Arsene Needs To Bring In A Consultant

The Cesc story won’t go away and it’s a pain just looking for any news because every other headline and article is about some or the other unsubstantiated rumour. One way or the other I hope it gets settled soon and we don’t sell ourselves short, if we are forced into selling. Beyond that I will not comment on this madness anymore.

In this piece I’m going to focus on a thought that’s been in my mind for a while now. As regular readers will have seen in the series of season review articles there are quite a few issues with our team. While I do talk a lot about problems, the effort is always to be pragmatic and positive because I’m convinced Arsene is the best man for the job at Arsenal and a change at the top will only take us backwards and downwards.

In some ways you might see this as a contradiction. Here I am standing with a long list of problems and still talking about the boss as the best man for the job. Trust me, it’s not a contradiction but a realistic state where the truth is always in a grey area, not as black as the problems make it look and not as white as saying Arsene is perfect.

I used to work as a management consultant and it’s taught me a lot. I’ve seen companies struggle even though the man at the top was brilliant, bad luck drag organizations towards bankruptcy, and incompetent managers blowing away huge marketing budgets without improving the sales. But above all else, I’ve seen the value and benefits of good advice given to the right man in charge.

A consultant’s job is to take a holistic view of the organization from outside the system. Sometimes people who have been working in a system tend to get blinkered or blinded to some aspects of their work. On other occasions they just don’t understand the broader picture. So when someone looks at the system from the outside it makes it much easier to spot the bottlenecks or the areas of improvement. In some ways I feel Arsenal FC needs a consultant right now.

I don’t value the simplistic solutions that are available for free on the internet. You can rarely get great advice for free. If the people with simplistic solutions actually worked as business consultants they would recommend that the management fire the whole sales team and recruit a new one simply because the sales haven’t been going up as expected and the company is not number 1. Obviously missing out on the importance of developing the staff, retaining the staff and generating value from the investment by improving other areas like processes, technology, etc.  In other words, the consultant has to be knowledgeable and wise!

What Arsene needs is a long chat with someone like a Roy Hodgson or some other friend on the circuit. Le Boss needs to ask for the opponents’ point of view on our football.

Fulham have troubled us in the last couple of years including this year even when we had Cesc and RvP fit. So it’s doesn’t take genius to realize that Hodgson knows a weakness or two in our set up. If Arsene were to ask him for his point of view it might lead him to an insight that he’s missed. It could be the positioning, decision making or tackling of our defenders, the pressing of our midfielders, or something totally different. I’m not qualified to even guess because if it were that simple Arsene and the staff would have picked it up.

I’m sure our staff and Arsene watch the games often and analyse them in detail. The point is that they might be stuck in some rut because the same people have been doing it for years. When you get a different and fresh perspective it could highlight an issue that you had missed. In any case there isn’t much to lose.

Of course, I’m assuming that Arsene hasn’t talked to his friends in the business and it could be a flawed assumption. Anyone who has been at the top for so long has to have the skill of knowing when to ask for help. But we haven’t heard of too many football managers talking about such discussions and it always makes me wonder if the top ones do it or is their pride too big.

Come on Arsene, call up the manager of the year and I mean the real one, not the author of How to Bankrupt a Club in Ten Easy Signings!


36 Responses to Arsene Needs To Bring In A Consultant

  1. advith says:

    Great article.. different material is always refreshing..

  2. Gbenga says:

    Great and intelligent thoughts. I understand you absolutely as i work as a business consultant and realise that a lot of factors contribute to failures of organisations. Meanwhile, the most pragmatic approach is to identify the goals of the club i.e what it intends to achieve within a period, next is to determine the strategies to be adopted in achieving this,once the strategy is formulated using our opponents weaknesses (you must exploit your rivals weaknesses), the next thing is to develop the structures necessary to implement the strategies (Maybe, a strong training venue, youth set-up, scouting network, financial networks, ‘sugar daddies’). Once the structure is on ground, the system is now developed by engaging the right personel for the strategies i.e coaches and players that will fit in to the strategies. Moreover, there must be constant strategy review and re-engineering processes when needed.

