Yesterday, when all the fuss was happening over Thierry Henry turning down a full time coaching position at Arsenal, one comment really hit a cord with me.
We have had so many top players play for us over the decades. So many fans favourites. So many legends. And it seems that every fan expects every top former player to get a coaching job at the club.
That is just not realistic. It is like fantasy coaching.
What I picture now is fans travelling around the world, seeking out former Arsenal players in a coaching position (or acting as a pundit on TV), and attempting to capture them, bring them back to London Colney, and force them into a coaching job at the club.
It is like an Arsenal version of Pokeman Go.
We have Thierry Henry over at the Sky Sports studios in Isleworth.
Up in Salford, Martin Keown can be found in the Match of the Day studio. Somewhere in London, Lee Dixon can be captured working at ITV Sport. David Seaman was last seen at Lea Valley ice rink, practising his twirls
Go south of the river (don’t get a black cab, they don’t go that way), Ray Parlour is to be found at TalkSport Towers. For Ian Wright, you have to go to Kings Cross, Platform 9 and ¾ and get a train to Hogwarts.
And then Arsenal Go turns international.
Go to Amsterdam under the guise of coaching an Arsenal legend (we all know why you are really going their). Dennis Bergkamp is to be found. You can capture Marc Overmars too.
Down in Azerbaijan, Tony Adams can be found. Although he might not be there longer. Then get a flight to Brazil.
In Brazil you will find Edu, and if you are lucky, Gilberto might be in town as well.
A trip to New York will enable you to capture the rarest of them all. Patrick Vieira.
And then it is a return to London. Will all your Arsenal Pokeman captured, to release them all onto the Arsenal training ground.
You have captured them all.
Of course, it does not matter that there are not enough jobs to go around. It does not matter that you have to sack proven, quality coaches to make space for unproven, unqualified, ex-players. None of that matters. What is important is that they all have jobs. Every single one of them. Anyone who wants a job gets one. And those that do not, as they would rather be working in their home country for their boyhood club, they can be chained to the centre circle. A chain long enough to get around the training ground. But not leave. Like a dog in your back yard.
It is silly isn’t it?
In the past, the likes of Geordie Armstrong, Pat Rice, Bob Wilson & Liam Brady have coached at Arsenal under Arsene Wenger.
Currently the likes of Steve Bould (assistant manager) & Freddie Ljungberg (U15 / U16) are at the club. Robert Pires also has a role. There are others too that did not have a stellar career.
Arsenal academy graduate Ryan Garry retired at 27. He is the clubs U13 coach. Greg Lincoln, another ex academy player, is also at the club.
Add in the likes of Giles Grimandi & Danny Karbassiyoon currently have scouting roles at the club. Steve Morrow is the head of scouting.
Steve Gatting has been at the club for what seems forever. People do not realise he is also an ex-player.
Kwame Ampadu has a 3 year stint at the club. He would have been Theirry Henry’s boss. Tony Adams has now taken up that position as his number 2.
So there are plenty of Arsenal people around the club. Some are ex-players of a legendary status, others players who’s career did not reach them heights.
But it is important we get the best coaches.
Look at Jose Mourinho. He is one of the top coaches in the game right now. He did not have any sort of professional career. Arsene Wenger did not exactly do much either. Within the club you have a man like Neil Banfield – who has been at the club for 20 years, Vic Akers (31 years), Steve Leonard (23 years) & Tony Colbert (18 years). Between them they have nearly 100 years of service to Arsenal.
Should we get rid of these stalwarts of the club. Proper Arsenal man, to make space for someone like Marc Overmars, who was at the club for 3 years, or Patrick Vieira, who spent 3 years trying to force a move away from Arsenal?
We demand the best players at the club, we should also demand the best coaches. We should not be handing out jobs to coaches who are not the best, just because they used to play for us.