Tag Archives: Frank De Boer

4 failed Wenger replacements: Klopp, Moyes, Martinez & de Boer

I have to start this mornings blog with some chat about Frank de Boer, sacked as manager of Crystal Palace after just 77 days.

Roll the clock back to 2013 and de Boer was top of many fans list as next Arsenal manager, alongside the likes of Jurgen Klopp, David Moyes and Roberto Martinez.

It is interesting to see how all 4 have performed in the last 4 years.

Klopp got his big move to Liverpool, where he has impressed a lot of people. But the impressive performances are more his own performances off the pitch, the way he deals with the press, the passion he shows, rather than Liverpool’s performances on it. They finished 4th in his first season, and trophyless. Fairly average.

And they have not started this season in sparkling form. Just 7 points from the opening 10 games.

Due to his relationship with the media, he seems to be able to live an easy life. Liverpool lose, he makes a joke, everything is right in the world. It will be the same if Liverpool do not win anything. He is able to create an illusion of success when there is none. He actually has a worse record than the much derided Brendan Rodgers.

It is also worth noting that Klopp has not lead a team to a trophy since the 2012 German Cup, and in his last season with Borussia Dortmund, he led them to 7th.

It will be interesting to see the response if he delivers a 2nd trophyless season, as Liverpool close in on 30 years without a league title.

Like Klopp, David Moyes also got a chance on the big stage with Manchester United where he was sacked before completing his first full season.

I actually feel sorry a bit for David Moyes as it is almost like he was set up to fail. He joined the side on the recommendation of Sir Alex Ferguson, who left him an ageing squad. They were champions in Fergie’s last year, but pretty much that summer the squad collapsed.

At the same time that Ferguson stepped down, Manchester United’s key negotiator in the transfer market – Chief Executive David Gill – also stood aside. This led Man U to have a new manager and new CEO in Ed Woodward.

A poor transfer window which saw the club miss out in a host of major targets, most famously Cesc Fabregas, Leighton Baines and Ander Herrera (who they signed the next year) and secure just one senior signing. Marouane Fellaini.

Moyes was sacked with a win percentage of 52.94%, which is favourable to the likes of Klopp (7001514000000000000♠51.4%) and Louis van Gaal (52.43%) and not too far of Jose Mourinho (57.97), who’s win %age is boosted through Europa League success.

Having been let go by Manchester United, Moyes tried his hand in Spain with Real Sociedad, before returning to England and being the man to finally get Sunderland relegated. You have to feel his reputation is now tarnished enough that he will struggle to get another Premier League job.

Replacing Moyes at Everton was Roberto Martinez. Another with a big reputation that was perhaps undeserved.

His reputation was built on playing free flowing football at Swansea City, and putting in a lot of the groundwork that saw Rodgers take them into the Premier League.

He then joined Wigan who he led to the FA Cup in 2013. Often praised for continually keeping Wigan in the Premier League against all odds, it was kind of forgotten that every time they found themselves 10 points adrift, he was manager. He was the arsonist who sets a fire and then puts it out so he can be praised as the hero.

A good first season at Everton saw them finish 5th. But they quickly slid down the table finishing 11th in the next two seasons and he was gone. It was not just the results but also the performances. Everton were trying to play like Barcelona with players who were more suited with being at Stoke.

Interestingly his replacement, Ronald Koeman has re-addressed the balance at Everton finished a solid 7uth last year.

Martinez is now manager of a very talented Belgium squad, who he has led to World Cup qualification – the first European side to be in the hat for Russia 2018 (bar the hosts). It will be interesting to see if he can complete his rehabilitation by taking Belgium’s Golden Generation all the way.

And lastly we get to Frank de Boer.

Many Arsenal fans wanted him when he was at Ajax. Partly to do with Dennis Bergkamp being involved as his assistant manager.

de Boer led Ajax to 4 consecutive Eredivisie titles, breaking a 7 year drought. Ajax have also failed to win the Dutch league title since he left. But it was a record in an inferior league. Like Brendan Rodgers in Scotland. Does it really count? Possibly not.

He went to Inter Milan in Italy, where he last 85 days before being sacked on 1st November 2016. At the time he claimed he “needed more time” in order to make a mark as manager.

A few months in the wilderness where he linked himself to many Premier League jobs, but ultimately failing to get beyond the interview stage, he eventually got himself a job at Crystal Palace.

