It is time Arsenal fans are realistic with their expectations.
We have had a long period of stability and success. From the day George Graham took over the club in 1986 to Arsene Wenger’s departure in 2018. 32 years, 3 managers (with Bruce Ricoh splitting the 2 with a year in charge) and consistent success.
During that 32 years we won:
5 league titles
8 FA Cups
2 League Cups
Add in the memories of 1989 and the 2004 unbeaten season, it was a glory period where we averaged a major trophy every other season.
16 of Arsenal’s 30 major honours came during that 32 years.
Arsenal fans, like myself, born in the late 70s / early 80s have been spoilt by only ever knowing success, and never really seeing a turnover of managers.
What is the worst season under Graham or Wenger? 1995 when we made a European final? Finishing 6th under Arsene Wenger? These are not huge failures. Many teams would take these as a sign of a successful season.
We had a period of success and consistency, and not we are on a downward curve and those fans who grew up only knowing success will have to re-adjust their mind set.
When you speak to older fans, they talk about the 70s and 80s when Arsenal barely had a sniff- a single FA cup win in 1979 from the 1971 double to when Graham took over. 15 long seasons.
During that 15 years there was not a huge turnover in managers.
Terry Neill and Don Howe the only two appointments between Bertie Mee’s departure and George Graham’s appointment.
Football has changed dramatically since those days, and with the increased money and accountability, it is now a “fast food” game where fans demand instant success or changes.
In a recent interview, Jose Mourinho was asked whether long-term managers like Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson are now a thing of the past, Mourinho said: “Twenty years in a club? I don’t think it is possible.
“Modern life, new technology, social media – I think everything has an influence.
“Even people’s mentality, faster relations, getting tired more easily, so many things that are changing. Not just football, but changing the world and the perception of things.
“I think Wenger was the last one.”
Mourinho is absolutely spot on.
In the Premier League, just 2 managers have bene in their job for longer than 5 years – Eddie Howe at Bournemouth and Sean Dyche at Burnley. Jurgen Klopp has now been at Liverpool for over 4 years. Just two more have spent more than 3 years at their respective clubs: Pep Guardiola and Chris Wilder at Sheffield United.
At the other end of the scale, 9 Premier League sides have had their current manager for less than a year (including Watford who currently have a vacancy for their 3rd manager this season.
The average life span of current Premier League managers is just 2 years, 14 days.
Manchester United are now onto their 4th manager since Sit Alex Ferguson retired.
Liverpool have had 9 managers since King Kenny left – including Dalglish returning for a 2nd stint.
Tottenham have had 21 since Bill Nicholson
Chelsea are on to their 2nd new manager since their last league title – just 2 seasons ago.
Chelsea sum up how the world of football has changed.
Since Jose Mourinho left for the 1st time back in 2007, they have changed manager 13 times. They have won 11 trophies in that time.
Tottenham and Liverpool aside, no other “big 6” side has kept a manager for 2 consecutive trophyless seasons since Sir Alex Ferguson retired.
Jurgen Klopp has shown the benefit of keeping with a manager who you think is the right man even when not winning trophies. It was 3 and a half seasons until he finally lifted a trophy – and he is on to win the Premier League in his 4th full season. But Klopp was Liverpool’s 5th different manager this decade!
The fact is that a new manager at Arsenal will not guarantee an instant change of fortunes on the pitch. And chances are unless we lift a trophy come 2021, Emery’s full-time replacement will be sacked.
Football has changed a lot since George Graham was appointed in 1986. Arsenal fans are going to have to get used to a new man coming in, it not working out and change.
With the state of our team at the moment, it could take 2 or 3 more manager changes and a huge playing turnover in playing personnel until we have a competitive team once more.
We as fans need to realise that football is now a volatile place where instant success is demanded but not realistic.