The reasons why "Player power" will never succeed at The Arsenal.

The reasons why "Player power" will never succeed at The Arsenal.

The exit of Tony Adams and Phillipe Scolari from their respective clubs recently has again highlighted that the Premier league is a results driven business. Portsmouth allegedly have financial difficulties and if the club is to be sold, they cannot afford to be relegated. The situation at Chelsea is somewhat different. A mighty wealthy owner who has tired of the recent poor form. Scolari’s sacking was made inevitable because it was said that the dressing room had turned against him. This was fiercely denied by a Chelsea spokesman but why else would the South London club dismiss a football manager who CV reads like a hall of fame archive.
Chelsea now lie fourth some five points ahead of Arsenal. Finally the cracks have started to appear in Fortress Stamford Bridge, with defeats at home to their leading rivals. Player dissent is something that routinely surfaces as the cause of poor results. If a club has disgruntled players on it’s payroll, then it has a choice. Dismiss all of the playing squad or back the manager. In economic terms the manager is always going to be the cheapest option. So Player power is rampant in the Premier league, and if their behaviour against managers they dislike was not bad enough, this mercenary behaviour is added to by unqualified greed.
Vast millions of the broadcasting deals have gone in the players bank accounts, and in return we have an exciting league but woe betide the club whose players decide to under perform in response to dissatisfaction with their manager. The decline can be catastrophic and  will rapidly destabilise the club’s fortunes. The collective nature of the players’ under performance is precisely why clubs and Chairman seem relatively powerless to act. Only the goal keeper can really be singled out as our own Jens Lehmann found to his cost. The rest of the squad can all have off days and as the losses mount, the pressure builds on the manager.
The return to form of the same group of players when the manager is dismissed is tantamount to bringing the game into disrepute in my opinion. It also is holding the Club, the Chairman and the fans to ransom. It will take concerted effort on behalf of all clubs to kill this Frankenstein creation, borne out of greed and excessive personas. The players argue that they are returning to playing to their strengths or trying to impress the next incumbent, but we all know the truth. They have cheated the fans and their club in a cynical exercise of player power. What motivates this response is open to question. Undeniably there exist poor managers, but also the influence of the fans can contribute to the atmosphere of crisis.
So why hasn’t this cancer spread to the Arsenal? There is undeniable widespread disenchantment with the poor results. Even CEO Ivan Gazidis is talking about plans having been made in case of the nightmare scenario of UEFA Cup football coming to the Emirates. The simple answer is the power of Arsene Wenger and the loyalty of the Board. The models of Club ownership  in the premier league has added to the exit of managers as private owners see their millions of investment being threatened by poor results. So in a sense, a Board model of ownership confers more security upon a manager. Certainly in Arsenal’s case only the ex managers Bruce Rioch, Terry Neill and George Graham have fallen foul of the Board in recent times. So Mr Arsene Wenger is the Mr Teflon of the premier league. No bad results can stick to him. It is utterly inconceivable that the Board would sack him, such is his power at the club.
This power has been earned by the respect and loyalty by those who have seen Arsenal Football Club transformed under Arsene Wenger. The Board have also benefited from Arsene Wenger’s ability to turn pig’s ears into silk purses. The success under Arsene Wenger came so thick and fast, that the fans , the board and the world of football have been intoxicated by this frenchman’s elixir of beautiful athletic football. In fact as I have repeatedly said, Arsene Wenger’s fate and fortune is inexorably linked to that of the Board. A MAD scenario. Not mad as in insane you understand, but the acronym which under pins Global Nuclear Deterrence. Mutually Assured Destruction.
Arsene Wenger’s rule is so absolute that he played a major role in deciding who would be appointed to the role of CEO. The Board could not object, for who else could they ask to manage the club and produce Championship winning sides on a shoestring budget? Player power could have also set root at the Arsenal as evidenced by the behaviour of  Adebayor last summer, however it will never become a collective show of defiance, as the players currently need Arsenal Football club more as a shop window for their wares than the Club needs them. Add to this the youth of the squad, then it is very unlikely that the players will collectively revolt against Arsene Wenger. So Arsene Wenger can sleep soundly in his bed safe in the knowledge that any poor outcome this season will not result in his sacking.
 
But a word of caution. This only applies providing the current ownership model remains in existence. Any future takeover of the club, if it did not come from within the Board would almost certainly see Arsene Wenger fail to extend his current contract. This is one of the reasons why fans who are dissatisfied with Arsene Wenger but do not want to see the club taken over, should be careful what they wish for. The loss of independence and Arsene Wenger would plunge this club over the Abyss. In ten or so days time some financial half year results will inform us of the state of the club. I caution the gloom merchants against using these figures and our current league form as a reason to ask for Arsene Wenger’s head.
Arsenal Football Club will in two or three years time reap the financial benefits of the current ownership arrangements. So fans will have to be even more patient in these times of recession. Players also need to get behind the club and put in performances that the fans and the manager deserve. Self Destructive player power is thus alive and well in the Premier league, but at the Arsenal, the roots are not secure enough to cause us problems. Eventually the time will come when Arsene Wenger decides to leave Arsenal Football Club but hopefully not before having brought more success to our football team. That will be a very sad day in my view, and those dissenting fans will only realise the true value of this genius of a man when he has departed.
Fabregas the King.

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