Date: 12th January 2011 at 7:11pm
Written by:

You know when someone takes a shot it bounces off the back of your head knocks you over but somehow manages to loop over the keep and go in?

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.

Rant Over!


14 responses to “A little rant regarding Sir Alex”

  1. catcool07 says:

    well balanced article….. a 6 year trophyless period can in no way justify manager of the decade!!!

  2. Yashi says:

    Let Arsenal fans have their manager being given some obscure prize, we are happy with our trophies thank you!

  3. RedScot says:

    Ha Ha you deserve everything you got from the Gooners picking on their manager as they attempt to defend the defenceless.
    If you think you got it bad in the abuse stakes you needed to be part of the vitriol attacks made on the Moderator of Truly Reds on the same topic and hardly a United fan on the blog to back him up.
    All good fun a bit of Gooner baiting. 😉

  4. Yosh says:

    One thing Wenger could never do is FIND a player from obscurity and turn him into sensation. Most recently Hernandez – not a finished article yet, but still deserves the plaudits. As far as i remember all the young players Wenger ‘harvests’ are usually hot prospects in europe already or just have a French pasport. The difference between Fergie and Wenger is that one takes risks and clearly reaps the rewards for it.

    Fergie is way more rigid than Wenger in playing style and managing style. Fergie has dealt with larger constraints than Wenger still manages to win. Just look at the difference between the 2 clubs when key players leave. We develop new ones and they play their reserve team.

    You are not wrong for questioning Wenger’s award and I agree with you in admiring him. However if this is a question of who is more deserving it is Fergie. That argument of off the field lark has massive holes in it, because as far as I know managers aren’t chief executives nor directors of the board. Off the field will mean things like scouting and handeling your players. Fergie does all that and then some. Between Fergie and Wenger it could only come down to who has won the most in the last decade.

  5. jonathan says:

    Yes, Wenger may win for most frugal manager, beyond that Fergie and a couple others have easily surpassed Wenger’s accomplishments the last decade. Ancelotti and Mourinho have also achieved significantly more than Wenger.

    I think one guy on the original post even brought up George Weah…seriously!?! He played for Arsene almost 20 years ago for a different team in another league, and that’s supposed to give Arsene credit for this accolade?

    Gooner logic is generally very circular and I should be used to it, but it still frustrates the hell out of me.

  6. Chaplin35 says:

    I guess everyone can find loads of reasons why one or the other should have won the award. If I’m right hundreds of people have voted every year for their own reasons for the best manager of that year and that’s how the winnder was selected. So us, gooners, don’t really have to defend that decision and you, reds, can’t do anything about it either – Wenger is the best manager of the decade 🙂

  7. Pete says:

    Excellent piece of analysis. I am sure SAF will be more than pleased to keep his trophies and allow AW to have his medal, or whatever they gave him. The award is meaningless as it is not decided by the laws of football.

    My nomination for Manager of the Decade is Rafa Benitez. Takes them to the top of the cliffwith a win in Istanbul and then throws them off without a parachute. Roy looks for the rip cord, could not find it, Kenny also struggling. Sayonara Liverpool. Get ready for the championship.

  8. Shank says:

    Arsene is a genius and visionary guy who keeps future in mind. For me constructing new stadium is worth more than 10 years worth of so called trophies as that much time is required to pay off your debt, not able to purchase decent players, selling your better players as you cannot afford their salaries etc. It’s a every manager dream( more than fans) to win more trophies. But he decided to do something bigger, better ( and in a way riskier). He made arsenal, not the best club in britain but in the world. Arsene has done well for arsenal so far. Before he came to arsenal in d mid-ninties, arsenal were nothing but a club like everton; with a less financial & less capacity stadium that holds small amount of its large supporters. But he came, we are competing in europe every season.we doesn’t finish our seasons outside 4th since he came to north london. He don’t want arsenal to be another Leeds utd;that is why he manages the whole thing with carefulness. It is imperative to state that he has, within constrained means, managed to retain a position in Europe’s Elite.
    A pointer is the massive amount of cash spent by teams like Bayern Munich, Tottenham Hotspurs, Manchester City, and some other clubs trying to catch up with the likes of Arsenal.

    He didn’t have unlimited fund like alex ferguson or mouhrino…..The only time he spent something, he created “Invisibles”

    • Swarbs says:

      That’s a fair point, but then before SAF came to Utd in the 1980s we were nothing but a club like Everton, with very little money to spend and without any major trophies for many years. In fact, in 1986 Utd were in a worse position than Arsenal in 1996 when Wenger arrived. Remember that your team won the Cup Winners Cup in 1994, reached the final in 1995, and finished fifth in the table in 1996. When SAF joined Utd we were in the relegation zone. SAF’s big spending has been funded by the early success he enjoyed with youth players like Lee Sharpe, Ryan Giggs and the famous five. He can afford it cos of the success he brought us. Maybe in five or ten years AW will have just as much to spend, and we’ll see then how successful he is.

      And believe me, Man City are not spending massive amounts of cash trying to catch up with Arsenal. I doubt the Sheikh will be happy with a return of no trophies in five years for £500 million. Utd is the target all these clubs aim to emulate. If we finish in the top 3 this season, this will make it 21 consecutive years than Man Utd have finished in the top 3 of the top division.

    • Chudi says:

      I was with you until you said:

      He made arsenal, not the best club in britain but in the world.

      delusional stuff like that is what makes me laugh at Arsenal fans, it debatable if you’re the best team in London let alone Britain or the World!

  9. Swarbs says:

    It means so much. Especially as it comes from an organisation that ranks Liverpool as the best English club of the last year…

    Re: the whole stadium thing, it should be noted that in his time here Fergie has overseen three expansions to the ToD, making it the largest stadium in England, and still fills it more or less to capacity every game.

    I agree that Arsene is one of the best managers in the world, and he and SAF are the only two who have build strong clubs (as opposed to just teams) over time. And I respect him for trusting his youngsters, arguably to a greater degree than SAF does and resisting the temptation to splash the cash.

    For me, SAF edges AW out based on SAF being willing to change his team and approach to suit the opponents and get the result. Too often Arsenal are frustrated by their inability to mix it up and get results, be it against teams of the quality of Barca or teams of the quality of Ipswich. And when Arsenal play badly, they truly stink (Ipswich again…) But SAF has made an art form out of still getting the result even when the team is playing badly. He and Mourinho seem to be the masters at that. AW just doesn’t seem to be able to do that – if the fluent passing doesn’t click then he has no back up plan other than to accuse the other team of being cheaters or ‘anti-football’ or other sour grapes. That for me is the main reason why, since AW joined Arsenal, Utd have won 8 PLs and 2 CLs and Arsenal have won 3PLs and no CLs…