    • desigunner says:

      Good summary of the approach. It is quite a complex job, something that a few fans just don’t realize.

  3. adam says:

    I know about 50,000 people who would be willing to give him a down-to-earth, bordering on brutal, assessment of where it’s going wrong. Unlike Roy Hodgson they watch the team every week and have done for years. But the point is well made. Problem is that the more these sensible suggestions are floated, the less likely Arsene is to listen to them. And THAT is a problem.

    • desigunner says:

      The problem is that the “sensible suggestions” that you mention are nothing more than generalizations and vague assumptions eventually leading to a buy or sell opinion.

      50,000 people might watch each game but they don’t have the understanding of the complexities behind the scenes. Football is simple to enjoy and so everyone can have an opinion but that does not mean it is simple to manage.

      • football clubs may not be easy to manage but they are easier to manage than most orgainsations. A bloody sight easier than running an airline, or a mining company or a power utility, or a telco

      • desigunner says:

        I think other industries have more operational problems and to an extent some competitive and strategic problems.

        Football clubs have a different set of issues. Arsenal have doubled their revenues in the last 5 years. Can you tell me how many others clubs in England or around the world have managed that?

        And if, in general, bulk of the clubs are struggling, then we have no basis to say it’s an easier thing to manage.

        Laxmi Mittal has been very successful in “other businesses” but he isn’t doing that great at QPR, is he? Same can be said about many others who have done well in regular businesses, if I can use the term loosely.

        Football, let’s just say, is a different ball game!

  4. Steven says:

    Desi, thanx for your depth of thoughtfulness on the state of the Arsenal and what AW needs to do.Maybe misunderstand my criticism of him but I always tell them I would have been quiet if the same problems and errors have not been stopping us winning things in 5 years!

    For that period, AW, due respect to his experience and wisdom on the job, has made practically the same errors of omission and commission for five straight seasons in spite of the cries to do things differently.
    In agreeing with your point that a consultant will greatly help AW succeed, which is really the reason for MY (and others’)CRITICISM of his style and players,let me refer to an appropriate African proverb which says that the only reason the elderly in African societies are never termed,’crazy’ for their words of wisdom is because it is believed that those words are based on the application of other people’s wisdom/views/perspectives garnered from far and wide and therefore may likely be ‘fail-proof’.This is why the elderly in the African societies are revered.Not a very great principle but getting an informed opinion from one who’s ‘been there’ is quite helpful in most cases imo.

    I have never liked Mourinho and to be honest, apart from my dislike for his cocky nature and caustic tongue, it irked me that he constantly showed despise for AW while in Chelsea(and of course we never beat his team during that time!).

    But he seems to be maturing and recently he delivered what was for me, the most constructive criticism of Arsenal and Arsene since I have known him. He opined that Arsenal won things when they had a team that had the right combination of pace, grit, determination, power, experience, etc. Then he delivered a damning verdict:Arsenal either goes back to what helped them win in the past or keep on going without trophies!

    This is enough to make Arsenal think.A criticism from an ‘enemy’ they say, is often more helpful than one from your ‘friends’ cos your adversary doesn’t hold back while your friends may be a bit sentimental about your faults.The Mourinho Verdict is as clear as daylight and as dispassionate as they come!

    If Wenger can swallow his pride and listen experienced coaches like SAF, Hiddink, Van Gaal, Roy, Capello, etc, he’ll surely pick something to improve his team. He’s not listening enough if at all he’s listening.Accounts for repetition of same errors and making of new ones.Word’s enough!

    • desigunner says:

      I don’t think Mourinho used any of these words – pace, grit, determination, power, experience, etc.

      If he did please give me a link to the interview.

      The devil is in the details and what Mourinho said and what other fans keeps saying are simplifications or generalizations. The only details are sell X and/or Buy Y and that’s really vague, unproven, and simplistic.

