Deep rooted personnel – how would they ever leave their clubs?
If you are a supporter of Arsenal, Manchester United or Liverpool, you are obviously accustomed to no less than a club legend leading your club’s challenge every week, but how would the club feel without their wise old guidance around the place? More Arsenal fans than ever before have questioned their old French tactician this term with a particularly difficult mid-part of the campaign, but given that, most Gunners fans and an entire generation of supporters know no different than Wenger at the helm and he has almost become an irreplaceable piece of the furniture at the North London club.
Similarly, Sir Alex Ferguson is Mr Manchester United and is part of the Red Devils folklore, most recently receiving a stand named in his honour in 2011 at their Old Trafford home. Across the M62 in the city of Liverpool, Kenny Dalglish remains defiant to the cause, despite enduring a difficult league campaign. Having reiterated his stance that he ‘won’t walk away’ from the post in April, we thought we would ponder just how would these club heroes ever depart their respective outfits? They cannot manage forever, despite Fergie’s effervescent hunger to maraud for yet another year upon year in his outstanding tenure.
Let us start with Arsenal and their increasingly under-fire manager. Despite receiving widespread criticism throughout the course of the current campaign, Arsene Wenger is still on course to lead Arsenal to their highest league finish since the 2009/10 season despite the disappointing cup exits. There seems a distinct 50-50 split between Gunners fans who still believe he has the astuteness to turn the clubs trophy fortunes around and those who believe he has lost his Midas touch and is too stubborn in his leadership.
Of course, many football fans are fickle, but Arsenal seemingly reside in a tense situation whereby when they’re winning all is good, but when they lose, the boo boys are out in force; a culmination of the frustrations of supporting a lesser team than those grown used to during the famed Highbury years. There have always been mutterings about Wenger moving ‘upstairs’ so to speak in a more administrative, director-type role but the Frenchman’s will to answer his critics and silence the doubters has almost become an obsessional target, where he falls harder than most when the former have been proved correct in recent seasons.
Wenger has always stated his commitment to the club, with a few overtures from Madrid over the years pointlessly falling upon deaf ears. Arsenal remain in a unique situation worldwide whereby no matter what the team does on the field during a season, Wenger’s position remains relatively safe at the end of the campaign, partly due to the respect at achieving former glories but also Wenger’s matchless know-how of Arsenal morals, style and financial outlook. Arsenal fans frustratingly get caught in a complex whereby they would love to see everything fall into place under the Frenchman, but are increasingly open to new statesmen taking charge, given the impatience at the amount of time Wenger’s assurances and false-promises are taking.
You couldn’t see Wenger walking away from the club entirely, with Martin Keown previously stating if the Frenchman left, the gamble would be huge with the transition possibly taking years, but finding the correct fit would be hugely difficult. Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola have been linked with the post more recently, given their likeness in steering their respective outfits to league titles whilst employing youthful home-grown talent, but perhaps Wenger moving into a director of football role whilst given the freedom to select a successor would be a sensible scenario. However, such a situation would reflect Wenger ‘giving up’ on his philosophy; something we are all still yet to witness as he remains defiant as ever in turning the clubs fortunes.
At Manchester United, it remains at large just how many more years Fergie has at the top. At 70, the United boss is reaching the twilight of his career, although it may be hard to believe as he still jaunted down the touchline to wield a fist in the direction of Roberto Mancini on Monday night. If City win the title this term, of course Ferguson will be out to avenge his foes next time round, but again you cannot see Fergie walking away from the post anytime soon. The contemporary thinking and much travelled Jose Mourinho celebrated his fourth title in four different countries yesterday evening with Real Madrid and he has been touted as the rightful successor to Ferguson, as it is widely conceived he has unfinished business in England. Like Wenger, Ferguson is unlikely to walk away from the club entirely with his influence set to remain at Old Trafford for many years to come. Some have even mentioned an appointment from within, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s growing managerial reputation being linked with the post and if the Red Devils opted for such a selection, surely Ferguson would have some sort of role in the head hunting of the Norwegian former super-sub hero.
At Anfield, Kenny Dalglish said in April that he won’t ‘walk away’ from the post and the current Liverpool troubles. Brought in to resurrect the mess as left from the Roy Hodgson era, Dalglish’s revival has been splendid considering the Reds could finish up with two trophies at the end of the season. However, the club have struggled in the league and a minority believe Kenny should recognise his mediating job is done and should pass the job onto a top European coach and follow the managerial resume that brought Benitez to the club back in 2004. Like Wenger and Arsenal, Liverpool fans have the ideal man at the helm if everything was going well, but it isn’t and some fans are reluctantly willing to part with their deep-rooted personnel in search of trophies and success.
The problem with all three is that they are winners, and unlike Ferguson who has maintained his success in recent years, Wenger and Dalglish are hell-bent on setting about completing the work as envisaged in their passionate outlay. Becoming part of the furniture is admirable as it represents being successfully interwoven into the folklore of a clubs expeditions, but departing the club is something different and more difficult altogether and something we are all still unaware about as unthinkable at present.
How do you envisage Wenger, Fergie or Dalglish eventually departing their clubs? I’d like to you know your views @ http://twitter.com/Taylor_Will1989