Mails: Maybe Wenger era is as good as it gets?

Date published: Thursday 17th March 2016 3:03

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Risky business
Let me start by saying that I am no Arsenal Fan. Being from the red half of Manchester, I spent many of my formative years hating them with a passion only reserved for your true competitive rivals. I also have had no particular love (only begrudging respect) for Arsene Wenger. However it is pretty clear to me why, despite his perceived lack of real recent successes, he remains in post. The simple word here whether you like it or not is ‘stability’.

Running a top football club is a precarious business these days. Whether we like it or not, it’s simply a fact that you must balance commercial with on-field successes. I don’t need to go into a lengthy explanation as the readers on this site are an intelligent and realistic bunch. But you simply will not find a club that can marry long term playing success without it being accompanied with a modicum of commercial prowess. The important term is here ‘Long Term’. The Arsenal board, rightly or wrongly feel that they have struck that balance. AW delivers consistent, relative on-field success to ensure regular participation in the Champions League, realistic involvement in the Premier League title challenge and the occasional domestic cup triumph. This continues to bring enough fans through the doors, gives the commercial guys the spring board they need to get the deals that bring in the cash and keeps the clubs kudos and profile high. And so the cycle continues, year in year out. It’s the most realistic and risk adverse way of keeping Arsenal near to (if not) at the top.

The risk that Arsenal fans must face is that if one of these aspects is changed for uncertainty and the unknown, then the whole status quo can be broken. Look no further than my own club for the precedent. For years Manchester United’s success as a club was down to this perfect marrying of on-field success combining with commercials. The story of the last three years has been of a club trying to deal with that equilibrium being broken. Commercially the club are doing very well, but without the on-field success, the descent has been pretty rapid. Continue on this road and the outcome is rather predictable and inevitable.

I am not saying that Arsenal shouldn’t take the chance and get in someone else in place of AW. However, don’t be under any illusions that this is anything other than a risk. And like all risks, it could go either way. I totally understand that fans want to see their side win trophies and succeed. Believe me, I appreciate that now more than ever, but I also now fully appreciate that stability brings a more likely platform for success. Falling from the elite is whole lot simpler than trying to break back into it. It really isn’t so hard to climb the mountain when you are already 80% of the way up.

Next season, I am fully expecting Arsene Wenger to leave and when he has, I just wonder in the back of my mind, whether only then, he will be truly appreciated by those that wish him gone. He has given Arsenal fans a lot to take for granted.
Richard, Manchester


Be careful what you wish for
I sympathise with all the arsenal fans out there who think a change in manager is what they need to make their seasons more memorable, but remember Charlton Athletic.

If memory serves, they always did enough to stay up by Christmas then ran out of steam, ending every season in mid table.

Then in 2006 Curbishley, the man who established them in the premier league, left and hey presto! Relegated. Definitely more memorable than mid table mediocrity.

Not saying that if Wenger goes then bye bye arsenal, but maybe being ‘peak Arsenal’ isn’t such a bad thing after all.
Al (LFC, Cardiff)


Cresswell confusion
So another England squad announcement, another chance to write in and lament the choices.

Yes I am a West Ham fan, yes I am going to moan about Noble, I am going to moan a hell of a lot more about Cresswell however. There is absolutely no logic to his continued omission, Roy has said he deliberately ignored Gibbs and Baines in favour of Rose and Bertrand, why is Gibbs even in the picture? This is a guy who is not even first choice at his club, he has played a handful of times this season. I am sure someone else can confirm the stats, my lunch break doesn’t allow for 365 and sustained browsing. Cresswell has been an ever present in a high flying premier league side, he has an exceptional dead ball delivery which would have been in frequent evidence this season if it wasn’t for this French bloke who Arsenal fans keep singing a tune about and pretending it’s about this German bloke. Don’t see what Bertrand has offered over Cresswell, understand Rose is in because he’s playing in a half decent spuds side, I would say that he’s extremely rash and does seem to be able to play below 100mph at the same time, but I concede he does deserve a squad place.

As for Noble, on this season Henderson and Milner aren’t fit to lace his boots. He’s been delivering 8/10 most games, has the ability to play a ball forward not consistently sideways like “Hendo” and does not shout and point anywhere near as much. Milner has carved out a successful season at Liverpool by simply just being on pitch, what does he do? Be James Milner I suppose. Why does the England manager still afford [big] club bias to Liverpool? Is it for fear of the scouse bedsheet brigade?

I wouldn’t say that Noble should start as Alli, Dier, Barkley + Drinkwater (maybe) are probably more/equally deserving, however if Roy is giving journeymen a crack, then he at least deserves a cap for his grandkids.

Not going to rant about the rest but will just say that Clyne, Walcott and Stones must have something on Roy to get called up on the basis that he has picked this squad on “form”. Which of course he will have done, I mean he doesn’t pick players for the sake of it does he…


Feast of Arseover
In response to Simon from the morning mailbox and his query about a reverse St Totteringham’s – the feast day has been designated as Arseover.

Like Easter, Arseover is a movable feast and will take place this year on Monday April 25th when Spurs beat West Brom, following Arsenal’s draw away at Sunderland.

Go in peace, Brother Simon.

Paul, Glasgow


…Regarding the question of whether Spurs fans would gloat in the way that Arsenal fans do, were we to finish above Arsenal.

Would we gloat? Absolutely. We might even release a DVD.

Would we make up a stupid name with a poorly crowbarred pun for the occasion?

