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October 2016
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10 questions that are not being answered in relation to the future of Arsenal FC

By Tony Attwood

On the Arsenal History Society site yesterday I published a little summary of the way in which people who call themselves Arsenal fans have turned on players and the club all the way through the club’s history, ever since the departure of the working class Sir Henry Norris who would metaphorically roll up his sleeves and take on anyone who dared put down his club (the FA, the press, anyone).

The article takes in incidents from the 1920s to the present day showing the negative impact of Arsenal fans on the club.  And today on that site I have published a second piece which looks at what individual managers at Arsenal have achieved in their first season at the club.

Here, looking to the future, (which is more Untold Arsenal territory) I want to ask the questions that 99.999% of anti-Wenger correspondents to this site don’t either ask or answer, in relation to the new manager.

In writing this I am not suggesting that Mr Wenger is about to leave – but rather looking to the inevitable, that at some time he will leave.   The questions will, I think, be as valid in ten years as they are now.

1: Who would want to come to Arsenal in this toxic atmosphere – generated by the media and people who call themselves Arsenal fans but spend most of their time criticising the club?

It is all very well wanting a manager out, but there is no point in doing this unless you can get in someone better.   Arsenal has a long history of the media and the fans turning on the club, as the Arsenal History Society article shows, so anyone suggesting Mr Wenger needs to go really should be considering who might come in his stead.

While most available managers would want to go to Barcelona or Bayern because they win the league so often and have totally committed fans, who would want come to Arsenal, knowing what is going to happen?

2:  How will the new manager cope with the opening sleeve story that the media will create?

On his first day in office Mr Wenger was faced with a howling, baying mob on the steps of Highbury who were shouting at him, “What have you got to say about the rumours Mr Wenger?”

Fortunately Mr Wenger was infinitely more intelligent that every person in that mob added together, and the journalists failed to get their sleaze story.   But it was taken up by Man U fans and we have heard it ever since.

The media mob will do the same again, because they always turn on Arsenal in a way that they never turn on Liverpool! Tottenham, Man U, Man C or Chelsea, and everyone who is thinking of managing Arsenal knows they will have to face it and face it alone, given the way the board advised Mr Wenger simply to “stay inside and keep your head down.”   This is what happens to new managers at Arsenal.  Who wants to face that?

Remember the press in other countries is nowhere near so intrusive and hostile.

3:  What does the new man have to do in his first year at Arsenal?

Mr Wenger gave us third, with early exits from all cups, in his first year.  Since we now know from those who oppose Mr Wenger that cups – even repeated winning of cups – are not trophies, presumably that means doing better in the league – which presumably means second in the first season, winning in the second.  Quite an absolute demand.  Here’s Mr W’s first season.  It’s got to be better than that.

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Manchester United 38 21 12 5 76 44 +32 75
2 Newcastle United 38 19 11 8 73 40 +33 68
3 Arsenal 38 19 11 8 62 32 +30 68
4 Liverpool 38 19 11 8 62 37 +25 68
5 Aston Villa 38 17 10 11 47 34 +13 61

4:  Will the new man be subject to the last match being everything analysis?

This has been the focus of much of the criticism.  If we can’t beat Watford we are useless – the end of the debate (although actually it isn’t a debate, it is a statement).

This approach does make life very tough for every manager since even in the unbeaten season there were some rather unexciting draws.  And that season was exceptional.

5:   Whoever comes in will be incredibly lucky having Awobi, Bellerin, Coquelin, Elneny, coming up.  But apparently this is a side without leaders.  Where will he find them immediately?

One argument is that despite the purchase of Ozil and Alexis Mr Wenger won’t spend any money.  I am not sure how that works, but it is the point that is made.  So the new man has to be willing to spend money – but just as we have to find a manager who is willing to come to Arsenal, so we have to find players who are willing to come to the club.

Mr Wenger gets players because of his fame in football at looking to play exciting, rather than negative football, and because he has the knack of finding incredible young players who can really make the team work.

But leaders are harder to find – and again they have either to be at the club or be willing to come to it.  Tony Adams, often cited in this regard, came up through the ranks, and so was accepted as a leader from early on.   But who will do this if we don’t have any (and it is “any” – for that is what the aaa and the press say).  The Telegraph has called the team weak – and no real leader wants to lead a weak team.  So who will we get to resolve that?

6.  There was a call for attacking reinforcements which (again according to the Telegraph) should have been bought in January.  But where to do you find them?

We have Welbeck, Giroud, Theo, Alexis, Campbell.   So clearly we need someone better than all of them.  Who is that going to be?  And again remember the player needs to be established, we need to fight off all other clubs to get him, and the player has to want to come into the toxic atmosphere that the aaa and the media have created at Arsenal.

7.  We also have a soft centre, according to many reporters and the aaa.  So again who could we get who would want to come here?

Laurent Koscielny was described by Mr Wenger as his best value for money player ever, and indeed Mr Wenger has taken him from being on the bench in the French second division to being ranked in the top 100 players in Europe.

But that is seemingly not enough.  Mr Wenger clearly believes in Gabriel and is willing to wait for him to develop.  Brazil believes in him too. But that is not enough under the new regime.  So who are we going to get to fill this role – and come to that how is a new man going to be able to do it at once?

8: At the same time as this we need tactical flexibility.  How is that to be introduced at the same time?

Mr Wenger develops players by playing them in the team, but the aaa and their friends in the media want change now – and success now, remembering that a cup is not a trophy, and nor is just qualifying for the champions league.

So we need a new attacking option and a new leader or two.  But also according to the Telegraph we need tactical flexibility.  So where does this come from at the same time?   Come to that how?   It seems to me a valid question to ask of anyone who is asking for these changes.

9:  But supposing just for one second the problem actually lies elsewhere.

If you are a regular reader you will know that for years now we have had our team of people working with Walter (himself a ref) who know exactly what the laws of football say look at the referee in each Arsenal game.

Now our conclusions are routinely attacked, although not by contrary evidence.  We have been called various names for doing the analyses and told quite simply “you can’t blame the referees.”  Or “it all evens out in the end”.

People often write in and say to me, “do you seriously believe the refs are bent?” and my answer is always the same.  “No.  I don’t have the evidence.”   But what I know is that PGMO, the organisation that runs refereeing in the PL is odd.

Unique among referee organisations in Europe it has a very, very, close alliance with the League it serves, it is utterly secretive and doesn’t even have a web site, it refuses to incorporate innovation unless it is forced to by a change to the laws, it deliberately restricts the number of refs so that Arsenal get the same refs over and over again (which if one wanted to stop corruption would be the first thing to change so a bent ref gets limited influence), it issues gagging orders to its ex-employees so they won’t talk about what goes on in PGMO…  well, you’ve heard all that before.

Now supposing, just supposing, with all that logical evidence that something curious is going on, and that Arsenal (and perhaps a few other clubs) are more often than not, on the receiving end.  Then changing the manager won’t do anything.   The influence of PGMO will still be there.

10:  Why will Arsenal get it right when others with more money can’t?

Man City, Chelsea and Man U all have far, far, far, far more money than Arsenal.   They have changed their managers regularly.  But they can’t march on and win the league all the time.   In the past two seasons Man City won two domestic trophies, Chelsea two, Arsenal two, but clearly that is not enough.  Yet even with their billions of pounds Man City, Chelsea and Man U won’t win the league this year.

So what will the aaa and the media say if Arsenal, like all these clubs with so much money, not win the league next year?

I leave you to ponder.

Two from the anniversary files

17 March 2002 Aston Villa 1 Arsenal 2.  Part of a run of 13 consecutive wins.  League match 30 of the 3rd Double season.   Edu got the first and Pires (easily the man of the match) got the second before Villa’s late consolation goal.

17 March 2009: Arsenal 2 Hull 1 FA Cup 6th round.  Hull made their wild allegations about assault and of Fabregas being wrongly dressed, after the game.  All allegations were thrown out and the Hull manager later lost his job.

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78 comments to 10 questions that are not being answered in relation to the future of Arsenal FC

  • DC

    persecution complex showing Tony

  • David Gilhooly

    I agree with a lot of what is said on this website but I think never ever criticising the manager or club is just blind loyalty. Also criticism doesn’t make you an AAA. I think we have fallen really short this year after the previous two seasons of building and to be honest we don’t seem to have the stamina or whatever it takes for a title push. You say we need to find someone as good or better than Wenger out there but sometimes just a change can be a big plus. A change in buying policy, a change in playing style, perhaps just a change in personality. With all the money we have (or are reported to have) we should be doing better. And as for no one wanting the managers job I think that is total rubbish, there are manay managers out there who would bite your arm off for a chance to manage this club. Arsenal may be the butt of the joke in the English media but they are respected all over the world as a fantastically well run club.

