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Bobby McMahon

Bobby McMahon

You can see me on Soccer Central most Mondays and Thursdays on Rogers Sportsnet in Canada. I write a regular column for and and frequently guest on various podcasts and radio shows.


Ask the Extra Part 3, Serie A Better To Remain Poor, Who Comes After Wenger

Written by on December 2, 2011 | 2 Comments »
Posted in Ask the Extra

Q from Jack

There is a lot of talk about the need for Serie A teams to construct their own stadia in order to remain competitive at the highest levels. 

I think any football fan loves the idea of watching Serie A without the ubiquitous running tracks dampening the atmosphere.  But wouldn’t a richer Serie A join the Spain/England arms race and bring more upward pressure on European wages which are already seem so high? 

It’s small consolation to Milan, Inter, Roma et al (and it’s not as if, aside from Juve, that there a many shovel-ready projects at the moment) but doesn’t the current Serie A situation act as a bit of a brake on this upward pressure since so many quality players move through that league? 

Or does it really matter? 

I mean, Germany seems a reasonable league re wages (although I’m not sure if most clubs there own their grounds).

Since you are a bit of a numbers man I thought you might have some thoughts.

Thanks for a great pod and site.  Keep it up.

Bobby –  If Financial Fair Play was not a factor then there might be an issue but even then I am not sure that another league would willingly act as a cap on wages while teams from other countries prospered in terms of trophies and stars.

You mention the quality players that run through Serie A. I assume you mean that they then go abroad. Sorry, but I am hard pushed to come up with 5 Serie A players who have moved to clubs outside of Italy in the last 5 years who have been big successes.

Any discussion of the situation in Germany needs to consider the ownership restrictions that are in place together with a very strict and broad-based licensing system that is applied to clubs. Financial Fair Play before its time.

Q from: Jack

On the pod you recently mentioned Roberto Martinez as a possible successor to Arsene Wenger at some point.  Just wondering if you could expand on that please (not so much re Wenger but why Martinez). 

What would you think of Slaven Bilić?  Or even Guidolin (he seems to be able to do good business on the cheap, which is Arsenal’s m.o.)?  I am not part of the “sack Wenger” crowd but, should a below par season develop, who knows what could happen.

However, re Wenger, my feeling is that whatever heat he is facing right now is due to lack of transfer activity and the squad’s corresponding lack of depth (even prior to the departure of Cesc and Nasri). 

Wenger is who he is, so, therefore, I place most of the blame on the Arsenal board for not providing a sober sense of urgency and the necessary assistance to get deals done. 

I think Arsenal may need a new board, or at least a new Dein, rather than a new manager.

Bobby –  Martinez came to mind because he is clearly a coach who has his vision of how he wants his team to play and sticks with and is not swayed by individual results.

Slaven Bilic – taking a manager who is essentially untested at the club level would be a enormous gamble and not one I would see Arsenal taking.

Guidolin – because he coaches a club that has a great track record of sniffing out bargains I would not make the assumption that he is actually the decision maker.

Udinese has an extraordinary scouting network that would report to a Sporting Director. The Sporting Director makes the player decisions and Guidolin simply coaches the players he is given.

Q from Christopher Henderson

Do you think Sir Alex Ferguson is a better manager than Jose Mourinho? Don’t be bias!

Bobby – quick answer don’t be presumptuous!  I don’t no know what you mean by better in the context of a football manager or a player for that matter.

What are you looking for? Are you looking for a quick fix manager like Mourinho whose shelf life is only a few seasons or are you looking for a manager who has successfully built many teams while transitioning from one group of players to another ala Ferguson.

Two different tasks, two different skill sets needed.

Without context there is no right answer.

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2 responses to “Ask the Extra Part 3, Serie A Better To Remain Poor, Who Comes After Wenger”

  1. Boris says:

    I actually do not mind that Croatia have been handed a tough group. They always excel against tougher competition with that extra flair. I am also very much looking forward to the Italy match since if history is to be followed, it is a good match-up for the Croats. They have owned Italy since becoming an independent nation. Ireland are going to be fun to watch as well. Altogether, barring Bilic’s elementary mistakes, I think Croatia are going to qualify to the quarters. They certainly have the talent.

  2. Alberta Gooner says:


    Pretty sure whomever replaces Wenger will have to be approved by him as the club’s hierarchy has made it clear Arsene will have a role to play after he retires from the technical area.

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