Tag Archives: coaches

​Arsenal Look to Change

Published Originally on Arsenal Review – and adapted.

Towards the end of the underwhelming 2016-17 season, Arsenal Chief Executive Ivan Gazidis moved to placate the growing unrest amongst supporters, with comments touching upon the need for change if Arsenal were to move forward.

Gazidis touched upon how disappointing the campaign had been, and how there was a real ‘catalyst for change’ amongst everyone at the club. So fans could have been forgiven for thinking that there would be a freshening up of the staff, a changing of the guard if you will. Something that may give Arsene Wenger a differing view.

Well, the recent news coming from Arsenal definitely has a whiff of the Tories during the General Election.





Strong and stable seems to be the order of the day rather than the winds of change, as Arsenal have announced that Gerry Peyton, Boro Primorac, Neil Banfield, Tony Colbert and Steve Bould will all be offered contract extensions. This means that along with Arsene Wenger staying for another two years – exactly nothing will have changed despite Gazidis’ promises to the contrary – or so we thought initially.


After last season’s fifth placed finish, it showed that Arsenal had fallen behind the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea – and even worse, Tottenham –  by quite some distance. From the months of January through till April, the Gunners were battered from pillar to post and slumped down the league table. The now customary Champions League exit was delivered with aplomb by Bayern Munich, and things were looking bleak at The Emirates.


Ivan Gazidis’s comments were meant to apply a salve of sorts, to soothe irate Gooners who could see quite painfully our rivals driving off into the distance. The regime needed to adapt or to be replaced. Arsenal’s Chief Executive could recognise the bubbling undercurrent of dissatisfaction was rising to higher levels than ever seen before. We all thought his comments were hollow at first, but brick by brick, we are seeing that behind the scenes, Arsenal may be taking a different tack.


Did Gazidis and the Board actually have intent to push through changes, and that if Wenger wanted to continue in the job, he would have to adapt?


We will surely never know, but winning the FA Cup will have reminded the Board that Wenger continues to be able to do the job. 


What is now clear is that our whilst our rivals will look to improve their squads with the mountains of cash provided by the TV rights deal, our own squad must also be boosted.


Wenger has started early in that respect, bringing in highly rated Schalke left-back Sead Kolasinac and record signing Alexandre Lacazette, but there is still much work to do. The news will continue to dole out rumours and speculation about targets, but Arsenal need something new if they are to claw themselves back into contention – after being so far away from the top in the last campaign.


Worries in previous seasons about the fitness regime at London Colney, reports about Gerry Peyton clashing with our goalkeepers. All of this may or may not be true, but after twenty one years of this regimen – we can say that this setup now needs to be reworked.


There was a reshuffle of sorts a few seasons ago with the appointment of fitness guru Shad Forsythe who had previously worked with the German international team, but Tony Colbert still resides in his position. Whether this correlates to Arsenal’s annual injury woes is inconclusive, but it is yet another stick on the bonfire.


Gerry Peyton has been goalkeeping coach since Wenger joined the club, and Boro Primorac was rumoured to be taking a Head Coach role somewhere in Europe, but both will be at the club next season.


Much has been made of Steve Bould’s role as Assistant Manager. The former Gunners defensive stalwart has been credited by some players as the reason for more defensive solidarity – but his muted appearances in the Arsenal dugout have left some wondering whether his role is limited. Is Bould simply a scarecrow, designed only to stave off suggestion that Wenger’s power at Arsenal is not open to defiance? Or does Bould have more input than his silent appearances on the Arsenal bench suggest?


With the appointment of Darren Burgess freshening up the fitness side of things, former Gunner Jens Lehmann coming in to the fold as First Team Coach and now Per Mertesacker being given the role of overseeing the future of the Academy, it appears as though the penny has finally dropped. Arsenal have gone for a transfusion of sorts in a bid to meld the old with the new. 


The 12th of August is nearly upon us, and Ivan Gazidis’s words now appear to have been made tangible. 

Freddie In For Thierry – Kids To Have Invincible As Coach

Originally posted on Goonersphere.

The recent furore surrounding Thierry Henry’s departure from Arsenal’s coaching setup has divided opinion in the media and for Gooners too.

Considered by many to be Arsenal’s finest player to have graced the Premier League, Henry’s decision to continue with his media work instead of his coaching role with the Gunners youth has seen much vitriol aimed at the man cast in bronze outside of The Emirates.

Conscious of the backlash his choice would cause amongst the fans who adore him, the man that fans know as ‘Le King’ made a statement outlining his reasons why he chose his role at Sky Sports over earning experience at coaching level at London Colney.

Whether people believe he prioritised lucre, or he believed the confliction between his roles would undermine his work in both positions is besides the point. What has been highlighted is that the bunch of promising youngsters that course through the Academy at London Colney would have benefitted hugely from the sage words and experience only a world class player could have given them.

Step forward Freddie Ljungberg.

The beloved red hair may be shorn, but those cheekbones cannot be disguised. The super Swede is rumoured to be the replacement for the departed Frenchman, and his expertise, knowledge – and most importantly enthusiasm for the job  – can boost the kids he will potentially take under his beautiful wing.

With a plethora of former heroes to call upon, it was only fitting that the club bring in someone who has not only bought the t-shirt, but the whole ensemble. 

International experience, battle scars from Europe and so many seasons at the pinnacle of domestic competition put Freddie in pole position to pass down knowledge which benefits a whole generation.

Ljungberg is in the process of earning his coaching badges, which is a path that will lead to professional management. He has started this journey at the club who gave him the perfect platform as a player to make the most of his talents. 

Who can forget his goalscoring run which saw us over the finishing line in 2002? Aided by the golden touch of a certain Iceman, the super Swede’s unerring accuracy was the difference in the home straight of a magnificent Double campaign.

Mostly, it was his cerebral movement which allowed him to ghost into the box at the exact moment. An attacking facet which takes many players years to hone, but Freddie could almost smell the opportunity before it arose.

It is these talents which he can help chisel from the rough diamonds he will be in charge of. 

His winning mentality though, will be chief among reasons why this potential hiring is a masterstroke. 

His trophy haul speaks of a man who will not take anything less than 100%. If he can successfully burn this into every one of his students consciousness, then he could well be readymade for a managerial role.

We love you Freddie, because you’ve got no hair, but also, because you’re a winner. 

Coaching In the UK – What is Needed?

The Dearth of Coaching is the Murderer of Football

The response that met England’s World Cup 2014 humiliation from the once vociferous Three Lions fans spoke volumes. Ironically, their silence should have been the thorough answer that the F.A needed to radically overhaul what is a decrepit and dated manifesto.
Normally following their beloved national football team from pillar to post, the crowd of less than 56000 at Wembley for the Euro qualifier against whipping boys San Marino was a statement from the normally loyal legions. Mediocrity has been suffered long enough.
Many have attempted to answer why England cannot match up to expectations, even with supposed ‘World-Class’ superstars peppering their squad.
Some have surmised ( including myself in a previous blog! ) regarding a lack of a winter break that recent World Cup winners Spain and Germany enjoy.
Others speculated on the muddied waters of the Premiership, citing a flooding of foreign players that smothers the chances of young English players.
The F.A have a mess on their hands. They need to see what is at the fulcrum of the problem. That would be the huge lack of coaches at all levels.

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