An FA Cup triumph, success in the Community Shield, and last-minute qualification to the Europa League has been deemed insufficient by some Arsenal fans. It’s suddenly become something of a raging post Mortem, performed by some fans trying to discover what went wrong at the club and when.
The common findings are a mixture of poor management, an inept board, and flawed recruitment process, but this reflective analysis isn’t going to right any wrongs, nor will it have any effect on the future unless Arsenal football club recognise and learn from their mistakes.
At least, we can accept that mistakes were made as Arsenal began to fall off the football radar and that they spent money unwisely by paying over the odds for certain average players. The management of the club as a whole, since Kroenke assumed complete control, has been dire up until the dismissal of Raul Sanllehi, and these two factors, plus a failure to reinforce in the right areas over many years have led us here.
No surprises, no shocks, it’s as plain as the nose in your face! What’s needed now is a plan going forward, a series of well thought out decisions that consolidate the good work that Arteta’s team have done so far. The key to progress will be providing the funding to rebuild a successful team and that in turn will generate more revenue.
It may be that Arsenal will not have their finished model behind the scenes for another two seasons because the squad still needs to be reconstructed with faces arriving and departing. The ones that come in must provide value for money and be at the required standard.
Arsenal can’t afford to indulge themselves in costly experiments that depreciate in value over the length of their contract. Nor can they afford to buy players in the hope of changing the way they play or to fit a role that isn’t completely natural. Arsenal have been guilty of throwing money at players that were at the middle or bottom end of the market whilst simultaneously lacking any long term vision.
The road ahead seems fairly well defined by Mikel Arteta and Edu. It’s this cohesion and joint philosophy that may actually get Arsenal back to winning ways. David Dein and Arsene Wenger seemed to share a football ideology and they were synchronised in their approach.
Raul Sanllehi and Vinai Venkatesham were about as compatible as Ricky Gervais and Joan Bakewell. Sanllehi was the frontman, the public face of the club, and the false prophet with expensive taste. Venkatesham was the affable, well-meaning, nicely dressed, behind the scenes guy who was happy in the supporting role.
Sanllehi and Venkatesham were put together by an owner with no experience of Premier League football and who’s only interest were at a commercial level. Add to that a manager past his best and another out of his depth and you have all the answers you need for Arsenal’s current predicament. None of this knowledge makes the present any more palatable.
It’s the type of implosion that has befallen many clubs and one which has seen them plunged into free fall and relegation. The mighty Leeds United have taken years to find a formula that works. Liverpool, Manchester City, and Chelsea spent years outside the tent looking in, so Arsenal don’t have a divine right to success. All those other sides went through phases of failure and probably will again.
Before George Graham’s arrival, Arsenal were no more than a cup side that couldn’t even compete with Ipswich and if this is all news to you, then get used to the cycle of success and failure without having to look for the reasons why. Negativity breeds negativity and Arsenal fans need to look forward rather than harp on about Wenger’s Invincibles and the good old days at Highbury. Let’s go forward with renewed purpose and excitement. There’ll be good times and bad, but let’s waste no time and embrace them both.