We should sack Wenger: he’s as bad as Herbert Chapman

I can’t be 100% sure about this, because while writing this blog I am not only not at home, I am not even in England, so I am lacking the usual reference materials that are at my disposal as I jot down my thoughts.

But I think it is true that for those who feel Wenger should go now, had they been around in earlier days they would have argued much the same with Herbert Chapman.

Comparatively speaking I think Herbert Chapman spent more on players than Wenger (when one takes into effect the escalation of fees over the years as well as inflation).  Certainly I have never seen it suggested that Chapman made a profit on transfers whereas Wenger does it every year.

Wenger as we well know has continued to get us into the top four every year.  Chapman had it a lot easier, because when Norris brought him in, he had more money to spend than other managers, and no worries about salaries – everyone was on the maximum wage.

Likewise in Chapman’s day, there was no Abramovich bank rolling a club.  There were rich men who paid for things (Norris, less we forget, paid for the building of Highbury out of his own pocket), but no mega rich.

So what did Chapman achieve?

1925/6 – 2nd in the first division

1926/7 – 11th in the first division

1927/8 – 10th in the first division

1928/9 – 9th in the first division

1929/30 – 14th in the first division

On the basis of that I think it is fair to say that today’s catastrophy encrusted viewers would have been calling for his head even though he won the FA Cup in 1930.

I imagine they would also have been calling for the head of Henry Norris, who had come to the club in 1910.   Norris’ cv (if they had had such a thing then) would have read…

a) Saved the club from going out of business – summer 1910

b) Moved the club to Highbury at my own expense – 1913

c) Got the club into the first division by standing up against the match fixing activities of Liverpool and Manchester United – 1919

d) Brought in Herbert Chapman – 1925

“And what good is that?” the doom and gloom catastrophists would shout.  “Chapman’s rubbish – he’s lost it.  He might have been good at Huddersfield but he’s  bleedin’ useless here.  Get him out.  We want a proper manager. Look at all the money he has wasted.  What’s he ever done for us?”

And the answer would have been…

  • He’s setting up the basis for the next 100 years
  • He’s brought in the top players
  • He’s changed the name of the club
  • He’s changed the name of the underground station.

You can imagine all the sneering.  “Underground station?”

Norris – by then Sir Henry Norris (he was knighted in 1919 for services to the Crown during the war as a recruitment officer) would have suffered in the same way.  He’s activities of saving the club, and putting his fortune into it would have counted as nothing, and Chapman would have been a disaster.

In fact Norris resigned off his own accord, but in many regards he was hounded out by the mob – by the same sort of mob that is now after Wenger’s throat.

To be fair, we must admit that Sir Henry was always the victim of his own personality, for he would never back off, and when those who hated him, and hated Arsenal (despite calling themselves Arsenal fans) sent documents to the Daily Mail showing that Norris had indeed pocketed the £150 the club received from the sale of the old team bus, he denied everything, only to come unstuck in court.   He was banned from football for life.

This was the victory of the Arsenal fans of the day – the removal forever from football of the man who made Arsenal.   Of course the fans were able to bask in the glory of what came later – and the parallels are rather too close to the present day.

Chapman and Norris left us the modern Arsenal – the club that for the first time could take London to the top of the footballing tree.  Chapman left a club that would go on and on picking up trophies until interrupted by the war.

Wenger has done much the same – we have a new stadium, new training ground, a youth team that just makes the eyes pop out, and 10 years in the top four.   And the mob want him out.

It is right that we should say the names of Wenger and Chapman in the same breath, and it is right that those of us with a sense of history and balance should venerate both.   But what we have to do is somehow ensure that Arsene Wenger stays to get what Chapman was denied – the benefits of all that hard work.

Untold Arsenal is at www.blog.emiratesstadium.info

The story of how Norris took over Arsenal in 1910 and transformed the club is at www.emiratesstadium.info

18 Replies to “We should sack Wenger: he’s as bad as Herbert Chapman”

  1. Arsene Wenger should be left alone, so that he can focus on what he knows how to do best. Gunners4life

  2. no wonder your followers are going missing…stop being blind and speak what you should as a respectable blogger..and for Christ sake dont keep on glorifying what is happening with the club..!!

  3. Not quite sure what you mean about followers going missing.

    If you mean at the Ems, the matches are still sold out, and there is still the 10 year waiting list for a season ticket.

    If you mean on this web site, I don’t have followers, I have an audience. That is still around the 250,000 a month mark, and the commentary section is at an all time high.

  4. Personally, I don’t think Wenger is the man to lead us back to glory. He’s stuck in 1998 and had refused to move on. He won’t acknowledge tactics, he doesn’t punish poor performances and he rewards failure. Not just that, instead of raising the bar, he’s in a constant battle to lower it. No manager should be telling the fans 3rd place in an over achievement.

