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!