Written by Wigan Gooner
I’ll not muck about – it’s Pat Rice.
My reasoning for this statement is as follows, Arsène is facing a summer of upheaval like he has never known at Arsenal. There could be more player movement at Arsenal that I have ever seen in all of my years. Add that to even more expectation, pressure and a new pre-season routine and it is a very different Arsenal for 2011-2012.
The biggest signing was to retain the services of Pat Rice for another year because even if he is known (in some quarters, not my own) as a yes man he has vast experience as No 2 at Arsenal and he has the respect of the squad.
If I can build on that for a second, Arsène is a hands-on coach. He likes to tweak, push and work with his player’s every single day. Every day working to iron out their imperfections on the training pitch and working like that with a squad of 30-odd first-team squad player’s is a massive drain on resource and he would be unable to complete a single training session like that.
Pat Rice and Boro Primorac let him do it because whilst he is working and talking with the player’s they are running the drills and setting up the practice matches. Arsène is their Father, with Pat Rice and Boro Primorac the coaches.
Whilst we can all see the potential improvement a shake-up in the backroom staff might bring, can we afford the upheaval? Haven’t we got enough going on? The settling in period and changes of routine when we are already shaking the Arsenal Castle to the very core foundations? When star players are considering leaving for a few thousand pounds?
He will be buying in fresh players and these players need a steady stable ship to join. Stability aids adaption and London Colney is certainly different to most clubs. Pat Rice is one massive, all-important cog in the Colney machine and without him, I think Arsène would be in more trouble than he’d care to admit.