The days are almost always numbered for a manager or “greed is good”
Actually, it is very simple. In modern top football the expiry date of a manager’s contract is really just a timeframe, which more often than not, will be deviated from. The truth is, you are manager for a team until you either decide to step down, or the people running the club have lost their confidence in your ability to fulfill their expectations going forward.
As the former is such a rare occasion, it really is the latter that nearly always matters. It is in this context, the new contract for Arteta should be seen.
Expectations have the tendency to change, and not always through a logical chain of events. Often through irrational changes of mood and feelings. Nevertheless, if Arteta wants to stay as a manager for Arsenal, he must at all time primarily live up to expectations the owners may have. Pure and simple.
Arsenal is one of the biggest football clubs in the World. It is also big business. I don’t know the owners in any way, and I was brought up not to pass judgement on others, unless I had personal first hand knowledge.
But I will take it for granted, that the Kroenkes do know a lot about running a big business. In a business I consider it a must, that key personnel at the management level are absolutely in line with what the Board and the CEO expects.
Arteta is obviously key personnel, as he currently “occupies” the single most important post in the organization.
I am sure Arteta is an intelligent man. Not only does he clearly come across as one, but no big business would have it any other way with their key management personnel. So even if you are of the opinion that the Kroenkes don’t “care” the right way about Arsenal, I think you would have to agree, they probably care enough about their business to make sure they select a manager, which they believe can fulfil their expectations to the business. Likewise, Arteta is intelligent enough to make sure he knows what those expectations are.
Even if it is actually true that the Kroenke’s don’t care emotionally about Arsenal, the fact is, from a business point of view, the last few year’s financial results have been unsatisfactory to say the least. That is important. A big part of the problem is the direct loss of revenue we used to have from Champions League football.
But on top of the direct loss, there are longer term risks involved in dropping down the ladder. We have huge worldwide companies as sponsors. They have demands not only for expected TV exposure, but also very much demands to the Arsenal brand. To satisfy this, Arsenal must both get the worldwide TV exposure from Champions League football on a regular basis, and Arsenal must also remain a prestigious brand. Those two things very much go hand in hand, and it will be costly if we don’t turn it around.
I have no doubt the Kroenkes know all this much better than I do, and that is a good thing. Because then the Kroenkes business interest in Arsenal is actually aligned with mine as a fan. None of us have any interest whatsoever in seeing Arsenal lose it’s status as a leading club on the world stage. We both need to see Arsenal back in the Champions League, and preferably also winning important titles now and again.
So even if you want to accuse the Kroenke’s for lack of emotional ambition, the reality is that it makes no financial sense not to have the above ambition. Go ahead and accuse them of being “greedy bastards”, if you like. It will actually help us at the moment, the greedier they are.
An obvious point to make could be, that they just need to invest the same amounts as Chelsea and Man City have done to get the same success. But that would be to look away from some important facts and issues. The owners of those clubs, not least Man City, have such large funds available, that it doesn’t have to make financial sense. Indeed, it can very much be argued their investment is not driven solely by rational financial calculations, but very much also by some more dubious intentions, which can be described as sports washing. In Chelsea’s case, I am obviously not talking about the new owners, as we still have to see what they bring.
No, Arsenal are in the same boat as all other clubs that we are competing against. Barring a hope that Santa Claus will come to our rescue, we have to accept investments need to make financial sense as well. It is the same for Man United, Spurs, Liverpool and any PL team you can mention, except maybe now also Newcastle.
It is in this light, I think, we must look at what is going on.
When we dropped out of the Champions League for the first time under Wenger, I believe he and the owners both thought, this is just a blimp, that could be corrected. Wenger had seen rather heavy backing financially around that time, and why wouldn’t he turn it around straight away.
It didn’t happen, and the owners lost the neccessary confidence. He had to be “let go”.
Emery was brought in. I believe he and the owners at that time both believed he would make an immediate turn around of our fortunes. He nearly did in his first year, so the owners kept their faith. But only until they were in the middle of the next season they had to realize it wasn’t going to happen then either.
I also firmly believe the owners and the management of Arsenal, then took a hard look at themselves and at what to do from here. Two attempts spanning over three seasons to make a quick return to “normal”, had seriously failed. One failed attempt with our greatest manager of all time at the helm, and one with another world class manager at the helm.
I am pretty sure it was realized that we couldn’t expect an immediate return to the Champions League. There is always hope, but given the recent failures, it couldn’t be expected. Another approach and plan was called for.
That is why, we now have seen a massive clear out of players and all of them to be replaced by young and hungry players. I think this general plan has been conceived in unison between owners, Arteta and possibly other key personnel. True, the acquisition of Willian goes against that, and maybe the plan was originally to blend the very young players with a few experienced ones to balance it out. I admit, this is guesswork, but either way, the owners clearly have the patience to let Arteta continue with the plan now in place.
But it is not through lack of ambition. As explained, even if it is only financial ambition that drives the owners, they have a clear interest in Arsenal being much more successful than in recent years. They simply believe in the plan, and for the time being, also in Arteta as the key person to implement it. They expect him to deliver. Make no mistake. But they expect it can take more than this season. And this is why it really doesn’t matter, if you in theory can argue, it isn’t fair Wenger and Emery were let go after their 6th and 5th positions in the league, when Arteta has been “allowed” to continue. It is because expectations have changed. Not ambition, but expectations. Two very different things.
Personally, I am very happy with the plan. It looks very ambitious to me to be the highest spender on new players this season and to invest all the money in players who are presumably a few years from reaching their peak, and obviously weren’t expected to deliver what they have done already.
Is it also ambitious to keep Arteta? Because those 2 things can be looked at separately. I think it is. As he obviously has lived up to the owner’s expectations, it is certainly also fair. I am sure, Arteta and the owners are seeing eye to eye with the plan as long as we are progressing, and the owners expectations are met. If expectations aren’t met, his time will be up, and it will of course happen one day unless he resigns earlier.
With that, I will wish everybody a great NLD. More is at stake than in many years. And to top it off, we have our own “rookie” manager up against Conte, who in my opinion deserves a lot of respect, but a manager, which I really didn’t hope we would get. He seems to be a Mourinho in a nicer wrapping with his defensive approach.
Wonder who will keep their respective owners most happy for the longest time?
CALLING ALL ARSENAL FANS! Anyone who would like to contribute an Article or Video opinion piece on JustArsenal, please contact us through this link…
Video – Mikel Arteta talking about our nerve-filled win over Leeds United