Earlier in the week John Considine looked at a recent Journal of Sports Economics article that ranks Jurgen Klopp as the number one football manager today. A number of other managers such as Thomas Tuchel, Pep Guardiola and Peter Pacult are also mentioned. There is no reference of England’s longest serving manager (20 years, 138 days and counting) Arséne Wenger.
Wenger has been in the media a lot this week, particularly since Arsenal’s 5-1 defeat to Bayern Munich in the first leg of the last 16 of the Champions League. Barring a miracle, the Gunners will exit again at this stage. To many Arsenal fans this is not good enough hence the demands for Wenger to leave his post.
The Frenchman announced today that he will decide on his future before May but will manage (somewhere) next season. Arsenal fans, indeed all football supporters, should be careful what they wish for.
Wenger’s management has seen his side qualify for the Champions League every season since 1998-99. The Gunners have appeared in the competition five more times than Chelsea, ten more times than Liverpool and seventeen more times more than local rivals Tottenham. They continue to appear in the Deloitte Football Money League Top 20, sell-out The Emirates for every home game and report very positive financial figures each year.
However, Wenger’s profit maximisation appears now at odds with the supporters win maximisation philosophy. It economic terms he is effectively reporting an annual growth rate of 1% to 2% per year. No boom and bust cycle, just nice and steady. The voters are unhappy. They demand a leader than will increase spending (and ultimately debt) in order to see the good times return. The future will take care of itself.
Call me biased but I’d prefer Arsenal’s “steady growth” rather than the boom and bust cycles Tottenham, Liverpool, and more recently Manchester United are facing. And what of Leicester? It could be the ultimate boom and bust.
I wonder would Arsenal fans accept a league title next season to know the season after would be a fight against relegation? I doubt it.