  • thierryhenry22

    @DC Really deep stuff. I like the way it addresses all those real and actual things in the article. Keep it up, who knows what you might unearth next.

    PS. Good article Tony. I know it can all get a bit complex for some but some of us with half a brain get your points (at least).

  • David, two things on what you have said. This site was set up to support Arsene Wenger because almost every other web site and certainly every newspaper was attacking him. That’s why we are here.

    In terms of a change bringing something better, I’ve now published the article on the History Society site showing just what happens to Arsenal managers in their opening seasons.

  • Bane39

    1) Who would want to come to one of Football’s biggest named clubs, manage/coach a team full of international stars and earn a very nice wage packet in the process? I am guessing anyone who believes they can bring league/ european success to North London, has the backbone to deal with dissent from fans/ media and preferably has some relevant experience in the job?

    3) I do not think anyone would expect a trophy haul in the first season. A minimum would be installing a fighting attitude whilst maintaining attractive football. Possibly plug some holes Wenger never seems willing to address, like defensive minded players and strikers. I believe any new manager would be given time unless they fundamentally alter our style and turn us into the stoke of old.

    5) You do not often see leaders bought, they are made. I would say it is more down the character and mentality of the team, coaching staff, manager, club mantra etc. Any of our players could potentially decide one day to act like Adams and thats all it would take. Sadly, it does not seem like this is encouraged at Arsenal.

    6) Again with this toxic atmosphere talk! The players are underperforming, the manager is underperforming and they know it. I bet you are a fan who believes we might lose our best players if this atmosphere continues. What does that say about the players? The going gets tough, these superstars get going? Or they are only superstars when they play in teams like Madrid and Barcelona where average players can look amazing. Titles are not given to you you have to fight for them and they are showing no fight… I cannot see why a massive club would want a bottler who jumps ship because he has to work harder.

    7) Buying players is never a sure thing, everyone knows it. But there has been fantastic value in the market recently and Wenger has not plugged gaps that are blazing for all to see. Gabriel has been worrying this year whereas Alderwield* has been great for Spurs. This seems to be a pattern. Can we really keep waiting a couple of years for the Kos’ to come good? Clearly not as we do not win league titles.

    8) You seem to arguing without context. It is as if you are not taking into account the now and how Wenger has built the team over the last couple of years. When push comes to shove we see the same frailties and have witnessed the same collapse… fingers crossed we turn it around.

    9) Agree with most of that, but doesn’t excuse the previous points. Come back with solid proof.

    10) I think for me this season was supposed to be transition vs harmony. Arsenal had been steadily cultivating the team for a while, a little investment here, a little there. Other teams had great success spending money in the past but this was to add to already strong sides. Those sides lost players to age, lost managers to age, were in periods of major transition and for some still trying to find who they are. Arsene spent… But everyone still thought there were positions that needed improving. As always the usual injury crisis hits, we lose 3/4 of our midfield and players returning appear to have lost all previous form. No one wants Arsene to spend £250 million but once again we went into the season with a strike force containing no real top bras strikers , two established CBs, Gabriel who does not install confidence and Chambers who might profit from a loan. Up until January we were totally reliant on Coq staying fit, who as it turns out could not stay. Hindsight is wonderful but injury problems happen to often and it looks like we went into the season under prepared.

  • rich

    I think the grace period for any new manager will be a short one, maybe as short as a handful of games, but it will exist.

    A consequence of Wenger’s remarkably long tenure is that, if only you are daft or sufficiently motivated to act as you are, you can pretend the last decade featured the same circumstances all the way through. This means that this year’s 2nd,3rd or 4th would be just like any other season we qualified for the CL without winning the trophy. Or no, it would be much worse, because there is a selective ability to admit to very different circumstances at different times, when it suits an agenda

    Whereas, should,say, Liverpool end up outside the top four, that generally won’t be considered alongside other years. New start, new era, new manager.

    Replacing the manager is the mechanism for achieving this, like a reset button, though even here I would fully expect the rules to prove different for us.

    It’s a fact that any new manager gets some benefits from this grace period when they start, if not a very long one; it is different in each case, determined by expectations at the club and whatever position the club is in when the last man left- crudely speaking the worse things were going the more patience and sympathy there is likely to be for the new incumbent.

    Wenger’s remarkably long tenure means he gets not 1% of the benefit of any of this, even in situations which share a lot of characteristics with those a new manager faces- specifically should a few players leave and some new ones come in, or anything which could be described as a transition, or a change to the league as a whole (such as the increased wealth of other teams, shrinking in many cases our financial advantage over them).

    All other clubs, by dint of their new or just relatively new managers, can be cut a bit of slack in how they adapt to the new financial realities of the premier league and what it means for mid-size clubs or even smaller ones, i.e, their competitiveness.

    This year has firmly suggested all the recent top 4/5 have had a problem getting to grips with the increased competitiveness throughout the league. This translates into just a little extra patience from fans, or at least it does if there has been a change of manager recently.

    Anyway, I figure there is a strong element of deception in whatever grace period the new manager enjoys. The underlying reality of whatever state the club is in remains the same and at some point the flick switches and whatever pressures have temporarily been kept away due to a new man being in charge (who can’t, remember, be held responsible for stuff before his time) pour forth, meaning that manager is again judged precisely on current position, how the team is performing, what the future looks like.

    The cycle has then completed and a manager will tend to be judged on his last game. No more talk about luck or anything of that nature is permitted at that point.

    In short, I think a new man would get about 5 games for us before the fans who currently hate Wenger stop making allowances for luck etc, and start being very angry should we lose any game.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    @DC. Doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get us though!

  • Im not sure we would have much trouble recruiting a new manager if we are offering £8m a year and no real pressure to win anything. Looks like a no brainer to me. Players likewise. Few clubs can match what Arsenal pay their top players so I dont think a bit of grief from the fans is that big a deal. RM boo Ronaldo and I dont see him complaining. I think the problem is more Silent Stan. Changing the manager without a different philosophy isnt going to make that much difference.

  • proudkev

    Great comment Tony.

    Any new manager has a serious problem. The expectation level:

    Look at the way the ’12 years’ without a title is ignorantly banded about by the media and those who want to grab whatever they can to make the case against Wenger.

    Wenger is being called a failure for not winning the league title during the years post stadium when he had one of the lowest nett spends in the league. This was a period when we had to buy prospects and our best players were at the mercy of the financially stronger clubs. Despite the huge sums of money avaialable to Chelsea and Man City and of course the fact other clubs were spending a lot more than us, these years are listed as Wenger failing. As much nonsesne as it is, unfortunatley people are stupid. Teams that had spent far more than us failed to qualify for the Champions League every season, while some of our fans were ridiculing our players, who had somehow managed to qualify.

    So if Arsene Wenger was expected to win the title in every one of the last 12 years, you have to say any new manager is doomed to failure.

    This is not to excuse any mistakes Wenger has made along the way. Not at all. This is simply to apply perspective and the unrealistic expectations people have.

    I have become a vociferous supporter of Wenger on the back of the disgusting way he has been treated. The media had their knives out from day one. They didnt like some foreigner coming here to take on the English culture that has held us back. He was responsible for new diets and for stopping the backward mentality we had towards alcohol. He also challenged the way kids played on full size pitches. Worst of all he challenged our obsession with kick and rush hoofball, preferring a comntinental approach. He was hated for all these reasons.

    When we was winning doubles, had the invincible season, the media were still on his back. We had the red card countdown and how we were a dirty team, then we had the almost daily criticism because he refused to ‘see’ incident. Finally, we had the michale extracted whenever he struggled with the zip on a coat – all aimed at attacking his greater intellect.

    Wenger over achieved for years.

    The next manager will have to do the same. What concerns me is that this could be the end and we could end up like Man Utd and Spurs, changing managers every two or three years and no stability in the club. When a club the size of Man Utd with their huge financial advantage can fail to qualify for the champions league and cant even get out of the group stages of the CL, there is a warning.

    The foundations we now have should not be under estimated but they are.

    We should not submit to mob rule of an ignorant, loud mouthed minority.

    If we do, I fear for any new manager.

  • Luvyourclub

    I agree with David about who would want to manage Arsenal. There would be a lot of managers would jump at the chance. There are clubs all over Europe who sack after 5 mins and fans going ballistic at the slightest thing going wrong. But yet they still get a new manager with no problems. One of the hardest jobs I think at the moment is Man utd after the Alex Ferguson years who would wnat it but they’ve had two so far and if LVG leaves then there will be people jumping at the chance to be their manager.

