When a fairy tale gets badly real

OPINION: After the scandal of Selhurst Park, it’s clear that our man Vieira was in the wrong dug-out

Thursday, 7th April — By Richard Osley

Mikel Arteta IMG_7781 (1)

CHARLIE and the Chocolate Factory was a nice old story, wasn’t it? The classic tale of triumph of innocence over greed, the success of the charming lad who accepted he would get whatever confectionery he was given and not ask for more. No! To Augustus Gloop. Yes! To little Charlie Bucket. So touched was Willy Wonka, he gave his whole factory, his whole life works over to the boy at the end of the book

As beautiful as this may all sound, the boy Bucket had no experience in running factories. It’s not been thought through. How could he possibly deal with such a task. It would be bad enough if he was asked to take on a normal chocolate plant, but Wonka’s involved the care and maintenance of a river for starters and he would have to negotiate with a workforce of squirrels and Oompa-Loompas. My bet? He would have failed. And things would’ve gone bad for him from there. All the chocolate lovers would accuse him of being at the wheel when the best factory in the world went bust.

But, folks, this is what happens when you hire somebody with no previous workplace experience at all. It’s a horrific gamble, like Roman getting a top post in Succession or, IRL folks, the unqualified, never-been-a-reporter George Osborne can be a newspaper editor at the Evening Standard. Yes, that one really happened.

At Arsenal, a club which has been among the European superpowers and aspires to be there again one day, they have hired a manager who has… never been a manager before. Everybody has to start somewhere, but imagine that: the first job as a manager is the multi-million contract you get as the head man at the Emirates Stadium. Never been a manager before, and yet holding the power to bullet out Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Matteo Guendouzi and William Saliba.

If we have a cup of coffee and try to remain calm about the scandal at Selhurst Park on Monday evening, are we really saying that none of these three players could have made life easier for Arsenal against Crystal Palace? How have Arsenal been allowed to get to a stage where there are so few options to even put on the substitutes bench?

The Gunners looked like they had all consumed a roast dinner before turning out to play against Palace on Sunday, and some rhubarb crumble as well. No pace, no interest, no clue. People will say, you weren’t saying this last month.
Last month, Arsenal were playing “easy teams”. This time they were up against a club managed by a man who has already gained experience in France and the US. Our man Vieira was in the wrong dug-out.

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