The last King of Arsenal is dead – Long live the Head Coach

The last three Kings of Arsenal. by Charles Veritie

When I heard that Unai had been appointed our new manager, I, like most Gooners, was excited at the prospect. I began thinking about the differences from when Arsene arrived and now. I had no thought about writing about it. It was around that time that I discovered this ‘justarsenal’ site and it prompted me to put my thoughts to my computer by the time I had added the linking words I had about 1000 words, too long I thought. Justarsenal Admin said ‘no problem’ and published ‘From Arsene who? To you know who.’ My thanks to justarsenal and to all who commented. I had no thought to write again on the subject.

Since then I have read every article and comment published by justarsenal and it’s this reading that has prompted me to think on the subject again.

The stats tell us that in 1995 we finished 12th, and in 2018 we finished 6th, but that is all they tell us. .

When comparing the last season of King George and that of King Arsene there is a small problem as there was a ‘gap year’ between end of King George’s reign and the start of the reign of King Arsene. That one season witnessed the reign of King Bruce Rioch.

However with the exception of the arrival of Dennis Bergkemp and David Platt, much was the same. The general feeling among fans was best summed up by the bright spark who informed the BBC: ‘This club is going no where it has got a youth team coach for a manager’.

So what did Arsene inherit from King George? The one obvious difference is Highbury Stadium, old, but much loved and much missed by many. Not obvious to most fans was the training ground, which was rented from University College.

The national and now legendary Arsenal back four.

However since winning the FA and League Cup double in 1993 the wheels had fallen off, we lost to the likes of Wrexham and York City in the FA Cup. In the league we had become a push over as we dropped down to 12th.

The majority of the players were, English, Scottish, Irish or Welsh whose number was surprisingly added to by a non flying Dutchman.

As well as the loyal Arsenal fan, there were at best those envious of Arsenal and at worst the anti Arsenal as is today.

We had played in Europe but spasmodically. Playing in Europe was seen as an extra, not the ‘norm’.

In the ‘gap season’ King Bruce had finished 5th and we qualified for Europe in Arsene’s first season and we played Borussia Mönchengladbach whom Arsene watched when a boy. All this was known at the time and is in the books and now on the net.

Final year results for each king.

1994- 95 King George

Home Away.

P. 21 w 6 d 9 L 6 gf 27 ga 12 P21 w 7 d 3 L 11 gf 25 ga 28 pts 51 position 12th

FA Cup 3rd round lost 2-0 v Millwall

League Cup QF lost 1-0 to Liverpool

Euro Cup final lost 2-1 to Real Zaragoza

1995 – 1996 King Bruce.

P 19. w10 d 5 L 4 gf 35 ga 19 P 19 w 7 d 5 L 7 gf 19 ga 16 pts 63 position 5th

FA Cup 3rd round lost to 1-0 to Sheffield Utd

League Cup semi final Lost to Aston Villa on away goals rule

1996 – 2017 King Arsene

P 19 w15 d 2 L 2 gf 54 ga20 P 19 w4 d 4 L 11 gf 18 ga 30 pts 63 post 6

FA Cup 3rd round lost 4-2 to Notts Forest.

League Cup Final Lost 3-0 to Man City.

Europa League. Semi Final lost 2-1 to Athletico Madrid

What was not known unless you were an Arsenal insider is that the youth system had been neglected.

And of course what is now known as the Tony Adams quote ‘Win or lose we are on the booze.’ of some of the players. Arsene inherited players who were alcoholics or unfit if judged by modern standards of fitness.

It is possible we knew of director David Dein but back then we had little idea of just how much he was transforming the club into the football machine it is today.

He of course was responsible for the arrival of King Arsene who was to become the last King and Manager of Arsenal.

For most fans the fall of King George came quickly and out of the blue, in contrast to that of King Arsene’s fall from favour.

Did Arsene’s fall begin with the demise of David Dein?

We are led to understand that David Dein wanted the new stadium to be on the outskirts of London and the board didn’t. David Dein wanted a director who would put money into the club so that Arsenal could compete financially with the likes of Chelski and Manure. The board didn’t want the man of his choice, nor did they want David anymore.

