So with yesterday’s news about Pep Guardiola about to join Manchester City, my mind started working overtime. And the result ended up with the simple questions.
Do Arsenal need a proven winner to replace Arsene Wenger?
Now let’s work backwards.
A Ligue 1 titles back in the 80s, followed up by a single French Cup triumph. A couple of trophies in Japan (I have no idea how important they are) and then he became ‘Arsene Who?’. The rest, as they say, is history. Doubles, unbeaten seasons, back to back FA Cups (twice).
Imagine the scenario. “Arsenal hire Steve Bruce”. Crazy. But not so in 1986.
After the dismissal of Don Howe, Arsenal turned to former player George Graham – having been turned down by Alex Ferguson. Graham was managing a little old south London club called Millwall, with him guiding them from promotion to the old Second Division.
He bought Arsenal back from the dark times.
Even more ludicrous than signing an unknown Frenchman from Japan. Or giving the job to an ex player who had only been in lower league management for 4 years. Let’s give the job to the physio.
Yes, Arsenal’s first double wining manager was, for 6 years before becoming the manager, the team physio.
So much did he doubt his own ability that he actually had it written into his contract that if it was not working out after 12 months, he could return to his old job. He ended a 17 year trophy drought, won in Europe, and gave Arsenal the magical year of 1971.
Now if only Colin Lewin wasn’t so busy in the treatment room.
Everyone go’s on about the Liverpool boot room, but not a lot is written about the Arsenal boot room.
Another ex-club physio (further proof that Colin Lewin as the man), he never managed anyone before Arsenal, never managed anyone after Arsenal. And won the league title.
So we have had 2 physio’s go on and do a job as manager, winning titles. How about Ol’ George Allison.
He came to London as a journalist – greyhound correspondent for the Sporting Life. His first job at Arsenal was programme editor. After the First World War; he was first club secretary and then managing director.
After Herbert Chapman’s death in 1934, he was appointed manager, overseeing 2 league titles and the FA Cup. How much more would he have won were it not for the Second World War?
Ok, you got me. The man who laid the foundations for everything future about Arsenal, and one of the greatest innovators of English football, was a proven winner, having won back to back titles at Huddersfield Town, as well as the FA Cup.
So bar Chapman, none of our previous league winning managers were proven winners. They were the right man for the job.
And that is what Arsenal need to replace Arsene Wenger. Not someone who has the job just because they have won trophies elsewhere, but someone who will do the right job at Arsenal.
Ps: I am sure the boys over at The Arsenal History could do a much better attempt at this blog than me.