On the face of it, the similarities between Mr Corbyn and beleaguered Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger are uncanny. Both men are 67 years old, both have grey hair, both are extremely stubborn in their philosophies, and both remain in post despite having faced intense criticism for their performances as leader in recent times. It comes as little to no surprise then that Corbyn is a long-time admirer of Wenger, and a lifelong Arsenal fanatic. But what if Arsene was to lose his job tomorrow. How well placed would his brother-from-another-mother Jeremy be to swap the House of Commons for the Emirates?
Keeping hold of key players
The first thing that Corbyn will have to deal with when he opens the work laptop on Monday morning will be emails from Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez (with many top clubs cc’d), subject line reading: “I’M GOING!” It is difficult to read how Corbyn will react to this situation. If we take a look at his track record of keeping big names or persuading them to stay, all roads lead to an exodus of his star players. Ozil, Sanchez, Koscielny, Cech, Santi, Ox, expect them all to go with immediate effect. Corbyn may attempt to counteract this by using this as opportunity to promote younger players to more senior positions, a strategy Wenger has used many times during his tenure at Arsenal and one which the club is used to.
What may give him an upper hand though is the fact that both Mesut and Alexis are contracted to stay at Arsenal Football Club, for the time being at least. This means that it is ultimately his decision as to what happens to the two players. As aforementioned, Corbyn is no stranger to unhappiness in the ranks. After the EU referendum in June 2016, a startling 20 members of Corbyn’s shadow cabinet either resigned or were sacked due to publicly denouncing the party leader. A further 18 junior shadow ministers also resigned in what was a truly unprecedented time for the Labour Party. Corbyn though, managed to reshuffle and rebuild with the resources he had available to him, and remains the party leader despite numerous challenges. His experience in “starting from the drawing board” will surely stand him in good stead then, as this is what many believe is what’s needed at Arsenal anyway.
Reassuring the fans
If there is one thing that Corbyn can list as a strength in his SWOT analysis, it’s appealing to the goodwill of the fans. Among young people, Jeremy Corbyn is extremely popular and has overseen a tremendous increase in Labour party membership. Although some of his own party have no confidence in him, have severe reservations over his ability to lead the party to a general election win, as well as reservations over his ability to lead the country, such reservations do not stick with the younger Labour voters. Many of them see Corbyn as one of the only politicians left who have an actual soul; someone who genuinely cares for humanity and opposes destruction. Such utopian ideals are not shared by many of the electorate however, so whilst his good intentions may win over some of the young gunners, the more pragmatic Arsenal faithful may be more sceptical. This may lead to in-house fighting amongst the Arsenal fan base, some arguing for a pro-Corbyn standpoint, and others firmly anti-Corbyn. The constant quarrelling may lead to fans taking matter in to their own hands, with protests, plane banners and youtube fan channels all very possible.
For years Arsenal fans have had to come to terms with the top four trophy as the only bragging right they can lay claim too. Recently though a succession of FA cup wins have at least allowed the Emirates estates team to add a picture of a trophy that’s been won this side of 2010 (the last being in 2004). If Wenger was sacked today though, he leaves with his team in 6th place in the league, destined to finish lower than arch rivals Tottenham Hotspurs for the first time in over two decades, and only an outside chance of finishing in their usual top 4 slot. Having said this though, they still find themselves in yet another FA Cup final, their third in 4 years.
Having a quick look at Corbyn in the “big games” and his record is immense. King Corbyn has faced numerous challengers to his thrown and, not only has he been victorious, but he has won dominantly. After cruising to an overwhelming majority after seemingly only being included on the ballot paper for bants, Corbyn faced a leadership challenge from former Business secretary Angela Eagle. This was dealt with, quickly.
After realising that she wasn’t up to scratch, she decided to back Owen Smith, a relatively unknown Labour MP who was (apparently) the shadow Work and Pensions secretary who also fancied his chances of out-Corbyning Corbyn. He also failed. Disgracefully.
However, his prospects for the upcoming snap election are looking…bleak. Corbyn has allowed Labour to fall in to an ineffective opposition and will almost surely lose a number of seats across the UK. Having said this, Corbyn is well known for his relationships with other international diplomats. This may be an advantage for him when preparing to go up against Antonio Conte in the final. The Italian is a master tactician, and is quick to adapt when necessary as he has shown throughout his managerial career. Whether Corbyn will be able to prepare his team adequately to win this major cup final, just as with his Labour party in the present day, is a question that remains to be seen.