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Fan protests, empty red seats and the success of a youthful McVay may spell doom for Arsene Wenger
Merlion96 (IP Logged)
23 March, 2018 22:01
Long and interesting read.

It showed a ruthless side of Silent Stan who is not afraid to change if his wallet is hurt.


It was a decision that was made during a dinner meeting in Los Angeles, a decision that when announced to the world in January 2017 rewrote the record books in the NFL.

Sean McVay, at the age of just 30, was the new head coach of the LA Rams. He was the youngest head coach in NFL history, beating the previous mark which had been set by Lane Kiffin, who was hired by the Oakland Raiders a few months before his 32nd birthday.

It was an appointment that took the whole of the NFL by surprise, not just because of McVay's age - but because it had been made by Stan Kroenke, a franchise owner who is hardly known for taking risks.

But now - just one season later - the appointment is not viewed as a risk, it's viewed as an inspired piece of foresight that has completely transformed the Rams in little over a year.

McVay was named coach of the year by the Pro Football Writers of America having guided the Rams to their first division title since 2003, they also became the first team in the Super Bowl era to go from last to first in scoring in consecutive years.

Although they were beaten by the Atlanta Falcons in the play-offs, it was a breakthrough season for the Rams at a vital time as it came just after Kroenke had controversially relocated them from St Louis to LA.

McVay was the architect of all of that and the decision to appoint him - and the success he has had - could have far reaching consequences on the other side of the Atlantic.

There are many who believe that the only reason Arsene Wenger is still in charge at Arsenal is because Kroenke is not brave enough to make a decision. That he is too loyal to the Frenchman to cast him aside.

That was a view that was shared by many in the States until the 70-year-old showed his ruthless side by parting company with Jeff Fisher - who had been in charge of the Rams for five years - and gave the green light for McVay to come in.

"There was a thought here that Stan Kroenke was very loyal and didn't want to make a change," Alden Gonzalez, the LA Rams writer for ESPN, told

"When Jeff Fisher came over as head coach in 2012 he inherited a franchise that was in really bad shape, they were one of the worst teams in the NFL at that point. Jeff got them to a seven and nine (mid-table) team, but he couldn't get them over the hub.

"It was clear he wouldn't be able to do that and I think what prompted Stan to realise that he needed to make a change - and this is not something that will apply to Arsenal - was the fact they had come over from St Louis to Los Angeles and LA is the second largest media market in the nation. He knew they needed to grab a foothold in LA.

"There are so many different sports team in LA, that at the very least you can't be boring. You can't be bad and boring in LA."

Gonzalez added: "Jeff Fisher is not an offensive minded coach, the team had struggled to score points for a long time and the fanbase - a new fanbase - had really turned on him.

"Stan did give a contract extension to Jeff before they made the move to LA, but they got blown out by the Atlanta Falcons here with about four regular season games remaining. It was an embarrassing loss, fans were booing and that was the point when Stan thought that's it, we need a new head coach."

The fact that the way Fisher was viewed by Rams supporters played such a key part in Kroenke replacing him could give Arsenal fans calling for change at the Emirates extra fuel to continue to protest against Wenger staying on past the summer.

Having spent so much time pushing to relocate the franchise from St Louis, the spectre of a disillusioned fanbase in LA proved to be the tipping point that forced Kroenke to act.

He is in the process of building a new stadium in Inglewood, one that when completed will be the most expensive in the planet. It is due to open in 2020 and it needs to be full to help pay for the mammoth construction costs.

"LA was Stan's baby," Gonzalez explained. "He had been pitching the Rams going to LA for a while, he presented the presentation and how he was going to fund it. This was his thing, he was going to be directly involved in it.

"I think if they were going to stay in St Louis then maybe Stan would have been happy with the status quo, but the fact he is in a new market he pushed for with a fanbase who had no real ties to the Rams and a new stadium, I think he understood that he had to listen to the fans.

"He understood something had to change otherwise the LA thing was not going to work out because the last thing you need in a city as big as this one, when there are as many distractions that there are here, is for everyone to be a bit meh about your football team."

The similarities with what was happening with the Rams last year and the situation Arsenal find themselves in now are interesting.

Empty seats are the norm at the Emirates now.

Just like in LA, the fans are beginning to stay away. We're seeing more and more red seats at the Emirates as supporters begin to vote with their feet.

The protests outside the ground didn't work last season as they could be easily ignored. But empty red seats on show for the world to see could make it far harder for Kroenke to turn a blind eye this summer should the likes of Ivan Gazidis and Raul Sanllehi push for a change.

