Did Arsene and Arsenal waste the Club’s footballing talent of 1998-2006, coaching-wise?

My brothers will tell you I am a glutton for punishment. All my life I have been sports mad (I taught it in schools for 23 years!). I read anything and everything on almost every sport imaginable – good, bad and indifferent material.

Although football, rugby and cricket are the very top of my interest, I will find myself studying the intricacies of free climbing, or bias in curling, the mechanics of the sand wedge or transference of force in a boxing jab. (I say “almost every” – I have little regard for F1 and American Football).

Jimmy Chin – National Geographic

In addition to reading much, I listen to sport, live commentary, and the opinions of ex sportsmen, “pundits”, and those somehow (unbelievably)  provided with money to talk bowlocks about sport with little or no significant experience to justify their existence in the role.

And so (eventually) to the point of my post…….

Listening to Georgie Bingham and the fake Irishman Cascarino recently, I heard, following copious praise for how well the wonderful Man Utd had used so many of its ” golden generation” in Club coaching and managing roles, with Solskjaer being the crowning glory, that ARSENAL and WENGER had not only wasted theirs from the 1998-2006 period, but, in the case of Arsene, had a definite policy to NOT involve them in Club.

Hackles up, I started to analyse this comment.

Firstly there is Steve Bould. (Although given his “staticness” on the bench during the Wenger era, perhaps he’s more evidence for Ms Bingham’s case than anyone else!) I am fairly certain that Keown, Dixon, and Winterburn, play some part in the daily running of the Club, if not as much in the coaching of defenders role that I would like to see!

Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Freddie and the BFG are now in charge of the Academy and U23s, and at that point I asked myself a question. How many of those missing do I think COULD have been usefully involved. My answer was reduced to two! I have always believed Patrick V. should have been incorporated into our set-up. ( I would still like him to be an Arsenal manager someday). And I would now have to add Marc Overmars for what seems to have been a silent but excellent role behind the scenes at Ajax.

Of the rest, TA has always been clueless to me in terms of coaching, and I believe the same might (perhaps unfairly) be said of Thierry. Sol might prove me wrong, but I doubt it. DB10 never really wanted a coaching role, and has now fallen out even with his Dutch love. Ray Parlour, Gilberto, Lauren, Manu P, Merson, Smith, Ian Wright…….COULD any of them have made it in coaching/managing at our Club? Doubtful IMO.

So have we wasted talent? Have I forgotten anyone important? What do you think?



28 Responses to Did Arsene and Arsenal waste the Club’s footballing talent of 1998-2006, coaching-wise?

  1. Gööner In Exile says:

    Morning all. Just a guess but a pre requisite of being able to coach at any level at the club is to do the FA badges.

    Having had some experience in being coached by people with and without badges the difference is marked. Also now with G starting football we were at a club who in an attempt to form a team in his age group gave some coaching sessions by a guy well qualified, then a Dad volunteered to coach the team, and the sessions went down hill fast even though he has done his first badge. I’ve moved G to another team, where the coach again has passed more than entry level coaching. Watching how he develops sessions for 5/6 year olds is phenomenal, and the improvement you see is unbelievable.

    Why is this relevant, one thing heard constantly from the United players even when in their 20’s was they were going off to do their badges, it doesn’t always translate to success in the arena (G Nev step forward) but it does show in punditry when comparing Neville to say Shearer.

    As for our players of that golden generation how many did it? And I recall the likes of Mersin bemoaning the fact that players at lower clubs couldn’t do things that he would expect of them. That surely applies to youth setup too, and if they had no patience as a coach how could they progress?

    Also surely there has to be vacancies? Pat Rice was a former player and Wenger used him for years, we never really replaced Bob Wilson in GK coach role but Safehands preferred fishing in his retirement. Paul Davis was in charge of youth before Bould, Bould was promoted. The club was run as a family look at the physio’s Gary Lewis replaced by Colin Lewin, the kit men, Vik Akers ably assisted by his sons.

    These players don’t have to coach they have made fortunes they have to have a desire to coach.

  2. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Get back later for a wordier comment but … Arteta?

  3. RA says:

    What a fascinating Post with a very pleasant stroll through both personal preferences and the conundrum of ‘what the hell went wrong with the lack of Arsenal protegé coaches?’

    Jumping around a bit, I think I agree with GIE that most ex-players, not just Arsenal’s, have made so much money that they probably could not be assed with coaching even more wealthy current players, who can be a nightmare to manage.

    For me, I have no real angst with Unai, he just needs time, and more money to buy some better players, but you have covered the players who might have become coaches or who did but were rubbish and I agree with your summary.

    Like Big Daddy, I think Arteta would have made a good manager for us, he has been taught by someone who is recognised as a master manager in Pep.

    And I was surprised he was passed over, especially as he was an Arsenal player and would have known the club from top to bottom.

    But, I had hopes for Vieira, but perhaps cutting his teeth in Europe without the pressure might be the best route for him, and he could well be an Arsenal manager of the future.

  4. Jd says:

    Yes I couldn’t agree with u any less, Arsene Wenger wasted a lot of playing and coaching talent over the years, the man assume the role of a Demi god , on the coaching side of things , he didn’t want anyone with an opinion or strong character of which the invisible group has plenty while on playing side, he had a crèche like academy that produced poorly trained youth which obviously couldn’t make it bearing in mind the amount of control and time he had if u compare it with the number of youth that came through into big time football at old Trafford

  5. JM says:

    Rosicky is currently sporting director at his 1st club club, Sparta Prague.

    Pires has been training with the 1st team and might wish to coach in the future.

