So, here I am. A 36-year old bloke who really should be revising for a couple of university exams in the next ten days, and instead I’m sat here wondering just why I think so differently to a great many other Arsenal fans, and on a great many things….
Thursday Night Paranoia
Ok, so we’ve now got to play in the Europa League, and that means Thursday night games and the resulting inevitable panic over a new schedule. But why? Thursdays are a day like any other, and it’s still 11 men against 11, and it’s still 90 minutes, so why all the fuss? I just don’t get it.
Every Thursday, followed by every Sunday. Unconventional, granted, but there’s no reason at all why supposedly professional players should suddenly find themselves unable to cope with it. If anything, the fixture schedule is actually better than any we’ve had while playing in the Champions League, when half the matches were on a Tuesday, half on a Wednesday, and the weekend league game getting shunted into any one of half-a-dozen different slots over three days, all at the whim of the TV people.
No more Napoli away on a Wednesday, then Liverpool away on a Saturday lunchtime, and people panic about Thursday-Sunday-Thursday? Behave.
Director of Football = Magical Solution / “Bring Back David Dein!”
Now this is one I really struggle with.
Sure, we’ve been an abject shambles in the transfer market ever since he left in 2007, but would bringing back a 73-year old man who hasn’t worked in club football for a decade really solve all of our transfer issues? (And that’s quite apart from the role his agent son, Darren, played in ripping the heart out of that team with the transfers of Fabregas, Clichy, Nasri and Van Persie).
The other, similar, call is that the club should appoint a Director of Football to oversee all transfers and contracts, but – apart from Wenger’s oft-stated refusal to work in such a model – what is the point of someone else getting it right off of the pitch only for Wenger’s outdated training methods getting them injured, tactical nativity failing to get the best from them, or, as with Lucas Perez this season, simply leaving a proven talent to rot in the reserves because Wenger’s ego was deemed to be more important than the interests of Arsenal Football Club.
I personally believe that the one man in sole charge is still the best model for a successful football blub. For example, Liverpool’s insistence on everything going through their own ‘transfer committee’ is partially to blame for their recent struggles under Klopp and his predecessors of the last few years.
If everything was going right, would people still be calling for a total restructuring of the way the club operates? Of course not. What we actually need is a CEO to take the financial and paperwork jobs off of the manager, so all they have to do is give a list of players he wants to sign/keep, and then everything happens without them, leaving them to concentrate on getting things right on the training ground and pitch. What we need is Ivan to step up and start doing his job.
Blame the Board!
Stan Kroenke is not a bad chairman. There, I’ve said it.
The only thing that you can criticise him for is the £3million he has laundered out of the club in each of the last two seasons, but considering the money that the previous board, under Sir Peter Hill-Wood, Danny Fiszman, Dein and Ken Friar paid themselves in wages, “expenses”, 5-star travel and accommodation to away and European games and even in using the club’s facilities for their own business deals, Stan’s “consultation fee” is probably less of a percentage of the club’s income than that lost to anyone else ten or twenty years ago.
In fact, the only thing which you can blame him for is his hands-off approach and lack of pressure he puts on those he employs. Although he certainly lives up to his ‘Silent’ nickname with his hands-off approach, is that also in itself a bad thing? Would we rather instead have an egotistical chairmen treating the club like his own toy and constantly meddling in everything? Not only would none of this be a problem if we were top of the league and everything else was fine, but there’s plenty of fans from other clubs out there who would love to have him at theirs.
Both the lack of a Director of Football and the owner’s hands-off approach would not be a problem if the team was playing well, being run well, competing in Europe and winning league titles at home. As with everything else at the club, its failures belong to one man and one man alone. The man with “complete control of the football side of the business”. Arsene Wenger.