Saturday, October 01, 2016

Arsene Wenger as England manager? Why not?

Uncle Sam of the United Kingdom decided to earn some quick buck the wrong way. But ironically the cash registers are ringing at the office of the Daily Telegraph. 

For the uninitiated, Daily Telegraph carried a sting operation on England head coach over transfer dealings and ways to bypass the FA rules and regulations. All the hype and hoopla over Sam Allardyce being the messiah of the England football team died within 67 days. That's it, that's all it took. The only solace Sam has is that he is probably the only England manager with a 100% success ratio. He managed one game and they won thanks to a last minute goal by Adam Lallana. 

What I found funny was the press releases. FA and Sam ended their contract by "mutual consent"! Really? Mutual consent? It's like saying the Judge and the accused have decided to punish the accused to 4 years of rigorous imprisonment by "mutual consent". Sam should have been fired by the FA, not just his contract ended by mutual consent. 

Anyway, we are now back to square one. England team are in tatters, not just by poor showing on the field but also by incidents off it. Now the hunt begins again. Who's going to be the new manager? Like it or not, managing England is still a prestigious job. A team with a lot of potential but without proper direction. A team that had players who can single-handedly change the game but for some reason, are unable to. What they lack, in my opinion, is proper leadership on and off the field. So, is there anyone who understands the FA administration and the England football in detail and is available in the near future? Is there anyone who can make-do with what he has at his disposal and lead England Football to new heights?

Did I hear anyone whisper Wenger? 

Arsene Wenger. 


It's no secret that FA has Wenger as one of their shortlist. I am not sure if Wenger is FA’s no 1 choice. However, I won't be surprised if that's the case. Wenger ticks all the boxes. He is an established manager and has led Arsenal Football Club through thick and thin. Wenger understands the English Football market much better than anyone out there. He can bring the best out of footballers. He had a knack of picking up true gems from out of nowhere. He is a thorough professional and perhaps the only one, along with Sir Alex, who can bring dignity back to FA. His style of football is exciting to watch. And his contract with Arsenal is ending next season. 

Now let's address the Elephant in the room. Wenger's criticism. Wenger is accused to be a financial manager. As the England manager, he won't be involved with finances anymore. So, that's not a problem. Wenger is accused to be someone who's not hungry for success. I strongly doubt it, but for the sake of argument, let's assume that's true. As the England manager, his main role and possibly his only role will be to make his team win games and tournaments. He won't be handling anything else. No transfer dealings, no building of a new stadium. So there's no running away, either he succeeds or he fails. No excuses. Wenger is accused of supporting youngsters more than they deserve. If at all anything, this will only help the England squad more than it hampers them. Did I miss any other criticism of Wenger? No, top 4 as a trophy does not apply to the national sides. So that's not a criticism. 

This will be an interesting season for sure. Wenger has not rejected the England proposal yet. Arsenal would obviously want him to continue being their manager. A considerable portion of the fans would want him to continue. Players surely want him to continue. However, I won't be surprised if he decides to leave after this season. A change of scenery, with relatively less pressure, could be the main reason for this change. The media will be gunning for an opportunity to take him down, but Wenger has 20 years of experience in handling English media who exaggerates success and failure in equal measure. Handling them will be a cakewalk for Wenger. 

If Wenger gives any positive vibes / hints to FA, I am sure FA will be prepared to wait for the season to end and then appoint Wenger. Wenger had always respected his contract and will only be available after the season. 

Whatever happens, England Football team can only move up from here.


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