    Platt was previously Man City’s 1st team coach, now is somewhere in Italy (sort of a consultant with US Palermo)

    Luzhny is currently Dynamo Kiev’s assistant coach.

    Lehmann previously coached the 1st team and is currently assistant at FC Augsburg.

    Kolo Toure was previously part of Côte d’Ivoire’s coaching staff and is now at Leicester City as 1st team coach.

    Edu is with the Brazilian national team as general coordinator assisting the head coach Tite.

    Cech could become a coach (esp. for GK) if he wants, after retirement.

  6. chris says:

    Wenger was very self obsessed. He did not like a ” shadow cast over him” – as Manu Petit said on TV. Tony Adams said he would love to work at Arsenal and there was much that needed to be done … but “Arsene would never allow it.” Wenger’s ego meant he did not like anyone else getting credit. He treated Pat Rice and Steve Bould like Yes Men. Bould had great success (but briefly) when coaching the defence. So did Martin Keown before that. Then they were stopped. Great pity because they all knew more about defending than Wenger could ever know – and it showed !

  7. RC78 says:

    I think Seaman or Lehman, Campbell, Vieira, Overmars, Henry or Wright could have also added to the club.

  8. RC78 says:

    Now am not convinced by BFG and I hope that Cech stays on…

  9. allezkev says:

    Wasn’t Martin Keown working at Arsenal and especially with our defence in 05/06 when we reached the CL Cup final without conceding a goal and wasn’t Tony Adams coaching Portsmouth when they won the FACup?

    Ryan Garry and Greg Lincoln coach in the Academy.

  10. RC78 says:

    I always support the use of former players in the coaching staff even as temporary advisors. I think the squad respects them, especially the club’s great. Imagine, Vieira comes in and talks to Torreira and Guendouzi or that Sol Campbell talks to Holding and Mavropanos or that Henry and Wright come in to give advice to Auba, Laca and Nketiah…There is a lot of value in it. Leno would wecome some Lehmann tutorial in German

  11. RC78 says:

    – Zidane to bid for Kante, Hazard and Eriksen
    – Zidane to bid for Mbappe, Mane, Mahrez and Neymar

    Order of preference:
    A-List ) Hazard, Kante, Mbappe
    B-List) Ndombele, Erikness, Mane
    C-List) Thiago, Mahrez, Neymar

  12. RA says:

    Hi JM,

    A really good round up of other ex-players doing well, and some of them I knew but others I did not — so thank you.

    It rather changes things from seemingly very few Arsenal ex-players coaching into – quite a lot of them when others are added like Vieira, Arteta, Ljungberg, Thierry, Overmars, BFG, etc.

    Is there an element in a couple of the comments above that if they do not coach in the UK — they don’t count?


  13. GunnerN5 says:

    Thank you for the post LBG, interesting subject.

    There are always people that will try to minimize Arsene’s contribution to Arsenal but nevertheless it was apparent that he shied away from hiring ex players in key coaching/managerial positions. You have already highlighted the notable exceptions who were/are still with the club so the worst he could be really be accused of was being ultra selective.

    Personally I would have liked to seen Vieira, Petit, Overmars and Arteta have had some role; but Arsene knew them better than any of us – we could only judge them as footballers and not as coaching prospects.

  14. TotalArsenal says:

    Lovely post, LBG. 🙂

    Being a good footballer does not mean they will become a good manager, just like a bricklayer is unlikely to become an architect or a violinist to become a conductor. They need a lot of skills and I would think the main ones are: intelligence, strong interpersonal skills, analytic and tactical skills, being visionary, ability to deal with the media and other stakeholders, resilience, etc. I don’t think any of the players mentioned by you have all that’s needed, except maybe the BFG and Arteta. I have high hopes for both Fabregas and Flamini IF they would decide to go for it.

  15. fred1266 says:

    Neymar to real smh

  16. Big Raddy says:

    JM. Good stuff. I like to know where ex-players are.

    Fred. Hope you have recovered. Was it man-flu or something less serious like pleurisy?

  17. Big Raddy says:

    TA. Very good call on Fabregas, a cert for management. Of the current crop, Koscielny is a possible.

  18. fred1266 says:

    Not sure yet BR still under the weather

  19. TotalArsenal says:

    BR, I had a fantasy last summer that Fabregas would join Emery as assistant-coach/player. I felt we needed a good Spanish/English speaker to help Emery getting his messages across. But Cesc is still too young to start thinking about management.

  20. Big Raddy says:

    Thinking of old players … Sanogo. I had high hopes for the chap but he seemed to suffer from nerves. Now playing at Toulouse in La Ligue. He is still only 25!

  21. Big Raddy says:

    chas. Superb pics in the post as always.

  22. chas says:

    Thanks, LBG.

    I don’t think the Club has wasted coaching talent at all. If anyone is good enough, they’ll get jobs elsewhere and be available to come back once they’ve completed their apprenticeships away from where they can do harm.

    Just look at Tony Adams and Thierry Henry. Not good enough. Too full of themselves because they thought the ability to kick a ball immediately gave them the qualities and experience necessary. How wrong they were.

  23. chas says:

    That’s just brilliant news about Laca.
    Rennes won’t be happy – hopefully it will put the wind up them.

  24. chas says:

    Ronaldo has just pulled Juve back to parity with Atletico.
    What will Simeone do now?

  25. LB says:

    That really is good news about Laca being available Thursday.

    Thanks for a very interesting read LBGn

  26. LB says:

    Not sure why that n is there, typo?

  27. chas says:


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