‘We are in transition.’ The phrase that seems to have become the excuse for all managers after a period of bad performances and indeed results. Wenger has been using it for the last 6 years at Arsenal, and now AVB and Chelsea have become the latest to wheel out the most overused excuse in football.
Now don’t get me wrong, you cannot have constant success all the time – eventually the spine of a team will ages, and new players will have to be brought in, which inevitably becomes a transitional time, and for one, maybe two seasons this is fine, and both fans and owners need the common sense to understand and respect this.
However, multiple seasons down the line, the same excuse quite frankly cannot wash. Wenger has used said excuse for years now, and whereas immediately after the departures of Campbell, Henry Bergkamp and the like, not to mention the emergence of the ‘young guns’ this was acceptable, and people would have happily given the Gunners a couple of seasons to develop and progress as a team, six years and zero trophies later – arguably going backwards – this simply cannot be the case anymore.
Now they are going through a period of so called transition again with the departures of key players and the arrival of new ones, but how long can this cycle go on for without Wenger coming out and offering a real explanation for the perceived lack of success?
Some teams are genuinely having a season of transition – look at Chelsea – AVB has to contend with the entirety of his spine ageing at the same time, and all losing that extra bit of pace that made them so special – and in Abramovich he has an owner who has as much patience as Joey Barton does with the cast of TOWIE. Now I am not suggesting allowing AVB the next ten years to build what resembles a winning team, but a couple of seasons of patience will do Chelsea no harm in the long run.
Likewise with Liverpool, under the ill-fated reign of Hodgson and before that the end of Benitiez’ time in charge, Liverpool were simply not good enough, and using the excuse of ‘transition’ could not be tolerated. However, at this minute in time, under King Kenny, they are slowly rebuilding a team worthy of challenging for major honours, and patience is required – but said time will not last forever, and eventually fans will expect progress to be made.
One of the teams who dispel the ‘transitional’ excuse are United, who have been reinvented multiple times under the 25 year reign of Sir Alex Ferguson, who has the uncanny knack of knowing when it is time to move players on or bring new blood through. Yes, they may go a couple of seasons without trophies or a title, but no more than that and Fergie would never attempt to excuse poor performances season after season by trying to say that the team had lost their spine and were trying to rebuild. One season maybe two, certainly not more than that.
Do not misunderstand me – I am not trying to advocate trigger happy owners sacking managers after one season without a trophy, I am simply trying to make the point that aside from blaming the referee, the most overused and pathetic excuse in football is to claim a team is in a transitional phase – at least sometimes it really is the referee’s fault!
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