  5. th14 says:

    What I find so annoying is the fact that a million ‘experts’ come out of the woodwork every time there is a crisis. Do me a favour – AW created the invincibles, a team who went 49 games unbeaten. AW introduced training and dietry methods which revolutionised football in this country. AW turned also rans into world stars and AW made Arsenal what they are today, a stable self sufficient football club. Yes, it is frustrating that we haven’t won trophies for a while, but when your nearest rivals have an open cheque book then what can you expect? It is high time people backed off and let the club do what they believe is best. At least we are always in the hunt. I feel sorry for teams like Portsmouth – who would love to have the luxury of their debts being wiped off by their sugar daddy. It is time to stand firm against the ‘anti Arsenal’ cancer that runs through the media. We are Arsenal, and it is nobody else’s business.

    • desigunner says:

      whats your point? You do realize that people who are good enough to be successful entrepreneurs also hire consultants when they need some help. It doesn’t make them bad or incompetent.

      • entrepreneurs are speculators and should be watched like a hawk. i would prefer conservative corporate types with a solid background

      • desigunner says:

        I’m not saying we need entrepreneurs as consultants. I’m saying even those who are good enough to be successful often ask for help and there is no shame in it.

    • It is not a club sadly. It’s a privately owned business where profits go into the pockets of the owners

      Don’t for one minute think it’s a club. It isn’t

  6. Phil23 says:

    Desi, although Hodgson is a friend of Wengers, its highly unlikely he would just tell Wenger all the faults of his team. He is a direct competitor with Arsene and it would be very silly on his part. The idea is great but there are plenty of good managers out there who i’m sure are willing to help but don’t face the man twice a year. I’m sure Claude Puel watches many Arsenal games and I would rank him at least as good as Hodgson. Just my opinion and I like the idea that Wenger gets a view from the outside looking in. With regard to the Cesc rumors, I am utterly amazed how in a matter of 24 hours it turned from a strong rumor, to being accepted as fact. I tried to put money on Cesc not leaving but it seems you can only bet on who he will leave to. I’m beginning to suffer from lack of watching Arsenal so whatever happens I hope this Summer flies by. Come on Wenger, buy a few players and then lets get on with the pre season training! I hope players do a Diaby and do extra training over the Summer. I’d like to see Nasri go to the same strength training clinic that Diaby went to.

    • desigunner says:

      I used Hodgson just as an example, Arsene could talk to others.

      Cesc rumor is becoming stronger because unlike other occasions in the past this time there hasn’t been a quick denial from him or the club.

      I thought you could bet on whether he will be an Arsenal player on Sept 1 or not. Should be great value there.

      Yeah, those not going to the world cup should use their time well. We can only hope.

  7. Joe71 says:

    It is obvious you do not know the situation at Arsenal. The very man you claim to be the best man for the job runs Arsenal 100 % on his own terms. The idea of him accepting a consultant to advise him is laughable.

    What a complete and utter waste of space.

    • oleguer says:

      i agree. a child could point to the problems in the arsenal squad. rubbish goalkeepers, defenders who can’t defend, midfielders who don’t help the defence and attacked who can’t score when it matters.

      • exactly, and if it wasn’t for private owners not spending this wouldn’t happen

        The “club” ( it isn’t a club} should be publicy owned by members and the revenues spent on players after, so long as that is the priority. One must pay one’s bills first and throw money into the club

    • desigunner says:

      You’ve completely missed the point and proven it in some ways.

      • oleguer says:

        missed the point? you’re saying your club needs to being in a consultant. a good manager doesn’t need a consultant. a good manager knows his weaknesses and tries to address them, not bury his head in the sand like wenger.

      • desigunner says:

        You’ve completely missed the point and once again proven it.

  8. It should not escape you all, that Wenger is a mere football coach, hardly an intellectual position

    Even the board are dopes. Emirates is paying very little compared to man U sponsors

    It’s a circus that I could run better and i wouldn’t mind a chance to prove it

    • desigunner says:

      Why don’t you do it? If you are good enough to do better then you can surely find a way of getting involved, for starters!

