We’re quite excited that Edu is joining the group. He has excellent encounter and technical football understanding and most importantly is a accurate Arsenal man. He understands the club and what we stand for to our millions of fans about the globe.
Raul Sanllehi

The clamour for ex-players to be appointed to roles inside a club exactly where they enjoyed good results is a prevalent and understandable one particular. Fans are practically nothing if not sentimental and nostalgia has a potent pull on all of us. So considerably about getting a supporter is tied up in self-identification that we are simply offered to fond reminiscence.

Becoming a fan of a club is one particular of the couple of accurate constants in life and, as a result, we miss instances gone by quite simply. I do not just miss the ‘Invincible’ era simply because Arsenal have been truly superior and quite profitable, but simply because this era coincided with my days at university, one particular of the happiest instances of my life. We miss the old days for our football teams simply because we miss getting young, frankly speaking.

It is the exact same purpose for the retro shirt boom. Kit makers are constantly attempting to make suggestive nods to the previous when they release a new shirt. Nostalgia sells. The arrival of Edu Gaspar this summer time was preceded by two other former players- Steve Bould and Freddie Ljungberg- swapping jobs for the upcoming season. In the summer time of 2018, Per Mertesacker became head of the Arsenal Academy.

Considerably has been created of the ‘Arsenalisation’ of the new broom behind the scenes. Chelsea and Manchester United have lately appointed inexperienced head coaches who take place to be club legends. When Raul Sanllehi stated, of Edu, that “most importantly he is a accurate Arsenal man,” I do hope this was a bit of harmless PR speak.

That Edu played for the club for 5 years almost 20 years ago is good, but it is certainly not the most essential issue about his appointment and the exact same goes for Ljungberg, Mertesacker and Bould. Most essential is that they are certified for their roles. I would like to feel absolutely everyone would agree that competence for the function is the most vital issue.

But how essential is it to be ‘an Arsenal man’ when undertaking a coaching or executive function? Is it of any marginal significance whatsoever? Nicely, the initial issue to say is that it is practically nothing new. Arsene Wenger had George Armstrong, Pat Rice and Liam Brady in major roles and later on, Steve Bould replaced Rice as assistant manager. Wenger stated it was essential to him to maintain these ‘Arsenal values’ inside the club although he identified his feet.

With Arsene now gone and Arsenal owned by a distant entity, a lot of supporters have begun to really feel that the club is mired in an identity crisis. Advertising Freddie Ljungberg and appointing Edu, with Mertesacker currently in situ, is a neat way of handling that identity crisis in PR terms. As considerably as fans clamour for old faces, what constantly strikes me is how it is under no circumstances the players you anticipate that return.

For all the speak of Tony Adams, captain amazing, returning to the club, it is Steve Bould who has enjoyed much more than a decade in a coaching function. Gilles Grimandi became one particular of Wenger’s most trusted lieutenants. From the Invincibles era, the speak has been of Vieira, Henry or Bergkamp producing a hero’s return. I am not certain lots of would have bet cash on Edu and Ljungberg getting at the forefront of a new era for the Gunners more than a decade immediately after their playing careers at the club concluded.

This, also, is practically nothing new. From the era defining group of the 1930s, Hapgood, Bastin and James under no circumstances returned, but the significantly less revered Jack Crayston and George Swindin did. Neither have been hugely profitable as the Gunners failed with a policy of nostalgia, made to attempt and rekindle their 1930s heyday in the much more complicated post-war era.

The appointment of George Graham in 1986 was a much more profitable ploy, as an ambling group have been instantly told to pull their socks up, shine their footwear and don their Arsenal blazers. Graham was quite strict on the thought of rekindling club traditions and, it has to be stated, that truly worked. It was the ideal strategy for that time. It is just that no one who saw Graham as a player anticipated for one particular minute he would turn into the disciplinarian coach to enforce it!

Don Howe enjoyed a relatively unremarkable two seasons as a player at Highbury in the mid-60s. Couple of on the North Bank at that time would have earmarked him as the future coaching mastermind behind a domestic double as an assistant and the manager in his personal ideal some-time immediately after that. This illustrates how complicated it is to judge how a player’s profession may shape up when they have retired.

Their suitability for particular jobs is not revealed by how they play, but who they are away from our eyes. Ljungberg came to Arsenal as a spiky haired 21-year old with a Sid Vicious aesthetic. I keep in mind vividly Nigel Winterburn chewing his ear off as he created his way off the bench for his debut against Manchester United in 1998.

In a two- win more than Ipswich in April 2002, as the Gunners closed in on the title, I recall Tony Adams coaching Edu by means of the game, consistently encouraging him. The sense of old passing onto new has constantly been there and it has constantly been essential. Arsenal have been fast to play up Edu’s old boy credentials, but he is far much more a Corinthians man than an Arsenal man. He played for them across two spells and then became their Director of Football. His son Luigi played for their U-14s final season.

There is a sense that passing on values is essential in any organisation. Ajax and Bayern Munich location a major emphasis on developing a golden thread from their previous. It is complicated to judge just how considerably influence that has on their good results, it is not the primary purpose, of course. However they clearly think that it is of marginal significance at least and not just to develop a ‘story’ for their brand.

Arsenal have created a virtue of redeploying former players ahead of. Occasionally it has worked (Graham, Howe, Rice) at times it hasn’t (Swindin, Howe, Lehmann). The primary issue is competence of course, but context also has a portion to play. On occasion, a club desires reminding of its values and all of the issues that when created it profitable. Sometimes, that is the incorrect hand to play.

The teams of the 50s and 60s spoke of feeling oppressed by the spectre of their 1930s forefathers- so considerably so that they changed their household shirt to an all red affair in the mid-60s in a deliberate try to sever ties with that era. Owned by KSE and locked into the transition of the post Wenger era, there is an argument that now is the ideal time for Arsenal to reinvigorate former traditions.

So extended as Arsenal realise, as I am certain they do, that Ljungberg and Edu’s Arsenal lineage is a little cherry on the cake and not the flour, butter and eggs. Graham did not just reinvigorate mid-1980s Arsenal with club ties and blazers, he did it by means of superior coaching and the strategy needed for the players he had at his disposal.

Edu, Ljungberg and Mertesacker have turn into essential pillars for Arsenal’s medium-term future and they will be judged on their tangible abilities. How considerably their intangible attributes count for is for future historians to choose. “When you speak about mentality, it is not only the players. The club has to have the exact same mentality of the players,” Edu told Arsenal.com this week.

We have to have the mentality of Arsenal, we constantly had to have winning in front of us.” Whether or not deliberately or otherwise, Edu applied the previous tense in that final sentence. Upon his departure from the club, Petr Cech admitted that losing didn’t hurt sufficient at Arsenal. That getting the case, much more characters inside the club who played below a quite diverse atmosphere is welcome, but it will not be the figuring out issue in their good results.

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