Stateside Gooner

By Chris Toronyi

Mature decisions about maturity. We've seen it at Arsenal these past two seasons. Buying players that are seasoned, they've experienced the highs and lows of footballing, but most importantly life.

Players that want more than a paycheck, looking for something more rich, maybe not as safe as where they were previously. From an American perspective it's a big deal to move to a major coastal city like New York or Los Angeles given the dynamic cultures each offers. But imagine having to move to a different country, submerge yourself in a new culture, learn a different language, meet new friends from the ground up while having to deliver on one of the world's biggest stages.

That's some heavy duty pressure to swallow. A serious career shift – and life shift.

As I've written before on change, maturity and shift in thinking, you see it in Hollywood as well. Back in November I wrote about the career decisions and change in thinking of Matthew McConaughey. They have propelled him to a different league when it comes to his acting and his choice of roles. He's in two of the most talked about films this awards season - 'Dallas Buyers Club' and 'The Wolf of Wall Street'. His evolution as an actor has been justly rewarded with a Golden Globe and SAG-AFTRA win for his role in 'Dallas Buyers Club'. And I would argue his screen time in 'Wolf of Wall Street' rivals that of Alec Baldwin in 'Glenngarry Glen Ross'. If you haven't seen the film, you should. It's deliciously funny.

But another layer to this discussion – and probably the most important of all – is the manager. Just as a player, or actor have to look at new opportunities, new challenges, new solutions, a manager has to look at himself in the mirror realize that in order to move forward, achieve success one must find a different vision and version of oneself. I find it surprising that nobody really talks about how Arsene Wenger had to evolve over the past 17+ years in charge of the Club. Wenger inherited a talented team, but he had to introduce a new system, bring in his type of players, and of course deal with the loss of players through transfers and injury.

No doubt a change was required on his end, but to actually admit it through actions is another thing altogether.  

I really can't say enough about how I envy and respect these types of people. Whether it's a player in an easy environment in his home country turning the screw to look for a new challenge or the actor who realizes he has to find new and possibly intimidating challenges to reinvent himself, their ability to basically come full-stop from what they had been accustomed to is incredible.

Maybe as in Hollywood, it's not until one retires or steps down, that you fully appreciate the footprint one has made in their industry or their Club. Some boots are bigger than others and no doubt Wenger has some serious stomping boots.

I could also argue that Wenger deserves a Hollywood Star given the entertainment he has give us all these past 17+ years. A true agent of change. It'd be fitting and deserved.

The ArseAmerica Podcast welcomes Andrew Mangan, the @Arseblog back to the show as well as @adrianjclarke, host of the Clock End Show and Breakdown on Arsenal.com. We'll talk about the first half of the season and begin to look ahead to our Feb, March stretch of games. You can stream it, download it from iTunes, and you can always grab the RSS Feed. Thanks for listening. 


'Stateside Gooner' Chris Toronyi is a longtime Arsenal supporter and the host of the ArseAmerica podcast. You can read more of Chris' thoughts on Twitter

The views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect those of Arsenal Football Club or Arsenal Broadband Ltd.

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