  9. Ja Gunner says:

    Great stuff…wat we also need is David Dein!

  10. Goons_with_Guns says:

    Great insight, Desigunner, keep it up!

  11. sadly not. I live in Australia which is not the problem.

    getting the work permit is. That’s the first hurdle

    If I got involved there would be fur flying. I would be approaching local banks , with a business plan, a board incling a lawyer and accountant, and try to borrow the money to buy back the club for the people, and make it a non profit club. The loan would be repaid via gate takings and advertising

    And that’s it! Go to the banks, preferable Islamic ones as they become a partner and don’t charge interest, return the club to the people. No! I’m not a Muslem

    I’m sure many signature from local supporters would see that happen, and the banks will back it due to the obvious TV and other marketing opportunites and income stream until loan repaid

    It’s not hard. The apathy of people and trhe greed of those on the Gunner’s board are the enemy

    Given we will be on the board, we have the legal responsibility to the club and supporters and we are Wenger’s emploer and we can sack him

    It’s unbelievable easy. Just requires the will

    “Oh but they won’t sell” I hear you say. Everything is for sale…everything, at the right price

    • desigunner says:

      Why don’t you approach Gazidis with a plan? You think he won’t hire an Australian as a consultant? Work permit can’t really be a big hurdle now, can it!? Or a smaller club if you think the Arsenal board wont listen to you?

      Point is, if you have the ability, and the will, which you want in others, then what’s stopping you?

  12. well, I think anyone with reasonable knowledge of the history of football, including the average supporter can approach the right people. The right people come from the “ordinary” street level supporters

    step 1 Get a group of a few people, No more, as a steering committee, that will eventually become the board

    This ideally should have a lawyer and an accountant, both who agree that the club should be not for profit with membership

    step 2. Form, in writing the non profit charter of the club. This shall also be binding in the constitution. The constitution, your written rules, are vitally important. It is your legal entity

    Step 3 A business plan appropriate to forming a not for profit footballers ‘Arsenal Supporter’s football group”. The business plan or strategy, should have imformation of your intent, costings, risk, etrc, all info for your potential lender, the banks.

    You will not necessarily succeed due to the business plan, but if you do, it will be largely due to the business plan

    Step 4. Find any famous people that support Arsenal and dislike the current set up. Get their opinions on paper that they support you

    Step 5 Now you are ready to appraoch the financiers, but first, get the high profile types out in front of T cameras, newspapers and radio, and get them to join the ‘Arsenal Supporter’s football group”, and they ask ordinary people to join ‘Arsenal Supporter’s football group”

    Vareful here though. Hi profile types tend to think the world revolves around them. Inform them they have an important media role and let the group steering committe/board do what they need to do

    Immediately after the media/Press campaign starts, then start visiting the financiers who by this time have seen the well known ‘beautiful people “. Arab bank would be a good start, as they don’t charge interest, although if you can’t get them, a standard ban who may charge a minial rate over a long period is OK

    Keep the media campaign going until you get your finances to buy the club back. The benefit for financiers is worldwide media coverage, on TV, radio, internet, blogs, gate takings, shirt naming rights, naming rights of pavilions, naming right of ground, etc

    Once the loan is repaid, “The Emirates ” becomes Ashburton grove. all naming rights are removed and the club survives on gate takings and TV rights and the club well used by ordinary punters having a drink. Prices to enter the game will be lowered so the average bloke can afford to take his kids
    \
    This is what happens when no shareholders to pay. You only need a professional club manager, footbball coach, a couple os staff, that’s it

    Just keep going until you get enough to cover it

    step 6. Place yourself in a strong postion. How? Now you have the money ( theoretically ) to bu the club, but they won’t sell, you appraoch Lady Bracewell-Smith. We know she’s been treated badly by the board and is waiting to offload her shares to the right people. The right people are the ones who’ll upset the board. Exactly what she wants

    BINGO! You now have 15.9% of shares. You are important and you are on the board. A minority still, but on the board. Kroenke may be likely to sell too if he can’t get ownership

    Remember what malcolm Maclaren manager of the Sex pistols said ” Cash from Chaos” How true

    You should have the money to buy the club and make an offer. The financiers should be on the board by this time, showing their comminitment to the Publicly owned ideal

    Remember, regardless of what they tell us, Arsenal is NOT a business. It is a football club seving it;s community, or should be. It should not be a vehicle for the board to make money from personal ownership

    Gazidis will not want me as a consultant, as I am the bloke that wants his head! i want him and the other board members and Wenger gone!

    that’s all there is to it. It’s simple. People accept your offer or they don’t!

