Arsène For England – A Media Nightmare
With the media believing that the Roundheads and Cavaliers are arming themselves at the moment, the natural progression of that argument is the departure of Arsène from the Manager’s Office. Whether it is as the victim of internecine warfare or just simply believing he has taken the squad as far as he can, the proponents of such beliefs will not say. They will allude without pinning their views to a mast.
There will no doubt be the xenophobic angle, the lack of Englishmen at the club, an argument as old and tiresome as the issue of spending money to compete with Chelsea, United and City in the transfer market. This remember is all through the media, so it is a strange day indeed to find one person prepared to say, “No, when Capello leaves, England does not need an Englishman, it needs a Frenchman.”
I’m not debating whether Wenger will go – I don’t think he will – or what he will do next when he does leave. But Ian Ridley in this morning’s Daily Express makes a decent argument for the Arsenal manager to take over the international side, particularly tied in with the National Football Centre at Burton.
Of course the pressure would be something entirely different to that which he is used to. Demands for trophies at Arsenal might have been unrealistic in the past but with England they are even more incredulous. The media would not allow him the time to develop youngsters into the senior squad.
Any manager who fails to bring home the World Cup is unceremoniously hounded until the FA step in and bungle a sacking by offering a new contract.
It would be a true test of the media principles over football; whether they are prepared to admit that excellent football without trophies is better than neanderthal football without trophies. English vim and vigour or guile, perceptive passing and movement. Which would win? Probably not England, whatever the case.
The pressure to spend money to solve the problems on the pitch would be removed in an instant but I wonder if Wenger would change his tune regarding development of players on the other side of the fence. You would hope not. You would hope that commonsense would not leave the building. Players representing two national squads at different levels within weeks would become a thing of the past.
The real question, aside from any enthusiasm – or lack of – for the role, is whether Wenger could make a difference to England by having the players for ten days at a time. The manner in which the English club sides play suggests that any good work he might do would be forgotten the moment the Bentleys pull through the gates at Cobham or Carrington.
Somehow I cannot see Ferguson admitting Wenger was right on any level. Still a battle through the back pages over players between the two would leave the media in a real pickle. Support the club manager they are most frightened of upsetting or be unpatriotic? Actually, Arsène if the FA come a-courting, take the job on a part-time basis – I quite like the idea of the media being screwed.