Dear Emery – Open Letter to @Arsenal’s New Manager
Dear Emery (@UnaiEmery_),
I remember when I first started watching football and I heard about Arsenal being coached by “Arsene” Wenger, I used to think that it was owned by Wenger because of the semblance between the coach’s and club’s names. Then when you were appointed manager too, I saw the semblance between your name, Emery and the club’s stadium name EMIRATES, and I am left wondering what Arsenal is up to with it. But it’s all fine!
Welcome to the English Premier League!
The roots of Modern Day Soccer, the Jerusalem of New Age football, the Mecca of Football Drama, the Paris of Soccer History and Records.
Ask your predecessor the right questions and understand all that is needed to succeed in this terrain. This is the league of THE BIG BOYS, and to be successful here, you have to play by the rules or get played by the rules.
This is not the French Ligue 1, where it is all easy except it’s Marseille, Lyon or Monaco. Even though I must say that your achievements in the French Ligue One is one worthy of note and must be accorded all the necessary accolades it deserves. It’s one thing to handle a team of average players with medium resources; it’s another thing to manage a team of good players with a fairly okay budget; and it’s also worthy to acknowledge someone that manages a team of extraordinarily talented players and a fat transfer budget (one that is enough to land both Neymar Jr. and Mbappe in through the same window; fat indeed. And DEEP too). You did a fantastic job at Paris Saint-Germain F.C., one worthy of commendation and I woudn’t be one to reserve that from you at all. YOU DESERVE SOME ACCOLADES Sire.
This is not the Spanish La Liga, where the only real opponents you had at Sevilla FC were in Real Madrid CF, FC Barcelona, Atlético de Madrid and maybe Valencia CF and the rest of the league just trickles down your knees because the game is not meant to be so physical and the budget is not so fantastic and eye/mouth watering. This is not also to take the shine away from your exploits in this great city of Seville especially notable in the Uefa Cup (or Europa League as it is known these days). Not too many managers can boast of the kind of records you achieved in Europe in the short space of time you were there. Once again sire, YOU DESERVE SOME more ACCOLADES.
Every team here in the PL is capable of finding your source code and turning the stomach your good day with a bad result. Take Leicester City in the 2015-2016 season for example: They were given an odd of 5000-1 to lift the Premier League at the beginning of the 15-16 season, and they ended up shaming everyone even down to their longtime supporter and pundit Gary Lineker who famously claimed that if they eventually won the League title, he’d present his program in his underwear (he eventually had to do it and I think you must have heard about it), and like the Chairman of the FA was quoted to say: “This is one of the greatest shocks we’ve ever witnessed in the history of the League”, they changed the ideology of most persons to the Premier League and made people see that the hustle is real there.
This OPEN LETTER might never reach you all your time as coach of Arsenal FC but I want it to be on the records that I said my own bit in the early days of your time there as a piece of friendly advice to you. Gone are the days of long serving managers in football where a club was content with sticking to a coach to reinvent the wheel of their football and carve a football niche for the club. That era of football management probably ended with Arsene Wenger, your amiable predecessor. I am not an Arsenal fan, I am a proud fan of Manchester United (15 years strong and still going), but I am sucker for good football and I talk football as it is and not with bias or sentiment.
Football in England is at a very high tempo and the whole total package. It doesn’t end on the pitch, but continues to outside the pitch and even out of the stadiums. Here, football follows you home and to your private life too. And as a football fan supporting an opposition club, please help our case and give us the perfect entrance to footballing life in England.
The rivalry between Arsenal and United has long existed even before you started playing football, and the few matches I have seen between Arsenal and Man Utd are enough to understand why there’s a rivalry. Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger might have been friends off the pitch in their personal lives, but they were always giving us good value for our monies with their drama. Mourinho and Wenger have always had it in for each other especially when JM was at Chelsea. I don’t know the kind of relationship between yourself and Pep Guardiola, but I would love to watch some drama between y’all too.
Arsenal has always been known to play sweet football without much results to show for it in the recent times. I know that you also sample good football, at least with your good showing at PSG, so while you are here in England, please entertain us very well. I have already bragged to my roommate that Arsenal will suffer the kind of instability that Manchester United suffered immediately after the departure of Fergie from the club in 2013 and I am going to sit and watch you prove me and a couple millions of football fans looking at the run of things at Arsenal under you.
I know that the weight of expectation on you is quite much, but like you have managed to show at PSG, you are a man that lives for the pressure and loves to perform under much pressure. There’s no Neymar – Cavani here to contend with; all you have to contend with here is the constant and honest bickering of the press, the board, your players and the ever vociferous age-long Gunners fans who will make life beautiful and hell for you when you deserve either of both.
Take time to go through the history of the club you have been put in charge of and decide what you want to remembered for when your time eventually ends at this club. either sooner or later. Arsenal is a club closely followed and loved by several millions of Nigerian football fans and lovers because one of our own, Kanu Nwankwo (fondly called Papilo) was once a legendary figure in the red and white colors of Arsenal in the late 90’s and early millennium. We have the best interests of the club at heart either as fans or as haters. The club has not won the English Premier League in how many years? As at my last count, it was 10 years since the pride of North London won the highly coveted trophy and the expectation is extremely high on you to do the impossible next season. What are you going to do differently boss? How are you going to change the fortunes of the Gunners and make them champions again?
As I end this first letter to you Unai Emery, I want to make one solemn request of you: There’s this handsome young man from Nigeria who plays in your team by the name of Alexander Iwobi. Treat him well o! Treat him as if he were your son and make sure he’s well treated in your team. He has all the blessings of the entire nation of Nigeria on his shoulders and all the gifts of Nigeria in his legs, so use him to bring back the good fortune to Arsenal. When Viera left Arsenal, Wenger entrusted the leadership of the club in the hands of a certain young man, Cesc Fabregas, and it was a really fruitful trust, even though the only thing that was lacking was silverware to show for it. Show Iwobi good love and trust me when I say you would reap good returns and dividends for this investment.
Till I have cause to write you again Mr. Emery, remain on top of your game and remain in our minds, mouths and memos.