Someone needs to remind Arsene Wenger that the iPhone outgrew the Motorola Razr, as the standard phone of choice, some years ago. They need to point him in the direction of Facetime, whatsapp, and the mass of multi-functional tools within the handset, which make any mobile created before 2007 feel like a standard VHS player; an original daddy of design in its day, now an oversized piece of shit gathering dust under the stairs. If they did this, perhaps it may help him understand that while great men create original ideas, even greater men are able to break them down, and build completely new ones…
Only a fool - or a bitter Tottenham fan, would dare question the genuine stamp of legacy, Arsene Wenger will leave on the Premier League; once he no longer takes helm at the Emirates. Creatine led player diets, basic tactical formations repeated to death until they became automatic, and cultivating teenagers through a youth system; purely to mould them into a physical and psychological ethos of the Arsenal way, are just a few examples of Wenger’s almost genius of innovation in mangement.
Not just this, but here is a man not only responsible for handing these shores the gifts of Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieria, Robin Van-Persie, Samir Nasri, Cesc Fabregas, and Robert Pires - to name a few, but also for carrying a squad through an entire season - in one of the world’s most competitive leagues, unbeaten; not even Alex Ferguson, Brian Cough, Matt Busby, Sir Bobby Robson, or Terry Connor, managed that. He has also secured Arsenal financially; for quite a few years at least. And yet, through all the accolades which half-a century from now will rightly be all we remember him for, much like the original Motorola Razr will forever remain stuck in the world of 2004, Arsene Wenger seems to have the exact same problem.
Arsenal’s modus operandi has not changed an ounce, since a fresh-faced Wenger arrived in 1996. Scout young talent from across the globe, breed them into world class players, play them, then win trophies. For the first eight years, it worked well; it worked very well. Arsenal filled their cabinet with almost every trophy they fought for, and managed it playing some of the most delicious football the game has ever seen. But much like the iPhone implemented elements that made the Razr so popular for its own benefit, competitors copied the methods which made the Wengerboys so successful; Chelsea, Manchester City... Barcelona in 2013, are basically Arsenal in 2003.
Flash forward a decade, and all these sides have not just caught up, but coupled with strong financial backing and the ability to move with the times, have eclipsed a side whose manager seems to flat out refuse to do the same; believing his trusted old Razr will still defeat the power of an iPhone; it won’t. Add this to the fact his young, impressionable players are looking at distant iPhone’s, while holding their Razr’s; realising it doesn’t have Instagram or live video streaming... is it any wonder that before the beginning of this 2013/2014 season, twenty-three players left the club, and only one arrived? Faced with a problem which is only going to continue, it leaves Wenger with only two rational options; change and move forward, or stay the same, and fall further behind.
Arsenal are not a sinking ship, but they are one which is getting rustier and older by the day, and in desperate need of a captain. Each season they diminish an inch deeper, and for a club with one of the more patient fan bases out there, even the most ardent of Wenger admirers know his method of thinking needs to change. The Suarez bid was a positive gesture, but it seemed little more than that, a gesture. Wenger is a very intelligent man, but time has a habit of closing even the deepest of minds. And it doesn’t take long for a once tried and tested formula of success, to become the exact same tired and testy formula of failure.
As a brand and global corporation, Arsene Wenger has built Arsenal into a stable product, very few managers could even begin to cultivate. As a football club, however, evolution has outgrown Wenger’s stoic, business model mentality. Financial acumen provides a stable future, but in that future, the only thing a club is remembered for, is how many trophies it wins. If Arsene Wenger is saving for a rainy day, he needs to glance out the window. Because Manchester United and co are carrying umbrellas, and for the majority of Arsenal fans right now; it’s pissing it down; and has been for the past nine years.
Nobody uses a Motorola Razr anymore.