Scattered Defences, Premature Attacks & More
It is going to be a long season, a pile of obituaries have been published in the wake of the Old Trafford defeat with Arsenal’s tenure in the top four of English football consigned to the wastebin. They are joined this morning by one of Paul Hayward’s last pieces for The Observer before returning to The Telegraph and his colleague, Andrew Anthony. The latter sways between admiration and condemnation, a bittersweet eulogy that may yet be published too soon.
There is a mistaken belief amongst his critics, wilfully promolgated that Wenger is above criticism. He is not, simply that at the moment, he is the best man for the job. Over time that may change but right here, right now, he is the best man to manage Arsenal. And as manager, he should be supported. Not without faults – no human is (except Mrs YW, of course) – he has displayed a knowledge that is beyond his critics.
Interestingly, few of them have actually played or managed football professionally nor do they come up with any viable alternatives. That is not to say none exists but there is a looseness of complaint where the only alternative you are left with, is anyone but. When Wenger eventually leaves Arsenal, it will be interesting to see how his departure is met amongst his detractors. I suspect that unless it is going to be less than positive, even if that person has an impeccable record such is their entrapment in a cycle of negativity around the club. There will, you see, always be someone better.
Hayward offers a more positive (or less reactionary) view, suspecting that the purchases have actually brought about an improvement to the squad. I still struggle to comprehend some of the adverse comments, especially the ludicrous suggestion that an experienced international is somehow Cahill-lite. Someone, though, needs to tell the media that Nasri was a big name signing when Wenger got hold of him, the manager polishing the raw talent so that we got half a season from him. The French international is not a footballing God.
Equally, replacing Cesc is done through the sum of the parts, not in one individual. Much like United did when Ronaldo left, Wenger has chosen to give more depth to his squad than buying one player. Time will tell if that is the right path but if this morning’s Mirror reports are to be believed, the loan deal for Yossi Benayoun has as much to do with the potential absence of Jack Wilshere as the departed Catalan. Caution of course, is applied to any story of cautionary treatment. It’s a natural precaution.
David Dein has been vocal in recent weeks about the club needing to keep faith with the manager, almost planting the idea in the subconcious that the board are going to dispense with the services of Wenger. As much as I like to believe that there is a genuine defence of his friend involved and there is an element of that, a more telling comment comes at the end of the piece,
I do regret not working on a daily basis with Arsene. We had that special chemistry that worked for 11 years
One whose nose might be put out of joint in that eventuality is Ivan Gazidis, the subject of a lovefest with Tom Fox, that can be found here. Warning this article contains effusive praise from Arsenal’s business partners which may not be merited. Especially since it apparently “took Fox time to appreciate that Arsenal had one of the highest season-ticket prices in the EPL“. Surely it was not beyond the wit of the club to already have a comparison to show competitors pricing for matches? The price rise announced for this season becomes clearer as a by-product of the mentality that those who have worked over the pond shown by this observation by Fox,
You look at those two things as a U.S. sports executive and you think two things: one, you’re not charging enough for tickets, and two, you’re leaving money on the table by not showing games on TV.
That is not to blame Fox for it but with the non-board senior management level having similar experience, it is not hard to see where the mentality that would have pushed for increases has come from. The TV deals are rightly collective, English football would no doubt become even more financially fragmented that their Spanish counterparts. Arsenal’s decision not to produce an in-house TV channel though, makes them an oddity of the big clubs in those two leagues. The Arsenal Player is more style over substance and does not maximise the exposure in the same manner that a proper TV channel might.
And just to keep the transfer gossip going, I know you’re suffering withdrawal symptoms, Eden Hazard is signing in January for £28m. I know its true because that is what the media tell me.
Posted on September 4, 2011, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer, Transfer Gossip. Bookmark the permalink. 187 Comments.