  • timo

    for once Tony pliz spare us the telegraph. they are annoyingly too negative. I followed their live stream for the game. other than crediting the goal all they could write was to rubbish in most part our players yet we were not even as close. may be we stop reading poisonous blogs!

  • Marcus71

    Firstly, we will have no problem getting a long list of managers queuing up at our door. One of the top ten (at least) clubs in the world in one of the greatest cities with a reputation for patience from the board and the fanbase – how can you even think this will be a problem? If Newcastle can get a Champions League winner in their position I think we should be in with a shout of getting whoever we want.

    As you say, we have some good players coming through but they need a manager who will impart a gameplan. What we currently have, similar to Man City, is a fantasist who tells players to go out and express themselves without any kind of tactical structure. Other teams are well-drilled and no-longer afraid of us technically so we have lost our ability to beat the lesser teams that has saved some of our recent seasons.

    It is not necessary to buy big – Mahrez, Payet, Kante, Alli, Vardy are the players of the season and none of them cost a large amount of money. Wenger made his reputation getting these sort of players. Add to that Lukaku and Stones as higher cost possible signings.

    Of course, this is sport and nothing is certain. You can always use this as a reason to keep the status quo – after all we are not getting relegated any time soon – but the fact is that we have fallen on our faces, especially since Xmas, and the responsibility for this is with the manager. If there was any possibility of him modifying this methods (something a top level manager on £8mill should be able to do) then I wouldn’t mind him seeing out his contract – unfortunately nothing he has done or said gives any indication this is likely.

  • Bleeding gums Murphy

    Tony I do admire your stance and agree with lots that you write but this is a little desperate. I hope you continue your blog when Arsene goes (as you said you set up the blog to support Arsene not Arsenal) and will be interested to see how you respond to a new manager. There are a few on the comments section who do the site a disservice unfortunately. The rigid blinkered thinking goes to levels reminiscent of David Koresh. They will follow you but have begun to try to protect, defend and justify you.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Well put Tony.
    I don’t doubt there would be plenty of managers willing to come here, but will they do better than Wenger…..and how long will the as give them?
    All you have put in here makes me worry that the board might go for a populist choice that would most likely fail….Vieira, Henry, Dennis…..
    The next manager at this club needs to be an extremely experienced manager, who plays the right way and would not damage the brand, who would not spend a fortune and claim 16 mil pa wages. A lot of them about…..right……
    Any arsenal fan who believes we get fair and equal treatment from the refs either knows nothing of the laws of the game or is masking their knowledge as the PGMOL agenda suits their own. Anyone in doubt as to the refs we get, compare and contrast with the favourable treatment dished out to Spurs and Leicester., both rather dirty and cynical sides on their day. Dele alli for one is approaching Shearer or Rooney levels of protection from refs. Leicester have been given nine penalties, arsenal two.
    I am not even saying they are against Arsenal as much…I have no evidence, just that from year to year, there seems to be a team given a very easy ride to the title, and as someone who does not play the game, they make sure arsenal don’t interfere. Easy ride to title….think Utd in fergies last year…..Liverpool a couple years ago until they screwed up.
    But there is another thing that could stop players coming to arsenal. Injuries…or the perception of them, I am aware of the excellent research done on here, but our headlong figures …..key players and impact do not look good. We can debate as to why we get so many more than Spurs Leicester and Watford at length, but this season, we do, along with of course city and Utd. I know the causes are complex, these teams have Europe, internationals….and older managers, maybe the young school of managers know something…..or are using something we do not on this front, and I don’t mean anything nessecerily illegal.
    Finally, there are clubs allowed unlimited spending, as has been pointed out, Stan does not. We do not know what restrictions Wenger has worked…probably willingly under, but when under pressure, some of his words hint at something, as with his recent press conference comments. Nor does it seem the owner or board are willing to back the manager or team against some pretty strange refereeing, you never see a ref stood down for screwing us over, as you do with other teams.
    But largely, we know what will happen. Wenger will make some tweaks, players will return, we will finish strongly, finish most likely second or third, a couple quality signings in the summer, perhaps strengthening the coaching and fitness setup, Ozil and Sanchez will be persuaded to sign, spuds and Leicester fall away next season, and we are again competing with the usual, with the usual ref performances, we get barca a in our ECL group, and Bayern in the first knockout stage.
    Wenger sees out his contract….at the very least.

  • David Gilhooly

    Tony, I respect the website and Wenger, he has done an amazing job over the years and I really wanted him to benefit from the new monies coming into the club after all the years of getting us into the top four on a buget much, much lower than our rivals, Liverpool and Spurs mainly. I never expected us to beat Barcelona for instance, not over two legs and not at the moment, they are too good. If we met them in the final we would have a chance. I feel the league title was lost over the Christmas period which is really upsetting after we managed to get through that terrible period of injuries. Anyway, I’m not all for Wenger to leave I would just like us to be building on the last couple of seasons and am suggesting that a change of manager might not be the disaster so many predict. Man United were already in trouble even under Fergie in the last couple of seasons due to lack of investment so we don’t really compare. I don’t know the answer or even what the problem is exactly. Clubs aren’t entitled to win trophies even though some try to buy them but I think we are really well set up to succeed and could be doing better.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    I am unconcerned with a change of manager now at Arsenal. But I will be interested in a transition of managership at Arsenal at a further time from Mr Arsene Wenger to Mr Steve Bould.

    I am right now in distress mood as we lost 3-1 to Barca last night. And I have been reflecting on the outcome of that match as it has affected Arsenal. If only Welbeck’s powerful shot from the left side of Barca’s area that clipped the tip of the left top corner of the goal post had gone in, Arsenal would have equalised to 2-2 at that stage in the game. And if Sanchez free kick was more perfect it would had beaten the Barca’s goalee. And Arsenal would have equalised assuming Welbeck chance had missed.

    And who knows, Arsenal would spirited to take the lead to 2-3 and they could even go further to score their 4th goal to knockout Barca. If the Boss is forced to leave Arsenal against his wish to depart, his leaving will trigger on a chain reaction at Arsenal. Only Lord Harris may survive a clear-out of staff & players at Arsenal as the Boss’ back room staff, some Gunners other than those that are expected to leave in the Summer at the expiration of the deals, Ivan Gasidiz and Sir Chips Keswick will all be cleared out from Arsenal as the club is reorganized. And even Stan Kroenke could be forced by the protesting Arsenal fans to sell his majority Shares at Arsenal to a passionate football investor, who will help Arsenal by putting his personal money into players recruitment in form of a loan or a grant to Arsenal like Roman Abramovich is doing at Chelsea. And not to be siphoning money away from Arsenal as Stan Kroenke has been doing.

  • thierryhenry22

    Wenger isn’t welcome in this corrupt league. End of.

  • Mandy Dodd

    David G, yes we got through a terrible period of injuries, but looks to me that post Xmas was the time when the effect of these injuries took hold….a delayed reaction, a residual effect if you like, as lesser teams were able to adjust to and counter the deficiencies in our weakened squad… missing the true team captain, no missing true mf ball players essential for transition to attack.
    I maintain, if Arsenal can do whatever it takes, within the law , ethics of medicine and wellbeing of players, to bring our injury levels down a notch or two we will have a very successful team, despite refs….at out best, we render the most biased of refs irrelevant….in this league at least.
    Back to the AAA, have looked at their sites, the prevailing view is that Stan is a tight xxxx, Ivan is a puppet with no balls, Mr Fries Keswick spends too much time on the brandy…..none of the board know anything about football for all I know, they may be correct on these widely held assumptions, but that said, they are desperate for these people not only to change our most successful manager, but to replace him. Now where does that seem a bit wrong.

  • Mandy Dodd

    TH22, sadly, you may well be right.

  • thierryhenry22

    ..but Arsenal are just getting started. Wenger repeatedly calls for video technology. The voices are getting louder. Once the smoke and mirrors have cleared Arsenal will be standing with the very tallest and ready to dominate the league for years to come because they foresaw the fact that football can’t be this uneven forever and one day, everyone will have to be on a level playing field.

  • thierryhenry22

    @Mandy it is very sad. But he’s a smart man. I’m sure knows what he does now will be on record for hundreds of years and his efforts will be rightly lauded. The sad part is that he may not be around in the flesh to witness it personally

  • proudkev


    “Clubs aren’t entitled to win trophies even though some try to buy them but I think we are really well set up to succeed and could be doing better”

    This is extremely on point.