His 85 days at Inter was beaten by his 77 days at Crystal Palace.

In hindsight, he was probably the wrong man for the Palace job.

They wanted him to change their style from a defensive, counter attacking to a possession based game. But the wish was to change tactics but without investment, using the same players who had been at the club for years. They wanted him to teach old dogs new tricks.

When Arsene Wenger came to Arsenal, he did not overly change the style of play of the club. It was still based on a solid defence, and pace upfront. It was not until his second generation of players, led by the likes of Theirry Henry and Robert Pires, when Arsenal started to play a more attacking style.

Palace seemed to demand change, but did not give him the resources for change.

He was further hampered by their two best players from last year – Sakho (unsigned) and Zaha 9injured) – being out.

After 4 games and 0 goals, Palace did the brave thing and realised that de Boer was the wrong appointment for them, Rather than battle through and risk being cut adrift before the clocks go back, de Boer was dumped.

In 2013, Arsenal had gone 8 years without a trophy. Arsene Wenger was entering the last year of his contract. Since that time, 4 of the names linked with replacing him have failed to win a trophy, have struggled at jobs big and small. In that time, Arsenal have added 3 FA Cups to the trophy cabinet.

Whilst Wenger’s time at the club is really up .The journeys of Klopp, Moyes, Martinez and de Boer over the last 4 years show just how hard it is to get your managerial appoint right.

Changing manager is no guarantee of success. And Arsenal fans need to realise that. The years of managers being in charge for 5 years, yet alone 25 years, have gone. When a man does come in to replace Wenger, it will feel like a breathe of fresh air. Until he loses that first game of the season.

I want a new manager at Arsenal .The majority of us do. But a change of manager will not guarantee a change of fortunes.

What started as a mini blog has ended up over 1,000 words as I babbled on. Sorry about that, and up The Arsenal.


What has happened to the heirs of Wenger’s throne?


Over the years many a blogger has written many a blog about who will take over from Arsene Wenger. My own version of this was written way back 2012, when I came up with a Dirty Dozen who could replace Wenger.

Long time favourite of many Arsenal fans, Frank de Boer, is set to be sacked by Inter Milan (or has already been sacked, depending on when I schedule this blog for)

With it being an international break, I thought it would be an ideal time to revisit some of the many men who have made up the list of Wenger replacements over the years. Starting with Frank de Boer.

Frank de Boer

The primary reason people wanted Frank de Boer to come to Arsenal was due to who his number 2 was. Dennis Bergkamp. Even without Bergkamp, de Boer looked like a good candidate whilst at Ajax.

A legendary player in his own right, in 2010 de Boer took over an Ajax side that had not won a league title for 6 years. He revolutionised the club, bringing in ex-players to take up almost every coaching position in the club. He led Ajax to 4 league titles in a row.

He then got itchy feet, and began linking himself with almost every half-decent Premier League job. He issued come get me pleas to both Liverpool and Spurs, neither went and got him. He also reportedly applied for the Everton job which went to Ronald Koeman, but failed to even secure himself an interview.

Then this, he said his goodbyes to Ajax. Having let the tile slip to PSV on the last day of the season, de Boer called time on his Ajax career.

He ended up taking a decent job at Inter Milan, where his current record is P 14 W 5 D 2 L 7. A 35% win ratio that leaves Inter Milan 12th.

With the bond between Bergkamp (who did not follow de Boer to Inter) and de Boer broken, it is unlikely bringing de Boer to Islington would also see a return of Arsenal’s greatest ever player. So we can basically now scrub de Boer off the list.

Jurgen Klopp

A long term favourite for many an Arsenal fan. If there was a checklist of what you wanted from a manger, Jurgen Klopp would have ticked every single box.

At Borussia Dortmund he built the club into a European powerhouse. Finding unearthed gems and turning them into superstars. He was basically Arsene Wenger, but 20 years younger. Since he joined Liverpool, they have been transformed.

There will still be question marks around him as to whether he can make Liverpool consistent title challengers, and win trophies with them, but he has shown himself as adaptable and is doing a good job there.

For me, he would still be on the list of Arsene Wenger replacements. Why can’t we poach him from the Scousers?

David Moyes

When I put David Moyes on my list, he had been at Everton for 10 years. Often getting them to bat above their weight, with 8 top 8 finishes in a row, including 3 top 5, he was at the time the best British manager around.

