Following news reports in several media, it seems Mikel Arteta is due to become our new head coach.
At the time of writing (Thursday), a press conference is to be held tomorrow (Friday), where he will seemingly be announced as the club’s new head coach.
He was in the running following Wenger’s departure, though then CEO Ivan Gazidis chose Unai Emery at the last minute.
Arteta was a good player for us, in my view. I’m not sure he was a legend – which is admittedly a subjective term – though in that part of the Wenger tenure he was a standout player. After he signed in the aftermath of our debasement at Old Trafford (8-2), he settled in well and we finished third that season. This happened amongst the many goals of Robin van Persie, the assists of Alex Song, the emergence of Woijech Szezncy, and the redemption of Laurent Koscielny (following the Birmingham League Cup final incident). A certain Mr. Henry also had a homecoming that season, and Arteta was a competent piece in an interesting puzzle at that time.
But it seems that now, after a few years aiding Man City to historic points totals and an unprecedented domestic treble, he finally is our man.
Amidst this though, I do have some reservations regarding his appointment.
Working under Guardiola, one of the best managers ever, doesn’t guarantee success. It doesn’t even mean he will be a good coach, and lead our side capably. Both Brian Kidd and Carlos Quieroz worked under Sir Alex Ferguson but then neither excelled as managers on their own. Sir Alex, of course, is arguably the best manager of all-time, but then some of his own assistants have come close to matching his many achievements.
And whilst Pep was untried at Barca, as was Zidane at Real Madrid, this doesn’t mean that Arteta will be the same. Pep and Zizou both had world-class players, and two of the GOATs no less, to help them win multiple league titles and Champions Leagues apiece.
My intention here isn’t to knock Arteta before he has come. His inexperience is a common reservation amongst fans, both online and offline.
However, there are some points that I’d like to see amongst us:
– Support and less toxicity
There are calls that fans are too negative these days. I can see why, as there is continual moaning on most issues.
Granted, fans have the right to their opinions, and we are in a crisis. So positivity is at a premium.
But then some perhaps do like to be negative for the sake of negativity.
And whilst Arteta is not a popular choice, it doesn’t mean that fans should heckle him or cause bother.
We don’t need to add restlessness and angst on top of other points.
Criticism is valid, and a fan holds every right to critique.
But assuming Arteta would fail, or wanting him to fail, isn’t on in my view.
Fans should support as much as criticise, and reaching a balance between the two is key.
And some may reference AFTV in this regard. From what I have seen – and including Robbie Lyle as the head of it – many of them have cited reservations but are willing to support him and give him a chance. This includes some more “rambunctious” members like DT and Claude. So if a “toxic” fan channel can cite this view, then it shows a positive step upwards.
It’s a trend that we all need to follow – whether one likes AFTV or not.
– We just don’t know
Who is to say how Arteta will work out? I believe it is a big risk, but then there have been many Arsenal managers of note who weren’t seasoned at the top level.
Mee and Graham weren’t. Mee was notedly the physio before he became the Double winning manager of 1971. Graham managed Millwall before he was our manager, and Wenger wasn’t well known in England before he joined but we all know how he turned out.
So he could be the next big thing. And we need to give him time before we can judge.
All we can do, really, is give him time.
He may well have the nous to solve our structural and defensive issues.
Though conversely, he may fail badly at both. Either way, we cannot make a sound assessment in either direction.
Zidane was just a coach at Real Madrid, and once he became head coach he led them to three Champions Leagues in a row. And was able to guide Ronaldo, Marcelo, Modric, Bale, Benzema, Ramos, Varane, and other world-class players.
Again, we just don’t know. Only time will tell in this regard.
Arteta is held in high esteem by others in the game. Most at Man City talk about his coaching excellence, including current and former players such as Sterling and Toure.
Being a head coach is distinct from being an assistant. It means handling the media, agents, the board, fans, and numerous other duties.
But then coaching and development is an integral part of it, and we’ll see if he can handle the step up as required.
I suppose in this sense, I’m trying to see the good in this appointment, despite some admitted reservations.
In some ways, I welcome it. It is a change and something new, and it’s exciting to see how things turn out.
Though if they don’t turn out well, then only one party can be blamed. This must be KSE. They have overseen our steady decline, and Arteta cannot take the whole blame if he doesn’t turn out well. Our new manager should be given all the support he can muster, from both the hierarchy and the fans.
Either way, I’d welcome Arteta and want him to succeed.
In his own language, Bienvenido Senor Arteta!