    For whatever reason, this season we have had an almighty blip. When you see players like Sanchez somehow missing chances they would have buried before, you just end up scratching your head.

    It all went a bit south went a bit south when we lost Santi. He helped us move quickly through the transitions and added the tempo that is often missing. Losing key players throughout the season hasn’t helped cohesion but our finishing has been pretty awful.

    In both Barca games we created enough chances to have made that a close run thing. At the Em’s Oxlade missed a straight forward chance and yesterday Sanchez put a header wide that by his standards was a sitter. Missing simple chances can spread through the team and confidence suffers. Wengers was wrong, I believe confidence is a key factor in front of goal.

    It’s clear we need some additions but the foundations are there. We defintely need a more clinical finisher in this team and that should be a priority.

  • thierryhenry22

    @BleedingGumsMurphy Completely abstract comment from you which shows me there is no substance to your opinion. the pattern is the same with all the blindly negative comments left on here.

  • thierryhenry22

    @proudkev I’m definitely up for us getting a clinical finisher. I hope they’re scouting for one as we speak. Someone who can do special numbers such as better than a goal every 2 games, and make Giroud and Walcott fight for their places

  • Mandy Dodd

    Agree Kev, Santi missing cannot be over emphasised.
    But it doesn’t stop there, His natural replacement Jack, also missing. Slightly different replacemtnts not still inspiring players, Rambo, arteta, missing.
    Injuries whether we get more or less than some clubs seem to screw us every year. Again, something for any new manager to consider….maybe we just have too many injury prone players, though Santi is not usually one of them
    I cannot even begin to think who the club would appoint should the unthinkable happen.
    TH, things may be easier on the new man on the corruption front, Infantino is not perfect, but I am sure he wants to avoid sharing a cell with Bubba somewhere in New York ,so he will have to clean things up. His initial progress looks promising, including his apparent desire for VT……as long as that doesn’t lead to a room full of anonymous video refs not accountable to anybody making distant decisions to miked up refs….the whole procedure must be transparent, auditable and accountable….everything the PGMOL are not.

  • Zedsaunt

    Tony, ten good points and you nail it from point one onwards

    ”1: Who would want to come to Arsenal in this toxic atmosphere – generated by the media and people who call themselves Arsenal fans but spend most of their time criticising the club?”

    It is not just that North London provides a massive, immediate, international media backcloth, and it is the easiest place for the media to get a story out that can run for years and they have to do next to nothing to get it, not even stretch their legs – Wenger will have been railroaded out.

    Part of his legacy is the negativity. The WOBS have branded themselves for posterity. They will always be known as bloated so-called fans who demand the team and manager service them.

    Any manager who comes in will ask that question – how long have I got to build a team? How long will it take before they turn on me? What does it do for my future?

  • proudkev

    Yes Mandy.

    Santi and Jack are both big players.

    We also had no Welbeck for most of this season. Add to those three, we also lost Sanchez, Ox, Theo, Koscielny, Arteta, Coquelin, Cech (have I missed anyone?) during the season. It’s too many key players – affects cohesion and of course they have to get fitness and form back which takes time.

    Take Vardy or Mahrez out of the Leicester team or one or two from the Spuds and see how that would affect them. Man City without either Kompany or Aguero are a different team.

    Of course on the flip side it gives us the chance to see players like Iwobi and Campbell get a chance, both have developed well.

    Whatever the reason, you just can’t keep losing your best players and that has hurt us more than any other team.

  • Zedsaunt

    Didn’t we lose players on some grounds chased off the pitch, bundled into awnings, and the ref didn’t even blow, or am I dreaming?

  • nicky

    As one of the more elderly followers of Arsenal Football Club, I was brought up during the glory years of pre-WW2. A time when publicity about players and clubs
    was in its infancy.
    Then came the war years when attending matches was a positive relief from the wearying struggle of everyday life in a country at war. No tribal confrontations and fickle support in those days.
    The post-war years, to this day, with steadily improving living standards, has changed all that.
    Professional football has become a war insofar as many followers are concerned.
    The obscene rise in players’ wages though, has meant that club success is now not so important. Players are no longer hungry.
    The answer is that at the end of the day, football is still only a game, a sporting contest and should only ever be treated as such.

  • proudkev

    Quick point.

    Interesting to see the bloke with that banner whoring himself in the media, was demanding a new Manager in 2013.

    His name was Michael Laudrupp.

    His reason? He said he was an up and coming manager.

    All this despite Swansea fighting a relegation battle.

    Michael Laudrupp was before the season ended. Players had complained of a lack of discipline, their was dressing room bust-ups and cliques. The cliques at the training ground resulted in a rule being introduced that meant only three Spanish players were allowed to sit at each table when the squad had lunch.

    Players had made regular complaints to the chariman. They said Laudrupp was aloof, not interested in training and had refused to take training when it was raining.

    At the training camp in Dubai, the players complained that much of the training camp time was spent drinking. The only rules was that the players had to be on the bus for 11am and back on it by 1pm. They wanted discipline but were angry there was none.

    It was diclosed after Laudrupp left that there were regular delegations to the chairman about Laudrup’s lack of training and discipline.

    So there you have it.

    The bloke with the banner protested for Michael Laudrupp to replace Wenger.

    This is the problem. The WOB’s are so obsessed with removing Wenger and getting their way, they don’t care who comes in. The most important thing to them is getting their own way.

    Lets not forget the calls for Moyes, Coyle and Monk.

    Be very careful.

  • proudkev

    “Michael Laudrupp was sacked before the 2013/14 season ended”.

  • Fishpie

    I’ll offer some thoughts for some your questions Tony:

    1: Who would want to come to Arsenal in this toxic atmosphere?
    While recognising there will always be an aaa component, the toxic atmosphere will largely abate simply because we actually make the manager change. The intensity of the toxicity is due to the continued presence of Mr Wenger (fairly or unfairly). The boil will have been lanced. There is a chance that if Arsenal get in someone like Steve McClaren, a new kind of toxicity will quickly return but if the new appointment indicates ambition and is a statement of intent, I trust the Arsenal fans to give the new man a chance to build his team over a 2-3 period. Managers often take over in previously difficult, stressful or disapointing situations. £8m salary is handy too. Or we could have Mr Wenger stay for another year and watch the toxicity go up even further. That would help.

  • Fishpie

    Another thought for 3: What does the new man have to do in his first year at Arsenal?

    No Tony, the new manager doesn’t have to do better than Mr Wenger’s first season. Or even his last. The new manager has to be given a decent chance to build a team he thinks is capable of challenging for the Premiership title and thereafter challenging for the Champions League. If it means 2 -3 years of being out of the top four so be it. But it probably means getting someone who can convince top players to join a building project which won’t be easy.

  • Col

    The new manager would get a honeymoon period. A lot of the criticism Wenger is getting (rightly or wrongly) is not specifically because of this season, but because Arsenal have ‘flattered to deceive’ for several years in a row. People don’t see any progress.

    Clearly there are some WUMs who would revel in any failure (I doubt they are in any real sense Arsenal fans or supporters), but I have met many who have Arsenal loyalty going back 30 or more years who think it is time for a change. One of the (wilful) mistakes this site seems to make is to lump all those who want Wenger to leave into the same category – for example the email that generated an entire article the other day was ‘Daily Mail-esque’ in its disingenuousness.

    1 – Toxic atmosphere – the right appointment would fix that fairly quickly, in the short run at least.
    2 – Media storm – yes, its a factor, but that goes with the territory of being a big club. I can’t believe it is any worse than Liverpool or Man U (look at Moyes for example).
    3 – What does he have to do in his first year. To suggest he has to equal or better Wenger’s first year is complete nonsense. Firstly it was 20 years ago, different times. If Wenger had finshed 5th (say) that would have satisfied most people at the time. Secondly, as already stated, the dissatisfaction with this season is actually about the last few seasons, so whilst there would be a few malcontents if Arsenal came 5th (say), people would accept it if the team was clearly a work in progress.
    4 – Last match everything. That is true for most managers at big clubs – look at Van Gaal for example.
    5 – Whoever comes in will be incredibly lucky having Awobi, Bellerin, Coquelin, Elneny – undeniably true. As for leaders, Arsenal have some leaders, Cech say, but others (e.g. Arteta and Mert.) are either too old or have other deficiencies like lack of pace that stops them always playing.
    6 – Attacking reinforcements. Difficult its true. But does anyone feel confident in Walcott and an ageing Giroud leading the line for the next few years? The new manager will struggle as much as Wenger if this is not addressed.
    7 – soft centre. For whatever reason, Arsenal get turned over far too often by teams that it shouldn’t happen to.
    8 – Tactical flexibility – all managers need this to an extent. Actually, Wenger has changed and is a lot more flexible recently.
    9 – Referee bias. This argument would hold a lot more water if the people saying it were independent.
    10 – big money clubs. Arsenal are (relatively) a big money club. All the clubs mentioned (Man City, Chelsea and Man U) plus Liverpool & Tottenham (and even West Ham) have changed managers recently to fit in with their aspirations – and will do again if it doesn’t work out. Rightly or wrongly, any big club manager (apart from Arsene Wenger) has at most 2 years to start demonstrating significant progress.