They chose instead as their ‘saviour’ a man who keeps his billfold (wallet) firmly locked in his personal piggy bank, greeding up on as much money as he can for his silent self.

And now powerless, our puppet directors dance to the pulling of his strings.

Arsene is on record as saying that he was prepared to resign in support of David. But David Dein said that he should stay and keep the ship afloat.

He stayed playing in a new modern stadium, playing in Europe. The ‘Champions League’ no less, became the norm but not to the dizzy heights we wanted.

We have come to take as normal the daily robbery of bad refereeing. It has been bad before but never like this. (I can’t remember the names, but I was there when a Leeds player socked our goalie on the chin and the ref? Turned his back!)

The PGMOL claim 98% accuracy for referee decisions and the bubble gum pundits claim ‘it all evens out in the end.’ Neither offers evidence for its claim.

Today the youth set up is among the best in Europe.

Today most players are from abroad. Every player is expected to live a healthy life style as befitting a top athlete.

When King George reigned he was famed for his defensive football, some fans of Little England saw and believed. His downfall went unnoticed beyond the ripple that is the English Channel

In contrast the world watched the attacking play of King Arsene and believed. His achievements are legendary and our inheritance. The world witnessed his dethronement, the last Manager, and King of Arsenal.

The last Manager and King of Arsenal has gone and in his place has come a ‘Head Coach’

Long live the new King – Head Coach.

Charles Veritie.


  1. John0711 says:

    It should say the club is dead

    1. A.ball08 says:

      The club is only dead when we stop believing in the club… not the lunatics running it
      I support the badge like you and like everyone else on here

      The turn coats who flit on and off are not the true fan base
      Even with silent Stan about to take full control and turn us upside down. Inside out…he can’t kill the badge
      Don’t stop beleiving

      1. Kenny Rolfe says:

        Absolutely Bally, I agree with you 100%. The media are having a field day with this Kroenke business, all the Arsenal bashes are out in force. Sky Sports, our biggest hater are repeating the takeover every five minutes and the Evening Standard ( London’s local newspaper ) had three articles on pages 14, 45, and 46/47. They’ve all suddenly got some negative reports, it’s what they’ve all been waiting for after our run of good news and signings that no one wanted to either talk about or report on. This is a time when we’ve got to stick together, we certainly don’t need to add negative vibes to an already volatile situation. Well done Charlie for bringing up the corrupt going’s on at PGMOL which I’ve advocated for years. Along with their chief Mike Riley in my opinion the most crooked organisation in the game with their 95% Northern referees. Without a doubt we have the worst referees in Western Europe, no wonder we never had any at the World Cup but instead of taking action against Riley, the PGMOL just carried slapping one another on the back telling each other what a good job their doing. One more moan, I see Sky Sports have taken Jamie Carragher back after spitting in the face of a 14 year girl. Just about sums them up.

  2. Midkemma says:

    I feel the old boards greed was overlooked but good article 🙂
    The old board seen a payday and they forced Dein out who wanted to invest in something they wanted to cash in on, his replacement was a CEO who can raise the share price but the cost is selling the future… which they didn’t care about as they knew they wouldn’t be in that picture, after taking their payday.

    Silent Stan came in and the CEO has made his asset worth more on paper, while this was the case then Silent Stan isn’t going to rock the boat and ruin his own investment.

    Gazidis is not a top football CEO, he may be a good money spinner on paper but we do not need some paper shuffler but someone who acts for the clubs longterm, that isn’t Gazidis.

    1. A.ball08 says:

      Totally concur with everything you said
      It most certainly started with the old board
      I heard some regretted selling out but too little to late
      We can only hope that after the final take over he doesn’t load us with debt that we can’t get out of.
      First game ..3points coming our way ?

  3. ks-gunner says:

    Arsenal is about to set it self on fire and we are tllk about someone from the past who is totally irrelevant now.

    1. Durand says:

      Absolutely correct. Article about “Kings” while club is about to be completely owned by a dictator.
      By the by, Rams new stadium costing about 3 times what the entire Arsenal is worth. Fact. Check yourself.
      But hey, I’m sure Stan across the pond will treasure and make Arsenal better than ever. Just ignore how his other franchises performed.I’m sure Arsenal will be different.

