He has ruined his legacy
His legacy is now taking a team from top to 6th
He has no legacy
That is 3 examples of what I have seen in the last 48 hours when it comes to discussing what Arsene Wenger’s legacy is.
Alongside the usual his legacy is not going unbeaten, that was George Graham’s team – ignoring the fact that Graham had been gone 9 years, leaving a team in 14th, and David Seaman, Lee Dixon, Steve Bould and Tony Adams were long retired. A load of rubbish is often spouted, often emotionally.
Wenger needs to go this summer. I have spoken before about how 2014 should have been the time he should have gone.
Having just won the FA Cup, his time was naturally up. He was already running out of ideas and had sailed The HMS Arsenal through the rocky waters of the early new stadium financial constraints years.
The summer of 2013 was the first summer we had real money to spend. We failed to spend it – only signing Mesut Ozil. It was the summer of Luis Saurez & Gonzalo Higuain. Wenger had shown a reluctance to spend. At the end of that year he should have stood aside and let someone else come in with fresh ideas, someone who would spend the available money. Jurgen Klopp. Pep Guardiola.
Instead, he stayed. And whilst a further 2 FA Cups have been won since, it certainly feels like he has now outstayed his welcome.
So what is his legacy?
Like many, he will be judged greater once time has past. Once the wounds are heeled. And time will heel them.
Wenger is the man who took us unbeaten. This had not been done since Preston North End in 1888. Anyone who pretends this is not one of the greatest achievements in the modern game, anyone who says that his recent performances mean that the Arsenal invincibles of 2004 are meaningless, it a bellend.
To act like what we did in 2004 is not special is childish. I actually feel for fans who have that opinion,. So bent up with bitterness and rage that they refuse to embrace going unbeaten as one of the greatest achievements in football history.
Wenger also won the Double Double.
The Double has only been done 11 times in history. Wenger accounts for two of them. Only Sir Alex Ferguson (with 3) have achieved it more.
To put it into perspective, Wenger has as many Double’s as Tottenham have league titles.
Despite Jose Mourinho’s greatness at Chelsea, the double always alluded him. Manchester City have spent £1b on players, they have never won the double. George Graham got close in 1991, but ultimately fell short.
And then we have the FA Cup.
Wenger broke a 97 year record when he led Arsenal to his 7th FA Cup. It is a record that will never be broken. 7 FA Cups for a single team, in an era where managers barely last beyond 7 months.
And it is the records that will define Wenger.
Those FA Cups
That unbeaten season
The 49 games undeafeted
This is Wenger’s legacy. You might not respect him now, but respect him for what he did.
But for me, his ultimate legacy is the bar he has raised. The standard he has set.
This season, we will finish 6th. We would have made a League Cup Final and a Europa League semi-final. Even if we win the Europa League, my opinion will not change, he has to go. And that is his legacy.
He has made it that finishing 6th is not acceptable for an Arsenal manager. Making finals and winning trophies no longer enough to keep the job.
Back in the 70s and 80s, we were starved of success. The 1987 League Cup success for George Graham trigged a 20 year golden period for Arsenal.
Arsenal finished 4th that year and it was considered a successful season. Due to Graham, and then followed by Wenger, a repeat of the 1987 season would now be seen as a failure.
A run of 10 games without winning. 5 wins in the last 18 games. Imagine that now?
For me, Wenger’s legacy is that the bar of what is now considered a failure is now much higher than it was 30 years ago.
Wenger Out, no matter what, but lets remember he was an Arsenal great.