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The day when Fulham tried to take over Arsenal – the full story in “Making the Arsenal”
By Walter Broeckx
One of the questions that is often used by a part of the supporters is : name me one top club that has not sacked its manager after 7 years without a trophy. And then they usually shout: Wenger out!
Now in our 125 years history we had 18 managers and 4 caretaker or otherwise temporary managers. We can ignore the 4 as they were not meant to be the manager but did the job while the search for a new manager was busy or when a manager has died while doing his job as manager. This happened twice at Arsenal in fact with Herbert Chapman and Tom Whittaker.
On average one could say that a manager of Arsenal had a spell at the club of around 7 years. I think Tony can tell you much more about the early days but if you look at the current state of most teams 7 years seems a very long time for any manager to be in charge. Most of them would be glad to be that long in charge at one club. So Wenger is around for some 16 years and trophy less in the last 7. And should go. Because no other top club would allow this.
On this basis one could argue that Arsenal is not a top club. Or doesn’t consider itself a top club. Because otherwise we would have kicked Wenger out well before now – say 3 or 4 years ago. Or even earlier. That is what top clubs should do…… simply because they are top clubs.
Now I think most Gooners will say: Walter, but we are a top club. And I totally agree with that. We are a top club. So why don’t we sack our manager then?
Well the answer is even written down and I think that many of you might even have seen it. Because when I come to the Emirates from my overseas home I have taken the time to visit the Arsenal museum a few times. And in this museum you can see the answer to why we don’t sack Wenger. It is written on the wall. And those words tell the whole story in fact.
WE DO IT OUR WAY, THE ARSENAL WAY.
That’s it. This is the reason why we don’t kick our most successful manager out even after 7 years without a trophy. Now I know we have sacked managers in the past. But half of the managers in the past were not sacked in the middle of the season but we just got a new manager after the contract came to an end or the manager resigned. In the 80s and 90s we had a few problems with managers but in general we did not sack the manager when things didn’t go according to plan as fast as we can.
And those words in the museum: WE DO IT OUR WAY, THE ARSENAL WAY is what we do.
We could be like Manchester City, Chelsea, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Inter Milan, AC Milan, PSG, …. the list can go on and on. And so we could fire the manager after each season without a trophy like those clubs tend to do. At that rate we would have had some 7 managers in the last 7 years. Would this have brought us more success? Who would claim it would have brought us more success? Who could prove we would have had more success if we would have done what each “top club” does and fire the manager when you have a season with no trophy? Nobody can.
But let us imagine that we behaved like Manchester City, Chelsea, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Inter Milan, AC Milan. Let us just for the sake of it imagine that we would behave like them and fire every manager that doesn’t win a trophy every year. We surely would be a top club then because that is what top clubs do. And some top clubs even fire their manager when he has brought them the league title. Ask Real Madrid.
So in this hypothetical assumption we would be the same as those “top clubs”. We would do things not the Arsenal way but the “top club way”.
And this is one of the reasons why I love this Arsenal so much. I just love them because we don’t act like all those clubs mentioned before. If we wanted to be the same as those other clubs then I could easily swap teams and become a supporter of any of the more successful club and go and support them and cheer when they fire their unsuccessful manager each year.
But with not doing this I feel more proud of being a Gooner. Because I can say that the club I support is from a totally different class than all those others. Because we don’t do it like the others; we are unique and special. They can do it the top club way. I want my Arsenal to do it the Arsenal way. I don’t want to even consider being a fan of those other clubs that are interchangeable. If you want to support a successful top club you can support Man City this year and the next year you could support Barcelona and the year after Real Madrid. In fact those clubs are not that different.
But I prefer to support my Arsenal. I support them because they are a unique club in the world of football. I support them because they do things in a different way. We are not just the only top club that is working within its own means and within its own budget. Something the other will have to do also in the near future (if Uefa goes further with the FFP rules). But we do it because we think that is the only sensible way of running a football team: make sure it can survive within its own means. Another example of doing “the Arsenal way”.
So if you go to the Emirates on a match day, or on any other day of the week just enter the museum and go and see for yourself those words written in big in the museum. WE DO IT OUR WAY, THE ARSENAL WAY.
And feel the pride inside yourself because we are a unique club in the world. The club will do it like they think it should be done. And we don’t listen to the pundits, the media or whoever thinks he knows better.
Those words are not just written and put there for the fun of it. No it maybe are the most important words in the current history of Arsenal. Maybe they are the credo of what we as Gooners should keep in mind and feel proud about. We are no Man City, Chelsea, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Inter Milan or AC Milan. Hell no. We are the one and only Arsenal.
And we will do it the Arsenal way. Keep this in mind when you choose to support Arsenal. Things over here are not done like in other clubs. And thank god for that.
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