Football FanCast columnist ‘The New Voice of Football' believes that Arsene Wenger was right to say he should play no active part in finding his successor.
Arsene Wenger was right when he revealed yesterday, that he will not be involved in any selection or grooming process for his eventual successor at Arsenal. The Frenchman instead saying that the only legacy he wished to leave for any incoming manager at the Emirates Stadium was a good core of players to work with.
There is no doubting what Wenger has achieved during his thirteen-years in charge at the Gunners. Producing a team that plays some of the best football in Europe and is so far removed from what was served up at Highbury under George Graham, the second most successful manager of Arsenal. That's when Wenger does finally decide to call it a day; it's no wonder that there will be anxiety as to what will come next in the Red half of North London.
However, grooming a successor is not the key to continuity. Never has been and never will be! For one, it doesn't happen that often in the modern game and when it's been put to the test a couple of times in recent years it has ended in abject and utter failure.
The first case which springs to mind is that of Sammy Lee taking over from Sam Allardyce at Bolton Wanderers. After spending two-years as assistant to ‘Big Sam' at the Trotters between 2005 and 2007, Lee was handed the reins and Allardyce's Bluetooth headset at the Reebok Stadium in, what the North West club had hoped would be a smooth transition for the diminutive scouser.
Nothing could have been further away from a smooth transition, Lee's stint as boss at the Reebok ending after just eleven Premier League games, with Lee managing to win just one of these and ultimately paid the price for his complete failure by being sacked in October 2007.
The more glaringly obvious case of grooming gone wrong is that of Steve McClaren taking over from Sven-Goran Eriksson as England boss. Assisting the Swede between 2002 and 2004, while still in charge at Middlesbrough and then becoming a more permanent figure in the England set-up in 2004, before taking over from Sven in 2006. His England tenure was a complete and utter failure by anybodies standards!
While it will not be easy to replace Wenger at Arsenal, when he does finally call it a day, whoever does come in is going to inherit a club in much better shape, than when Arsene arrived from Japan in 1996. A better squad of players, a better scouting network and a club in a healthier state in terms of its finances and playing in a much bigger stadium!
When he does leave, the Gunners will be a very attractive proposition for any top manager thinking about taking over at the Emirates and top managers aren't groomed by their predecessors once they have achieved that status. One argument that could be levelled is that any incoming manager might actually improve the club by tweaking the playing staff and methods slightly. Lest anyone forget its four-years and counting since the trophy room at Arsenal has seen any new arrivals, despite all their flowing football.
Anyway it's all hypothetical conjecture as Wenger is still at Arsenal and I just can't see any self respecting top manager coming to the Gunners to learn his methods for a season or two before taking over the reins. Instead what any new manager at Arsenal will get is the chance to build on the success and foundations already put in place by Wenger and possibly even improve on them. For grooming someone to take over is simply not the answer and won't work!
Click here to see Billy Pearson's view that Wenger should be a part of the recruitment process.
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