Should Arsene Wenger be sacked? by TB
I guess it is a sign of the times that ‘football’ is likened to ‘trading’ as a fellow ‘results business’. The Casino Economy meets The Premier League – even at the Arsenal!
It’s all about winners and losers after the Market paradigm, Murdoch’s Sky TV and Global Capital marched into town. Whilst there are clear benefits generated by all this – after all, how else would we have Arsene Wenger and his unique contribution to football with Thierry Henri, Pires, Vieira et al right up to today with stars in waiting Alexis, Ozil, Ramsey and all our talented youngsters – I believe there is also something very unsavoury about it. Something fundamental to the soul of football is lost in this ugly process.
Football in England in the Premier League is now very big business. It is unrecognisable to the game I watched as a boy. The Football Club was once a beacon of local identity and community; the peoples game now its all about big money, global markets and foreign ownership as club names and colours are changed to satisfy markets other than traditional supporters and ordinary supporters are marginalised and priced out of watching their local club. The national team declines rapidly as fewer English players are in the game and previous national treasures like the FA Cup lose their popular appeal. It’s all about the EPL and the Champions League. Fans are totally unrepresented in the running and decision making of their Clubs (unlike in Germany and Spain)*. Managers are hired and sacked with obscene regularity as the financial stakes and kudos of Premier League are hiked higher and ever higher with the owners of Chelsea and Tottenham behaving like spoilt children wanting a new toy every season in this ‘results business’. There are no black or female managers in the EPL. Racism, sexism and homophobia are still part of footballs culture. The Market rules and there is no regulation. *Read this article by the excellent David Conn – another good reason to vote Labour next year
All this is accepted blindly as being the norms of football for no other reason than it is what the Market wants and does (sic “…like ‘trading’, football is a results business”) – indeed these values are lauded and held up on high so that we now reach the point here when even a truly great manager is being subjected to a witch-hunt by sections of the media and so-called fans who question his tenure of his post and ask what has he got to do to be sacked. And I say what has he done to deserve to be treated with such disrespect? Lose 1 game out of the first 9 League games, qualify for the European Cup and now in second place in their group with strong chance of making the play-offs! A matter of a few months ago we won the FA Cup and the Charity Shield!
The performance of a great manager is viewed through the short-sighted prism of the Market Trader and in this ‘results business’ it is deemed that he should be sacked after the poor start to the season and, if he is not to be sacked now, only a top 4 place can keep him in his job for next season!
It is ironic that someone who created the ‘top 4’ as a measure of success (a trophy) and astonishingly – under, at times, extreme financial handicaps against the likes of City and Chelsea and building a fantastic stadium – has achieved this for 18 consecutive years (more than any other manager) should according to you boys be now subjected to this achievement as a minimum requirement for him to keep his job next season! Indeed Mourinho, the odious and grossly disrespectful one, brands this amazing achievement as a specialism in failure! There is a strange sleight of hand here as a great achievement is now redefined as a minimum requirement for Arsene to keep his job.
The quality and spirit of his teams play, his philosophy, his past and recent achievements, and his unique contribution to English football – all goes out the window. All that matters is the performance over the first 9 League games (W3D5L1) – suddenly the world is in crisis – hysteria and mob rule breaks out – the man is too old (only 65) and has lost it – he is a failure and should be sacked… some fall over themselves to proffer the criteria that should be put up to decide whether he keeps his job or not this season?
Why is this happening? How have we got to here? Why are these people and sections of the media banging on about this now and baying for his head on a platter after only 8 League games? Here’s some possible pointers as to why he has become a target:
*The first of the Johhny Foreigners to invade these shores and enjoy success.
* His age – how can anyone carry on working at 65 – he has lost it!?!
* The poor start – only 3/9 wins in the league after the bar set high by the FA Cup win
* The so-called ‘failure’ of the last 8 years before the Cup Final win.
* Its his 65th birthday – the media jump on a story line
* Not resigning Cesc (Oh the pain of it!)
* Not signing another defender and a DM
* The British trait of wanting to knock successful people down.
* As the rewards grow so too does the infusion of the ‘results business’ mind-set to football and the life span of a Premier League manager increasingly shrinks.
* The last man standing amid the carnage of managerial sackings – the last icon – ripe to be brought down by sections of the media and so-called fans – as a man to be got rid of. How can anyone be resistant to Market forces – you can’t have someone leaving the job of their own accord – his very existence threatens the man-hood of the Market paradigm as it tightens its grip on our beautiful game!
Of course – not all people in the Football Industry say this:
Kenny Dalglish says he can’t understand the criticism at Arsene Wenger
Or Steve Bruce of Hull
And how about Lord Sugar too
Even the new MBA Football Industries gurus with their sophisticated mathematical models designed to measure managerial success in the EPL cannot criticise his record as a Manager…
Have a read of Tim Stillman’s excellent piece in yesterdays Arseblog in which he observes disturbingly how the fully U.S Corporate, Market driven, results business mind-set has already arrived in town at the Ems and this week gave its full backing to Arsene to bring more success to the Club…
…and as an aside it is interesting to note that they have invested in the latest cutting edge ‘Moneyball’ thinking to aid the Clubs scouting and game preparation (Billy Bean is a big Arsene fan)…
I put it too you – do you really want to jump on the ‘results business’ manager merry go round of a Chelsea, Spurs, Fulham or Cardiff – or do you prefer the Arsene model? Is one defeat and a disappointing start to the season enough reason to set off all this talk of sacking him or do we cut him a bit of slack and give him his 3 years to finish the job?
I know where I stand.
I think he should be given the opportunity to complete his 3 year contract without all the baying for blood whenever things don’t go smoothly. After all he has done and achieved – I believe he deserves and has earned that level of respect and dignity. I believe good human values should survive in the Market place – indeed I argue that the Market would function even more effectively with an enhanced culture of good, decent values and respect for those who contribute so much to make it work.
Stan Kroenke and his gang may lose patience with Arsene but surely they can’t be that stupid. Sacking Arsene would hit them where they would feel it the most! This thinking reveals the one single factor that sets Arsene out as being unique in English (European) Football and partly explains why I believe he is almost un-sackable right now – it’s because Arsene IS Arsenal. He is a massive part of the ‘brand’ that the club sells into new markets around the world. In Arsene and Arsenal’s case, a football manager is – in the world of a global business something more than just a football manager – and for that reason I believe that he will not be sacked but will serve out his contract and the retire gracefully and hopefully with a few more trophies in our pockets.
Enjoy him whilst you can…you wont see the like of him again in many a lifetime.