With his record of developing youth (the likes of Wayne Rooney, Jack Rodwell, Ross Barkley) he was set to get an opportunity at a big job, despite having failed to win a single trophy with the Toffee’s.

He went to Manchester United, didn’t last the season (in hindsight probably unfairly sacked), had a stint in Spain with Real Sociedad, where he was sacked with a 28% win ratio, and now finds himself at Sunderland playing boring, losing football.

Not only will he probably never get a top job again, you have to wonder where his next move might be as well.

Owen Coyle


It is unbelievable that 5 years ago people were calling for Owen Coyle to be next Arsenal manager. Based on what, I am not really sure.

Yes, he took Burnley up, took them to a League Cup semi-final (beating Arsenal and Chelsea on the way) and yes, Burnley won their first top flight home game in 33 years 1-0 against Man U, but it was, and is, laughable that the words “Owen Coyle” and “Next Arsenal Manager” were uttered in the same sentence.

Five years and 4 managerial jobs on, including a stint in America, Coyle now finds himself at Blackburn Rovers.

I read somewhere recently that, after being at Burnley, Bolton & Wigan, he is attempting to destroy every club in the Greater Manchester region.

Gary Monk

Was not on any sort of list very long. Basically his Swansea beat Arsenal twice in a season. Some idiots said they would take him as next Arsenal manager – the type of folk who would take anyone to replace Wenger, their hatred of the man is so high.

He got sacked and is now at Leeds United.


Up tomorrow: Jose Mourinho, Diego Simeone, Roberto Martinez and More


Rating Le Grove’s future Arsenal managers

Before you read on, have a read of Le Grove’s blog yesterday The End is Nigh for Arsene Wenger.

I have been #ArseneOut for some time, but with a caveat, that it is time to for him to go, but as long as we bring in someone better, someone who can take the club forward. I felt there was no point of Arsene and Arsenal parting ways, for us to go and get in a Roberto Martinez, or Owen Coyle. What would be a Moyesesque decision.

When I first decided on my position, there was only a handful of managers I wanted in. Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola and Carlo Ancelotti. I felt that no matter what happened this season, Arsenal should have been speaking to one (or all) of these 3 to discuss joining Arsenal in the summer.

Instead, we did nothing. Klopp joined Liverpool. Manchester City spoke to Pep. And Ancelotti spoke to Bayern Munich. All 3 gone, in the matter of weeks. And it concerned me, as looking around the world game, they were clearly the 3 class acts, everyone else was much of a muchness, not exactly an improvement on Wenger.

Then as 2016 rolled on, my personal list grew. As Arsenal performed worse, and Arsene looked more and more out of touch, it meant more managers who could clearly do a better job than Wenger were added. Still no room for Martinez though, who for me is one of the most overrated in the league.

Anyway, this is not about my list, it is about Le Groves. Many of the names on mine cross reference over, some are missing (Conte, Allegri) and there are some I would not have thought of. But it is a valid list.

What Le Grove did not do is analyse the list. He had already write 1,468 words. It is probably a blog for another day. Well this is the other day.

So who are the 10 managers on Le Grove’s list? What are their pro’s & con’s? Are tbhey a realistic fit for Arsenal? This is my view.

Diego Simeone – Atletico Madrid

Who? Former Argentine International who until recently was most famous for going down like a sack of spuds after a petulant flick by David Beckham in the 1998 World Cup. Starting his managerial  career in Argentina, he joined Atletico in 2011 where he broke up the Real Madrid / Barcelona cartel winning La Liga in 2014. Made the Champions League Final the same year. Would maybe feel he can not to Atletico any further.

Pro’s: Clearly a winner. He has broken up the Real Madrid / Barcelona dominance not by buying and spending (ala Man City & Chelsea) but by managing well, being tactically adept and motivating his players.

Con’s: Can he speak English yet? At Atletico, he is in a unique job where his ‘bullying’ and ‘aggressive’ management style works. Could this translate to a new club easily?

Arsenal fit: Yes and No. It would be a risk, as he could come in an upset everyone. But it could also be a success. Players are too comfortable under Wenger. Someone who tells home truths might be an adrenaline shot to the heart of our talented squad. If he is proficient in English, has to be high on any list.

Tomas Tuchel – Dortmund

Who? Current Borussia Dortmund manager, he replaced Jurgen Klopp at the beginning of the season. Like Klopp, he was previously manager at Mainz. Has taken a Dortmund team who underperformed last year under Klopp back to second in the table.

