Auba sliding in at the far post. I do not think he has scored a truly spectacular  PL goal among the 10 credited to him in his 13 games since  the man from Gabon has joined but his output has been unerringly consistent. That predator instinct to be just at the right spot at the right time PEA has demonstrated repeatedly since January and it bodes well toward the “Goals For” column next season.

The second half provided us with several more opportunities to make the game safe with a second and third goal but some smart keeping by Lossl kept us out. I suspect Danny and Laca will look at the chances again today and reflect,  inwardly, on opportunities that should have been buried.

Of our lads Mkhi was very good again yesterday. If Jose says the Armenian was unfit and lacks stamina then I have seen no evidence since he has came to us. Good game from Rob Holding too.

And in the classic Arsenal way just the death, with the three away points FINALLY being loaded onto the coach, Huddersfield stole in with two good chances, the second kept out by Ospina’s desperate dive.  A fitting climax to 22 seasons of football, competitive to the last.

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So there we are, the 2017-2018 PL season complete. Certainly a season I expected to achieve more domestically with what I regarded as  our strongest and most experienced squad since out move to the Ems. It was not to be, but there were some great moments and a fitting finale for the greatest manager in the club’s history.  New men will come, new history will be made.

I shall leave you, gentle reader,  with Banquo ” If you can look into the seeds of time, And say which grain will grow, and which will not …. ” 

Enjoy Monday.

65 Comments

Arsenal: The Final Act

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@LaboGoon enters the finishing straight

Last Sunday Arsène Wenger bade farewell to the Emirates faithful with much pomp and circumstance but it is the John Smith’s Stadium that provides the stage for his swansong.

Going to Huddersfield for this memorable event almost feels like the football gods are smiling down on us. Through the legendary Herbert Chapman, who played such a huge part in both clubs’ proud history, the two clubs will always share a very special bond.

For all intents and purposes today’s match is a ‘dead rubber’, and yet, it is one that is going to mean so much to every single Gunner and Gooner because of Wenger closing the curtain on English football forever. So whether you’re a long-standing AKB or a blokey wob, let him always be remembered onwards as the man that has shaped and defined Arsenal.

Practically speaking pride will be the only thing at stake from the game itself, but win or lose, the Terriers will have theirs intact. At the start of the season not many gave them any chance of staying up, but David Wagner and his players can hold their heads up high. Having survived the initial tough season following promotion, they can now focus on their transition to a team befitting of their Premier League status.

Huddersfield didn’t exactly set the PL alight, but if there is one thing they got going for them it’s having one of the most passionate support all season. Since August they went into every game hoping, praying ……. 37 games x 90 minutes of squeaky bum time. Not once did they gave up and now being unburdened from all of that, today will be about celebration. Add the momentous occasion of Wenger’s swansong and we can be certain it will reverberate harmonically from all corners of their stadium as the travelling fans too will be more vociferous than usual. Of course there will be a tinge of sadness during the “One Arsène Wenger’s”… because of this being the final goodbye.

With so much taking centre stage, around the ground and in the air (keep an eye out for that), we can expect play to be a bit routine, but the game would be a historic moment nonetheless.

After 22 years in the hot seat the Arsenal dugout, and in particular the Emirates, will be a very different place. So to state the incredibly obvious, he is going to be missed very much.
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Merci Arsène Wenger. We will never forget that Invincible feeling.

92 Comments

The New Arsenal Manager Must Be……..

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After many years of arguing about whether or not Arsene should be our manager we can now turn our attentions to fighting about who should be the next manager. We are even managing to fight about how the selection process is done, never mind who should be anointed.(yes that’s not a typo).

Everyone will have their personal preferences ,and we will all have formed these opinions with what we regard is clear thinking from a position of knowledge. The fact is that we all believe our opinion is right, otherwise we would change it. The problem here is that we are all reaching our conclusions based on entirely individual criteria. So a consensus is basically impossible.

So first we have to establish what we want from the manger that we can pick . The trouble is we all want something different. Not vastly different and of course we all want some of the same things.

I mean we all want to win, right? We all want to win as much as possible at least. But honestly, that is just about as far as it goes in terms of universal mutual agreement.

I want a manager that I like, and like a lot. I have an emotion attachment to Arsene that is probably unique, but I want at least the chance of becoming similarly attached to the next man. I want to respect him as a human being before all else. He needs to have a love of Arsenal FC. I want to admire his football philosophy, his personality and his commitment to values that I hold important. I would like him to be loyal to certain players that I have come to hold dear. I would like him to be handsome with Lego hair and a Spanish accent. I think you know where I’m going here by now?