      1. Kenny Rolfe says:

        Well said Durand, you know more about Stan’s wheeling and dealing than any of us being on the other side of the pond. keep us informed and what he’s up to.

      2. sal says:

        i know don’t want to even think about it Durand!! in my head it’s a bad dream it’s not happening don’t want it to spoil the excitment of the new season!

        anyone in the states will tell you business first and fans well left with an empty stadium because the team has just moved!! and with arsenal’s fan numbers the highest after man u the guy is making money regardless so i’m sure i’ll feel it like a dagger to the back once mr. moustache decides it!

  4. Elliot says:

    For anyone interested. Head over to Arsenal Supporters Trust and read the article about stan buying out Usmanov and what it means for arsenal.

  5. gotanidea says:

    Great article as always, Charles

    I have no doubt that Emery is a very good manager, proven by the UEFA Cups and the Ligue 1 title

    He is facing transfer budget issue, which he used to have at Sevilla, so he must be able to adapt to this type of situation. I hope Arsenal board would prove me wrong and surprise us again with a new marquee player before the transfer window closes

  6. John0711 says:

    Let just be clear on this This take over is the worst thing that will or can ever happen in the history of the club

    Prediction is mediocrity will become the norm

    1. ozziegunner says:

      Kenny, the media will continue to take cheap shots at the Arsenal, because it is a London based club (large media catchment) and has history that provikes envy in others.
      Kroenke’s private ownetship of the Club will, regardless of success or failure, will unite the Arsenal fan base like never before. If successful, fans will unite behind the team; if the team fails on the field then fans will unite against Kroenke.
      To me the move by Kroenke to force minority shareholders, like the Arsenal Supporters Trust to sell their shares to him, is an act of pure bastardry.
      I hope the shareholders who sold their shares to Kroenke in 2011 choke on their pound notes.

      1. Ali says:

        I really hope that this move from Kroenke is to have full ownership and full value when he sells the club to Aliko Dangote (Nigerian billionaire, richest man in Africa and huge Arsenal fan). Dangote announced that he plans to buy Arsenal and believes Kroenke will sell if the right offer is made. His plan to takeover Arsenal will happen after he completes his oil refinery project, scheduled for completion in 2019. He talks about making an offer than will make Kroenke walk away, lets hope. I am aware that I am clutching at straws here.

      2. Sal says:

        spot on ozzie! i hope so too!

    2. ozziegunner says:


  7. Uchman says:

    When u joined arsenal during the golden era(during the invisible) it’s very easy for u to abuse and insult wenger and feels he killed us but if u follow arsenal before the arrival of wenger u will surely appreciate the 22 years wenger gave us, u will always have a special place in our history arsene!!

    1. ozziegunner says:

      I’m sorry Uchman, but I have supported Arsenal for 56 years. I admired Arsene Wenger for the first 10 years; however I will not forgive him not speaking out against Kroenke and the board and ran interference for them post 2011, when he was deprived of funds to compete effectively. As much as I detest Mourinho he speaks out when he doesn’t believe he is being supported.

      1. Kenny Rolfe says:

        Make you right Ozziegunner

  8. Ken1945 says:

    Brilliant article, well considered conclusions using facts to support the case laid out.
    It has been produced at the moment in time our club is at its lowest ebb with regards to the owner and board.
    The decision taken by Wenger to resign after the disgraceful behind the scene antics of Gazidis has surely been the catalyst for where we find ourselves today.
    It was, without doubt, the time for him (Wenger) to go and I have no reason to change my view on that.
    I want to also make it clear that I support the new manager completely and hope he eclipses the trophy haul we enjoyed under our ex-manager.

    It was the manner that the owner and board betrayed Wenger that shames the club.
    But it is my belief that this decision was the watershed moment for Usmanov.
    He was always a Wenger man and said so many times. His latest statement that Arsenal could / should be the biggest club in the world emphasises his frustration with the present owner and board.
    He has had enough of the power play going on at the club, especially the decision not to allow him on the board, despite having a 30% share holding.

