By Walter Broeckx
I don’t know if he actually said it but if I can believe the media this is what a not yet named manager said yesterday against the media: “The Champions League is a prize in itself. A club like “X” must play at the highest podium”.
Now we know that if Wenger said such a thing the reporters would make a bit of fun of him. Talk about 4th place trophy. Have a good laugh. And then the aaa would come on here, shout at us demanding to know why we should settle for that 4th place trophy.
Be mad, be very mad, at all who dare to agree with the manager who said such a thing.
But no, it wasn’t Wenger who said this. And as I don’t read the media in England anymore I don’t know if they had the same reaction they usually preserve for Wenger. But when they have reacted in such a way it always filters through to the media I do read, and for the moment I haven’t seen any reaction to it.
Now the manager who said this yesterday (according to my sources on the internet) was Louis Van Gaal current manager of Manchester United. And so it seems that the media has taken it at face value without the attempt of trying to ridicule this manager.
After all he was hailed to be a world class manager when United took him last summer. And he has a rather impressive record as a manager. And he would take United back to the top. That was the word in the street. But things haven’t quite worked out like that for Manchester United. Despite having no European matches at all, despite being out of the League Cup at the first hurdle, despite being dumped out of the FA cup by Arsenal they never really have been in the fight for the PL since the start of the season.
Now I wrote the above before the Manchester United match at Crystal Palace with the thought that if they lost that one they might even be in trouble vis a vis the Champions League. That would be two seasons in succession of not being in the CL.
But of course the odds were that they would make it and you can never bet against the bookies, but the fact remains it is not that easy to qualify for the CL, that is for sure. People who discard finishing in the top 4 clearly don’t know difficult it is to do it. Year after year after year after year….
But look at United. They spent the most money in the transfer window last summer and yet it is still difficult to get in to the CL places after having spend all that money. And that with a team that won them their last PL title two seasons ago. It just shows how easy and quick things can change if there is a managerial change. First with Moyes and now Van Gaal. And it is not that Manchester United didn’t spend the f*cking money.
And once again when we look at the situation at Arsenal in the last 10 years since we started building our stadium…. Our manager kept us in the CL places. Without money to spend. With having to sell his best players almost every season. We were a selling club the aaa spouted. Without looking at the “why?” Something the aaa and the media are not really interested in for whatever reason.
We have always asked that Wenger be given time. Time for the stadium to be built and largely paid for. Time for things to change. And by change we meant till he would be able to spend a little bit more money. Wenger would never spend like City or Chelsea as we will never have the same resources. But he first spent heavily on Özil. And last summer on Alexis. And have they been top class purchases? Anyone who is saying otherwise is someone who is blind or who has a Wenger-out agenda or who deliberately wants to deny the truth.
In the first season with Özil we didn’t have to suffer till the last day of the season to be sure of CL qualification. And now in his second season and the first of Alexis we are one point away from at least 4th place. We could “celebrate” the 4th place trophy on Sunday depending on the Liverpool result.
And one more win and a win of our match in hand would bring us 3rd place at least. But I think that 2nd place is more likely than 3rd or 4th. If we keep our run up as we have been doing since the last months we should finish in second place. And we still have that FA cup final to play at the end of May and could add another trophy and the name of Wenger in the history books of not just Arsenal but of the FA Cup history also. I sure hope the players will be able to give him that.
But the most important conclusion is that even for the almighty Manchester United, with all their money spent and to spend, they have to admit that even finishing in the top 4 is not as easy as some painted it to be.
I have admired Wenger for being able to do it all those years without any resources at all. Time for some to look in the mirror and admit that they have been oh so wrong about Wenger all these years. And maybe it is time that they feel a bit embarrassed for all the abuse they have spouted at him. But I don’t think that will happen soon when I sometimes look behind the scenes of Untold. The hate they developed is too big for some it seems. But that is of course their problem. It is their problem that they cannot enjoy football and live.
A couple of anniversaries from the full Arsenal on this day index
10 May 1959: Death of Leslie Knighton, the first manager of Arsenal in north London. He and George Allison published their autobiographies within weeks of each other in 1948, and Knighton’s book has been used as a source of information concerning Arsenal and Henry Norris 1919-25, but subsequent investigation has shown most of his allegations (although still oft repeated today) are without foundation.
10 May 1969: Dennis Bergkamp born in Amsterdam, the son of an electrician. He joined Ajax aged 12, and stayed there for 12 years before moving to Inter. After two miserable years there, he moved to Arsenal.