Arsene Wenger and Jacques Derrida: The Search for Managerial Intent

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Joe Devine of The Illustrated Game takes a look at the complex notion of ‘managerial intent’…

“If he should reproach me by saying ‘what I really played was a bamboo flute, how could you mistakenly use the word jade?’ I would reproach him in return; ‘I have called it a jade flute, how could you mistakenly have played a bamboo one instead?’.”

Much like literary theorists search for authorial intent, managerial intent remains something of a tactical minefield. Despite the British media making it clear that their prerogative rests faithfully with one of the pre-existing good news stories (i.e. goal scorer hero, faithful dog manager, underdog does it better/overdog is better etc.), the near-constant hiring and firing of managers is statement enough to send a huge foot through the sand in favour of clear managerial intent. When Chelsea perform poorly and André Villas-Boas gets the sack, it’s his fault – when Tottenham perform superbly and André Villas-Boas keeps his job, it is Andros Townsend’s glory. Clearly, the search for managerial intent only appears to be an issue at the winning end of the job, which is why for this piece, I’ve decided to use the example of Arsenal & Jacques Derrida’s theory of deconstruction. Continue reading