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Change the manager is the answer? On the right path so no change, please Top five teams and their managers since a first trophy in the Premier league era Clubs Managers Trophies First trophy Man Utd 7 40 Prem League 1993 Chelsea 19 27 FA cup 1997 Arsenal 5 22 League cup 1993 Man City 3 20 FA cup 2011 Liverpool 8 19 League cup 1995 Ah, football was invented in 1992-93 by the wonderful people at Sky and the 5 teams above have dominated since. Now it is annoying that statistics are often confined to the Premier League era but in this case maybe it is justified. Huge amounts of money made their way into England and exposure, hype, sponsorship and many other factors came into play since then including a ruthlessness with the sack never seen before. Pep Guardiola is the benchmark to which all aspire My question today is: is there any correlation between managerial change and winning trophies? It is very hard to make out a case either way as you can see in the table above. I should point out that I have included exclusive trophies like the Charity Shield and the various Super cups in this list despite them being very confined in terms of who competes. Arsenal and City have never qualified for any type of Super cup although obviously that changes next season. The Glazers are unpopular at Man Utd I have not included in this list the teams who have won only one trophy plus Leicester who have won 3 as they cannot seriously be regarded as contenders. For the 5 teams concerned the figures are from the first trophy in the Premier league era. I have also not included caretaker managers. Money screams not talks What we can see clearly is that that money plays a huge role. These are the richest clubs over the Premier League era. Manchester United dominated at the start simply because they had the most money and a manager whose style very much suited the new Premier league. The backpass rule was changed to stop you passing to the goalkeeper and wasting time. It became dangerous to pass back to the keeper. Ferguson loved this because he liked to attack. Attacking football suited Sky as they promoted their new brand. They hyped Utd, Utd had the most money and this helped them make even richer. Liverpool and Arsenal had a much more counter-attacking style and struggled initially with the new demands. Smaller teams like Blackburn and Newcastle were the only real danger as Utd mopped up trophies. Roman Abramovich changed how football is run Even when Arsenal appeared, they were almost Utd’s only competition which meant Utd continued to take many trophies. The money kept growing and billionaires were starting to eye up potential candidates to take on these giants. Roman Abramovich was the first such and, after failing to buy Arsenal, he opted for Chelsea, a team who had improved enormously over the past seasons. He brought a level of money unheard of as he built Chelsea into a worldwide brand. It is very true that fans are fickle. If a team starts winning, a lot of fans switch allegiance. The point here is that Abramovich’s ownership style was critical to Chelsea’s constant success. Other teams have had money thrown at them without success. PSG, despite unheard of amounts, are still only big in France, the weakest of Europe’s 5 big leagues. Copy the Arsenal and Man Utd benchmarks Something similar happened with City as with Chelsea. Big money came in but the ownership style was geared for success. As with Chelsea, the academies flourished and incredible training grounds installed. This holistic style was pioneered by Arsenal and Arsene Wenger but the other area they borrowed from Ferguson - his willingness to splash the cash to get supreme players. They combined the strategies employed by Arsenal and Utd to get to the top. Sheik Mansour- created the structures to make Man city win Traditionally, Utd, Liverpool and Arsenal are the big trio in English football in terms of trophies won. City and Chelsea are right on their heels now and Chelsea are second in the Premier league era. This is a testament to the importance of owners. Owners at the traditional big clubs know they are coming into a machine designed for success, owners at emerging clubs know they have to emulate that machine. And so benchmarking becomes critical. Looking at the Rolls Royce in the different areas of success and striving to become better. The scouting, the academies, the training facilities, the medical and rehabilitation facilities, the relationship with fans, the branding, the management structures that ensure that people can manage their own areas successfully but all towards the main goal of making the club function as a whole and continuing to win. If one area breaks down, for example, at Chelsea, where the manager seemed bewildered at all the players coming in and could not create overnight the partnerships that are essential to a winning team. The manager needs to have the final decision in team matters. The owners must create the right conditions I believe that the managers are important, yes, but in the modern era, the Premier league one, the owners have to work for the manager to enable him to concentrate on getting the team right. There are areas he needs to be in charge of and areas where others take responsibility. Ferguson and Wenger could not use their method of managing now, they would have to accept that they can’t control everything, it is just too big, but as long as all decisions are with the aim of getting the team to win, that the manager can get the players he can work with, that he has the power over team matters, then all areas are in harmony. City, I believe, has this. Arsenal, I hope, also. Stan Kroenke seems to have quietly put the right system in place Because then, and only then, can you win in the modern era. The manager, if rightly supported, can make a big difference. If Guardiola goes in two years as has been suggested, he will be a huge loss as all structures have been designed for him to succeed. Another manager will probably need the structures adjusted to ensure he becomes a winning machine. This is where good owners come in. They need to be clever enough to accept the changes necessary to suit what is, ultimately, the critical role, the manager’s. To give one simple example, the medical and rehabilitation areas should be able to have a veto over whether a player is fit to play. If a manager can overrule them then that relationship breaks down. If a player then gets injured, then all the team know that the manager doesn’t care about them, only winning. Ask Jose Mourinho. John Henry - are Liverpool fans happy? There are too many areas to be managed by one person And so, as we can see from above, Chelsea have made the most changes of manager and continued to win. City the least but they were also by far the last to achieve success in the Premier league era with an FA cup win in 2011. Todd Boehly -does not seem to understand soccer My conclusion is that how an owner runs the club is the critical factor. The football manager cannot manage a worldwide scouting system, the financial contracts of players, the medical teams, the academies, the relationship with fans, the branding and marketing, the list goes on. He can have an impact in all these areas but to be successful he cannot spend too much time on these matters. Just trying to look after the team he must work with an array of coaches, the goalkeeping, the set piece, the attacking, the midfield and the defence experts. The statistic guys, the tactic guys and also work out all the media commitments. Plus deal with all the players problems, the disappointed, family problems, medical problems, international commitments, scheduling, and keep up, as best he can, with all the areas he hasn’t got the time to manage. You need good owners to be smart in how they manage the manager’s time, to allow him to do what he does best, get the team to win. Guardiola is the benchmark for Arsenal’s owners. They must ensure the same for Arteta.
