Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Arsenal and the sacred cow

I wrote the other day about it being Henry who could be the next Gunner out of Highbury. I was intrigued by the comments because there seemed to be this overriding aura of untouchable-ness about Arsenal management and especially coach Arsene Wenger.

I don’t understand this. Why is there such an overriding faith in the coach? Arsene Wenger is, of course, a top coach; one of the few that could literally coach any team in the world. But that doesn’t make him sacred, and if it does to you I suggest you check your fantasy meters.

It’s a tactic you see in war. You bestow so much faith in your leader to foster frenzy among the fighters. You see this in virtually every war film: you know that Braveheart moment when the actor is giving that speech to motivate the other actors and then the all give a big cheer together and charge at the other actors posing as the enemy.

Arsene Wenger is an actor, so is Thierry Henry, so was Patrick Vieira, until he became an actor posing as the enemy too. Movies and football exist to entertain.

Football goes thru cycles, both economic fluctuations in team chemistry. With hundreds of competitive teams in Europe today teams anywhere can end a Champions League run or win a Cup tie, having all the pieces in place, as a top 10 team in the world such as Arsenal has, does a lot to increase your chances of success. No more.

The sacred cow doesn’t exist; it’s a story, like in the movies. Don’t buy into another one. I’m by no means suggesting Arsenal is making bad moves, but don’t think that can’t be the case in a few years when you have the hindsight to see mistakes.


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Anonymous Anonymous said...


9/06/2005 9:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To be fair, your article is pure unfounded speculation. It has no grounding of any kind and it is just what you think. Thats fair enough and would get you a job at The Sun but really we expect better from a blog!

9/06/2005 10:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've got alot of friends that think that very way so its not unfounded

9/06/2005 10:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's wrong with having faith in a manager that has a PROVEN track record? He coaches beautiful football, has a sterling transfer record (both in terms of money made and 'diamonds in the rough' finds), and has brought a lot of trophies to the team. What are fans supposed to do - concentrate on the negatives, lol?

9/07/2005 12:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wenger is not the actor in this analogy. If anything, he is the director who is getting oscars for high quality films done with a low budget.

Any other director would probably not get as many awards even though he spent millions on his actors and productions!

That is what makes AW a living legend and everything he does is great even if there are a few blips here and there. I absolutely believe in him and that we should have blind faith in him. He made the Arsenal (film studio) what it is now in terms of quality!

9/07/2005 12:07 AM  
Anonymous Baz said...

Interesting blog. What Arsene has done has taken a mid table club to title contendors, season after season. He has not just found but MADE palyers like TH, PV, Sulk etc and most Arsenal players have gone onto misserable careers after theyve left the club, that says a lot about the manager. The simple fact is that Gooner cannot complain, even if we dont win a trophy this season, i believe Arsene has a long term plan and I will stick with it, cause he hasnt let us down in the past and I see no reason to doubt him now. Yes this summer has been frustrating and yes we havent done well in CL, but I know each time I will visit Highbury this season it will be as entertaining as ever. I'll tell you what he has done of us Gooners in simple terms...

Everyone gets mad when their team loses, Gooners get mad when we dont play well.

9/07/2005 12:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There seems to be little o no basis to your speculative wish that Henry is on his way out. In contrast, you have a proven manager and club management, as well as a corps of PLAYERS that are fanatical in their faith in the manager. Lastly, you have the words of Henry himself, who has sworn loyalty to Arsenal.

It makes one wonder who is exhibiting blind assumptions. Your largely unsupported comments, or those that are kind enough to nudge you to the real world.

9/07/2005 12:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Arsene has done well for Arsenal, in fact he has been excellent. So far he has done nothing significantly wrong hence his "sacred". Your frustration could probably be due to the lack of transfer or the sale of our beloved captain. Understandable but let's wait and see. Having said that I do believe AW is not sacred but deserves a chance or two if he did make mistakes.

9/07/2005 2:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pure rubbish....
name an alternative coach in the market now...
Is there any coach available out there whom can deliver on a shoe string budget?
Is there any coach out there now who can churn out talent out of nobody? If memory fails you, who is Thierry Henry, Viera, Ljungberg, Pires, Toure, Hoyte before Wenger polished them & let them strut their stuff?
Basically, is there any such coach out there?
Arsene Wenger is among these rare breed of coaches...probably there's no equal to him in terms of being prudent & entertaining football. It is quite obvious that you're anti-Arsenal cos the seeds of doubt you sowed will eventually lead to the downfall of Arsenal which I think you would really love to see.
Remember? It's always greener on the other side of the field?
Arsenal is on the way to greater things only to be blocked by a hugh wall of obscene money by Chelsea who believed that money can get them anywhere, anything.
That's obscene!

