All Arsenal Managers’ Stats

Following yesterday’s blog post comparing Arsenal managers’ stats, here’s the full table of all stats in one place for handy reference. (Click to enlarge.)arsenal managers all stats

Andy Kelly has pointed out that the base information I used contains some small errors in dates and numbers of games, but nothing that will dramatically alter the figures I’ve calculated. Andy does a lot of research on Arsenal history, so I’m sure he’s right and I will update this (or let Andy do it!) once I’ve got anything more accurate.

Yesterday I mentioned Joe Shaw and the relative ease with which he probably won the League in 1934. While I still believe that, it’s probably also worth noting that the role of ‘manager’ was not necessarily so well defined 80 years ago, and clearly after the sudden death of such a monumental figure as Herbert Chapman there would be a vacuum that had to be filled by a combination of others. So George Allison and Joe Shaw between them took over the roles that Chapman had been performing, and for the remainder of the 1933-34 season Shaw seems to have been the man picking the team. In the summer role titles changed and Allison appears to have taken over that responsibility. However, we may never know how much influence Allison had on team affairs from January to May 1934, and how much Shaw had from August 1934 onwards. Perhaps there was ongoing collaboration, and in practice not much difference between ’34 and ’35. But credit has to be apportioned somehow, so I’ve stuck with the official version of events, that Shaw was team manager for half a season only, and Allison thereafter. Thanks again to Andy Kelly for much of this insight.

Second point from yesterday is that I presented all the stats to say ‘this is interesting, if you happen to like looking at Arsenal history’, but I also said that there is more to history than stats. That’s why no matter what the stats say, no one is going to convince me that Herbert Chapman is not the greatest football manager who has ever lived. Even if Arsène Wenger had won the treble every year since 1998, it wouldn’t necessarily make him a greater manager than Herbert Chapman. It would be a lot closer, I’ll grant you that, but Herbert Chapman was such a towering visionary that he makes every other manager look a pygmy by comparison. That includes Arsène Wenger.

I don’t dispute that Arsène Wenger is a great manager. I’ve written several blog posts to explain that. But he has not had the influence of Herbert Chapman, nor is he anywhere near as remarkable a man. It’s not denigrating Arsène to say Chapman is better – Chapman is better than EVERY other manager. If you are a recent fan of Arsenal, perhaps you need to go and read some history of the game before disputing this. If you are old enough to remember Arsenal from the eighties you might think you have enough knowledge to state with certainty that no one could be better than Arsène Wenger, given how he improved things. Well think again. Arsène’s achievements are many, but is he honestly the best manager of his generation, head and shoulders above anyone else? I think Alex Ferguson’s trophy count is a convincing argument against that.

Arsène has achieved a lot, clearly far more than most people would have achieved with the same resources. We’ve had dizzying highs with Arsène, mostly we’ve been spared terrifying lows, but now we’re stuck on a diet of creamy middles. Mmm, creamy middles . . .  I’ll come back to that point another time.

What I’m saying is this: I recognise and fully acknowledge Arsène’s achievements. I believe he could have done things better recently and I criticise him for that, while still praising his successes. But he is emphatically not Arsenal’s greatest ever manager, and if you claim he is then the lack of understanding is yours, my friend, not mine.

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16 thoughts on “All Arsenal Managers’ Stats

  1. you fail to consider that no other manager was competing against clubs which are backed by billionaires. times changed dude

  2. Arsenal’s league position at the end of the season before Chapman joined was 20th – 1 place above the relegated teams.

    Arsenal’s league position in Chapman’s first season as Arsenal manager – 2nd. This was behind the Huddersfield team that Chapman had built & won the league title in the two previous seasons. Pretty impressive.

  3. Wenger is the european manager of the decade. Wenger is first on the list of Barca, Real, Bayern and France so they don’t agree, and they know their shit. Even up until Wenger arrived, the arsenal players were running on a diet of kebabs coke and alcohol. All the competition has raised it’s game since. Sir Alex ALWAYS had a financial advantage over everyone else, and when Wenger 1st arrived he completely kicked Fergie’s butt. It has taken the arrival of CHelski’s oil, ManCity’s Oil, the press and some dodgy reffing and four broken legs to try and knock Wenger, but here we are again, for the 17th time in a row , with a new stadium, and a squad on the up with five young brits, Jenks, Ramsey, Gibbs, Ox and Wilshire. So all they could do was delay for a while as the stadium got paid for without stooping into the minus. But now what is interesting is that we are starting to play some PROPER football. He ain’t done yet, and he is will get his sweet revenge, and he is that great.

