Gunner Thoughts

Ornstein: Pat Rice and Stewart Houston relieved of scouting roles

Arsenal relieved Pat Rice and Stewart Houston of their duties with the scouting department.

As the shake up at Arsenal continues moving forward, two longtime Arsenal caretakers and figures rooted in the history of Arsenal are relieved of their scouting roles. Pat Rice and Stewart Houston have spent most of their lives within the Arsenal family, but on the back of 55 redundancies, the sacking of Raul, and continued efforts to revamp and reshape the club their roles have been altered or discontinued.

Ornstein notes an article with The Athletic, that Rice has had many roles from player to coach to Invincible as assistant manager to Wenger during a 56-year period with the club, but has been told his services as a video scout were no longer needed. It was his most recent role and one that we have seen greatly affected in recent weeks including the removal of head of scouting Francis Cagigao.

Rice will stay with the club in an ambassadorial role.

In addition to Rice, Stewart Houston, assistant to George Graham back in the day, has also been relieved of his duties. Houston is another person with an illustrious career within the club, including 5 trophies during his time with Graham and a domestic title to his name.

Both these men will be fondly remembered for their service to the club and the accolades they made themselves and helped the club achieve.

In a smaller note, Ornstein mentions that due to Covid, the club has stopped offering Legend Tours which means that Charlie George and Sammy Nelson have had their roles discontinued.

I think it’s always a sad day around the club when legends and longterm custodians retire or are relieved of their duties. You come to look at them as a part of the everyday presence and atmosphere, bringing to light some of the old traditions and roots they have helped carry through the year and uphold. Anyone fortunate enough to have taken a Legends Tour with Charlie George will have no difficulty understanding what I mean.

However, there comes a time and a place when the club heads in a direction where they believe they need younger, educated, and hungry new members and in the case of the scouting department, they have made the more than clear. With the decimation of the old guard in the last few weeks, we have heard a claim that the club wants to redesign and rebuild a more modern approach to scouting.

Pat Rice’s contributions will be missed but it is good to see him stay on in some capacity. As for the revamp. This is a serious opportunity for Edu to show people what he is capable of as a Technical Director. Sure, Vinai will get the final say, but Edu’s claim of footballing knowledge being transferable to a director role will need to be on full display with the opportunity that has fallen in his lap.

With concerns that Arsenal were/are steering away from a usage of scouts, this is a golden chance to calm those fears and instill confidence that the club is moving in a more blended direction of scouting and contact-based transfers built around more modernized scouting methods. These methods go outside the traditional “boots on the ground”, if you will, and relies heavily on the usage of in-depth video analysis that is now commonplace.

I wish everyone the best with their new paths, I hope after Covid we can see the return of Charlie George and Sammy Nelson to the club in some capacity, and I keep my eyes peeled for more signs of what is to come for Arsenal’s talent acquisition and scouting teams.

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