26 December, 2011

High praise for Wolves' Irish boss from English football's greatest manager: (and no; that's not Alex Ferguson):

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SKY SPORTS: Pivotal to the success of elite clubs like Manchester United
        The majority /only football opinion is that Alex Ferguson is the greatest English football manager, of his generation and arguably of all time.  I would disagree with that argument.  Yes, his achievements with Manchester United have been phenomenal.  However, he has had more that his fair share of good fortune along the way. 
            In 1989 he was one Cup game away from losing his job (which United famously won 1-0 against Norwich).  Then in the early 1990s;  Manchester United happened to be right at the top of the English game just when the big money was coming into the game.  Whilst keeping United at the summit of English and European football for some 20 years has indeed been a great achievement, it was an achievement made a lot easier given the "fan" base the club has and the monster revenue streams the club has/had.  
           It is also important to note that Manchester United  won the first ever Premier League having not won a top division Title in the previous 26 years.  That is significant when one considers the exposure the Premier League has had and will have through Sky Sports and the fact United won the FIRST Premier League Title was a massive slice of fortune, especially considering they had not won  "The Title"  in over a quarter of a century.

Le Professor: People listen when Wenger talks football
This observer would like for the judgement of who is  "English Football's Greatest Manager"  to be reserved for a time when all Premier League managers have the same budget.  If this were to happen, McCarthy and Wenger would be very near the summit of the list.

            This is why for me, Arsene Wenger is  "English Football's Greatest Manager"  of this generation.  The way he revolutionized Arsenal's style of play from the successful but intensely boring  "1-0 to the Arsenal, 1-0 to the Arsenal"  to the fast, attacking, free flowing football that has been the 21st century Arsenal way, is something which is almost entirely down to Wenger's input.  The way he did this by bringing through young talents (rather than spending multi-million pound fortunes on talent) and grooming them through to the first team, is also something which deserves much respect.
            The fact that he achieved this under strict salary restrictions (coupled with the financial limits enforced due to the construction of the Emirates Stadium) has been all the more remarkable.  Yes, the Gunners have gone five seasons without a trophy, but his record of three Premier League Titles (1998, 2002, '04); 4 F.A. Cups and just being pipped to the Champions League Title (2006) - among a number of other Champions League crowns; is one which has only been bettered by Manchester United.  The fact that he has achieved this without the monster budgets of the  "Red Devils"  (or the likes of Chelski);  makes his achievements all the more fantastic.  
MUTUAL RESPECT:  Mick McCarthy and Arene Wenger
             Tomorrow Arsenal host Wolves and Wenger's program notes are ones which Wolves (and former Republic of Ireland manager) Mick McCarthy - and more to the point - his chairman Steve Morgan along with the fans of the Molineux club, should read.  When Wenger  speaks football, football people listen.  Wenger has warned Arsenal to expect a football test when miracle worker Mick McCarthy brings his fighting Wolves side to the Emirates Stadium.  
             "Mick McCarthy is working miracles at Wolves," - Wenger said in his program notes.  "He is always up for a fight, never gives up, keeps his mental strength and never shows any strain.  It is great what he does for his club.  I believe they play excellent football as well."
             Wenger also spoke of his admiration of McCarthy's determination:  "A manager needs to be strong, cold-blooded, resilient and Mick McCarthy has all of those qualities."  With praise like that, Mick McCarthy should save it in his memory bank and use for what looks like a tough second half of the season ahead for his Irish sprinkled side.  This observer would like for the judgement of who is  "English Football's Greatest Manager"  to be reserved for a time when all Premier League managers have the same budget.  Whilst this will likely never happen, I believe that if it were the case, McCarthy and Wenger would be very near the summit.
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