Arsene Wenger – The Final Unhappy Chapter

132It’s easy to be upset, even angry with someone or something. It takes a lot more to fall out of love with it. That would be caused by years of frustration, unhappiness, and feeling that nothing will change.

It would be extremely naïve and wrong to say that Arsene Wenger was deservedly held in anything other something extremely close to God-like status during the first ten years with Arsenal. He changed the football club, from new players, diets, training grounds, to simply a new way of thinking. Patrick Vieria, Thierry Henry and Robert Pires would unlikely have come near us without him.

And while he came across as the quiet, deep thinking manager, under the surface Arsenal had a hardened winner leading them into the most exciting few years in their history. He absolutely loved the battles with Sir Alex Ferguson, that everyone was desperate to beat his team, he loved that his team scrapped for every point when they couldn’t play the perfect football he expected.

e loved being the best. Dare I say it, but Arsene in the late 90’s/ early noughties had elements of Mourinho and Simeone hidden beneath him. Two doubles, and the Invincible Season are all the evidence you need.

Something changed. While everyone’s least favourite Portuguese manager began winning everything whilst upsetting everyone, his Arsenal were in steady decline. And by the time we had lost the2006 European Cup Final, we were saying goodbye to Highbury, and moving to Emirates Stadium, with a young team and huge debt to pay. For many, this is the biggest reason for our decline during the last decade. Highbury was smaller, tighter, a “classic football ground.”

Away teams were scared of coming to Highbury and from what I can gather speaking to fans of other teams, they didn’t enjoy it. They were crammed into the corner of the Clock End, all but out of sight on the TV cameras, and they often went home pointless.

Switch views to the Emirates. Even before away fans are in, they are greeted by an embarrassing “Arsenal Football Club welcomes…” banner. That is one of mine and my brother’s pet hates when we go up there. Then they enter the ground, the bowl’s main speaker then “extends a warm and sporting welcome” to the supporters, and they go on to have the time of their lives in that bottom corner of the Emirates, often making more noise than our fans (they’re not told to sit down by stewards…), and this weird atmosphere often transfers itself to the pitch and the players. I will never understand why the away fans aren’t put right upstairs, why its not 15 quid to get in to the North Bank or the Clock End to create an actual home end, the silly welcome banners are torn down, and flags/banners are welcomed. Make those changes and I’m sure that our atmosphere in our insipid home ground would change.

Now I’ve got my Emirates rant out of the way, returning to Wenger. The first few years at the Emirates were, rightly or wrongly, seen as a few free years for the manager. He was working on an extremely tight budget, with a very young team. To get them in the top four was fantastic, and most Arsenal fans were patient, if not slightly frustrated through these times, “for everything he’s done, he deserves time to rebuild a new team” was the general consensus.

However, the year where his halo slipped was 2011. February, we did the most Arsenal thing possible and blew four competitions within three weeks. A fairly standard league collapse, an even more familiar defeat to Barcelona, knocked out of the FA to Manchester United, and the disastrous defeat to Birmingham. Fast forward a few months. Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri have left. Wenger put out a side made largely of young players and understudies at Old Trafford, because he had failed to spend money during another summer of player sales. As the 8th goal went in, the camera cut to Wenger. He looked old, pale and frail. It was the first time I thought “you don’t need this mate, and possibly we don’t either.”

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The last few seasons for Wenger since can be summed up as: Fans know a we need a player, Wenger doesn’t buy a player, defends his record, gets a couple of big injuries, states players missing will be like new signings, says 4th is a trophy, sees team capitalise on Spurs’ useless ability to finish a job and catch them, then repeat. I should say in there we also won two FA cups and community shields. But it’s not enough. We’ve rarely looked likely to win the league because we have a squad, and more importantly a manager that make the same mistakes again and again.

Maybe we were spoilt by his first ten years. Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City, Tottenham, Liverpool, West Ham have all changed their manager over the last years. Not all successfully, but there is such a fear amongst so many that changing the manager would be negative because the grass isn’t always greener. But sometimes it is. City sacked Mancini, first to win the league in years and got an upgrade in Pellegrini. The same with them this summer. West Ham and Spurs have improved since changing their manager.

There are many that have said Arsenal have become Arsene’s play thing. Last year, I wonder if he thought “Arteta and Flamini will give me 25 games each, we’ll win the league and I’ll be seen as a genius.” Football has changed. Gilberto for 3 million doesn’t exist anymore, nor does Edu for 6 million. You want top quality, 9/10 you need to pay top money. If this is his last season, he needs to ensure he makes it one to remember. Liverpool at home had the stench of “here we go again” around it.

I’ve prepared myself for his departure, and I’m beginning to wonder if he has too. Many fans are falling out of love with the club, and unfortunately the staleness, acceptance that this level is fine, the feeling that nothing will change stems from the most powerful person at Arsenal Football Club. And due to his previous record, that person, the person I’ve given up on, is Arsene Wenger.

Up the Arsenal.

Joe

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13 thoughts on “Arsene Wenger – The Final Unhappy Chapter

  1. Stan simons

    I love the post that you have written,but,every dog has its day! , and ads end has had his .he is a great business man and has made arsenal and the director’s very rich.how can a man say that the options that he has up front includes Sanogo,must be deluded.,and to let Campbell,,go to Portugal is crazy.he is good and works hard.as far as playing Sanchez, as a striker is crazy. We need t o replace this man soon otherwise we will be a mid table team!!!!!

