Who Do I Need To Blow Around Here?

You can have your Arsenal back. I just want my Sven back.

I just finished listening to Amy Lawrence on the Guardian Football podcast and something she said crystallized a thought for me.

Sven is a maverick, he’s rock and roll. Scrap that. He’s punk rock. He goes out for beers, he gets the importance of supporters in the project, he’s into music, wears jeans and tee-shirts, rescues and rehabilitates troubled prodigies. Where there’s risk there’s also diamonds.

He could be one of us. He isn’t a football suit. He’s not corporate. He’s not an Organization guy. He’s not the hierarchy. He’s not the status quo.


Between Order and Chaos. It’s Where I want To Be.

I’ve been reading a lot of stuff about the relationship between order and chaos. Yin and yang. Stability and change. Culture and nature.

Order sounds good but boring. Chaos sounds dangerous…but it’s where creativity comes from. Nature is chaos. It’s unbounded, full of the unknown, undiscovered, the dangerous, the novel, the exciting. It is potential. Things die but are replaced by new, different, hopefully better things. Chaos can be good. Too much chaos of course leads to…chaos. Real nature will kill you. Think of a solo, unprotected trek through the Amazon rather than a walk in the park.

Order is necessary. Order is good. Order is how we keep the good things working smoothly, and how we get lots of stuff done on time, well, efficiently. It’s how Swiss trains run like Swiss watches. But too much order, nothing BUT order, leads to stasis, rigidity, lack of innovation. You want to keep all the good and dump the bad. Nothing but order is bad.

Scouting, and recruiting. That’s creativity, that’s innovation. That’s going out into the unknown and chaotic, slaying the dragon, and bringing back the diamonds. That’s chaos.

The best organizations need plenty of order and a bit of chaos, a bit of punk rock, a maverick to go out and see the world differently and bring back the diamonds.

The best organization is on the border between order and chaos with, one foot on each side, going back and forward. Consolidate and rejuvenate. Taking enough risk to innovate, but not too much. Keep the good, then go out and add the diamonds.

It’s not hard to make the case that Sven Mislintat was the most important hire of the last 2 years. Or should have been. How many Scouts could you walk up to, announce that the budget they have to work with is a fraction of the competition, only to see a Joker-like grin spread across his face.

Club plots course to fight it’s way back to the top, despite limited means, by doing things other, richer clubs can’t and won’t do.

“Out-scout the bastards.”

Innovate mercilessly.

The most important hire.

The thing is, the order guys hate the chaos guys and vice versa. I mean, you think order is the way forward. And the chaos guys see you as old fuddy duddies trying to use the old methods, convincing yourselves you can succeed if only you added some more order. But the chaos dudes see that you’re never going to catch the big boys by doing all the same obvious stuff but slightly better. You gotta take your advantage ie that you’ve nothing to protect. Take risks, recruit and play younger players with bigger upsides, because you weren’t going to win the ordered way anyway. Trying to be better organized than other clubs simply isn’t going to upset the world order, the entrenched powers.

This was what we held on to, as supporters. A guy who loved to get one over on the big guns, the entrenched powers. Bayern became City, United, Chelsea, Liverpool.

Ivan, the coward, brought order and chaos together – Sven and Raul – and then he cowarded away on a horse called Coward.

Look, maybe Sven was just too punk rock. Maybe he walked into meetings reeking of booze, put his bare feet up on the desk, farted, stuck gum under the seat, then puked in the waste bucket. I don’t know. But that’s what I want out of a scouting maverick. If he behaved like the rest of us, he wouldn’t be a different kind of scout.

So now at Arsenal, where does the punk element come from? Where would the Sex Pistols have gotten their chaos from if there was no Sid Vicious? Oh, yeah, good point. The other Sex Pistols.

Ok, better example. How about the best Rock ‘n Roll band in history? The Beatles. Paul McCartney and George Martin brought the order. John Lennon brought the chaos, the edge, the energy, the Revolution. Without each other, Lennon become all chaos, but no production, no direction, while McCartney became safe and staid and nice.

On a day like today when the most exciting thing about the club was the U18s beating the Spuds 5-2, with 2 more goals from the boy Saka, then youth should be the one thing we can all get behind. Show us a plan of how we get from tough times to the Promised Land. Tell us how we revolutionize scouting versus the rest of the PL, how stats will give us the edge, how each level of football and each department of the club will innovate and coordinate to deliver top talent into the senior XI, and the squad.

Please don’t tell us you’ve screwed up the Sven thing cos he didn’t get his promotion. I mean, you are called “Sven and Raul” ffs. You can’t just drop Sven. “Raul and Venkatesham” is going to sell zero albums.

You’re letting Sven go to Bayern, it’s rumoured. Now that would really suck. Not that they’d know a top level scout of European talent when they see one, or anything. The irony of Ivan’s scouting guru leaving us for Bayern. It’s a funny way for us to emulate them.

WE need Sven unless you have an even better Sven. Do you have a better Sven, Raul? No? Then you can’t let Sven leave. Fix it, man. He’s the best Sven. He’s the only Sven you know. He’s the only Sven any of us know.

You are letting a dude called Diamond Eyes leave. DIAMOND EYES. He was the only one of you with a cool superhero name.

What’s Sanllehi’s nickname? Chubby? I’m guessing Venkatesham’s is Vennie. Cos he’s so rad. Have you guys considered going by “Killer” and “Badass?” Something edgy for you, while we wait for you to shake up the footballing world by having good relationships with other clubs to facilitate buying the players they’d LIKE to sell us that we can’t afford anyway.

OK, who do I need to blow around here to get my Sven back?