Arsenal to appoint new strength and conditioning coach

Barry Solan Arsenal
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It has been reported that Arsenal have appointed Irish man Barry Solan as the club’s new Strength and Conditioning coach.

The Mayo native is currently working with the Mayo GAA and is expected to join up with the Gunners when that season is complete.

If we look at the staff roles on the official website, it looks as if this is a new role, adding to recent additions in this area as Arsene Wenger looks to improve the fitness of his squad. Shad Forsythe was appointed as Head of Performance Enhancement last summer, while last month Huddersfield head physio, James Haycock, replaced Declan Lynch as first team physio.

Solan has had an interesting career, working with the Polish national team, and with EXOS – the same organisation with whom Shad Forsythe worked before his role with the German national side.

The Irish Coaching Institute says of Solan:

He holds an honours degree in Sports Science and Post Graduate Certification in Physical Education from St Mary’s University College, Strawberry Hill, London.

He is certified through the National Strength and Conditioning Association as a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (C.S.C.S), National Academy of Sports Medicine as a Performance Enhancement Specialist (P.E.S), Certified Golf Fitness Instructor (CGFI) through the Titleist Performance Institute, Functional Movement Screen Specialist with Functional Movement Systems (FMS) and is presently pursuing his masters in Strength & Conditioning from Edith Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia [which we assume he now has)]

So, another behind the scenes appointment to our fitness staff, and after the progress made in the second half of last season, let’s hope the new man can have an impact too.


  1. Let’s be serious no one has a monkey about fitness and conditioning in football unless they attended a course. Us fans should keep to football and let these guys do their job. Or attend a medical college.

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    • ‘Us fans should keep to football and let these guys do their job’
      Ern, I don’t understand what were you expecting us to do exactly?
      Considering our injury record it’s nice to know Arsenal are putting these measures in place – that’s all.

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      • Well there are many fans as fitness experts who talked about rotation. Haven’t heard much this season as someone didn’t rotate their first 11 regularly and won the title. Nothing against the appointment.

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          • Just feel that the extremes on both sides just turn the narrative to the edge. Peace.

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        • About rotation, but there’s a stat that shows we actually rotated less than Chelsea.
          I was actually shocked by that, as I was convinced Jose played a core 15 players all through the season. But I guess not.

          In correlation, they also has the least injuries.

          And there’s a study by J. Orchard just a few years ago that showed player availability was almost 50% attributed to the team’s success.

          Basically, if we’re going to win the league, we definitely need to sort out our injuries soon.

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    • Erm, you know it’s possible to be both?
      Seeing as I’m a gooner and that job title was my exact role at academy level for another London PL club.

      Great to know we’re still investing heavily behind the scene, however the titles and roles is a bit confusing. I can tell you that “Performance Enhancement” is pretty much the exact role for being an S&C coach. On fact the term “Performance Enhancement Coach” was coined as a new title replacement to better describe the role of what a Strength & Conditioning Coach does (which gives the impression all he does is gets them to do weights and run around a bit.

      To ad to the confusion, the term “Performance Enhancement” was the replacement teem that came about from the US, whereas in Europe “Sports Scientist” was the term used as the catch’em all replacement term for S&C. To make it even more confusing…., we now have a completely new “Head of Sports Science” that was hired last season from West Ham (although one could argue now that the sports scientist role is to do with monitoring of the player’s states).

      Have I lost you guys yet? No? Well let’s add to more.
      All those terms were used to replace the title of “Fitness Coach” which doesn’t at all truly explain what the role is now, so all three above terms were used to replace that. YET WE STILL HAVE A FITNESS COACH.

      So we have….
      Head of Performance Enhancement
      Head of Strength & Conditioning
      Head of Sports Science
      Fitness Coach.

      And all 4 titles are actually…. kinda the same thing.

      Well isn’t that confusing,
      I thought we would just go the Man United route, that have Tony Strudwick as “Head of Performance” and oversees everything in that area.

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  2. Here’s to hoping that CGFI certification can help him cut down those goddamn fairway misses and three puts we have in crunch times…

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  3. Great news, any additional measures or resources which can keep players fitter or make them stronger physically and more robust is very welcome. Shad’s influence is obviously growing, seems like an appointment on the back of his good work!

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  4. “Post Graduate Certification in Physical Education” – that’s a teacher training qualification, isn’t it?

    He’s had quite the rise, good on the fella – hopefully he can turn us into a team of Monstars!

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    • Yup, it means he is a qualified P.E. teacher amongst everything else, but at least he did a ‘proper’ degree first. The last bit on his CV is interesting, the fact that he’s got (or is getting) a Masters degree in strength and conditioning should make him one of the best out there.

      With a PE teacher on the staff, does it also mean we have an additional threat to keep the players in line besides the BFG’s fines. — The ability to force players to go out and train in their underpants.

      The only problem is that I’m not sure a lot of them (HFB, Alexis…) would care.

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  5. St Mary’s – great place, less than a mile from me. Had a birthday party there recently.

    Lots of Olympic 2012 athletes trained there and rugby internationals do, given its closeness to Twickers. Not so sure on football training though. But the Polish national team experience helps.

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  6. Great to see another Mayo man come good.
    We just need Paul O’Connell to join Arsenal as a sports psychology coach!

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  7. Arsenal have had a couple of former Irish rugby internationals working as part time strength and conditioning coaches for the last few seasons.

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  8. FMS is a big deal. This sounds like a really big deal I think we’ll really see a difference. Can’t wait for the season to start

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  9. If they wanted a decent GAA fitness man they could have poached from the Dublin, Kerry or Donegal panels

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    • The problem is that other players haven’t achieved superhuman status yet so they’ll be left as withered husks by the time the new season rolls around… We need someone to build them up gradually to the point where they can sprint marathons every match!

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  10. I live in Perth Western Australian and i can reliably inform you that there are only 2 university’s here. Lets just say if it was North London Edith Cowan University would be the sp*rs of university’s.

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  11. Lets face it we need to do all we can on the injury/fitness front so it can only help. Strawberry hills forever..

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  12. I’m sure all these guys are coming for a purpose. Since Chad Forsythe, they tend to come back quickly from injury. May be one day we can play the orcs, beat the crap out of them and come out injury free while they have few ligaments and achiles problems.

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    • Here it is for the…. “Wenger Out Brigade” (no I haven’t forgiven them).

      Dad had no money to spend whilst the new stadium was being paid for.

      Since he has had wedge to spend….. he has bought the “solidness” of Debuchy, and Monreal and the world class players Ozil, Alexis and Cech.
      He has sorted out the injuries by bringing Shad in and now his mate, to get the strength of the players increased.

      Wenger out!

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  13. Bring back daiby, may be with all this new additions to the staff’s he can stay fit.

    Just saying.

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  14. On a completely unrelated topic. If you think The FA did wrong to Jack then look at what they did to England Women Team after such a heroic campaign. The guys clearly need therapy

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  15. Mate I live near Strawberry Hill I swear I saw him twatted and getting in fisticuffs back in the day.

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