    Reply
    1. GunnerEra1970

      Mr Wenger, if he still has any ability to self-evaluate, will leave, not stay any longer. After 5 consecutive years – (mind you, top top clubs wouldn’t wait that long) – of not winning a major trophy is good as daylight an indication that it’s time to take a break and relook. But this Mr Wenger just got more and more stubborn, inflexible yet so famously indecisive, and worst of all attacked the fans; and for what reasons? Merely for wanting to see the club start winning titles again. Maybe the board feels indebted to Mr Wenger for the new stadium, But at what costs?? Stadiums don’t win titles, players do! Winners attract winners and of course, profits too. And great players want to be winners all the time. But the fact that the board and owner at the club continues to allow Mr Wenger to continue, for reason of money or profits, if true, is a sure indication that the club has become nothing more that a stock market investment. The real losers are the faithful fans who kept ‘buying and investing’ and are short-changed already for years. As long as the Board and owner are profit-happy, (who cares what’s Wenger is up to anyway), Mr Wenger will continue behave as king, when in fact he’s now nothing more than a clown. Any great players interested in the Club still? I heard Sanchez wants to leave. True?

      Reply
  2. crispen

    I hope AW does another 10 years at Arsenal. I hope you go and support Chelsea ,Manure, Tots, City, west Ham or Liverpool.

    Reply
  3. Philbet

    Not sure what your intent is here, If a total disaster occurs and we get relagated ths season, Arsene goes,new guy comes in,next year we finish sixth in the championship there will have been 60,000 at all the games and this blog will continue to post,then in 2018 we get it together and finish 2nd and go back up to the Premiership, they will still be 60,000 at every game and you will continue to post this blog,the difference will be you will be more positive and believe we are seeing the dawn of a new era, (totally untrue), Its all about perception, AW has to run the club how he see’s fit and cant listen or be distracted by outside pressure from anyone, least of all media and fans, You have got to be “in or out” of the Supporters club,if your out, walk away ,if your in, support at all times.
    Continual posts of we are in but dont like it, are negative and ruining your own enjoyment of supporting the club.

    Reply
    1. Bergy

      And this is why nothing will ever change you are in the Wenger supporters club not arsenals if you were you would want what’s best for the club and that is change when Wenger goes I suggest you go with him

      Reply
  4. shiski

    This post is spot on. Most Wenger admirers have lost hope in him including myself largely due to frustration. Football is like politics, perception matters. New players always add a boost to old players. I am sure mourinho knows more than anyone that pogba is not worth that amount, but he knows the kind of boost and fear factor it will bring to the team. Its very clear since last season that arsenal could have won the league with just a slightly better striker. And Wenger should be pragmatic enough to know that players like metaserker and Sanogo have done their bits and should be let go. Campbell is good and improving by the day and wants to loan him out? Come on! And why not try him up front? He seem strong with good footwork. And buy Ighalo to replace Sanogo pls

    Reply
  5. iain

    ”AW has to run the club how he see’s fit and cant listen or be distracted by outside pressure from anyone, least of all media and fans,”

    Now that is a very naive perspective Philbet. The fans, who provide the club with its revenue either directly or indirectly are the clubs clients and to ignore them could be catastrophic for the revenue growth. I couldnt disagree with you more. AW is there to run the team how he sees fit- NOT THE CLUB! Like any other employee on £8m a year 🙂 he should be given targets / kpi’s and expectations to achieve – outside of building up £300m in cash reserves!!!!

    Note I am not advocating spending for the sake of it – but we all know what we need and I would like to see each position filled with a world top 10 player- in keeping with our position as the 7th wealthiest club in the world

    Reply
  6. Uwot?

    Re crisper/philbet..seriously?r u f****ng mental.r u on melds?you represent all that’s wrong with now thankfully what is a minority of our club fanbase.support arsene at all costs? Because you don’t mean the club do you?afc was here before him & it will be long after him.the same applied to all great previous managers.he (wenger) is no exception.you wan’ t another 3/4 seasons of this s***t show.?fine go & support the spuds they’ve being doing it for years.

    Reply
  7. musadcon

    All I want to say is that Wenger is a serious joke to lead Arsenal to league victory.
    I mean Wenger is just punk ass that I hate seems or hearing about of late.
    He keeps treating the club’s transfer issues as if he is dealing with is personal money.
    I am beginning to suspect that Wenger has a pact with Giroud not to bring in another world class striker to send him to the bench.

    Reply
  8. Joe

    Reading the comments, I do think some people have taken it the wrong way. I am merely combining facts regarding our decline with some opinions. Those that know enough about football will understand this. Those making comments such as “go and support another team” should grow up. Arsenal are my club, they always have been a part of me. But our club is Arsenal Football Club, not Arsene Football Club. I hope everyone else enjoys the article.

    Reply
  9. Brett Dadson

    an excellent article that l totally agree with
    but nothing will change until that american twat is gone
    once wenger eventually goes,no decent manager will accept the job if the purse strings are severely restricted
    we will end up with a sub standard manager who is another yes man

    Reply
  10. Wolfgang

    Pool outclassed Burnley in possession and passes and had 26 shots at goal.Burnley has 3 shots and won 2-0.In the Foxes game,the gnners intricate build up slows down the attack.\
    This is unlikely to change as long as the fm is boss,Arsenal will continue to struggle and fight for 4th.

    Reply

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