  • Fishpie

    4: Will the new man be subject to the last match being everything analysis?
    Tony you are an intelligent man. You know the the issue is not the last match result or the last match performance. The negative or intense analysis of the last match is totally and absolutely down to the repeating and deja vu nature of the results and performances that have gone before. I do think Arsenal fans will want to see a pattern overtime that suggests things are going in the right direction at a reasonable pace, even if it means starting from a lower point. If the last match is another example of an ongoing stasis, that last match will get it in the neck. Long term patterns and direction of travel is the issue.

  • markyb

    “If it means 2 -3 years of being out of the top four so be it”

    In which alternate reality would you be residing in? There is no way at all that anyone taking over would get that leeway. The press, media, pundits, and most of all the current baying mob (encouraged by the previous mentioned) just would not stand for it.

  • Josif

    @Proud Kev

    It’s Laudrup (one “p”).

    A world-class player at his prime but also some character. He played for both Barca and Real. Didn’t want to play for Denmark at Euro 92 because, apparently, he thought Danes hadn’t deserved it on the pitch. (Denmark were given Yugoslavia’s place due to sanctions imposed on Yugoslavia or what was left of it.)

    About candidates… I’m preparing a really big piece on the possible candidates as Tony’s 10 question have given me a firm structure for the article. Even I don’t know what conclusion of the article is going to be.

  • Zedsaunt

    Leicester City is the nearest Premier League team to the St. George’s FA National Coaching Centre in Burton-on-Trent.

    The St. George’s National Coaching Centre has been setup by the English FA to provide the training of football coaches throughout England. It also provides the venue for the training of the FA English national team, you know the one. The team with the three lions on the shirt. The team that gets the national anthem at the start of the game played by the band and gets the national anthem at the start of the second half sung by the fans. All other national teams appear content with one national anthem played.

    Simultaneous, in London, and from London beamed around the world to every follower of football, Leicester City is the club of Gary Lineker, the FA’s man in the TV studio, the public face of Walker’s Crisps, the crisps that are healthy to eat.

    Why buy one when you can buy a trolley full?

    As a kid growing up in Burton-on-Trent I played football until I was eleven and then had to go to a Grammar School. I played rugby in Leicester, swam against Leicester schools, went to Grace Road to watch Leicestershire play county cricket against Derbyshire, went to the de Montfort Hall in Leicester in 1960 to see Clyde McPhatter, Duane Eddy, Bobby Darin.

    What is beyond all doubt, beyond any question – Leicester is a thousand million miles away from North London.

    You can take a train from Burton to London and head for the bottom of Tottenham Court Road and cut every mile of the journey into a parcel, and write a detailed history of that parcel, put a label on that parcel, a title, a beginning and an end, and it would never pass into the consciousness of London.

    Leicester does not have a backcloth curtain of a thousand media outlets going around the planet, each one waiting for copy. It does not have a culture of a phone call made, someone ringing up a journalist and giving them a story and seeing their name in print. It does not have a culture of someone who has been fucked over ringing up a journalist and seeing their name in print.

    It does not have a culture where someone who has been affronted because their authority has been challenged rings up a journalist to re-assert their position and their authority, the family sitting there waiting.

    Leicester is a pleasant place. It is not London, a city of grotesque inequality. People fight for their dignity where they can, always a journalist at hand. To stake out an authority in a city of grotesque inequality, always a journalist at hand in the combat,
    supersedes the act of supporting the team and manager.

    In a city of groteque inequality, where real issues fight for space in the public arena, there will be nine hundred and 99 stories out of a thousand which never get followed up, but there is always one place, where all else fails, where grievance can be turned into an expression and presented. Arsenal.

    The permanent ammunition. The armoury. The fabled accumulated gallery of the city stacked from ceiling to roof with every grievance from the grotesque to the real to the slight suffered by the grandfather of the family around the table.

    Leicester, and that track of land between Burton-on-Trent and Leicester, is another planet.

    The real story of 2015, 2016, missed by the WOBs, missed by the media – a hundred thousand people sign a petition stating they do not want Mike Dean as referee at the Emirates. Instead Dean gets sent to Leicester, more than once. Leicester never lose with him there.

    How does Vardy the individual player get more penalties than Arsenal as a team? Chelsea as a team? Manchester City as a team? Southampton as a team? Norwich City as a team? West Ham United as a team? Manchester United as a team? Everton? Tottenham Hotspur? Aston Villa? Sunderland? Watford? Crystal Palace? Newcastle United? Bournemouth? Stoke City? West Bromwich Albion? Liverpool? Swansea City? You tell me.

    Perhaps Vardy will be summoned to the FA’s St. George’s National Coaching Centre to explain how it happens before the Euros start June 10. Perhaps he can do on the international screen, game after game?

  • Fishpie

    5: Whoever comes in will be incredibly lucky having Awobi, Bellerin, Coquelin, Elneny, coming up. But apparently this is a side without leaders. Where will he find them immediately?

    Seem to recall Mr Wenger being incredibly lucky, when he first started, having Seaman, Dixon, Bould, Adams Winterburn, Keown and a certain Mr Bergkamp. So yes its very nice that Mr Wenger can hand his successor some talented players too. Good. If the new guy wants to have a more overt leader captain figure than Mr Wenger seems to want to have, he may have to go out and get him or may be he’ll tell an existing player, you are my man on the pitch; be vocal, organise and cajole. It’s not exactly a controversial or untried model is it? Or may be, because its so hard to get a leader, a captain, we should just forget about changing the manager. That would make sense.

  • proudkev


    Your response to Fishpies: “If it means 2 -3 years of being out of the top four so be it” was spot on.

    As you say, the type of people who have been abusing Wenger, whether that is the media or some of our own fans, would never put up with that. Could you imagine, 3 years finishing 8th, 6th etc. Forget banners, these guys would be setting fire to the stadium!!

    So fans who moan “4th place trophy” and “The FA Cup isnt really a trophy” would be happy for us to finish 5th, 6th or 8th?

    Well how the hell does that help us attract world class players?

    Meanwhile Spurs fans would be dancing up and down the streets of North London at our demise.

    The fact the attention seeking wob wanted laudrup sums this whole thing up.

    They hate wenger and will sacrifice anything to gte their way because that comes first.

    Weird way of support.

  • Polo

    AW will inevitably leave one day but I hope when the time comes the transition will be smooth. After that, let give the new manager and team our full support even if the new manager is not on our preferred list.

    When AW decides to leave, I hope the whole fanbase/supporters unite and give our greatest manager the honor he deserves by supporting him during his last season in charge and stop the vile personal abuse and re-writing of history that has been directed at him.

  • Fishpie

    10: Why will Arsenal get it right when others with more money can’t?
    We might not. Undoubtedly it’s a risk. But actually the others do get it right. They change managers and win, sometimes immediately, sometimes after a year or 2, sometimes with their second or third manager. And sometimes after many years. What I like is they try. The real question, the real unknown, the real risk is how good is our owner and board going to be at getting a new man? This is undoubtedly scary. Do we have owners like the ones at Newcastle or Villa or Spurs who for long periods kept/will keep getting it wrong. Arsenal went 18 seasons without a sniff of any kind of trophies in the 50’s/60’s despite hiring a succession of managers. If they are crap, I’m afraid we need to know. We will learn what kind of heart is beating at Arsenal FC when Mr Wenger goes?

  • Zedsaunt

    Fishpie writes

    ”We will learn what kind of heart is beating at Arsenal FC when Mr Wenger goes?”

    You learn what kind of heart is beating every game you see on TV where Arsenal are losing and fans are leaving and there are still minutes on the clock.

    Where are the fans on their feet, the whole stadium resounding, singing at the tops of their voices, ”Stand Up If You Love The Arsenal?”

