Arsenal should heed the warning United have been so kind in handing us. Unlike City, Chelsea and Liverpool; Arsenal, and supposedly United, have preached the importance of continuity and calmness in managerial appointments, taking the view that Rome was most certainly not built in a day.
Ten arduous months into his 6 year contract, United have activated a release clause that allows them to sack Moyes with only one year salary compensation due to Champions League qualification failure proving that they can also be swayed by the trigger happy firing finger. United, and Ferguson, saw fit to appoint a man who had no European experience and little to no experience handling big name players, to take over arguably the biggest club in the world. What he did have was Premier League experience, an ability to get the most out of limited players and a reputation as a young(ish), hard working, and devoted manager.
I can clearly see why he was appointed as United manager but I can also see why he was sacked. He was daunted by the other big teams and seemingly lost the respect of senior and younger players. If you are losing the respect of players such as Welbeck, Cleverly and Young then there is clearly something wrong.
With Moyes’ situation being plastered over every website, newspaper and footballing blog from here to Timbuktu, it is not hard to imagine how difficult it could prove to be in replacing our most successful manager. I will not get into the ‘should he/will he leave’ argument as I’m sure it has all been said and we still have 5 games of the season left that may make the decision easier/harder in that circumstance. I will however give my thoughts on the best way to avoid United’s situation happening to us.
Excuse me for bringing up the ‘M’ word again but several years ago Carlos Queiroz was the assistant manager at Manchester United. He seemed to have a good grasp on how United liked to play and was well respected within the club; if Ferguson had been closer to retirement I think it would have been likely that Queiroz would have stayed and taken over the role. However, with Red Nose looking to extend his stay, Queiroz soon decided it was time to leave.
With that in mind, I would put forward the idea that we should be preparing someone from within the club to take over the reins when Wenger finally decides to step down. For me, Bould is an excellent assistant but that’s as far as I can see his talent stretching, he is well organized and willing but lacks that bit of class and style to take over Arsenal Football Club. He wouldn’t be seen by aspiring players to be a big enough name and the club would suffer as a consequence.
There is an interesting rumour that our current director of youth football, Andres Jonker, who has worked as Louis Van Gaal’s assistant for many years could step up or step in as assistant manager if Van Gaal decided to come in but I think that is rather fanciful. He could of course be at the club merely in the capacity of youth director but there is also a chance he could be at the club to get used to the environment and get to know the players before being promoted to a more prominent position – it would be a very Arsenal way of doing business.
I, however, would love to see us go for a former player who represents what it means to be Arsenal – the two that stick out in my mind are Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp.
Firstly, I love Henry; he is undoubtedly my favourite player of all time and is clearly an Arsenal man through and through. He has spent much of his free time either training with the club or gaining his coaching badges at the club which is promising. I have every belief that he will become an excellent coach and possibly someday a manager but he is still young and I think the temptation to continue playing is still in him.
With that in mind I turn my thoughts to Dennis Bergkamp, a man who is currently the assistant manager of a very entertaining Ajax team. He originally turned down a chance to scout for Arsenal when he retired which seems to suggest he has an eye for talent and that Arsenal were very keen to keep him within the club.
After a few years sabbatical, Begkamp eventually did his coaching badges and has seen his career rocket; originally starting with the Netherland B team, Bergkamp returned to Ajax where he went from coaching the U12’s to assistant manager alongside Frank de Boer within 4 years. He has played at three of the biggest clubs in the world with differing styles, firstly playing total football at Ajax, before having a somewhat difficult spell at the tactically adept Inter Milan before finally moving to Arsenal, where he was allowed freedom to play his preferred languid style of attacking football.
Now back at Ajax, one of the great school’s of football, his Ajax team are playing some truly scintillating football. I’ve witnessed many footballers in the past who have decided to rush their badges and take on a task that their ability simply couldn’t match, Tony Adams springs to mind as well as Roy Keane; but it seems Bergkamp was cautious in his approach, taking time out of the game before deciding to pursue his badges. His sabbatical may be the reason I like him so much, he has taken the time and consideration to think about his future and it seems he is sure with what he wants to do.
His reputation as a footballer, not only his ability but style of play will surely attract players who would want to learn from one of the greatest players of our generation, recently named in the top 100 best living players by Pele. I believe he would be able to deal with big players given his level headedness and the fact that he himself was a big player.
Currently Cygan sits on the board as a Football Strategist to give the board insight into all matters football and apparently to have a say in the next Arsenal manager. He was brought on at the request of the fans and was among three former players in the shortlist for the position, the other two being Bergkamp and Vieira. All were nominated for their intelligent outlook on football which suggests how highly valued they are.
There are obviously other former Arsenal greats I would love to see back at the club. It’s a shame to see Vieira helping to recruit footballers at Man City, a role he would excel at with Arsenal, given that he was one of Wenger’s first signings. I would be extremely pleased to see Martin Keown, Jens Lehmann and Ray Parlour all back at the club in various roles given their often insightful opinions when speaking about the club and reputations as battlers and winners.
But for me, the one I truly want to see back is the Non-Flying Dutchman – Dennis Bergkamp.
Til' next time,