Be careful what you wish for...

Published: Thursday, 17 May 2018

How many times have we been here? And here we go again. Doesn’t anybody ever learn from the lessons of history?

It was after Charlton parted company with Alan Curbishley that I heard myself muttering ‘be careful what you wish for....’. Do you remember? After three 10th places finishes in the PL, with a club that Curbs had dragged back into the big time, the hierarchy at The Valley decided it was time to ‘go in another direction’. In fairness, they did. But it didn’t quite work out as planned and the PL has seen nothing of Charlton since.

What a pity the decision makers at Arsenal have been brow-beaten by high profile celebrities that should know better - and the bully boys on the social media - into change that simply doesn’t feel right. I watched the Chief Exec, Ivan Gazidis, wax lyrical about Arsene Wenger on the day it was announced that the manager would be leaving Arsenal. If Wenger was watching he could only have thought the same as me ‘hold on, if I’m this good why are they kicking him/me out?’ 

It just doesn’t feel right to me. At different times I’ve wondered whether change was necessary at Arsenal and every time I’ve come back to the belief that it wasn’t. Wenger is a class act. You can’t buy the sort of experience he’s got. And I believe he’s right when he says his team is maybe only 2/3 players short of a title challenge.  

Panic set in when the empty seats started appearing and those who had their own agendas were able to persuade Stan Kroenke that it was time Wenger went. I watched Kroenke very closely as Wenger said ‘goodbye’ at the Emirates. You could see he had major reservations about what has happened.

So the man to right all the wrongs is apparently Mikel Arteta. I wish him all the luck in the world. He’s going to need it.  He’s stepping into massive shoes. Question - ‘what’s the one thing Arsenal have been consistently poor at?’ Correct - defending. A second question ‘what’s the one thing that Manchester City have never done well under Guardiola?’  Correct - defend properly. So why do Arsenal believe Arteta has the answers in that area? There was no evidence of that being the case as he sat and watched City get caught time and again. And look at the money they spent trying to solve the problem.

Three FA Cup wins in four years would’ve been enough to satisfy most club owners, but not Arsenal’s. Wenger’s record is remarkable and it will be put further into perspective by Spurs in the coming seasons. If somebody there, or a collection of different coaches, delivers 18 consecutive seasons of CL football - and a seemless move into the new stadium, they’ll have worked a miracle. Wenger did that, whilst selling the family silverware to keep the club afloat.

I’m hearing that Spurs have crashed through the billion pound barrier whilst building the new arena. If that’s correct - the selling will start as early as this summer. What happens after that will be fascinating. Pochettino certainly won’t stick around to be part of it.

Marco Silva at Everton. Really? Again, I wish him well. Everton is a club that should also be chasing CL places. I genuinely thought they would be this season, but what a shambles it turned out to be. How? Why? Look around the Boardroom for the answers. If you don’t have unity there you’re asking for trouble.

Silva’a first challenge (if he gets the job) is to finish higher than Allardyce.

We’ll see. I’m not convinced. Not at all convinced. I refer you to previous blogs.

And the clever owners at West Ham are at it again. I really feel for Hammers’ fans. They’ve been sold a pup with that stadium and the promises made about a ‘world class team’ to play in it have been made to look laughable. They’re nowhere near that. And nor will they be. We’ve discussed this before as well - whilst the penny pinching goes on and the transfer policy stays the same, it doesn’t matter who manages West Ham - the outcome will always be the same - failure.

What a season City had. They were a joy to watch, but Guardiola is seven years now without a CL win. The first one he wins without Messi will be his best - if he wins one without Messi.

I was delighted for Sean Dyche and Burnley. There’s a reward for backing your man.

And David Wagner deserves a special mention. Keeping Huddersfield up was better than getting them up.

And top marks for the old campaigner Roy Hodgson. Remember, Palace had no goals and no points after seven games - the mess Steve Parrish left himself with after trying to ‘move Palace on’. I don’t think he’ll be making the same mistake again.

The three that went surprised me, but they all had a couple of things in common - complacency and a lack of investment.

Well done Rafa. It turns out Mike Ashely was right after all. After spending £102m on 18 players the previous season Ashley always believed Benitez had enough to make Newcastle comfortable. He did. Now comes Rafa’s big test. I’m tired of reading about his threats to leave if he doesn’t get his own way. He won’t get his own way. I’ve no idea where Benitez will find a better job - because he certainly wouldn’t enjoy working at West Ham.

We’re in for some big changes in the dug outs this summer - more changes than we’ve ever seen. As owners go searching for men with a magic wand here’s something to think about. It remains the case - and always will - that the teams with the best players are going to be successful. Be careful what you wish for.....