'Perhaps it's time for someone else to try'

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The Independent Online
Any bemusement Arsenal fans may have felt over Bruce Rioch's departure was quickly overshadowed by speculation about his successor at Highbury last night, writes Nick Harris.

"I'm absolutely shocked that they sacked the manager four days before the season started," a season ticket holder said. "But I'm more surprised that they didn't do it a month ago."

His views were echoed by a lot of the fans gathered outside the ground. "It was on the cards really," Tim Cowperthwaite said. "He's taken them to Europe, which is not a bad thing, but he hasn't bought anyone and he's done nothing to strengthen the team. Perhaps it is time for someone else to have a go. ''

Alex Austin, another season ticket holder was less unequivocal about Rioch's departure. "It's good that he's gone. He hasn't been buying any players. He's been arguing with Ian Wright and putting him off his game. It's out of order. Kenny Dalglish should come here now and sort it out."

But it was not Kenny Dalglish who most people were talking about yesterday as Rioch's successor. It was Johan Cruyff.

One source at the ground said that he had had dinner with the club chairman, David Dein, on Sunday evening, and will be announced as manager on Thursday.

Until there is confirmation one way or another about the Dutchman, the main topic of conversation will be Rioch's replacement, rather than the way in which the Scot departed, although there were some who were disappointed that he had been dismissed.

Mike Sugrue, a season ticket holder, said: "Bruce made a big difference. It was really exciting coming here last season. There was a real buzz about the football nothing like I'd felt before, and I thought Bruce was doing a good job."