9/07/2005 2:24 AM  
Anonymous Ben The gunner said...

Hey never ever forget what he has done to English football. From the alcoholic days he brought thorough professionalism. Can you name a single coach who shares a BIG vision for the club?... Who is behind the move to new Emirates stadium?... Who manages club budgets as effectively as AW. If you can name a single manager who does such a tremendous job in managing a Football club I am ready to quit watching Arsenal matches for a month though its as good as hanging myslef.

9/07/2005 3:29 AM  
Anonymous Jean-Michel said...

It's not about sacred cows, it's about who would you rather want? As far as coaches right now who can win with attacking football, there's Wenger and Rikjaard for sure, but aprt from them... I for one could not bear to watch Mourinho ball after being blessed with what Arsenal have given us during the Wenger years.

I want to see what the kids can do. There's a new story being written here, and I want Mr. Wenger there to tell it.

9/07/2005 3:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One thing you seem to forget. Wenger did not simply sit back in the summer, buy Hleb and then go on holiday. He tried to sign players, high profile players like Robinho and Baptista. They would have cost a combined total of almost 30 mil. The money is there and I for one am happy that we have a manager that doesnt simply buy for the sake of it. On form and at full fitness we still have a starting 11 better than any other in the league. Even if we dont win the league this season, which I believe we still can, I for one will still be singing Wengers praises at the start of the next. When we walk out onto a field surrounded by 60000 screeming fans!

9/07/2005 7:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wenger deserves all the cred he gets. Your artical is a load of bollocks! How can you criticise a man that has taken Arsenal to where they are? Have you forgotten this is this is the same man who revolutionised diets ect in this country bringing in the modern era of the footballer, the same man that has NEVER finished outside the top 2 on a relatively small budget, the same man who is responsible for some of the most beautiful football we may ever see and the same man who will take us into a new era in a fantastic stadium with a team full of young players who have the potential to be superstars and serve the club ensuring long term success. You are right about one thing - Wenger is not a sacred cow he is but a mortal with god like status and u are a donkey!

9/07/2005 9:54 AM  
Blogger Football Commentator said...

Anonymous -

Well, hee haw then.

Can you point out what exactly my critique of Wenger is?

I dont see it, I was not being critical of anything except this untouchable status that Wenger has (from fans). I dont see this with other clubs with the same intensity as with Arsenal. Why? I dont know.

Wenger has done a brilliant job. All credit is deserved. He has done almost everything right, and the quality of play, well, it could be argued, is the best in the world.

My point was really to say hey, speak your mind and dont wash yourselves up in fantasies.

9/07/2005 10:45 AM  
Blogger angelo said...

I was one of the guy who said to be patient with Wenger so I have to post a comment this time too :-)

You are right when you say that Wenger is not untouchable (Arsenal is more important than one single person) but what I think is: 'let him work and let's what he is able to do within a year or two'.

He deserves this kind of treatment because of his past work with the Gunners (assuming nothing incredible happens).

Then after that time span if Arsenal is better off without him you can send Wenger and Mel Gibson home :-)

All this obviously IMHO.

9/07/2005 3:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The way Wenger has been defended by fans lately has to be taken into context of what has been going on this summer. After the sale of Vieira (and the subsequent lack of new signings) many fans (or possibly a few loud ones) have drawn the conclusion that Wenger has lost his touch and that we, as a consequence, are dooooooomed.

I think a lot of fans who still have faith in Wenger have reacted by drifting towards the other extreme. Some people may have, in the heat of argument, said "Wenger is infallible" when what they really mean is "Wenger hasn't let us down so far. Let's have a little faith in him."

9/07/2005 6:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think your questioning of the faith of Arsenals fans in Arsene is for no good purpose. Is it out of jealosy of his superior management skills over your teams? Or is it just to try and sow doubt when there doesn't need to be any? What is wrong with having faith in people, especially when they pay dividends so richly and regularly?

If my son doesn't know something he asks me, trusting my knowledge and experience to be greater than his. As much as I like to think I know a lot about football, Asene is, after all, le professor - He knows.

Arsene has only the best intentions for Arsenal, and the skill and knowledge to match. I have absolute trust and faith in him to do the best for Arsenal and there is nothing you have said that gives me a reason to stop doing so.

9/07/2005 11:07 PM  

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