How Times Have Changed
When Arsene Wenger arrived at Arsenal back in 1996 very few football fans had even heard of him. Can you imagine a major club doing this today as it will never happen. It turned out remarkably well as he was the perfect fit for the club and a perfect example of why clubs should not keep chasing the same managers in the pool as there are decent managers out there if you go hunting.
I was watching a documentary on Arsene Wenger recently and it is quite incredible how the job of a Football manager has changed. The role managers have to do today is half the job and responsibilities of what was expected 15 years ago. Managers were the heart beat of the club back then and the buck stopped with them. From recruitment to training they were the club 's main man even though the financial decisions were not in their hands.
When Arsenal wanted to build a new stadium moving away from Highbury the bank lending the money had one condition, The condition was that Arsene Wenger had to sign a new 5 year contract. This is how highly he was revered as his success rate was that good. The fans may not have liked how he did his business, but he made the club profitable and as a business the shareholders would have been more than happy.
How many manages today would be part of the bank conditions of agreeing a loan deal? Maybe only one from all the clubs and that being Pep Guardiola. The bank felt comfortable lending the £420 million to build the Emirates Stadium because Arsene was around and the chances are he would keep the club in the Champions League. Look we know how this all ended up and why Arsene felt bad leaving the club as even though he fulfilled the banks desire of the new contract he eventually left after 22 years in the hot seat. The funny thing is he still felt responsible and admits the stadium not being paid off did weigh heavy on his thoughts. The Emirates Stadium is due to be paid off by 2031.
What is interesting to hear is the players he could have had but let them go. Christiano Ronaldo was in contact with Arsenal 6 days before he signed for Manchester United. N'Golo Kanté was struggling to find a team when he was on Arsene's radar and we know how well he turned out. Kolo Touré couldn't find a club and Arsenal signed him which made their defence the cheapest in the Preniership costing less than £5 million. This is where the club scored and made profits as he was a businessman as well as a football manager. Harry Kane was in the Arsenal juniors and left for Tottenham when he was 11 so Arsene never felt this was his fault as Kane being only 9 was still way too young to see what the future was going to be.
Today with the clubs having split the roles having a Director of football and a football manger it has diluted the managers job and possibly why there are so many questionable transfers. One just has to look at Chelsea spending £323 million this season alone and what do they have to show for it currently lying in the lower half of the table. This would not have happened under Abromovich being the previous owner would have booted the manager out long before it had got to this point.
I find it interesting hearing how things were and comparing it to what we see today as the entire job has changed so much. The job should be so easy as you have 2 people doing what was once regarded as one job.