English football – money, managers and Arsenal

The old saying of ‘you need to spend money to make money’ is often used by those unsuccessful people who do not have when speaking about successful people who do. This rings true in world football!

The likes of Manchester City, Chelsea, Barcelona and Real Madrid have all spent whopping sums of money to bring the best players into their clubs. The election of presidential candidates of both the Spanish clubs are based on who will be bought, stating that money is no object.

City were deep in trouble just 14 years ago when they spent a season in the English Division two (the FA’s third tier league), and only won promotion back to the Premier League in the 2001-02 season. The club was bought over by the Abu Dhabi United Group in August 2008, with large sums of money made available for transfers. In the summer of 2009, the club spent over £100 million on players, and success soon followed under the stewardship of the Italian, Roberto Mancini.

But spending money on players is not the total answer. Those players still need the guidance of an astute manager, who can mould the players into a cohesive unit. The former Manchester United striker, Mark Hughes, began the spending spree at City, only for him to be sacked in December 2009, after some disappointing results. Mancini was then brought in, and captured four trophies in his two-and-a-half year tenure.

But, as with most greedy sports administrators, success needs to be continued or face rejection. Mancini surrendered the Premier League title to their arch-rivals, United, and were beaten in the FA Cup final by relegation-bound Wigan Athletic. Not to mention failing to progress past the group stage of the Champions League.

The manager of Everton, David Moyes, had long been touted as a successor to Sir Alex Ferguson of Manchester United, which will came to bear at the closure of the current season. Moyes has done wonders at Everton, despite the lack of funds to bring in top players. But only time will tell whether the Scot will be able to bring success to a club such as United.

One only needs to take a step back in time when Don Revie, who was manager of the famous and successful Leeds United of the 1970’s, was appointed England manager with Brian Clough taking over the hotseat. Clough, who had an obsession with Leeds, was manager at Derby County at the time. Clough raised the Rams from the second division and took them past Leeds to the first division title. But Clough failed dismally at Leeds. People will point to the fact that Clough did not have his assistant from Derby, Peter Taylor, with him at Leeds. The two were re-uinted at Nottingham Forrest and guided the clud to European Success. Will Moyes have better luck with United than Clough had with Leeds?

Chelsea had the same financial boost from Russion billionaire, Roman Abramavic. The club went on a spending spree which brought them two successive Premier League crowns, but a third season failure saw the demise of their manager. Although Abramavic has been known to have a very short attention span with regards to managers.

There was little known about Arsene Wenger when he took over the Arsenal reigns in 1996, making his first player purchase, that of Patrick Viera, before he even arrived at the club. Success followed in his first full season in charge with a Premier League title. Arsenal went on to win a cup and league double in 1998 and followed that up with a Premier League crown in 2004 with a team, spearheaded by French compratriot, Thiery Henry, that went through the league campaign, undefeated. A feat that has not been emulated.

But the last time Wenger tasted success was in the FA Cup final of 2005, when they defeated Manchester United on penalties. Arsenal have successfully attained a top-four finish in the Premier League for the last 16 years, but Arsenal fans have become increasingly disallusioned with the fact that Wenger has been given money to burn, but refuses to do so in trying to keep up with United, City and Chelsea.

Wenger has a business degree and as such, runs the Arsenal like a business. Despite the purchase and construction of the 60 000-all seater stadium, the Emirates, Arsenal still boast the most healthiest set of financials in world football. But is that enough? Fans and sponsors alike, demand success. They demand trophies in a cabinet that is becoming increasingly dusty and filled only with cobwebs!

Wenger refuses to pay exorbatant salaries to prima-donnas of the footballing world. Rather finding and nurchering young talent, but then selling them to the highest bidder. Players such as Cesc Fabregas, Gael Clichy, Samir Nasri, Alex Song and Thiery Henry. Although Henry was 30 when he left Arsenal for Barcelona. Robin van Persie had spent many years in Henry’s shadow, and finally started to blossom on his own, but then United came calling and Wenger promptly sold his prolific striker to Ferguson. This outraged Arsenal fans world wide, as ‘RvP’ went on to score more than 20 goals in the league and help United clinch an unprecedented 20th league crown.

Wenger is already poised to make his first purchase of the summer, when the 28-year old Welsh captain, Ashley Williams, agreed personal terms with the Gunners, according to Goal.com. The Stoke City central defender was reportedly offered a three-year contract worth £60 000 per week. Wenger will look to open the negotiations with Stoke at around £8 million but Stoke will look to get around £12 million. It is believed that the deal could go througn around the £10 million mark.

If this is a sign for things to come from the Ashburton Grove side, then Arsenal fans around the world will be hoping for some silverware next season.

Author: Brendon

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