With the recent sacking of Leicester City manager Nigel Pearson, footballers followers all over the world were crudely reminded of the extreme volatility of life as a football manager. After guiding Leicester to the English top flight and pulling of one of the most miraculous escapes in recent history by avoiding relegation after securing 22 points in the final seven games, Pearson was sacked by the club’s Thai owners for “non-footballing reasons.”
In strong critique of the decision, Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher expressed his outrage: “And people ask why the modern player chooses punditry”.
Football is undergoing extensive globalization as the sport reaches out across boundaries. With the increasing involvement of foreign parties, their ideologies also enter the scenario and often clash with those associated with the Premier League since its inception.
Sir Alex Ferguson was given five years to build a side capable of winning the Premier League by the then Manchester United board. Such liberties cannot possibly be extended to managers today where owners and fans alike demand immediate success.
In terms of his longevity at Arsenal, as it is with the quality of his brand of football, Arsene Wenger stands well and truly alone, heads and shoulders above his peers. The 65-year-old Frenchman is preparing to lead his side for the 20th consecutive season. This feat is all the more remarkable considering that Wenger has now overseen more matches at Arsenal than the combined total of games his premier League rivals have managed at their current clubs. During his 20 year period at Arsenal, Wenger has been in charge of 1066 games and has managed to maintain an incredible 57.5% win ratio. He has been in charge of Arsenal for six times as long as Liverpool’s Brendon Rodgers, the League’s second longest serving manager who has presided over 155 matches for the Merseyside club.
Arsenal remain one of the last footballing dynasties in world football. The likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona have withdrawn some managerial power from their managers and have different positions to take care of managerial issues. They fall in the category of institutions, with periodic elections and a de-centralized power structure. In contrast, Arsene Wenger has the first and the final say in all football related issues and this kind of power is rarely afforded to managers today. Wenger has built his footballing dynasty from scratch, right from the club’s celebrated Youth Academy and exerts complete control over the club’s financial matters. In his 20 year tenure at Arsenal, Wenger has helped Arsenal win three Premier League titles and a record six FA Cups.
Sir Alex Ferguson was once asked about his relationship with Arsene Wenger. He responded by speaking of their intense rivalry which culminated into mutual respect and concluded by asserting, “It’s just the two of us and we’ll probably ride out into the sunset together”. However, Wenger is showing no signs of slowing down. If anything, the recent acquisition of Petr Cech and the speculation surrounding Arsenal indicates that the Frenchman is raring to go. It has been 20 years and Arsene Wenger continues to exert his influence on global football, never once compromising on the quality of football practised by his charges.