  • Fishpie

    Polo, I agree completely. If Arsenal announce that, by mutual consent, next year will be Mr Wenger’s last and a new man will come in the following season, I think it would galvanise support again. I think fans would get behind him and the team and it would go a long way to reducing the toxicity. It would be a season of celebration, respect and everyone would want to give him a great send off, the players and the fans. The psychological emphasis would be on having a great time instead of trying to win something. And for a season that would be just wonderful. Brilliant idea. He deserves to feel the love that lies beneath. And he needs to let the club move on, for better or worse.

  • Zedsaunt

    Fishpie writes

    ”They change managers and win, sometimes immediately, sometimes after a year or 2, sometimes with their second or third manager.”

    Which clubs are you talking about?

    Who were the managers? Which trophies were won?

    The football seasons? The Leagues?

  • Fishpie

    True Zedsaunt, many fans, including me, are not in a good place with the club and we don’t contribute to the support the team need as much as we should. I take your point.

    I would add however that in my experience some of those fans who sing their hearts out are also some who are the most frustrated and want change.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    One other thing…any manager brought will also have a past. He should expect it to be dissected and a few revisionist historians to pop up and criticize that, too!

  • Jerry

    Excellent article! The anti-Wenger posters justify their position by saying it is ok to criticize the manager, yet do no understand the difference between criticism and abuse which is what they do. Criticism is the expression of disapproval of someone or something based on perceived faults or mistakes.

    I support Wenger because I support the club, and yes there are times I criticize some of his decisions (i.e. Flamini over Coquelin yesterday) but what separates me from the Wenger out brigade is that I am also able to applaud and appreciate his achievements and excellent work with the club (the doubles, Invincibles, FA Cups, Emirates Stadium, quality football, etc…).

    If the only time these fans speak is to criticize the manager particularly during rough periods (ignoring club achievements), that means their focus is only on ousting the manager and suffer from confirmation bias (since they only come out during rough patches).

    An additional question that could be asked to the anti-Wenger correspondents is:
    Have you considered who else might leave with Wenger?

    For example, I would not be surprised if Özil leaves after Wenger, since the manager was the main reason he joined Arsenal. Players like Bellerin, Ramsey, Wilshere, Iwobi, Chambers, Walcott, Ox, etc.. all joined at a young age because of the opportunity and support Wenger gives them.

    I hope Wenger extends and stays until at least the 2018 World Cup, when some quality managers may be available like Joachim Löw and Jürgen Klinsmann (former Wenger player and is doing a similar rebuild with the whole U.S. national team).

  • Robert

    Wenger is an honourable man, so I believe he will see out his current contract. I hope he stays on after that, but it’s quite possible that he and the board are planning for an orderly transition next summer.

    Re your 10 points:

    “1: Who would want to come to Arsenal in this toxic atmosphere.”
    Arsenal are one of the greatest clubs in the world. I doubt any manager worth his salt will be put off by something as ephemeral as the atmosphere.

    “2: How will the new manager cope with the opening sleeve story that the media will create?”
    That’s pure supposition, not fact.

    “3: What does the new man have to do in his first year at Arsenal?”
    What will matter here is not the opinions of the chattering classes, but the targets set by Kroenke and the board.

    “4: Will the new man be subject to the last match being everything analysis?”
    Yes, every manager in the PL – and Real Madrid and Barcelona for that matter – is subject to that. So what?

    “5: Whoever comes in will be incredibly lucky having Awobi, Bellerin, Coquelin, Elneny, coming up.”
    I agree. However, will they be here when a new manager succeeds Wenger? If they are, will a new manager have the same opinion?

    Re your points 5, 6, 7 and 8 on leaders, attackers, defenders and tactics. A new manager will have his own views on all those points and more.

    “9: But supposing just for one second the problem actually lies elsewhere.”
    I absolutely agree that the PGMO is a major problem. Walter’s meticulous analyses convinced me of that. However, a similar ongoing analysis of all PL games is needed to draw complete conclusions. Alternatively, we need a whistle blower.

    Still, you’re assuming that the PGMO will still exist in its current form, and will remain a problem when we have a new manager. No point in speculating.

    “10: Why will Arsenal get it right when others with more money can’t?”
    With regard to this unfinished season, another question could be: “Why can’t Arsenal get it right when others with less money can?” Both those questions should be left to the end of the season.

    With regard to the last 11 seasons (the PL financial doping era, as I like to call it), it’s a fact that only the 3 richest clubs won the PL title, each more than once. But we now have the financial resources to compete, as our cash balances show, and we should have more if only our commercial team was up to scratch.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Logicsgalore Fishpie!!!!

    Seriously… One announcement of retirement will galvanize the support!

    Out of top 4 is good for ARSENAL!. The people who say finishing in top 4 season after season is a sign of regression will celebrate dropping out!!!!!

    Weird logic!!…..why don’t you say all you want is a managerial marigo round every season so that you can have a little bit more to talk about in your pub every summer…..

  • Polo

    It’s funny isn’t it ProudKev, AW been consistent in getting top 4 but according to the WOBs it’s not good enough, but now it’s ok to go below 4th place as long as that person isn’t AW.
    New manager can go below 4th place for 2-3 years as long as there are signs of ambition or heading in the right direction, sound like a Liverpool scenario to me. Who knows later on they might celebrate and accept that 4th place trophy.

  • Fishpie

    Zedsaunt, Tony’s point related to richer clubs originally so I was just thinking of Chelsea and Man City who changed managers a few times over recent years and won big trophies pretty regularly having done so. (e.g Mancini-Pellegrini, Mourhino-Anceloti-de Matteo-Mourinho). I think each of these Managers won the Premiership or Champions League trophies. Clearly others of their Managers in between these were less successful (Hiddinck, Benitez), or not successful at all (Villa-Boas, Scolari) but change, whilst sometimes messy, did deliver for them in pretty quick time periods.

    Appreciate of course these clubs had considerable resources. Also appreciate there are many/most clubs who change managers to no avail. And also I should acknowledge this site has demonstrated, using real actual stats, that most manager changes are unsuccessful (from a trophy attainment stand point), but it is possible at least.

    But anyway, I acknowledge we might not be successful in changing managers but changing Managers has worked I think for a number of big clubs on the continent too Barca, Madrid , Bayern for instance. Not always but often.

    Our Manager shows no sign top trophy success, we are as far away as ever. So change would a least put the club in the spotlight. Having said they wanted to emulate Bayern Munich, can those who run our club actually do it. It’s time to find out. How strong is Arsenal without Wenger has to be answered? We are not going anywhere with him, so lets get on with finding out?
    Have we really got a club that will knows what to do? The board and the owner need to take their turn in the spotlight.

  • Bleeding gums Murphy

    But of course there is substance to your opinion. My comment seems to have touched a nerve. Maybe your one of the sycophants in the comments section I mentioned. Just a thought.

  • How long do you think a new manager would be given before it all kicks of again? The fan base of this club are a laughing stock among other PL supporters and that should never ever have happened. If all these anti Wenger people put the effort in to getting behind this team and the manager instead of all the hate they spew then we would be in a better position right now
    If they have mind’s of their own instead of believing the crap that the media spew along with the so called moron’s on TV then they would see what we all can see and that is a man who has been fighting the odds from day one until now.
    The abuse and hatred he has had to put up with from within the club and all the rest of the talking heads astoound’s me. The Arsenal board need to hang their heads in total shame because they did leave him out to dry.
    Remember this one thing before you hurl abuse at this man, he took all this on the chin because he loves this club so much and it’s a damn shame that they and some of their supporters don’t feel the same.

  • Linda; Where do you get the idea that the fan base is the laughing stock of the PL ? I have mates who support different London teams and they largely couldnt care less about Arsenal let alone their fans. I do agree that the board are pretty pathetic in their support or otherwise of Wenger. its my view that Stan is more of a problem than Wenger. Even if Wenger goes the next man in will have to work within the same model. I wouldnt worry too much about Wenger he has built a more than tidy fortune from his years at Arsenal. I would be willing to take dogs abuse for £8m a year.

  • dan

    It’s a love hate thing with Wenger, the media hates him, yet all the other clubs love him to be their manager!

    The future is red/white, the future is Arsenal.

    From a w/c stadium to the discovery of rough diamonds who became world beaters, the nameless to true glory.

    Wenger, I may pull my hair out sometimes, but, I know when your gone we will miss you and could never thank you enough.

  • Zedsaunt

    Linda writes

    ”How long do you think a new manager would be given before it all kicks of again?”

    How many media outlets are there in London? How many TV channels around the planet show Arsenal? How many football fans on the planet follow football?

    How many millions of tourists come to London? How many go and stand outside the Emirates?
    How many huge football stadiums are to be found in London?

    How many football managers have a twenty year history spanning every continent of the planet? How many football managers have a history of success? How many football managers have created goal scoring models? How many football managers have built a huge stadium in a capital city?