    We have not seen the end game yet, as I now await the news that Gazidis (thank god) will also be leaving the club.

    My final prediction is that we will see a major signing as Kronkie will want to show the fans that he is going to be the man who will open his wallet to support the club.
    At least Emery will benefit from this and I hope he will use the windfall wisely, as it will probably be his last!

    The King is dead, the coronation of the new coach has taken place, the new dictator is now in place…..thank you Ivan Gazidis.

    1. Xxnofx says:

      @Ken ,don’t you think that maybe wenger did himself no favours by never sticking up for the fans against the board ?
      That’s what annoyed me it was the fact that we never got a clear answer out of him regarding transfers .why did he never come out and blame the board for the stuff that went onbehind the scenes . Arsenal are one of the most secretive clubs around , and that’s what really pees me off . Wenger should have come out years ago and told us the secrets that our crappy board pride themselves on .gazidis is a leach on our club and the owners are the same if not worse .very bad day for our club and I feel sorry for emery for having to copy wenger in the way he runs our club

      1. Ken1945 says:

        Xxnofx, nice to debate with you again.
        I have no qualms about Wenger having the faults you describe, he did at times come across as an arrogant man.

        You do make a valid point regarding the club’s secrecy.
        But if you think about it, doesn’t every ‘big’ club conduct its business in this way?
        I give you our noisy neighbours as a prime example…their fans are going spare over the inactivity regarding transfers and no explanation as to why.
        At least we were told implicitly that the new stadium would affect our dealings in the transfer market, there has been no clues as to what is going on with them.

        I always viewed Arsene Wenger as a professional and honest man, a trait that all our managers (bar one) seemed to have had in abundance over the years.
        His loyalty was to the club and this was seen by some as meaning making money for the board and owner.
        That is a personal opinion made by each fan individually, as is your point regarding him not answering questions clearly.
        I take your point on board, even to the point that in the last two years, he never addressed anything with real clarity.
        The difference with Emery’s explanations regarding his plans and ideas is strikingly different and refreshingly so.

        Like you, I feel for Emery, and your summing up of Gazidis is spot on.
        Just can’t believe what is going on at board level and above, only pleased we seem to have a coach who is in control of the playing area.

    2. jon fox says:

      An interesting take on how things have worked out and when, Ken. Personally, i am almost certain that no one except the Kroenkes had any inkling , except that it was already public knowledge that Kroenke had already tried but failed, to buy Usmanov out. NOW HE HAS FINALLY SUCCEEDED AND THUS A CATASTROPHE FOR US ALL. Usmanov is now likely to throw his financial weight behind his friend at Everton and I can soon see them overhauling us, at least financially speaking. Personally i am resigned at my age, that I will not see Arsenal win the Prem again, nor a CL title either. Other cups though , are within our reach, even while Kroenke remains. I predict that if things go less well than most of us hope, on the field, a massive Kroenke out campaign will start. BUT I SEE HIM NOT CARING A JOT AND BEING AS THICK SKINNED AS BILLONAIRES ALWAYS ARE. To have ANY real hope of removing him , would need such a near 100% boycott of games AND MERCHANDISE , LONG TERM TOO, THAT I DO NOT SEE IT HAPPENING. NOT IN A COSMOPOLITAN CITY LIKE LONDON, full of tourists and prawn sandwich brigade, who by and large are not devoted fans like us on here. So ,I think in our time, you and I, that we must settle for what we can get and regard any real success , a trophy of any kind and top four as our realistic limit, UNLESS we can force him out, which I don’t believe we can. Big sigh !

      1. ken1945 says:

        Jon your thoughts and mine are in tune.
        I’m just thankfull that Emery has taken over the reins.
        I believe he is a man who will not take any nonsense or interference from above regarding the style of play and that is what is needed during this uncertain period in our club’s history.

        1. jon fox says:

          Ken, Try as I might -and you know how trying I can be- I cannot disagree with a word you say. But being the miserable old git I am , i will keep trying. But I will fail! Oh well then, back to kicking the cat it is!

