Tuesday, 23 September 2008

The Professor IS the beating heart of Arsenal's Beautiful Game.

If proof were needed of a manager's profound influence on his players, the leak of Arsene Wenger's team meeting notes to the Daily Mail confirms the genius of a man, who's done as much for Arsenal as anyone has done for any club anywhere. Ever.

To gauge just how much The Professor's changed The Gunners, recall how rival fans taunted them with boring boring Arsenal - a chant now employed ironically by the home fans each time their team's won a game by halftime. Never has an old song been consigned more soundly to the dustbin than that!

Arsenal's Wengerness manifests itself so frequently in lengthy unbeaten runs, two-dozen passes leading to Goal Of The Season and sound thrashings meted out to lesser-prepared teams and their array of transient managers.

And it's all down to The Man.

But just how does The Professor keep such basic tenets of belief so fresh for his players when the challenge is just to keep winning?

The answer to that lies in his constant desire to keep adapting to the conundra set by differing opposition - by succeeding.

Players come and go, in the case of Hleb and Flamini, sometimes faster than he wants them to.

But Wenger's principles remain steadfast in the face of a changing football world - and the ultimate insurance policy against have-a-go billionaires who think they can buy glory.

There are many ways to skin a cat. Compare The Professor with Fergie with The Special One and you'll unearth a multitude of routes to a Winning Formula.

The greats are often mavericks with seemingly unorthodox methods. From Shankly's “If you're not sure what to do with the ball, just pop it in the net and we'll discuss your options afterwards.” to Cloughie's "When I disagree with a player, we talk about it for 20 minutes and then we decide I was right."

But there's a science and logic to Wenger, who's way of management has changed its face forever.

His principles on diet, fitness and a team ethic now in the public domain, are universal, for all time and should be adopted by any coach serious about success, now or in the future.

I really hope Arsenal win the league this season, not just to propel Wenger to the game's summit again, but also to show the wave of billionaire owners that football's dreams can still be made of Stars - not just Cash Cows.