The classic rivalry between Arsene Wenger and Alex Ferguson is remembered as one of the key battles of the Premier League era. The war of wits between the two managers and the angry words often exchanged were almost as thrilling as the action on the field.
But Ferguson’s retirement in 2013 broke up the rivalry, with Wenger stepping back from his role as Gunners boss five years later and closing the book on a momentous chapter in the club’s history. Since the departure of the two bosses, both clubs have scrambled to find a long-term successor.
United opted for David Moyes, whose spell in charge proved disastrous whose spell in charge proved disastrous, and he was followed by Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho, with Ryan Giggs also enjoying a spell as caretaker manager during a disruptive period for the club.
The players David Moyes missed out on: “Toni Kroos would certainly be one at Manchester United, and at that time as well we were very much after Gareth Bale and Cesc Fabregas.”
Could this side have competed for the title and saved him from the sack? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/8SJ9eFSmsN
— Goal (@goal) April 16, 2020
Arsenal have also struggled to replace Wenger, with Unai Emery lasting less than two years, while the less said about Freddie Ljungberg’s six-game spell in temporary charge of the club the better.
But in Mikel Arteta and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the Gunners and the Red Devils appear to have found managers capable of bringing a little identity back to the club. Unlike their predecessors, the two former players have an existing emotional attachment to the club, which has helped inject some much-needed passion into the role.
In this article, we will discuss the return of the ‘club’ manager, and the impact that employing a coach with existing close ties to the club can have.
Down with the blues
It’s not just at the Emirates and Old Trafford where a leading Premier League club has turned to one of its former stars. Chelsea have also struggled to keep a manager tied down for more than a couple of seasons.
But the appointment of Frank Lampard has brought one of the greatest players in the club’s history back to the club, and it seems entirely unlikely that the former England midfielder will be heading out the door at Stamford Bridge any time soon.
Lampard’s arrival at Chelsea completes a hat-trick of former player appointments at three of the Premier League’s biggest clubs, while extended spells for Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola at Liverpool and Manchester City respectively have helped those two clubs find their own identities.
The arrival of Arteta, Lampard and Solskjaer has helped to deliver new hope to clubs that had found themselves out of the title race. Arteta delivered the FA Cup to the Emirates last season, while Lampard enjoyed a fine first season with the Blues after cutting his teeth as a manager with Derby.
Solskjaer, meanwhile, has helped turn Manchester United into genuine Premier League title contenders following several seasons in the doldrums. The Red Devils are among the favourites to win the league in the latest football betting markets to win the league in the latest football betting markets, having progressed magnificently under their Norwegian former striker this season.
⚪️ Jose Mourinho v Pep Guardiola 🔵
🤝 Old foes to meet once again on the big stage. pic.twitter.com/RdzoHUIKCQ
— SPORF (@Sporf) January 6, 2021
The return of the ‘club’ manager has not necessarily delivered instant success to each organisation, but it has hinted at a return to the glory days of managerial rivalry. Although whether any of the latest crop are able to achieve the success that Wenger and Ferguson did remains to be seen.
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