Not content with having one manager who has gone through an entire season unbeaten, Arsenal Women have brought in Joe Montemurro, who managed Melbourne City to the Australian W-League title last season without dropping a single point.
Now, granted, that might be because the W-League is just getting started and because Melbourne City were funded by City Football Group, the scrappy band of rebel upstarts who scraped together enough to pay for Manchester City and NYCFC, but still - playing an entire season without dropping a point is something that not even Arsene Wenger can say he’s done.
In Montemurro’s words, he took the Arsenal job because
“When a global brand like Arsenal calls you and shows interest obviously it’s an amazing honour. You think about what a fantastic project it could be. To be involved with such an amazing brand and identity in world football is fantastic.”
This season in Melbourne, after his amazing success last year, he was asked to be an assistant coach for the men’s team as well as head coach for the women, and he found that to be too much for one person:
“The reality was that I got pretty much told that the men’s team wanted me as an assistant coach and we tried the process of juggling both, being an assistant coach and also a head coach of two high-performance teams. It was difficult, because obviously Australia is a big country and there’d be times when I would be sitting on the bench in Sydney on a Friday night and then I’d have to catch a flight over to Perth for a Sunday morning game.”
That is indeed a lot of work. And Arsenal reap the benefits - Montemurro takes over a team that, like the men’s side, has done well in the cups lately (winning the 2015 League Cup and 2016 FA Cup) but not so much in the league, after spending many years as the dominant force in English women’s soccer. Montemurro will be tasked with re-establishing that dominance, a tough job in a world where all of a sudden the sleeping financial giants of City and Chelsea have (finally) started pouring money into the women’s game.
In his first months on the job, Montemurro is saying all the right things:
“There’s no doubt about the fact that we’ve got to win trophies. We’ve got to stabilise the team’s direction. Making it believe in its identity and believe in what Arsenal means. In end if we have those base values then they’ll enjoy their football and win games.”
Sounds like Arsenal have a consistent brand identity after all! Welcome to London, Joe, and we wish you much success in restoring Arsenal Women to the top of the Womens Super League table, and keeping them there where they belong.