The media have linked Patrick Vieira, Mikel Arteta and Thierry Henry to the Arsenal manager’s job this week, but is it really a good idea to hire a former player?
It’s becoming a common theme for Arsenal legends and pundits to claim a former Gunner would be perfect for the job when Arsene Wenger goes.
This week, Ray Parlour urged the club to gamble on Vieira.
A big concern is the fact that none of the other big clubs seem to be doing it. None of the big-six are currently managed by one of their former players.
In the last decade, excluding caretaker managers, there are only three exceptions: Tim Sherwood at Tottenham, Kenny Dalglish at Liverpool and Roberto Di Matteo at Chelsea.
Even then, Dalglish had already managed Liverpool before, back in the 1980s, so he wasn’t a major risk. He had experience in management and, more specifically, managing Liverpool.
Tim Sherwood didn’t exactly set the league on fire during his 141 days in charge, and Spurs sacked him by May. He took control of 26 matches, losing nine and drawing four
Di Matteo did well with Chelsea, winning an FA Cup and the Champions League. Then again, he took over halfway through both campaigns, so it wasn’t really his team.
Both Sherwood and Di Matteo, they worked as Assistant Manager at the club first. Like Dalglish, they had some experience at the top of their clubs.
Henry, Vieira and Arteta have none of that experience with Arsenal.
They all captained Arsenal, and Henry was a coach for a short while before deciding he’d rather be a pundit, but that’s it.
In fact, only Vieira has any management experience at all, as the 41-year-old is in charge of New York City FC.
The other two have only ever worked as assistants for other teams, and not for very long.
It might be a popular idea with fans to bring in a club legend. It would be someone they already know and someone they trust to give their all for Arsenal Football Club.
Honestly though, most supporters won’t care either way who is manger after a few wins.
The board need to make their decision based on experience and footballing philosophy, not sentiment.
I’m yet to be convinced Arteta, Henry or Vieira are the right answer under those criteria.