  9. Declan says:

    As much as David Dein is missed for his undoubted skills at getting deals done and making things happen, let’s not forget it is down to him that we have Stan Kroenke in charge today. Dein recommended and introduced Kroenke to the Arsenal board. Hill Wood at the time said “ we don’t want his sort (Kroenke) in this club”. The sh1t hit the fan, Dein was excommunicated, then in a huge turn around Kroenke was bought in, Dein teamed up with Usmanov in a reaction to being sacked and now look where we are.

    1. Kenny Rolfe says:

      Great debate involving Xxnofx, jon fox, Ken1945 and Declan

  10. Auba Arsenal of Lagos says:

    OH MY GOD!!what’s with this ” the club is dead” nonsense.there’s a popular pallance in south west Nigeria that says “why die before death itself comes?”how can anyone think because someone just took over control of the club the person will then have a passion to destroy the club? No body I repeat nobody is in the know of what will befall the club in kroenkes there any one who’s had a look into his thoughts? Does anyone have an idea why josh kroenke will suddenly just develop the knack to bring arsenal down to 18th or 20th on the log?why did we all ,just 2-4 weeks ago think arsenal is on the recovery path by strengthening with torreira, guendouzi, Leno, litchsteiner? Why do we just allow gloom peddlers always generate negativity around our club? Do you know who’s going to eventually destroy this club? seem to me its we the fans.are we aware this pessimism in the media is also being read by the players & the manager?what do you think this will do to them?
    For crying out loud we just changed a 22 year system?do you think we’ll just get it right in 1 year? I think what we should all be saying is let’s see how it works out in 2 seasons.funny how we’ve been clamouring for change & revolution just for us to develop cold feet before even stepping on the river bank when the changes starts manifesting.get a grip and grab your jerseys & mufflers & chant up Gunners all the way. Lol wow! (I just ranted)

    1. Phelyx says:

      Nice one bro kroenke can’t just bring the team down even if he sees it as just an investment.

  11. jon fox says:

    Nice article Charles, esp as you have not lived as an Arsenal fan , right though the whole period. Us old ones, who have might have a slightly different take on the success of GEORGE GRAHAM, who had 6 honours in 9 years compared to Wenger’s 10 in 22 years. Both ended with them being forced out
    and though Graham stole money from Arsenal , I would maintain WENGER STOLE OUR HOPES AND OUR MOMENTUM, WHICH HE HAD HIMSELF SO GLORIOUSLY GIVEN US IN HIS FIRST HALF REIGN, which was more harmful to our mental and emotional love of our old Arsenal ways. I also believe Graham would have been sacked for lack of success anyway, had he not stolen money and he would never have had so many barren years to STAY and collect wages as did WENGER, LATER ON. It would be surprising if many of us oldies saw things quite the same as those who are not old enough to personally remember the GEORGE GRAHAM YEARS. I thought that around 2007-8 our former teak tough men were replaced in increasing measure by wimpish snowflake boy/ men type players, such as Walcott, Hleb, Denilson( who actually came earlier) encouraged, pampered and made excuses for by Wenger. IN FACT, I DON’T ACTUALLY THINK THIS, I KNOW THEY WERE . THE EVIDENCE IS CLEAR AND OBVIOUS. But as they say , plus ca change and we now have once again a demanding and dynamic head coach who will never accept snowflake types and coasters. Thank God, for that at least, on this otherwise black day for our beloved club.

  12. snowden says:

    The head line is misleading. The last three kings of Arsenal may have left Arsenal but as far as I know they are still very much alive – not dead.

    1. jon fox says:

      Poetic licence is fair game in writing. OTHERWISE IT BECOMES STAID AND BORING AND FEW WOULD READ IT. A human who always writes the precise truth as he thinks it is a very rare and unlikeable person , in my view. It is the inconsistencies – even small scale hypocricies, if you like – that make our race vital and fascinating. Just my take on it but surely worth reflecting on , eh?

      1. snowden says:

        My reflection.
        ‘The king is dead. long live the king’s. Is an overworked cliche. and only relevant if true.

  13. Gooner14 says:

    Usmanov is selling all his shares to kroenke ??

  14. JJPawn says:

    Might Wenger be hired at Everton? Might he be given the money to buy a team like City had done?

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