    • This is the Fergie who won the League in 1997, then the treble in ’99 and the League again in 2000 and 2001, while Arsenal won nothing in those years? That’s the Fergie whose butt was kicked, is it?

      • Yep! I’ll give you 5 mil, and I’ll have 30mil, pft and yet we still went a season unbeaten. That’s a butt kicking. Embarrasing even. If Fergie had the same budget, he’d only have enuff for his wine.

      • So in the first five years of Arsene’s reign – which is almost a third of his total, and what I would describe as his early years – he won trophies in one year and Fergie won the league (and a few other things) in all the others, yet in your version of history “when Wenger first arrived he completely kicked Fergie’s butt”. Supporting a club and being a little biased is one thing, supporting a manager rather than the club seems to have made you totally deluded.

      • In wenger’s first full season he won the double. But that’s nothing. The biggest BUTT KICKING EVER is the unbeaten season. That cannot be topped and cannot be disputed. Now watch Jenkinson, Wilshire, Gibbs, Ramsey, Ox do som damage for years to come, now that we have paid for our shiny new stadium without a sugar daddy. I enjoy watching the Arsenal play, without getting “angry” so who’s deluded? When I go to the emirates, I have a good time, and I always defend the Arsenal. I don’t go and spoil the day by moaning. That is deluded. The very name”angry of islington” is biased and deluded. I go to have fun mate. Don’t knock Wenger and don’t knock me.

  4. Looking at the number of years in charge and trophies won, George Graham’s record seems better than Wenger. Wenger has stayed 16 years and still counting. Arsenal in the last 8 years have been stagnant and that is a big minus for Wenger.

  5. admiittedly times have been tough of late but you all have to remember Wenger is more than just a football manager look at what he has done since 96,the club is unrecognisable to the one he arrived at,new 60,000 seater stadium,new state of the art training facilities,global recognition,champions league football year in year out.Unlike most managers who come and go Wenger is a visionary He has always seen the bigger picture and what he has done for Arsenal will never be forgotten.

  6. The claims that Wenger was greater than Chapman are on a par with the ones that Thatcher was greater than Churchill, ludicrous.
    I can see some similar traits though between Thatcher and Wenger , with grim megalomania type stubbornness leading them to staying too long in their jobs being among them.

  7. Chapman was manager at a time when there was less established an elite (money hadn’t had the same level of influence), when it was possible to change tactics and rely on opponents not having ever seen them before, as opposed to the full video and stats analysis available today. I’m not trying to deny his achievements. That would be wrong. Merely saying that at the time, there was more scope, more opportunity to implement changes. A true visionary indeed. No doubt about that.His impact on Arsenal was extraordinary and that’s why he has a statue outside our new ground.. Although, there is some doubt as to whether he can single handedly lay claim to the title of the greatest football manager of his era. There was a certain Jimmy Hogan who might offer some challenge to him in that regard. But that too, like this one, is a difficult comparison to make.

    Arsene Wenger found a club with a rich history, but which was caught in the past, and if not for him, Arsenal might never have hoped to have stood among the true elite of European football (we still aren’t there) His early success might be due to his exposure to a different culture, but then other managers who had played/managed abroad didn’t quite manage the same impact on English football as Wenger did. The change in diets, sports medicine, the great profits which allowed us to move from training on school grounds to having a state of the art training centre, the wonderful football, the trophies, the new stadium project, continued qualification for Europe, taking us from 42 in the Uefa coefficients to 6(?). Far from stagnating, Arsenal, even without trophies, have shown steady growth as a club. Wenger’s impact on the club is just as extraordinary. Just as Chapman’s legacy became entrenched in the club, Wenger’s stamp will remain on Arsenal for some time. Whether Wenger is the greatest football manager of his era (most would say no- although even Chapman bemoaned the mindset of trophies or league position being all important), it doesn’t matter. For me, he’s the best manager we could have had, and whatever Chapman’s trials and tribulations of the time might have been, Wenger has had a fair few problems to deal with that Chapman most certainly wouldn’t have had.

    I don’t think the two are comparable. It’s enough for me to say that Arsenal have been lucky to have had two such visionaries as managers in their history. One’s legacy is secure, the other isn’t even done yet. To compare the two at any point would be near impossible, but at this point, we still have one of the true Arsenal greats at the helm (and who knows, maybe at some point, he will be the greatest), and as such, any comparison will b a flawed exercise.

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