My views why Wenger should move on by Kieran Daly
There has been a lot written recently about Arsenal and our inability to win major trophies. There have been some excellent articles about the apparent reasons including the owner’s attitude of running it as a money making business, and whether or not the current manager still has the ability to succeed that he once seemed to have. In fact, Arsenal fans are now using a lot of wasted energy arguing about who is to blame and whether Wenger should go. I have my opinion about that but like everyone else it is just an opinion.
I think what is more important is for everyone to stop, take a few moments and think about what we want and then see how this could be achieved. I think it might not actually be that difficult to get some common ground and achieve some progress. How?
Here’s how I see it.
Kroenke. Look, this guy is a business man, knows nothing about football and wants to make money, but in fact there’s nothing wrong with that. Someone has to own the club and it is unrealistic to think that could be some Super Fan with lots of money. Kroenke has invested a lot of money into the club and deserves to make money. What he needs to understand (and I will talk later about the fans’ role in this) is that Arsenal, and its brand, will only continue to make him money if it stays one of the world’s top clubs. There is a lot of competition out there now for Sponsorship, Advertising and TV revenue and the top teams are the ones that people want to watch – and that is what makes them attractive to advertisers.
Kroenke is not stupid and he will very well understand that if Arsenal slips down into a second tier team, which is very likely and debatably has already happened, then the income will start to decline and thus the profit will reduce. Manchester United and Michael Jordan became ‘brand names’ because they were highly successful. As a business man Kroenke knows about advertising and what attracts its money. The trick is for him to realise, and to have it pointed out to him this simple business fact..
For him, winning trophies is not about any joy in the game, instead it is simply about maintaining and improving Arsenals reputation and “Brand” in the World Game and thus maximizing its potential to attract big advertising and sponsorship money.
But earning profit in business is not just about income, you also have to watch costs. Agreed.
Football now is big money, and it is true that too much money can be wasted on very ordinary talent (Bendtner, Torres, most Liverpool players etc.). But in fact it doesn’t need to be this way. Think about Mark Hughes. He went to QPR, spent a fortune and got them relegated. He then went to Stoke, spent very little and has made them not only successful but in fact a damned good team. He has bought players that are not superstars in themselves but who make a good unit. Look at Leicester FGS! (and no I am not going to go down the obvious path of talking about Managers whenever Leicester is mentioned)
So spending big money is NOT a requirement to be successful. I think this is the single biggest fallacy afflicting Arsenal at the moment. On one side we have fans baying for “Spend, Spend, Spend!”on big names to be successful and win trophies, but on the other hand we have Wenger and Kroenke, who we all know, for various reasons, do not want to spend big.
So Stan, listen, you will make more money if Arsenal are more successful – and you do not have to spend a fortune to make Arsenal successful. As a smart businessman, you need to know this. It’s a no-brainer, especially if you intend passing the club onto your son.
So this leads on to the second major player and issue, Wenger himself.
Let’s face it, Wenger changed not only Arsenal but the entire game in English Football totally and forever. He changed how the game is played, the type of players, how clubs are run and so much else. He was a visionary and a genius, and no matter what will go down in history as that. It cannot be taken from him.
It must be soul destroying for him to be in the position where Arsenal are at now. I have no doubt that if Arsenal won the Treble tomorrow he would retire instantly and happily, feeling that he went out in a Blaze of Glory. But unfortunately it is not going to happen, or at least, not the way things have been going for the last decade or so.
I have never met the guy but it is obvious to most people that he is a control freak. I think he may have admitted it once. He wants to be involved in everything, and like most people who try to do too much, even if they are good at what they do, you end up in fact doing a bad job in everything because they are too stretched to give things the time and attention they deserve. I think this is what has happened to Wenger since the glory days (don’t forget he had David Dein to help him then).
Mr. Wenger, please don’t let your stubbornness get in the way of the facts. You are a legend and really don’t have to prove anything to anybody. You have been there and done that. It is the way of the world for special people to come in, make an impact, peak and then move on – to let others improve and develop what they created (think Apple). The modern game, that you helped create, is too big now for one person to control all aspects of it. You need to GENUINELY let others specialize in areas that they are good at, so that you can slowly and seamlessly fade out into being a legend (Do you really think Alex Ferguson had nothing left to give? He knew that by staying on he risked tarnishing his name).
Ok it may be a little late, and perhaps in hindsight, this ‘transition’ should have been done 5 or 6 years ago, but do you really want to force the club that you love (and loves you) to sack you eventually? Let go. Bring in the changes that you once did. Move upstairs or retire, bring in real talent spotting coaches, leave the coaching, tactics and squad selection to others. When Arsenal become World Beaters again, we all know it will be down to the foundations you built. Don’t destroy it by trying to manage every little nut and bolt involved in the club.
As mentioned above, big money is not needed to get good players. But Arsenals problem is not about the players, it’s about the team. For whatever reasons (and there are many excellent articles again dissecting every player, tactic, and aspect of the club so I am not going to repeat them here) the current squad do not have what it takes to be real winners in the modern game. No, this is not my opinion, the facts speak for themselves. I have my opinion about certain players, their potential replacements, potential managers, different tactics and so but again these are just my opinions and like everyone else’s, irrelevant.
Arsenal has survived on history for too long now and is actually starting to become a bit of a joke or at least being overlooked as a real contender in the major competitions. I watch on BEIN Sports and whenever there is a clash of times between an Arsenal game and one of the other big EPL clubs, Arsenal is relegated to one of the lessor channels. Again just simple facts.
Wenger himself has said many times, although not in recent years, “don’t criticise me, judge me by my results”Well look, whether you are a “Wenger Out” fan or a “How dare you criticise the Saviour” type fan, the reality is that we all feel Arsenal are one of the world’s top clubs and should be up there with the best. Emirates should be a place where Barcelona s$%t themselves if they have to come to.
So this is where the fans really come in. We all want success, and let’s face it, not just Top 4 and Last 16. This is where we need to stop tearing each other apart and wasting our enthusiasm and energy on things that will never happen. Kroenke is not going anywhere and until HE decides to, neither is Wenger.
What the fans need to do is get both of these gentleman to understand the points I have made above, which I don’t think any real fan would dispute.
Kroenke can continue to make good money from Arsenal, (and we don’t begrudge him that) but only if Arsenal become genuinely successful.
Wenger has tried everything in the last few years and now needs to step back (not necessarily aside) and GENUINELY support others who can changes things so that Arsenal can become a Major club again.