    How many football managers have had fans demanding his dismissal?

    When Mr Wenger eventually goes, how many journalists have to leave their desks to get a story?

    How many news stories have to fill the newsround 24/7 when Mr Wenger goes?

    The new manager will not even get a honeymoon. Every decision he takes, every moment of his life, will be subject to 24/7 scrutiny. He will have a huge role in a non-stop drama that became a farce.

  • proudkev


    Very well said, the dislikes prove you hit a nerve.

  • rich

    I like it that a few of those who believe Wenger should leave have gone into detail with predictions about the time after.

    The thinking seems to be that patience will be afforded whoever it is, even should they actually do worse than Wenger ever has to date, and not just for one season, but perhaps longer.

    I find that fascinating and extremely improbable. Presumably a team who performed worse than Wenger does yet showed ‘signs of progress’ would have to be worse in some areas, better in others (hard to imagine how they’d perform worse in the league otherwise). That in itself seems at odds with the concept of progress, but perhaps isn’t totally incompatible.

    Maybe the team, in a progress-with-less-points scenario, would become much better at scoring goals and overturning deficits, but also leak a lot of goals. More likely, much, what people have in mind is becoming very strong defensively, (or proving they are on the way to that without actually getting the results yet?)

    I’m sure that must be what a lot of people have in mind. A tougher, meaner, more physical defensive team, who rarely get exposed to counters. Maybe there could be some clear leadership in there,too, though I’m still unsure what that looks like other than shouting, pointing, chest-thumping and fouling (and Flamini gets pelters for the shouting and pointing, while I didn’t hear too much approval of his or Gabriel’s dodgier tackles in recent times)

    Or is leadership primarily inferred from winning, especially from bad positions? That and a reduction of the number of times you get caught out and concede daft goals (i.e back to not getting caught on counters )?

    That poses some problems again of how there can be visible progress with fewer points/ a worse finish in league. It still leaves the meaner defence and shouting option but I have real doubts that will be enough if there aren’t the points to go with it.

    However, my deeper problem with those ideas is the assumption that failing to qualify for the CL need not entail any particular harm. As with all these debates presently, Leicester and Tottenham, and Liverpool of two years back, offer some evidence that this is true : no CL need not harm your league chances, and can even improve them!

    Yet, that’s not exactly a scientific approach to take, is it? It’s hard to ignore such powerful examples of teams bucking expected trends, etc, and there can be no more powerful example than one of them doing it all the way, i.e winning a title, now, right now, but (1) until they do it remains a fact that no team, since 1995, who has won the title has NOT been in the Cl places the previous season and (2) even if Leicester or Tottenham manage it this year it will still leave a long-term trend which points to this year’s winners coming from last year’s CL- qualifying teams.

    A related stat is that the CL places have been shared by a small number of clubs, suggesting, among other things, being fit enough to qualify for the Cl one year means you have a good chance of doing so again the next year.

    A long-winded but necessary, I hope, way of trying to get to the point that qualifying for the CL leaves you in a stronger position to fight for CL places and the league itself the next year than if you do not qualify. Therefore, should you ever not do it, you would be less likely both to finish top four or win the league itself the next year.

    That suggests to me it’s a big deal to miss out; and that if you’re unable to make a convincing case as to why a new manager would be at least as likely to gain CL qualification as the current one is, your argument is pretty weak as to why the current one should leave.

    It’s ok-ish to be sat at home saying,’ ah, yeah, it might not work, but it might’, but I’m really not sure it would be healthy for executives of a club or (dirty but that’s life word)…business to think like that.

    Now, would I accept missing out on the top four for a couple of years if it meant winning a title afterwards, plus a better chance of going further/all the way in the CL? Yep, that would end up being better than some alternative where all we got was Cl qualification each year, but my belief is that should Spurs or Leicester do it, history will come to show they were an exception rather than the rule, i.e history will show league winners as being predominantly, almost exclusively, drawn from the previous years top four.

    It’s why I never want to drop out of it. Makes it harder to dream of what I really want to see, the ultimate success of titles and great runs in the CL.

    And dream is the wrong word there : should you miss out on a CL spot it makes it less probable you will achieve huge success in the immediate future.

    Understand the frustration- any year we don’t win the title is a year that contains a lot of disappointment for me, same with the CL- but I still need to hear a highly persuasive case about why a new manager will give us a better chance of future success, and I’ve yet to see one.

    I think what’s happening now is that people have already accepted as fact a Spurs or Leicester title win (sadly, there’s a great chance, but it’s not over just yet) and are taking that as evidence their style of football is the right way, and one which will reward us with a title before long should we remodel the team along the same lines.

    I’m totally unconvinced by that and have heard nothing to persuade me we stand a better chance with someone else next year.

  • Mandy Dodd

    I think this is all academic, really cannot see Wenger leaving this summer, unless he chooses to.
    But Fishpie….a very valid point, Wenger leaving would expose the board, we would see their real aims and ambitions, they would have to back a new man with words and money. Not saying the board have done anything other than support Wenger….. but as this blog is evidence based, I shall move on. But, I can see on a number of levels why Stan would be desperate to keep Wenger….and men like Stan tend to get their way.
    Wenger is in an unfortunate position where words of future glory and European dominance resulting from the stadium move have come back to bite…..although don’t recall them giving time limits. I am sure those words were meant with sincerity, but petrodollars, an in trouble Platini bottling FFP, Mike Riley, Wengers friend and right hand man, the worst recession since the depression,and perhaps even our current owner have clouded the optimism behind those fine words.
    Ignoring the haters, there are some fine fans on both sides of the divide….a bit like UKs decision this June, you may have reasons and good reasons for your stance, but like leaving the EU, life without Wenger is a huge leap in the dark with massive uncertainties, some facts, some half truths, and many unknowns and intangibles.
    I vote Wenger stays, but strengthens by whatever means where needed this summer, learns anything that needs learning, progress is continued behind the scenes, the board back him conspicuously on and off the pitch and we move on

  • Zedsaunt


    ”True Zedsaunt, many fans, including me, are not in a good place with the club and we don’t contribute to the support the team need as much as we should. I take your point.”

    Fishpie, because you do not contribute, it makes it well-nigh impossible to conjecture what would have happened to the teams of Mr Wenger had you contributed.

    Certainly, beyond doubt – and you have to concede this – Arsenal fans have never risen to their feet singing ‘I’m Arsenal Until I Die’ until their throats were hoarse, fans to their club whether the match is lost or won or drawn.

    You have never given whole-hearted support. You have never made your support of the Arsenal team an extra man.

    Your support has always been conditional.

    When you cannot give whole-hearted support to the team, why should any team member give you whole-hearted support in return? It’s a two way-street and you haven’t gone down it.

    Wanting trophies you have exchanged the privilege of being a football fan with a relationship from the service industry. You buy, the team delivers.

    ”I would add however that in my experience some of those fans who sing their hearts out are also some who are the most frustrated and want change.”

    No surprise in that mate. They sing, you do not. You do not become the great choir that declares you are Arsenal until you die.

  • Zedsaunt


    if it’s Brexit this coming June, Mr Wenger will be the first foreigner out.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Zedsaunt, personally hope not on both those cases!

  • col

    Pro Wenger – think the club can’t do better, therefore the position for people who are quite happy to finish 4th every year and brag about how much money there is in the bank. The most extreme cases actually believe the team will win every year, and carry on believing even in the face of overwhelming evidence that it isn’t going to happen.

    Anti Wenger – think that getting rid of Wenger will magically turn the team into one capable of challenging for the league title. The most extreme cases actually believe he is taking the club backwards, in spite of the overwhelming evidence that his long-term project has established a world-class club capable of competing with the European elite.

    Wenger has created an incredible platform for whoever comes after. If the board have any ambition (open to question) they will appoint someone who could take on the challenge when the time comes. The time will come – sometime over the next 3 years – that they have to make that choice.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Interesting summary Col.
    .Pro Wenger, but will judge in May.
    But being pro Wenger, doesn’t mean I don’t think the club and manager should not continually strive to improve things….as I believe they are, some of these improvements, we don’t hear too much about. It is possible we may come to May and be in a position where significant improvement is needed, but will worry about that then.
    As for the boards true ambition, no reason to doubt they want to win things, but not via business practices the owner finds unacceptable. If there really are negative issues with the owner hoarding money or whatever,…… Fishpie says, it will become abundantly clear when Wenger leaves.
    But , the fact is, we are run by a guy who I am sure has some affection and interest in the club, but, ultimately, is not a lifelong fan, not a sugar daddy, not a countries leader….with unlimited funds, a questionable human rights record seeking prestige, nor is he a money launderer……so I guess the owners ambition needs to be measured in that context…..when competing with those who are some…or maybe all of these things.
    I agree, Wenger will leave a very healthy platform for the next guy…..but just hope not at the expense of his own tenure of the first team, as Wenger is a true visionary, and I am sure a lot of what he does is with mind to events several steps into the future

  • Pat

    Rather than thinking about the next manager, I prefer to live in the here and now. We have the rest of the season to go and a team to support.