Pro’s: Came in to a side which was under performing under its long term manager and turned things around.

Con’s: Only been at Dortmund one season, bit early to start comparing him to Klopp.

Arsenal fit: Not this summer. With just one season at a top club under his belt, he would be a huge risk. Could be one for a few year time, but we do not want to wait that long.

Martin Schmidt – Mainz

Who? Austrian manager who did not have a playing career of note. He has come up through management the hard way. Now at Mainz in Germany (what is it about Mainz and talented managers?), he has got a previously lower to mid-table side to 5th in the table. Just goal difference separates them and Champions League football.

Pro’s: There is something about a manager who has not had a stellar career. Jose Mourinho, Arsene Wenger, they just seem to become very good coaches.

Con’s: Until he took over as Mainz’s head coach in 2015, he had only ever been a reserve team head coach. Not much experience.

Arsenal fit: With just over a years experience as a head coach in at any club, I would not be comfortable him taking on such a big job. Also he is clearly a coach, not a manger. Would Wenger stay to sign the players? Would we want him too?

Jorge Sampaoli – Former Chile

Who? The Argentinean manager who led Chile to the Copa America on home soil. He resigned in January this year. Was shortlisted for FIFA World Coach of the Year in 2015.

Pro’s: Plays a very attacking, and successful, brand of football. Knows how to get the best out of Alexis Sanchez.

Con’s: In his 22 year managerial career, he has never managed outside of South America. Has been out of club management since 2011.

Arsenal fit: Would bring a new view point, a new style of football to the club. Would surely know of a few gems from South America to sign. Clearly a good manager and would come with Alexis Sanchez’s approval. But can he adapt to club management and English football?

Frank De Boer – Ajax

Who? Legendary Dutch centre back, De Boer took over Ajax with them having not won a league title in 6 years. He then reeled off 4 titles in a row. Struggled last year, but back in the title race this. Has previously sniffed around the Liverpool & Spurs jobs. A Premier League move would be on the cards soon.

Pro’s: Would surely bring Dennis Bergkamp.

Con’s: Do we only want him because we want Dennis Bergkamp?

Arsenal fit: Yes. Because I want Dennis Bergkamp back.

Unai Emery – Sevilla

Who? Current Sevilla, former Valencia manager. He has won back to back Europa League’s with the former, and could be on course to win 3 out of 3.

Pro’s: Did a solid job at Valencia under difficult circumstance. Doing an equally sterling job at Sevilla.

Con’s: Knocked out of the Champions League group stages this season, although it was a group which contained Manchester City, Juventus and Borussia Mönchengladbach.

Arsenal fit:  Would be a step up from his current job at Sevilla. I was surprised he was still just 44 (he seems to have been around for a long time). Certainly a good manager who carries no ego. Would be a good option.

Laurent Blanc – Paris

Who? Former France captain. Former France manager. Now in charge of PSG.

Pro’s: Managed at the top level with France and with PSG. Used to dealing with big ego, big players.

Con’s: Is he actually any good? Got to the QF of Euro 2012 with France. He might be used to dealing with ego’s, but he is not very good at dealing them. I could manage PSG to the title.

Arsenal fit: No.

Ronald Koeman – Southampton

Who? Over 600 games in management, he won it all as a player. Now at Southampton doing a remarkable job taking into account all their top players were stripped away from them.

Pro’s: Vastly experienced, used to working at the highest level. Will command instant respect with what he has won.

Con’s: In management for 16 years, why has a top club not yet taken the risk on him?

Arsenal fit: 2 years in the Premier League, he knows what it takes. Question mark over if he is good enough for the top, top level. Possibility that he would bring Bergkamp across. Would be a good choice.

Steve Bould – Arsenal Assistant

Who? Former Arsenal centre back who played 372 times for the club. Has been at Arsenal for a long time working his way through the youth systems.

Pro’s: Knows the club. Would be a seamless transition from Wenger to Bould.

Con’s: But do we want a seamless transition. We need something different, not more of the same.

Arsenal fit: Would be good to keep around the club in a Pat Rice role to help the new manager, but not as manager.

Ernesto Valverde – Athletic Bilbao

Who? I have no idea

Pro’s: I have no idea

Con’s: I have no idea

Arsenal fit: Probably Not. I have no idea.


From Le Grove’s list, I would happily take Simeone, Emery, Koeman & De Boer.

Let us know your thoughts