The Table of Doom Update Arsenal Current 78 Max 90 Man City(a) Newcastle (a) Brighton(h) Man City Max 94 Brighton (a) Arsenal (h) Man Utd Max 81 Brighton(a) Newcastle Max 80 Arsenal(h) Gone: Brighton Max 73 Man Utd(h)Man City (h) Arsenal(a) – kept because they play key matches. Liverpool Tottenham The Table of Gloom And so it is the Table of Gloom now. City destroyed us and Arteta is now useless, the players mediocre and we will be relegation candidates next year. Oh, woe is me! Jesus and Zinchenko - overrated? Nonsense! Rubbish! If I had said at the start of the season we would qualify for Champions league in April and still top of the league in May after beating Chelsea, plus fighting with City for the title close to the end, people would have said typical Gus optimism, never writes about reality. The reality is this week we have had a reality check and that we do need to strengthen, and maybe get rid of some players that are loved by Arsenal fans. Am I the only one who feels that Guardiola knew what he was doing when he dumped Jesus and Zinchenko? And that Xhaka still has a tendency to implode? And Partey seems to be playing with an injury? But despite all that, another win and we are guaranteed second, and in fact, we may already be second as the 2 Uniteds need close to maximum to catch us. We wouldn’t care that City thrashed us if we win the league In fact, before the start of the season in July, I wrote a comparison between City and us in which we came out badly. I had compared a possible top City 11 against a possible top 11 for us plus rated the managers and gave 11-0 to the Citizens. I gave only one draw which now looks ridiculous. On the basis that some players fail in the Premier league and Jesus was proven, although never a great goal scorer, I gave him a draw with Haaland. I did say I didn’t really believe that but I was trying to be optimistic. I predicted I would probably look stupid giving Jesus a draw. And so I accepted that City are better and on that basis should win the league. But I also said this: “Judging player by player doesn't win championships - confidence, form and a winning mentality does. We need our players to step up, to play without fear, and take the game to the opposition. We need a bit of luck, we need momentum, and a good consistent start. “ We did all that, except we have had some bad luck, particularly with VAR and injuries. I feel we need, at the minimum, a killer striker and centreback and midfielders not injury prone like Partey or capable of blowing up like Xhaka. And I am not happy with both Jesus and Zinchenko seemingly allowed to do what they like and ending up way out of position. They are not good enough players to do that. They should do their primary jobs, respectively score goals and defend, first. I, for one, would be happy to see them in their City role, warming the bench. But replaced with better players, whether bought or from the Academy. We have hope in our hearts Cancelo would be a great addition Despite all that, we could still win the league, we have had a great season and tremendous support from the fans. We have excellent reasons to be cheerful, our players are the youngest in the league and should get better. We have several times come back from setbacks and shown character in scoring late. I feel Arteta knows all this, he knows he has moulded a team capable of challenging even the mighty City. It is his job to make any improvements necessary, and plan for the seasons ahead. I am confident he will. As would Declan Rice There is talk of Cancelo and Rice. I would be very happy to see those two. Also Mane if he will come. He is only 31 and could have a few more years. Those 3 and improvements from the young players as they get more football wise plus one or two Academy players pushing for places means we have tremendous grounds for optimism. A cohesive winning collective can be accomplished by cleverness City are a giant who have owners who are far more concerned about whitewashing their public image than making a profit. They have unlimited money and the recent spike in oil prices has made them richer. The Kroenkes, by contrast, are in it for the money, their public image seems secondary, and they are running it as a business. It means that Arteta and Edu must be clever, they must nourish what they have, and be ruthless in discarding those who are not of the class to create a long-term winning team. Sheik Mansour - City's owner wants to make the UAE look good Wenger did it against Manchester United, putting a priority on developing the players rather than buying big. United were the City of that time, big moneybags with top players in every position. And yet, despite all that Wenger went toe to toe with them, picking up trophies which Man Utd had easily won before then. United were hated by most opposition fans, just as City are now. Anyone remember ABU? Anyone but United. That would be ABC now. That seems to gel with what City are doing, they do make things look as simple as ABC, at their best. Stan Kroenke runs Arsenal as a business I believe we will, as long as we stay hungry, be capable of getting in the faces of City and anyone else who emerges. We could be Arsenal, the team who sends others home crying. The team with class, with tradition, and a fighting spirit which makes us greater than the sum of our parts. Forget the Table of Gloom or the Table of Doom, we have had a great season. C’mon the Arse!. The true Table of Doom and Gloom Everton were champions nine times On a different note, at the bottom, it will probably be 2 former champions who go down. Leicester, Leeds, Everton and Notts Forest have all had their glory days. Southampton, who look doomed, have never won the league. But if they somehow manage a miracle, it will be 3 former champions heading for the door. I will feel most sad for Everton as I grew up among many Everton fans. They are by far the longest team in the top flight after us and I have always been happy they survived the several scares they have had. This year is harder, though. I suspect something like 36 points will be necessary. That is 7 points from 4 games and they haven’t come close to that this season. We play Forest and we could help them a little but they badly need to win and they are running out of time. I suppose they will bounce straight back up but their proud record will be gone.