    Wenger, unlike Fergie, looks unable to adapt for a second time. He wants plaudits for how he plays the game, not for the amount of trophies in the cabinet. We’re now known as the nearly team and judging by Wenger’s comments on transfers, we’re probably not going to address that this summer. He constantly reminds us that his players are extremely young. Well Arsene, I’m sure Titus Bramble was young at one point… he was rubbish though and he grew up and turned into a rubbish player. Being an average young player does not mean you’ll become a great 25 year old. Look no further than Senderos for evidence on that front.

    Watching the demise of a once great manager has been slow and painful. I no longer have faith in him. I’ve wrestled with this in my mind for a long time, but watching our season go from potential greatness, to painful mediocrity has been awful. Listening to his ever familiar press conferences about the youth of his team and how he will be sensible in the transfer market is an all too familiar sound.

    Deep down we all know the truth… Wenger hasn’t got it in him to change his ways and the board don’t have the balls to tell him.

    It’s a sorry old situation we’ve got ourselves in.

  5. tony..you know what i mean..and i respect you as a very knowledgable blogger and one of the true gunner..but when you keep on turning blind eye to the problem that we have with our team, that is where it strikes!! appreciate the good work that you do yet..you see what we dont and we see what you cant..
    didnot mean any insult and may you and may us be celebrating soon!!

  6. yea Clinton,you are right Wenger should be left alone to do what he know to do better by not winning even carling cup,he is pretty good coach who for 5years won all the trophy arsenal needed,yea,he is that good.Wenger is never near good and can never be good.He should leave the club.Check this out portmouth for 3yrs have qualified for FA cup final twice.Please Wenger leave the club for mercy sake.Wenger can never win anything with his present technic.i know some persons will be asking me who do i keep to replace him.But also remember this.Who knows mourinho before he won eufa cup and champions league.So there are many coaches outside who can do better than Wenger(old skool)

  7. “When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.” — Jonathan Swift

    “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.” — Albert Einstein.

    Expecting a similar one in Wenger’s autobiography, but I’m afraid he’s too modest for that!

  8. Thank you tony for giving some perspective to a mass audience. Its just a pity that some people still cant see the bigger picture. I’ve been an arsenal fan for almost half my life now, and I’ve never been happier.

  9. What confused me is why people even bother debating this website?
    Tony Attwood is clearly an all out pro wenger for life no matter what happens to Arsenal

    So why bother even speak your opinion?

    Just my 20 21 22 23 cent

  10. Let’s have a public demolition of their bronze busts as well. The club could sell tickets for that show, and I’m sure it’d be a sell out as well. Good business too. We could maybe buy Messi with the money we manage to collect. Blimey. I ought to be Arsenal Manager next time around!

  11. hahaha, nice try.we will hound him out as soon as we can &we don’t mind replacing him with allardyce, afterall d worst big sam can do is to not give us a trophy, something we are now used to thanks to your best friend, wenger



  13. Spot on Tony. Been an Arsenal fan for 40 (sometimes difficult) years and Arsene Wenger has been, by a country mile, the best single thing to happen the club. Despite what the philistines think. History yet to be written will put him even ahead of Chapman and Norris. Can’t quite see Arsene posing for a bronze bust though.

  14. It saddens me that just because someone isn’t a trophy whore and can actually see that Wenger has set the club on the firmest foundations it has ever had they are judged to be ‘stupid’ and have to suffer sad comments about ‘Arsene FC’. Maybe, just maybe, Tony is like many long time match going fans (myself included) who have spent most of our lives not even daring to dream that we could be a consistent top 8 European team and one of the most attractive clubs in the world. Wenger makes mistakes – everyone does – but he makes one hell of a lot less than the vast majority of managers and as for the fool (sorry but it’s true) suggesting the likes of Allardyce – it really does beggar belief. Finally, all this ‘we’ stuff. I go to most every game and match after match the (true) fans salute the genius that is Wenger.

    Chapman, for all his genius, was a ‘now’ man and it should never be forgotten that whilst we had incredible glory in the 30s we were still paying off the bill when George Graham arrived!

  15. To pararphrase Monty Python: Ok, apart from playing some of the most sublime football Arsenal have played in their history, won more league titles than any other Arsenal manager, overseen the building of a new state of the art training complex that is also used by the national team, overseen the building of a new stadium, been shrewd enough in the transfer market to drastically reduce the debt incurred in building the new stadium whilst continually qualifying for the Champions League, etc – what has Arsene Wenger done for us?

    The man has set up the club for the next 90 years. My guess is it may take up to another 5 years before we win another trophy but at least he has made sure that his successor will not have to worry about the infrastructure and finances of the club. And he has guaranteed that we and our children will have a club to support.

    I assume that those calling for his head are new fans. I’m sure Ralph, Tony & Dec can remember the likes of 1975-76 when relegation was a strong possibility or the complete and utter medicority that was served up in 1985-86 in front of crowds of 15,000.

    Did you all see those Spurs fans celebrating during the week when they managed to get into 4th place? Imagine that being the high point of the last 20 years!

    You’ve never had it so good.

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