After a rocky few years where the hashtag #WengerOut was actually a thing people used, finally an Arsenal manager is on their way out. However its not our man Arsene, spoiler alert, its Shelley Kerr.
Not even two seasons after taking over for Laura Harvey as she headed for Seattle, Kerr will be stepping down from her position after the FA Cup final against Everton this weekend. Kerr's announcement comes on the heels of a 2-0 loss to Bristol Academy this morning. For those counting at home, that's Arsenal Ladies third straight FA WSL loss, and honestly isn't even worth recapping. Hint: it was rough.
When Kerr took over for Harvey, there was still some optimism. The Gunners had a perfectly fine FA WSL season, however issues arose when the team was docked points, and thus a guaranteed spot in UWCL play, due to fielding an unregistered player. Now to be fair its hard to sit here and point a finger at Kerr for that situation, as we don't know all the details. However, one would think the manager of the club would have a handle on the fact they were playing someone that was unregistered.
Then, after that small blip on the radar, things began to go downhill rapidly. While there may have been some hope that Arsenal could extend their Champions League streak by winning the whole shabang, that hope dissipated rather quickly. The Gunners proceeded to sell almost every player that had brought them success over the last several years, and sign people that just didn't have the same star potential.
Fast forward to now. Sitting bottom of the table, with the FA Cup, and potentially the Continental Cup later this season, as the only chance for Arsenal to redeem themselves. It's also perhaps Kerr's last chance to redeem herself as well. To go out giving Arsenal their first FA Cup and FA Women's Cup double since 1998.
Once Kerr leaves, what's next? Well the agonizing process of searching for a new manager begins. Off the top of my head, I have two options. The first involves Kelly Smith, who was already a player assistant under Kerr, steps up and becomes the player coach for the rest of the season, a la Christie Rampone with Sky Blue FC or Abby Wambach with MagicJack. There's been mixed success with this tactic, and I for one don't wish to hurry Smith off the field and into the front office just yet.
Option number two is a man by the name of Tony Gustavsson. You may have heard the name before, as he was considered one of the top candidates, along with eventual successor Jill Ellis, to take the USWNT job when Tom Sermanni was fired. Now he is coming off a very successful season with Tyresö FF in Sweden.
Tyresö is essentially no longer in existence. Due to loads of financial issues the club is basically shutting down, and thus Gustavsson would be back on the job market. Someone get on the telephone!
Obviously this is all just pure speculation at this point, but isn't that what makes it so much fun? Until Arsenal names a new head coach, they still have to focus for Kerr's last game. The FA Cup final against Everton is this Sunday, June 1st. Let's make it a double, yeah?