    Immigration to England, or a work permit for an Australian is tough. Not easy since Britain went intp the EEC, now EU. Edward Heath should have been flogged for it

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8616504.stm

    • desigunner says:

      Based on the points you listed, I don’t see why you need a work permit. The AST already exists and has some intelligent people on it who are concerned about the club. And they also have some shareholding. So why not start with them?

      The reason I’m talking this way is because my business consulting experience taught me that making plans was the easy part. Execution was by far the tougher one. As you said plans help (necessary condition) but don’t guarantee success (not sufficient).

      • I see from the AST site it has 750 members @ 2 quid a month

        One share in Arsenal is about 13,400 quid. You gotta long way to go

        Take a rugby league team in Sydney for example. There are no shares, just club memberships and there’s literally thousands of members in each club. Each pay a fee annually for membership. There are NO shareholders. No need for a supporter’s trust which is based on the shareholder’s interests

        In fact, the AST, upon reading that info would be hostile to anyone with an idea like mine

  13. i don’t qualify for a work permit. Also i would have nowhere to stay and I can’t afford to stay in a hotel for any length of time. I’d love nothing more than to get over there and get involved ” regime change “. i would be away from work and I would need to be paid to survive and I am NOT looking to be paid for this

    Basically, it’s a matter of seeing potential sponsors, and they will decide what’s right for them. It’s a matter of waiting, and they will come, as they will get a lot out of it.

    I take it the AST shareholders care more about the club than their shareholdings? What I am talking about is NO shareholdings . No person can hold any shares, or all shares are divided equally among members. No one gets an advantage

    If you had 10,000 members they all place in 20 quid each. There’s 200,000 quid to help pay the bills each year, that may go towards water, electric, phone but won’t in itself keep the club going. What keeps it going is TV rights radio, press, money from transfers, you may allow sponsors names on shirts as well as ground sponsoring if you wanted more revenue

    All this revenue goes back into the publicly owned club and not into the pockets of private owners

    the board should consist of outsiders who are both respected people in the community as well as Gunner supporters. Outsiders, because they are not involved in the internal political and bring no baggage. They are unpaid. The CEO should be a well paid gunner supporter. He must be paid as it’s a full time job. Barman and barmaids, secretaries need to be paid, but the main thing is, it’s public again, and the average bloke can afford to take his kids to the games

    It’s easy to do. Can’t guarantee they will sell, but like I said, everything is for sale at the right price

    No one needs me to do it. Plenty of more qualified types in London, i’m sure

    • desigunner says:

      I appreciate your idea of no shareholding. Since the time Arsene has been at the club, the value of the shares has gone up by a multiple of 40 if I’m not mistaken. That’s a massive amount of money for the shareholders, and a lot of it could actually have gone into the club and helped us get better players and reduced prices. In principle, I have no arguments against this.

      In practice, I can’t see anyone taking ownership away from these people. That’s how the laws are. Whoever takes ownership will need cash and whoever supplies cash will need returns. Only a government backed reform could change that.

      If the change does happen, then a lot of what you said could be structured in detail and implemented in some ways but right now I just don’t see the starting point.

      • It has been designed to remove the supporters away from the club, and the club away from the community and use it as a revenue raiser and profit motive for the owners

        If it waspublicly owned non profit, then those profits go back into the club, ownwed buy the members

        then you apply the law. See financiers and make an offer. They will accept at the right price and all withing the law

  14. correction. those share prices should be in $USD

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