With little actual team news coming out at the moment (although I expect there to be something today that we’ll see from the manager) there’s little to start speculating about tomorrow night’s game. Suffice to say that it’s the biggest one of the season and there is naturally anticipation, but the main topic of conversation at the moment appears to be on managers.
Apparently the disappearance from the touchline tonight of Jurgen’s right hand man Zeljko Buvac is somewhat down to us, if you believe what you read in the papers, if I’m honest I’m disinclined to do most of the time, but with Arsenal fans looking enviously over at the pace of the Liverpool attack it worries me that the Arsenal board are considering a ‘left of field’ appointment like this.
Let’s face it; despite Ivan’s assertions that there is plenty of experience in picking a new manager, the club itself has seen a generation of people walk through the doors everywhere else except the manager and at board level. So the idea that they are best placed to pick a gem hardly fills me with the greatest of confidence.
I have nothing against Buvac. For all we know he could be the next Pep. But history tells us that the transition from assistant to first team manager/head coach is one in which few make the step up successfully. McClaren, Queiroz, Robson, Terry Phelan; all of these guys have failed at the highest level and I’m sure if I put more thought into it I’d find that there are many more from other clubs.
But on top of that there is the question of how many of these assistant managers/coaches go on to lead any of the ‘big clubs’.
The answer is: very few.
Because it’s almost like a different game entirely. The pressure is much more intense, the margin for error is so small, the possibility for failure is higher and forgiveness isn’t exactly in abundance.
There’s also the question around Arteta. He has much more goodwill that he could gleam from everyone if he was manager. Yet the same issues remain for me and that is that he has no real experience of a role at the top. He has never been a manager and so from my perspective it feels like this is an appointment too soon for the perfectly haired Mikel.
Perhaps in a job or twos time, when he’s proven he can excel, he’d be a choice we’d all be asking for, but not now and not with his current lack of experience. So the same applies for Buvac. If he was a man who was at another club for a few seasons to prove his pedigree then by all means, but not Arsenal as a first job, surely not?
Unless of course the club think that this kind of random and left of field appointment would be perfect because:
- He’d work within the confines of the budget he has
- He’d be comparatively cheap compared to some of the elite names that have been mentioned
- He’d be happy to bring through some of the young players
- The club think that they can ‘do another Arsène
- Lots of managers are being put off by succeeding the manager- the poisoned chalice kind of thinking
I’m not so sure on the last point because the club is a very attractive offer, they’d pay the main man a nice fat wedge, plus the man himself – if the ego is big enough – will consider that he can take the club to glory with what is in place at the moment.
It’s a very uncertain time at The Arsenal and the news of Buvac as a possible appointment seems to have only just hit me of the task that lays ahead of the club in the coming weeks. It’s a massive decision and the powers that be need to think long and hard about this. A poor decision could cost the club both competitively and financially and you only have to look at the four or five of years that Liverpool has languishing where we are right now to see just how difficult it is to climb your way up the greasy Premier League pole.
I think I’ve been in denial. I’ve just focused on the fact that change is finally coming and now it has hit home just he difficult it might get for us next season, depending on the start we have, so the decision that is taken in the next few weeks could change the immediate future in the club for either better or worse.
I just hope that whoever comes in has the right start. We’ve had years of toxic and fractious fans at each other’s throats. It would be nice to just all going back to being Arsenal fans all pushing in the right direction.
Catch you all tomorrow for a match preview.