I sincerely effing hope not.
Rob Davies, THFC


Football needs more sugar daddies
Hopefully this will provide a welcome break from the Man Utd/Arsenal/van Gaal/Wenger themed mailobox lately. It’s just that I find it surprising that many still haven’t moved on from Abramovich buying Chelsea. It’s 12 years on guys!

This morning Simon reiterated his hate for Chelsea because their success is “bankrolled by an Oligarch.” Then Derby NYBlues implied that Chelsea sold their soul for easy and instant success. We just have to accept the fact that, unfortunately, money talks in the modern world.

Bayern are perenenial Bundesliga champions because they are the wealthiest team in Germany. The Bundesliga will not be competitive unless 2 or 3 clubs find a way to challenge Bayern financially. Look what happened to Wolfburg and Dortmaund for failing to keep their star players. Clubs should not have to wait patiently to increase their revenue, they need instant money (or sugardaddies).

Same goes for La Liga. Atletico did manage to win the league in 2014 and what are they now doing to sustain their success? They are no longer a selling club (see Torres, Aguero, Falcao); they are now spending huge on players (see Griezmann, Martinez, Carrasco). Even Barcelona are relying less on La Masia for success these days (see fees paid for Neymar, Rakitic, Arda Turan, Alex Vidal).

Money talks friends and the only way the smaller clubs can challenge the heavyweights is for them to strike gold with a sugardaddy the way Chelsea, Man City and PSG did. I for one will like to see an equal playing field for all football clubs. If clubs like Barcelona, Bayern and Real Madrid hide behind years of success using that as an excuse to pick off talents of other clubs, then they are just as bad as Chelsea, Man City and PSG and should be equally hated for killing comptetition in their domestic leagues and in Europe.

Okay this has turned into a rant so I’ll conclude: We need more sugardaddies to level up the playing field.
Franklin (a realistic football fan), CFC, Lagos


Numbers game
I agree with Richard Hell that spending on players doesn’t appear to be helping. It’s not just the last few years though, it’s the last few decades if we run the econometrics equation from Soccernomics.

That being said, money spent on wages does seem to be a big factor in determining the league position. Obviously, it doesn’t go for ever team ever year (don’t think Leicester has the biggest wage bill…..) but does seem to be a more important factor than actual transfer spending which if I’m not mistaken is almost random in the data (i.e. it could go really well or really bad).

Arsenal is the number four when it comes to wage bill though if I am not mistaken, so maybe Arsenal finishing within the third or second consistently for many years is pretty close to they’re expected position (based on this regression output concept anyways).
Yaru, Malaysia


Wenger’s changed
Why is it Arsenal strikers can’t find any confidance in front of goal now? Oh please ‘Syfq Amr, a bias Gooner’, we didn’t sign a world class striker last summer because no one did. Admire Lewandowski? We all do, but we are not in a position to bully Bayern Munich into selling the worlds best number 9.

The mystery is why Arsenal players get stuck in such confidance ruts so often. Remember Merson endearingly telling us Wenger gives players ‘unbelievable befief’ back in 97′. Now AFC players get the unbelievable heebie-jeebies when anything goes at all wrong. This is filed alongside how 97/98 model Wenger was known for extending playing careers and rescuing the fortunes of injury prones like Overmars and Adams. How did Wenger’s biggest strengths become his biggest weakness?
James Gooner


This is awkward
Stewie, the staunch Arsenal fan that he is, posed the following question this morning:

“Can anyone explain what the Carling Cup team was doing in the Nou Camp? Iwobi, Flamini, El Nanny and Welbeck who needs 100 shots to score.’

I can explain, Stewie – it is because he took your advice from December:

“I’m also sure none of you noticed that Wenger is deluded enough to play his strongest team against Barca, in the hilarious hope he can beat them over two legs. More chance of Scarlett Johansson making me a fry-up in the morning.”

Happy to help.
Jaimie (Family Guy is a dumb person’s version of South Park) Kaffash, AFC, north London


Harry’s return
Can I firstly say that the Neymar touch against Arsenal last night was one of the most majestic and serene things I have ever seen on a football pitch…

Onto my mail. I was surprised there weren’t any Mails for the interesting football news of the day (Arsenal losing wasn’t exaclty a shock…)

Derby have appointed Harry Redknapp as Football Advisor AND as he is now the Manager for the Jordan national team. What the???

Firstly to Derby. Why on earth would they pay Redknapp some £100k (assuming here but this is football) to “advise” them. A man who relegated Bournemouth, QPR and Southampton. A man who had a fight with Pompeys bosses over having a Director of Football role (thanks Wikipedia).

Now I get it, he has been around a long time and might know a bit about football. But really? It’s just so uninspiring and surely a waste of money for a team vying to get to the Premier League riches. I would hate to be the manager with someone like that looking over my shoulder and can only see it affecting the team in a negative way

Jordan. I can only guess he is best mates with whoever owns the club. I can’t imagine a less inspiring manager and can assume this is only a payday.

It all just smacks of an old boys club. You know theres too much money in football when…
Rob A (never knew about his car crash though, sounds horrific) AFC


One for Storey and Stead to fight over
Having seen the Leicester Herald interview with Pegguy Arphexad about his rumoured porn star career and the associated quotes about his reputation in the dressing room, can I assume F365 will be shortly releasing a ’10 Footballers Infamous for Being Well-Equipped in the Bedroom’?
Tom (Pegguy vs Dion could be a real lightsaber fight), West Hampstead


Blades of glory
Of course the grass is better at Old Trafford. They put some much manure on it every week.
Disgruntled Manc

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