Those awkward moments!
When something like that happens you smile sheepishly and reluctantly accept the plaudits but feel foolish secretly.
Yeah those awkward moments!
But there are some who will run around tears streaming down their face as if they have just replicated Cantona’s chip or a mazy dribble and cheeky finish ala George Best.
These people are Arsenal fans.
Last week Arsene Wenger was announced as the IFFHS manager of the decade, whilst I was shocked it didn’t cause weeping and gnashing of teeth. I simply suggested why Sir Alex Ferguson would have been a more suitable winner and in no way did I attack Wenger or Arsenal but it seems Arsenal fans aren’t too happy with me!
Reading the article on our sister site ‘Football Fancast‘ I found myself the victim of a heinous and vicious hate campaign that has made me question my position. Ok I’m lying, what a bunch of idiots type from the security of their homes will never bother me (although one fella’s decision to insult my name did get my back up!) but some of the responses as to why Arsene should have won it were beyond ridiculous and did actually annoy me.
I found a selection of these Gooners looked to everything but actual success to justify Arsene Wenger’s award. Again I have nothing against Wenger, I would even go as far as saying I admire some of his traits especially the way he defends his players but am I really out of line by saying Sir Alex was a more deserving winner?
I was reminded continually that being a manger doesn’t only entail what happens on field and whilst they are correct is that really the argument you want to use when to trying to prove Sir Alex Ferguson doesn’t deserve an award? This is a man that breaths Manchester United and has done so since he took over, has been at the club’s helm longer than anyone else and is revered off field as much as he is in the dugout.
I was told of how Wenger watches over Arsenal’s financial stability. There is no disputing this is definitely a positive, if our managers simply splurged money as they wished we would find our teams in dire straits but it does beg the question, ‘is Wenger a football manager or a contestant on The Apprentice?’ It is all good and well that Wenger saves his club money but when it becomes detrimental to how his team performs is it still something to be celebrated?
How many of these people that praise him for saving money have, in Arsenal’s barren spell, demanded that he spends to shore up their leaky defence or finally getting a proper goalkeeper?
The way this was thrown in my face leads me to believe that they feel that United’s financial situation is the fault of Sir Alex, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes he spends money and sometimes it may not come off but what about the bargains he has picked up? I see a difference between being stingy with money and being financial astute and Wenger walks that very thin line.
I was also reminded of how Wenger has been great with his youngsters and how he turned around the careers of the likes of Walcott (?), Djourou, Song and Nasri. I found this a tad weird, it was like they had somehow forgotten about Sir Alex’s history of great man management as well as his record of rearing youngsters. Fergie’s Fledglings are some of the most famous names in football and there have been numerous that have followed since. If you want to talk about superb man management I could point to the recent cases of Nani and Anderson or perhaps for greater impact, Cristiano Ronaldo.
Sir Alex’s handling of Ronaldo is an example to behold and Ronaldo himself will be the first to tell you how much of an impact his former manager has had on his career. From timely breaks to ensure he didn’t burn out, to putting an arm around his shoulders when he was being persecuted (After World Cup 2006) Sir Alex played a huge part in making Ronaldo the star he is today.
A further example is how he handed the Wayne Rooney situation just months ago. His stance on the whole situation, demanding Rooney respect the club and it’s traditions as well as giving the situation time to play out rather than rushing and attempting to push Rooney out of the door gave the impression of a man who was well in control of his club.
A whole host of other things were mention like overseeing Arsenal’s move from Highbury to The Emirates (the Emirates Cup doesn’t count so no trophies so far!) but to be frank as manager of teams who compete in a sport, the most important and best criteria to decipher who is the best manager will be judging them by their success. I have looked at what these fans have said and to be fair it doesn’t change my opinion.
I still feel that despite being a great manager Arsene Wenger does not trump Sir Alex Ferguson, not in the past 10 years or ever.