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Arsenal: The Making of a Modern Superclub Paperback – 17 Oct 2016
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"Alex Fynn is a football guru, and I'm always interested to hear what he has to say." Arsene Wenger "A shrewd and well-informed book about the challenges and terrors of a club still in the throes of transformation." Kevin McCarra, The Guardian "A fascinating new book." The Observer "This book should definitely be read by all Arsenal fans; it is a clear and concisely explained journey that sits comfortably alongside the best books about the club." A Cultured Left Foot --Vision Sports Publishing
From the Publisher
This is the third edition of this best-selling book and has been completely updated and revised to take into account the changes at Arsenal both on and off the pitch.
The five new chapters look at the Kroenke takeover and analyse what Wenger and Arsenal need to do to compete with the increased competition from mega-rich clubs and prevent Arsenal from falling out of the Elite group at the top of the Premier League.
It is a pivotal time for Arsenal and this book aims to give fans of Arsenal, and football in general, the knowledge they need to understand the inner workings of one of Europe's biggest clubs.
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The book is extremely balanced and fair - there is no blame game over the developments in the boardroom, a recent lack of trophies or the successes of the club's academy. The authors precisely analyse every chain of events that led to crucial developments at Arsenal over the last twenty-or-so years and every conclusion is based on carefully researched facts.
Most importantly, the story of "the Making of a Modern Superclub" is about aspiration and ambition that have ironically resulted in putting financial stability first, over sporting achievements. "Achievements", in fact, is one of the essential terms here. Wenger is one of the world's greatest managers not necessarily because of his trophies but achievements, as Fynn and Whitcher argue.
Steering the club through the transition period when the Emirates Stadium was still under construction is the most important of all of them. Securing the project and financing it is described in great detail with hard work of each and every director and individuals involved carefully credited. Nonetheless, the authors spotted some mistakes made in the process of providing much needed funds that eventually put Arsenal in a disadvantaged position until the current sponsorship deals expire.
It's a fluid read with a good pace. Although written thematically, not chronologically, it offers some interesting information from private lives of the manager, some players and the boardroom actors. My two favourite stories from the book: the impact of the break-up of Yugoslavia on the appointment of Wenger and Dennis Bergkamp asking his agent about a possibility of signing for Tottenham just minutes before completing his transfer to Arsenal.
Interestingly, the authors argue that the main reason behind the current run of trophy-less seasons is Wenger's and his players' self-confidence that often leads to collective trauma: the environment does not offer any chances to regroup when a defeat happens as no-one seemed prepared for it. Effectively, there is no space to move and learn from defeats.
In a way, although the title (Arsènal) and cover may not suggest so, the book is more about the role of David Dein than Arsène Wenger's. The duo naturally plays a pivotal role but the story begins with Dein's arrival and technically could end with his departure. The authors do not advocate that he should return but it is quite clear that Dein was the spiritus movens of pushing Arsenal forward. No surprised then that since he left the boardroom, the club is more focused on stability than challenging for trophies.
Although the 3rd edition of the book is up-dated till the summer of 2011, the newest chapters have a different pace and are written in more post scriptum style rather than a continuation of the same story.
Alongside "Fever Pitch", "Arsènal: The Making of a Modern Superclub" presents a new perspective on following the story of Arsenal. To complete a trilogy of "supporter - manager/boardroom - footballer", an honest, insightful and critical autobiography of a former Arsenal player would fit in nicely. Cesc, perhaps?
Fynn and Whitcher's book should be also of an interest to those looking for a blueprint of running the club through a challenging period. It was not luck but vision, ambition and determination that have prepared Arsenal for the new century.
Stimulating, because it reads in part like a thriller, especially the sections on the Emirates stadium. It is very rare to have such access to the main players (off the pitch) in "the great Arsenal stadium mystery" and to read how the late Danny Fiszman, Ken Friar and land agent Antony Spencer pulled off the deal is one of the many joys of this book. The image of Spencer, a committed fan, standing on one leg, waving the Kabbalah at a local businessman, will remain with me for some time. It's a long story, and too complicated to go into here - and it would also be a `spoiler'.
The book is packed full of such colourful and amusing anecdotes, but its main contribution is the gravitas it brings to one of the great narratives of contemporary football: the transformation of boring, boring Arsenal into a European superpower. It superbly documents the boardroom battles - most notably David Dein's rise and fall (his ousting being a poignant highlight) - and frankly assesses the crisis. For, although first appearing a few years ago, there have been four new chapters added which shed new light on Arsene Wenger, Dein, Fiszman, the Hill-Woods et al.
But mostly Wenger, the man of the moment. I am not an Arsenal fan, but I think English football is forever in Wenger's debt. Arsene praises Fynn as a "football guru" - and the co-author was, indeed, one of the Premier League's architechts. But Fynn - and Whitcher - have provided a challenging assessment of the great man. Fynn argues that the decline is down to Wenger wielding too much control over matters both on the field and off it.
The key chapter here is the one on youth policy. The Frenchman's youth-orientated strategy was the right one while Arsenal paid off the debt relating to the stadium - but, as the book implies, he has been too slow to react to a change in market conditions brought about by moneybags Manchester City, Abramovich's Chelsea and Man United.
All in all, a fascinating, compelling and substantial account of one of the most important football stories of the moment. Not just for Gooners.
150 pages.THIS EXCITING,INFORMATIVE,and ENTERTAINING BOOK is 300 PAGES of great paperback read.
I agree with another reviewer, more from Mr Fynn on the birth of the Premier League from one who was there at it's conception would surely make yet another great read from this knowledgeable author.
Fynn has added 5 new chapters and updated much of his original material from the previous paperback edition and the comments are pithy, relevant and suitably on-point.
Fynn is suitably positive about the achievements of Arsene Wenger but, no sycophant he, is not afraid to point the finger and apportion blame and criticism wherever appropriate.
All in all al worthwhile addition to the library of any Arsenal fan.
I think that Fynn has missed a trick in not using his knowledge, contacts and experience to produce a definitive history of the Premier League - maybe this is yet to come.
PLEASE ALSO NOTE THAT THERE IS A MISTAKE IN THE LISTING ON AMAZON AS THIS IS A 300 PAGE PAPERBACK
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