Arsenal need to change managers regularly to evolve…… (ONE year ago today)

Just to show how Arsenal fans seem to be living in a constant Groundhog Day every single season, I have decided to do a short series on how nothing has changed over the last five years. To highlight this I am going to post an article from this day for each of the last five years. So this is the first one from 20th March 2017…..

All clubs need to involve and adapt or simply stagnate…. like Arsenal

Is it at all possible that changing key personnel on a regular basis is not only part of the modern game but also a necessity, regardless of the results?

Is it possible there isn’t one premiership manager who doesn’t know how to set our their team against Arsenal? …I doubt it. Everyone knows how Arsenal play, they know we want a huge percentage of possession and that we will try to engineer opportunities in a very indirect way. Its not only the top clubs that know it, teams like Watford know exactly how to set up against the Gunners. There’s obviously a very good reason for that….A lack of change…

Before you jump to the assumption this is yet another Wenger battering I would like to say its not only levelled at him but to any club that fails to adapt, evolve and re invent. Given that we have played the same way for many years means we are far from an unfathomable force.

Maybe having a manager at one club for more than five years is simply a worn out theory that simply doesn’t work anymore. Football is no longer a game of 11 V 11 over 90 minutes, its far more intricate and scientific and the degrees which can effect the end result are incredibly small.

Perhaps the movement of managers and players helps to invigorate a club, change the style and consequently create an unpredictability about how they will play.

We have all known for years that Arsenal rarely are able to offer a plan B which, as a consequence, means our plan A is well established. On its day it can be incredibly effective but as Saturday’s performance at the Hawthorns demonstrated, it can also be atrocious.

Maybe the future for our club, given that we are financially very solid, is an ever evolving squad of players and managerial change far more frequently than we’ve experienced at Arsenal.

I imagine those of us that want Wenger out would be thrilled to have Simeone in but, if we were brutally honest, is he really likely so stay for 20 years?…Of course not. However, if we want to take a seat at footballs top table, perhaps having a hungry achieving manager for three to four seasons followed by the next new kid on the block is the way forward in order to sustain that seat.

If we think of that in terms of players as well, maybe its time for Ozil and Sanchez to move on for considerable money and replaced by two new elite players a couple of years younger but who have hunger and ambition and are keen to give us three seasons before following the path that Ozil and Sanchez might take this summer.

I think the days of players like Thierry Henry or Stephen Gerrard staying at a club for huge swathes of their career are over. It is something our board will no doubt hate, given the continual need to buy and sell but maybe that-s the only way for any club to regain and remain fresh and hungry.

To summarise, maybe complacentcy is deep rooted within our club right from the Board , through to the management and to the fan base that are happy to settle for the stability of a reliable underachieving management regime rather than run the gauntlet of change and with that change bringing new blood which poses an element of risk.

We all reflect on the time David Dein spent at Arsenal and the ‘get up and go’ mentality he had, how he made things happen. He has never really been replaced which may have a significant baring on where we find ourselves today, yet having him back is not the solution.

Is it possible our club needs an injection of balls at every level, people that make things happen, as oppose to watch things happen. On and off the park maybe we need people that will be part of our club for 3 or 4 years, make a significant contribution to energizing the club before moving on to be replaced by the next group of individuals wanting to achieve the same.

I think the days of planning any further than three to four seasons ahead are gone. In order for Arsenal to become a challenging force we need to employ hunger and aggression in every area on and off the field…

Without continual evolution extinction becomes a real possibility…

Neil Watson


  1. Ozziegunner@Newcastle upon Hunter says:

    As “Yogi” Berra the great American baseball catcher once said “It’s like deja vu all over again!”

    1. rkw says:

      he also said “the future ain`t what it used to be” which seems particularly apt when talking about AFC

  2. Wolfgang says:

    Agree 100% how all teams know how Arsenal play. Even Watfiord knew it.
    If Arsenal don’t wish to stagnate,its time to say sayonara to the fm.

  3. ThirdManJW says:

    Couldn’t agree more! Long-term managers, in fact, long-term anything, just isn’t the norm in football.