    They haven’t given up. Mesut Ozil has just given his first interview to in English. It’s like a statement – I’m here, I’m fighting. Go on, Mesut!

    The quiet man Koscielny has given an interview. He thinks we can do it.

    Young Alex Iwobi is elated coming from his first Champions League match. And against Barcelona. He’s in dream land.

    What’s the matter with us? The season isn’t over. Support the team!

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Q 1: Who would want to come to Arsenal in this toxic atmosphere ?
    A : A sado-masochistic narcissist .

    Q 2: How will the new manager cope with the opening sleeve story that the media will create?
    A : Very well, thank you. The press will love him and lap up all his words , especially after that last PR disaster of a manager .Anyone could do better that him , as we read and hear daily in the press , blogs and tv .

    Q 3 : What does the new man have to do in his first year at Arsenal?
    A : Win the lot . And he’ll do it of course . Why ? Because WE chose him !

    Q 4 :Will the new man be subject to the last match being everything analysis?
    A :Yes , but then according to ‘them’ this new god like figure will improve the team from game to game as he understands everything and is willing to learn, change and evolve .

    Q 5: Whoever comes in will be incredibly lucky having Awobi, Bellerin, Coquelin, Elneny, coming up.
    A : Yes , but then they have to agree to sit on the bench quite often while the incoming World Class players strut their stuff .

    Q 6 : There was a call for attacking reinforcements which (again according to the Telegraph) should have been bought in January. But where to do you find them?
    A : If you spend some fucking money ( probably Comrade Alisher Usmanov ‘s promised millions .) , they WILL come . After all they can all be so easily prised away from their clubs ,families and friends . Cash is king .

    Q 7: We also have a soft centre, according to many reporters and the aaa. So again who could we get who would want to come here?

    A : John Terry , Yahya Toure and Ibra, all on frees and short term contracts , while Vidal , Progba and Messi and others , would just love the chance to play in the Enchanted Premier League .

    Q 8: At the same time as this we need tactical flexibility. How is that to be introduced at the same time?
    A : None of that fancy tippy -tappy stuff for this side . Speed , push and run , as well as brute strength and referee compliance should bring in the all trophies .

    Q 9: But supposing just for one second the problem actually lies elsewhere.
    A : Nonsense ! Football is NOT fixed . What happened at FIFA and UEFA are aberrations from the norm . The EPL , English FA , the PGMOB , the media and experts are all above board and they really are all great chaps . It just that a few recalcitrant blogs that are causing all this division in football .

    Q 10: Why will Arsenal get it right when others with more money can’t?
    A : Because it was a god given birthright and entitlement to me , and only to me . Because I say so . ME . I know it to be so . I cannot be wrong , could I ? Even though I have no proper education , no football nuances or experiences , no job , no prospects , yet I have the believe that I alone know all the answers .

  • Brickfields Gunners

    ” He who knows about much about others may be learned ,
    but he who understands himself is more intelligent .
    He who control others may be powerful ,
    but he who has mastered himself is mightier still .”
    – Lao Tse .

  • olad

    I really wish wenger stays on and achieve more for arsenal as he have given a lot to this team buh I will like him to change some certain things in the team…. He should try and increase the winning mentality in the team which I believe is really the cause of arsenal falling out every season…arsenal players are known for beautiful football buh without zeal or winning mentality which most players,coaches uses to play against arsenal…I dont care if he spends little at every transfer window but he should try and put this players on their feet always as I believe these players can do more than what they are doing now if wenger is not that soft and moreso, he should try and do away some fringe players and bring in wilshere-like pple…. walcott, Ox have spent years in arsenal and still sometimes play lk a new recruit …we dont need players tha goes out of form lk 3-4 times in a season ( giroud,walcott,ox)…let wenger get the front row sorted and demand more from his players I believe we will alwaz smile at the end of every season

  • Brickfields Gunners

    ‘ I never knew how strong I was until I had to forgive someone who wasn’t sorry, and accepted an apology I never received ‘.

    This would probably be AW ‘s response when he leaves .

  • olad

    Mr Tony……something keeps telling me Arteta might be a very good coach in future with his calmness and also I see him as someone who understand the beautiful football tactics and will be ready to learn..more so, wenger have said something good about his coaching ability and if the rumour of guardiola offering him a coaching job at man city is to believe, I think it says something and he will be a combination of both wenger and pep which will be good for arsenal in the future…

  • Brickfields Gunners

    When the time comes for us to move on , this probably is the best advice .

  • Gooner S


    well said.

  • Goonermikey

    For all those that think Wenger out is the solution to an apparent problem I offer an analogy which supports this article and is very, very real.

    In the Row behind me we have a couple of WOB’s who cannot stop shooting their mouths off as though they know more about football than all the professionals put together. When we get within 40 yards of goal they scream for the player to shoot. When a player shoots form outside the box and misses they berate him for shooting. When we play intricate passing moving movements around the edge of the box they scream for someone to shoot. When someone shoots they berate him for not passing. When we’re four nil up they berate the players for the one chance we missed or the tackle that wasn’t made or the one misplaced pass.

    These are the people who want Wenger out. It’s so much easier to just moan than to put together a reasoned argument backed up by facts.

  • The board came out a number of times saying we have two hundred million
    We have one hundred million when the knew that was not the case at all.
    So the supporters when reading it in the media and on social media believed this.
    When we the supporters say just a few players coming in all be at at over 40 million blamed Wenger and he got stuck with the label that he was tight and would not spend.
    They left him to face the wrath of supportter’s because it took the heat of them and that is disgusting.
    I don’t see them condemning and standing shoulder to shoulder with him at all.
    If they grew a pair that’s the very least they could do.
    They played on his love for the club and left him out to dry.
    It’s about time they stood up to the PMGO and said “we won’t stand by anymore and watch you screw this club anymore”
    Have they lodged complains? I don’t know but what I do know is that it’s stI’ll going on for anyone with a pair of eyes to see and those refs are getting away with week in and out.
    The board should be doing more but it seem’s they are quite happy for Wenger to take all the flax while they sit in the boardroom safe from the abuse. I find it hard to believe that they truly love and care about AFC they way their much maligned manager does.

  • Menace

    Rather than comment point by point, I am going to comment across point 9.

    I am hopeful that Wenger stays after we win the EPL to continue his work toward winning the Champions League. There is absolutely no reason why we cant win both trophies. The external influences might remain but gradually there will be changes to return the game to sport.

    Currently, assault on the sports field seems to be above the law & there seems to be no police action despite the lack of protection by officials. That physicality is referred to as robust tackling but in actual fact is contravening the Laws of the Game.

    Wenger has brought Arsenal to a point where sport is primary in the way we play. Those who cannot appreciate this transformation back to sport will want a greedy coach with total focus on winning without any consideration to humanity.

    Wenger has been very careful not to upset the FA who control the game absolutely. They can discard or include anyone at anytime. They can exclude a club if they choose. It is the most undemocratic organisation in this democracy.

    It does not matter who takes over the reins at Arsenal – they will be gifted success to show Wenger in a bad light. So for those who want Wenger out, you will be happy with a trophy or two after he leaves this magnificent club that he took from house to palace.

    One thing that he will have left is some of the most beautiful football ever played in England.

  • Bard
    My two brothers who are Spurs men have told me as have my husband who goes to watch Liverpool. My nephews are Chelsea men and they have told me that while they were having a pint after a match at the Bridge the topic got around to Wenger and the supporters and everyone thought it was bloody hilarious. As my husband said to me ” they don’t know when the are bloody well,off”
    My family all love football and we travel from Belfast to the Home games and some of the away.
    As for worrying about Arsene Wenger well I don’t. I’m just ashamed of the way he has and is been treated. He deserves every penny of his 8 million.
    Arsene Wenger can more than look after himself and therein lies the cruxes. He is intelligent, well spoken and very articulate and that’s why he is also so despised by the media and the morons on TV. He is his own man and I appreciate that now more than ever.

  • Pete

    Why are we debating Wenger’s successor? There is no vacancy.