Tag Archives: Arsenal

What is delaying Arsenal replacing Unai Emery?

It is now nearly a week since Unai Emery was sacked and a replacement has not been bought in.

Within 24 hours of sacking Mauricio Pochettino, Tottenham announced that Jose Mourinho was to be their new manager. It was quick, it was clinical.

So what is holding up Arsenal?

Remaining Classy

The old school fan in me that still calls us The Arsenal and remembers the days when we were a classy club makes me look at Spurs and think “stabbed in the back” with just how quickly they moved Pochettino out and Mourinho in.

The seat on the private toilet in the managers office had not even cooled down.

It does lack class agreeing a deal with a replacement manager before the current manager has been sacked. The “open secret” that the manager has been sacked and replacement already recruited. But it is hard to “stay classy” in business.

Regardless of the industry, if you are planning to sack a manager, CEO or director, you need to be talking to potential replacements before you give the incumbent the chop.

The firm I work for planned to replace the CEO a few years back. They employed his replacement as a Regional Director for 8 months before chopping the CEO. He was then installed as interim CEO before getting the job permanently 4 months later.

It might have “lacked class” but in business it is what needs to be done. Especially if that business is struggling.

You need to do what is in the best interests long term of the business, or football club, and not have to worry about “looking classy” in the short term.

I imagine the lack of replacement has nothing to do with the club deciding not to talk to a replacement for Emery before they gave him his P45.

Board Incompetence

The situation could further highlight a long term problem at Arsenal. That those running the club are simply incompetent.

We know the board is not fit for purpose and there have been talks to introduce fresh faces. We know Stan Kroenke is a hands off owner, leaving the experts he employs to do the job they are supposed experts in. That then leaves it to Raul Sanllehi.

Sanllehi was supposed to be a superstar. Recruited from Barcelona, he replaced Ivan Gazidis overseeing the football side of the club. Replacing the manager is his job.

Has he been infected by the incompetence that runs through others within the club? Is he not the big dog that we hoped we were recruiting? Or does he have a plan and it simply is not one that can be completed within 24 hours?

I hope it is the later.

New Manager is Currently Employed

Prior to Emery being sacked, we could have been having discussions with his replacement and/or his representatives. A contract could even have been agreed and he is ready to take over. But he can not take over if he is currently in a job.

What allowed Tottenham to replace Pochettino so quickly is that Mourinho was out of work. All they had to do is get a signed contract back from him and he was ready to go.

The situation takes longer if you are targeting a manager currently in a job.

If Arsenal want Wolves’ Nuno Espirito Santo, Brendan Rodger of Leicester or even poach Carlo Ancelotti from Napoli, they will have to enter negotiations with their respective club to buy them out of their current contract. This could only be done once Emery was confirmed as leaving.

A deal could have been agreed in principle with a currently employed manager, but it then takes time to do the deal with his current club.

And what if when going to do that deal, his current club refuses to enter discussion? Or asks for a huge fee? It can delay things further.

It is more complicated recruiting someone in a job than it is recruiting someone out of work.


My hope is that these delays are because we are talking to someone in work; and it is just taking a little longer. My fear is it is competence and we failed to speak to anyone before letting Emery leave.

Hopefully the situation is resolved over the weekend.

Keenos

Sacking managers is something Arsenal fans will have to get used to

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
1 ECWC

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.

Keenos

New (interim) Head Coach – Same Old Performance

Anyone that thought that by simply sacking Unai Emery Arsenal would begin to turn in world beating performances were clearly very naïve.

Freddie Ljungberg had been in temporary charge of the squad for just 2 training sessions prior to the game against Norwich. We saw a few tweets (Shkodran Mustafi and Granit Xhaka returning) but overall it was the same players playing the same way under Unai Emery.

What yesterday exposed was the it is not just Emery and his inconsistent tactics and formation that was the problem. The players themselves need to look at their own performances.

For too long many of the players have escaped criticism, with firstly Arsene Wenger and then Unai Emery taking the brunt of fans anger.

Individual players, such as Mesut Ozil and Granit Xhaka have taken abuse from the fans; but many players have escaped such criticism.

The likes of Alexandre Lacazette have been distinctly average for some time.

Oddly named Arsenal Player of the Season last year following 134 league goals, Lacazette has been extremely inconsistent during his time at the club – 40 goals in 103 games is not a great record. Lacazette is certainly one player who has escaped any sort of criticism.

What is becoming very clear and obvious is that our squad is made up of a lot of players who are either:

  1. Not good enough or;
  2. Not mentally strong enough

In defence we make too many mistakes. This is highlighted by how many penalties we give away.

David Luiz, Mustafi and Sokratis all have a mistake in them. They are all senior internationals. A new manager is not going to suddenly improve them; cut out their error ridden games.

It is the same in midfield.

The centre of the park has been a huge problem for Arsenal in recent years.

Unbalanced with players who can not defend, can not pass, can not drive the ball forward. The fact is if Francis Coquelin was still at the club, he would probably be our best midfielder.

Not in recent memory have we had a midfield that passes the ball so poorly.

Like with the defenders making individual errors, the feeling is the sloppiness of the likes of Granit Xhaka is now ingrained into his game. He is beyond the point where it can be coached out of him.

Simply put, we have too many players who make too many mistakes and no change of manager will make a difference.

These are not young kids who can be coached to improvement – these are senior internationals who are not taking responsibility over their own performances.

When Chelsea won the Champions League, they had a weak coach in Roberto Di Matteo. But they have the likes of Petr Cech, John Terry, Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard and John Terry on the pitch. They had a team of leaders similar to what Arsenal had during the unbeaten season.

The England rugby team had similar in 2007.

Andy Robinson was a poor coach, out of his depth. The senior players got their heads together and drove the team to the final.

Arsenal lack any leaders on the pitch.

Emery’s policy of having multiple leaders makes sense (it is used throughout Europe as well as in cricket and rugby) but it only works it you have actual leaders on the pitch.

There is no point having a senior leadership team if its members are merely members because they are senior, and not because they have any leadership skills.

Regardless of who replaces Unai Emery, things will not change at Arsenal until the players attitudes change.

They either need to step up and take responsibility for their own poor performances or be moved on.

Keenos