    Ferguson was an anomaly, especially in the modern game. He was happy to stay at United, and they were happy with him, because he brought consistent success. United were always winning, or at the very least, challenging. It really annoys me, these fans, and pundits who dare compare Wenger with Ferguson based on longevity. As if to say, Wenger must be a great manager to be in the same job, for so long. No! The ONLY reason Wenger’s reign has lasted this long is because of how good Wenger was with the accounts, and because he had all this power because we had no one else who knew anything about the footballing world at the club. Wenger’s longevity is to do with business, and nothing to do with sporting achievement.

    Arsenal need to start focusing on performances from now on. I am not against another long-term manager, but he has to be consistently successful.

    I don’t like how quick Chelsea are to replace their managers, but one has to agree that it’s been a massive success! Maybe we could learn from that?

    1. Midkemma says:

      “I don’t like how quick Chelsea are to replace their managers, but one has to agree that it’s been a massive success! Maybe we could learn from that?”

      Unless they pull their socks up, they could be out of UCL next season and only finish 1 spot above the joke of a manager, Wenger.

      That is a massive success?

      Is consistency not considered part of this?

      Last 3 full seasons was 1st, 10th, 1st. Looks like this year they will fin 5th and miss out on UCL unless they catch up, if they get UEL then we will see if Arsenal and UTD are the only ones in recent times to finish in a worse pos while playing in UEL.

      I would say SAF and UTD was massively successful.

      Chavski have been successful, they have done very well… but lacking that consistency, it isn’t massive.

      1. ThirdManJW says:

        WTF! Have you seen what Chelsea have won in last 12/13 years? Very consistent.

  4. pires says:

    we’ve won an fa cup since then…..A record win

  5. Wolfgang says:

    On the subject of Ferguson,if I aint wrong this was what he said.The rd had drawn the gunners in the sf/qf of cl in 2008/09.The rf said he knew how the gunners liked to play.
    There you have it. It’s now wonder the gunners regularly get beaten b y the big teams in both cl and epl.
    Who can evre forget 5-1 twice to BN and the 8-2 humiliation. Any manager worth his salt/sugar
    would have learned from the errors in defending and devise a plan to use anti soccer.
    This fm is too arrogant for the gunners to go forward and shd pay the price
    for constant failure to challenge.

  6. RSH says:

    i agree. Long-term managers only come around once in a blue moon. There should always be pressure at a top club and that’s why it’s hard to maintain a long stay. Arsenal has lost their ambition somewhere along the way with Wenger’s reign and now we are in this position.

  7. Phil says:

    Managers should be judged purely on results and NOT how much money that pours into Kronkes back pocket.
    If the club are successful the finances will always be high anyway.
    If Wengers reported £9m salary was performance based he would be taking home something close to the national minimum wage this season.The teams performances suggest he has mugged of us even for that.

  8. Midkemma says:

    I wonder if the future will have managers like Wenger or will we start calling them head coaches and let the ‘manager’ concept fade away.

    The manager tends to appoint people in his coaching staff, if the coaching fails then the manager is having to fight for his job, even if the manager is a tactical wizard. Well, if the club has development of players as one of the criteria.

    Wenger is far from that tactical wizard and he has failed out GKs for year after year after year… If everything else was good other than GK then it would be a shame to sack a manager for 1 fault. I have already admitted Wenger isn’t a tactical wizard so not trying to support him 😛

    Why not look to break the roles down more at Arsenal so we don’t focus on a single man called a Manager but we focus on 5? people who are coaches. The head of GK/Def/Midfield/Attack Coach along with Head Coach.

    If the GK side if failing, replace the head of GK coaching instead of manager which can bring many changes to the club.

    This for me appears to be a more stable approach to move forward with which can help the club keep its identity while personnel gets changed as required.

  9. Ozziegunner@Newcastle upon Hunter says:

    Two of the stated reasons why Ferguson was so successful were that he periodically changed coaches to freshen things up and he let the coaches do their jobs and coach, albeit under his overall management. Also he was ruthless in moving players out when their performances waned.

    1. Ozziegunner@Newcastle upon Hunter says:

      I might add that Wenger has had two main assistants, Pat Rice and Steve Bould and it is not evident, particularly in Bould’s case, that they have been allowed much input.

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