If the American does pull the trigger it will be Gazidis and Sanllehi who lead the search for a successor - but the way McVay's appointment was sanctioned last year shows that Kroenke will have the final decision when it comes to bringing in a new man.

The search for a Fisher's replacement was led by Kevin Demoff, the chief operating officer of the Rams, general manager Les Snead and senior assistant Tony Pastoors.

They were the search committee, they drew up the shortlist, conducted the interviews and decided McVay was the right man - but the decision was not going to go through unless Kroenke signed it off.

"When the Rams went into search they didn't want to hire a young head coach," Gonzalez told "They wanted to a hire an offensive minded head coach who could bring a lot of energy.

"They had a list of candidates but the guy they kept hearing the most about was Sean McVay. They had never heard assistant coaches and players rave about a candidate the way people were speaking about Sean McVay.

"But they couldn't get around the fact that at that point he was only 30 years old. Nobody had ever been a head coach at 30 years old, it is incredibly young for a position like that.

"So they spent a lot of time talking themselves out of hiring McVay because of that, but then he went to interview and he completely blew their socks off.

"Les Snead tells a story that when Sean McVay walked out and the room was silent, Les looks around and said something to the effect of 'I hope we have the courage to do what's right'."

Gonzalez added: "So they scheduled a dinner with McVay and Stan. They wanted to see how Sean would act with Stan and it was that night that cemented Sean as the new head coach.
"Stan hasn't spoken publicly about this because as you know he doesn't speak publicly, but that dinner reaffirmed that to Stan that this was the right guy.

"The next morning he called Sean and offered him a contract to be the head coach. From what I've heard he never had any reservations about his age. Once he heard what he was about and what he would bring to the Rams, he was able to just turn the page on his age and not care about that."

There are many names mentioned as possible successors to Wenger at Arsenal. There is a school of thought that the north London club will want a safe pair of hands to steer them through the transition following the Frenchman's two-decade reign.
Carlo Ancelotti has been heavily tipped to come in, as has German national team boss Joachim Low. But there are also less fancied names doing the rounds, mainly due to their perceived lack of experience.

Mikel Arteta, who is currently assistant to Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, is a possibility - as is Patrick Vieira who is in charge of New York City in Major League Soccer. Thierry Henry is another who has openly admitted he could be tempted, should the top job become available.

Whilst most observers in England believe that Kroenke would shy away from such an appointment, Gonzalez believes that McVay's remarkable success story with the Rams could lead to Arsenal's majority shareholder turning to a youth when it comes to naming Wenger's successor.

"I think that could absolutely be the case," he said. "Every situation is going to be different of course, but you have to consider what McVay did here. It's hard to really describe the magnitude of what he was able to pull off.

"He made the Rams relevant in Los Angeles in this market, he did that for Stan Kroenke as a [now] 31-year-old head coach.

"Sean McVay was everything that Stan could have hoped for and more at 31 years old. So because of that, it has to weigh in to the hiring of a new manager at Arsenal.

"What Sean McVay proved this year is that it does not matter what it says on your birth certificate. It's just about how you carry yourself, what you know and how good you are in your job."

Re: Fan protests, empty red seats and the success of a youthful McVay may spell doom for Arsene Wenger
Merlion96 (IP Logged)
24 March, 2018 08:51
Wilshere is keen on staying at Arsenal but the club will not cave into his demands and Everton are offering him a lucrative signing-on fee to leave the Emirates. One year without Champions League football has cost Arsenal around £29m and a second will be disastrous for a club that spent 19 straight seasons at Europe’s top table.

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Silent Stan is counting the cost of missing another season of CL Cup - all of £29m worth.

Is it worth while to retain Arsene Wenger for another season - with alarming falling matchday revenues and missing CL Cup for the THIRD TIME in 2019/20 season?

'I like the total intensification, where there are crashes and bangs everywhere, pure adrenaline and no one being able to breathe' Jurgen Klopp.

Re: Fan protests, empty red seats and the success of a youthful McVay may spell doom for Arsene Wenger
mapleleafgooner (IP Logged)
24 March, 2018 18:07
McVay is a low cost option for Silent Stan. No risk to him really. If Rams miss the playoff, it is business as usual for Silent Stan. Making the playoff is a bonus. It will be the same for Arsenal. Silent Stan will not pay for an Allegri. It will be a low cost option similar to McVay. Remember that he is in the business to make money. Winning titles is nice but not mandatory.

Re: Fan protests, empty red seats and the success of a youthful McVay may spell doom for Arsene Wenger
Gunners R Us (IP Logged)
25 March, 2018 10:43
I would’ve been an improvement on Fisher

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