Of course people will say Arteta has no managerial experience and they are right. But I would say that simply means he has never failed or been sacked. The reality is that this is a major drawback and it would be a huge risk. It would be a bold move.

Ivan Gazidis “What I will say is that it’s important to me that we continue the football values that Arsene has instilled in the club. I want to see somebody who can continue that for our fans. Somebody who will continue to play exciting, progressive football that gets people interested and excited in the games we play. But I also think there is a significant piece with Arsenal Football Club of how the candidate represents the club. That’s important to me.”

“we need to be bold and get the person we believe is the right person.

Then there is Vieira not so handsome and no hair at all. But I am prepared to compromise.

Allegri seems to be the popular choice among the on-line fans. But how many of Ivan’s criteria does he meet? He has been hugely successful at Juventus and would bring a lot of experience and a will to win had is clear for all to see. I would suggest that winning at Juventus is very much par , just like winning at Barca, Bayern, Celtic and PSG. If he brings “par” to Arsenal that will be 4th or 5th. There is however no denying the merits of such an appointment. Certainly the “win at all costs” brigade would be as happy as pigs in shit, and that at very least would give us a short respite from their continual moaning about poor defending.

I think if I was to be held accountable for the decision I would likely take the middle ground and try to get Unai Emery as he seems to meet more criteria than most.

However, what can not and must not happen is that we don’t give the new manager a fair crack of the whip. Many of us will not get the man we would chose, and we have to accept it from the word go. We have to accept that an appointment we would not have made is not an attack on our vast knowledge on how to run a massive brand company. Just accept that the board made a mistake by not appointing your man and try not to point out how much better it would have been had they just listened to you, or worse still me.

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*I can’t help myself*

 

 

 

17 Comments

Arsenal: Another load on the road

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Good morning Positives,

Another road-trip, another defeat. And the 3-1 loss following a spanking victory at the Emirates a few days previously. The story of the first five months of 2018, play, pause, rewind, play.

Of last night’s game it was likely to be a ‘tricky’  fixture with Leicester’s players and beleaguered manager seeking salvation after their humbling at home by Moyes’ mighty Ammers at the weekend. Another limp display and Puel was gone (and may still be gone). Add to that spark in the home side our injury roster of Kosc, Ozil, Santi and Mrs Wilshere gulping down gas and air, and or other lads earning a deserved rest, and it was a proper football contest in prospect.

Early on I thought we had the game under control but slackness in GETTING RID OF THE F******** BALL WHILE IT BOUNCED AROUND THE BOX +  lax marking allowed Iheanacho in for the home side’s opener. Dinos then messed up and was dispossessed by the same player a minute later and off he went. Looking at the red card incident again on TV it was arguable that Holding could/should/would have got across if Dinos had let the striker go but that was not the way referee Scott saw it.

For a few minutes we wobbled alarmingly at 11 v 10 and the Foxes probably should have got a second. We did however steady up and gradually got back into the match by half time. The second half we came out and took control gain and duly equalised after some skilful and determined wing back work from AMN.

Our 10 pressed forward with Mhki, who was excellent all night, Ramsey and Xhaka all pressing high up the pitch, all prominent.  Kolasinac in his turn gave a further display  of what an attacking full back should do. Quite a left foot on him that boy.

And then, just as I was unpacking the bunting for the victory parade as AFC roll back to N5 with the three points, further self inflicted calamity. Another slack clearance, Mhki made a challenge he did not need to make, from an angle he should never have made any challenge from and Scott pointed spot-ward. At the time it looked like a horrible swing from Mhki, and actually it still does present as a real haymaker, but how much contact was there on Demari Gray ? I have watched it half a dozen times but even from several angles it is difficult to pick out on 2D what can only really be assessed in 3D. I shall leave you, gentle reader, to ponder the evidence;

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I recall something very similar with Hector and Musa about two seasons back, and on that occasion I breathed a sigh of relief.  Vardey blasts an unstoppable strike into the top corner and even with 15 minutes to go I sensed our players had runout of steam. We pressed forward again but not quite with the same conviction or purpose.Eddie can on with five minutes to go but he did not have a sniff of a goal. Mahrez caught us out again and Leicester comfortable by the final whistle.

Twas ever thus.

So enough of is gloom – a festival in prospect on Sunday for Arsene’s last game. Le’ts enjoy it and  intend to have a bit of a party to see him off. I do not know if any of you contributed to the banner flypast I put a link on here for a couple of weeks back but the fan running it @Orpheus79 got enough cash together in £5s and £10s largely for the plane to fly over Huddersfield on Sunday so keep your eye out.

One more game to go – Roll on Sunday, roll on next season.