LONDON. – The only surprise yesterday was that it took so long – staff have been bracing themselves for Unai Emery’s sacking for weeks.So, too, have the players; exchanging WhatsApp messages at the expense of their beleaguered boss.It wasn’t that they disliked Emery.
Well, that isn’t entirely true – certain members of the Arsenal squad found the Spaniard irritating. But on the whole, they found him pleasant enough. He didn’t possess the charisma or charm of his predecessor.In term of personality, Emery and Arsene Wenger are like chalk and cheese.
Wenger is the ultimate people person; engaging and always emotionally available for his players. Emery is different, he was insular and business-like at their London Colney base.
He didn’t shut himself away; he held regular one-on-one meetings with his players and staff, who found him amiable enough – though not with Wenger’s famous wit.
He was, though, guilty of keeping himself to himself – never the best way to strike a rapport with your squad.He trusted his inner circle: Juan Carlos Carcedo, Pablo Villanueva and Victor Manas.But those at the training ground felt he was far more wary of others.
For instance, Steve Bould left his position as first-team coach in the summer to take up a coaching position at the club’s academy.
The switch was viewed as a demotion, but Sportsmail understands Bould was happy to move back to academy because he felt under used within the first-team set-up.
Ironically, Bould could yet be re-introduced into the first team set-up with interim head coach Freddie Ljungberg – though the former Gunners defender is said to be hugely enjoying his role working with the club’s Under-23s.Of course, it would be unfair to judge the Spaniard on his personality.
At the end of the day, football isn’t a popularity contest. What isn’t questionable, however, was the feeling that Emery was out of his depth.That view was universally held.
The final straw arrived on Saturday, the 2-2 home draw against Southampton essentially the result that cost Emery his job.Head of football Raul Sanllehi and managing director Vinai Venkatesham flew to the USA earlier this week to make an initial recommendation to the Kroenke family that the Spaniard be removed from his role.
It was decided they’d let Emery have one last chance – Thursday night’s game against Eintracht Frankfurt. Arsenal lost 2-1 and Emery’s fight was over.
He arrived at the club’s London Colney HQ at 9am this morning hopeful he’d be given Sunday’s trip to Norwich to save his job.Not long after, he was informed of the news. Sanllehi, Venkatesham and technical director Edu were waiting for Emery at London Colney to deliver the fatal blow.
The Spaniard is said to have taken the news gracefully. The players began to filter into the training ground from around 9.30am, truth be told, not completely oblivious to what was coming.
The squad was ushered into a first-team meeting at around 10am to be informed of Emery’s sacking and the appointment of Ljungberg, who was already part of the senior coaching staff, as interim boss.
Axed Emery had the opportunity to say goodbye to his players before Ljungberg addressed the squad.The Swede issued a rallying cry to the team, urging them to turn their sorry season around. – Mailonline
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