by Tony Attwood
Perhaps the biggest problem for all single issue campaigns of the Wenger Out type is what they do after they have got their way. There is a second biggest problem, but I’ll come to that in a moment. I like to try and keep problems in an orderly queue.
The movement that wants Wenger removed exists in two parts as we have noted many times. First there is the bloggettas (the aaa) whose editorial policy (to use perhaps a grander phrase than they deserve) is that if only they were in charge of the club instead of that silly Mr Wenger, everything would be ok. The solutions are obvious, they tell us about them daily, and they would implement them in charge.
Then there is the AAA – the mainstream media of TV, radio, and what remains of the newspaper industry, who have taken (in terms of their pundits) the same view adding a dosage of Arrogance, Amnesia and Assumption).
Both are now dependent on their campaigns. The bloggettas are as they have no other topic to write about other than the failings of the club, caused by Mr Wenger and of late added to the list is the owner. They, like this site, are dependent on advertising to keep the site going (although we also have the revenue stream from the sale of books), and advertising revenue is dependent on the number of visitors to the site. They need a central issue to live on to get these visitors, and when Mr Wenger leaves they will have a problem: they will have little to do other than criticise the new manager.
The mass media meanwhile has realised that if it focuses on the failings of Arsenal, it gets a huge spike in its audience, and again (with the exception of course of the BBC) this means more people see the adverts and so more money potentially arises. The BBC although without advertising is also dependent on audience, because under the current government that is a prime way of measuring its worth.
When Mr Wenger leaves both will find their prime way of gaining attention in terms of football coverage will have vanished, and to see what will happen next we only have to look back at what happened when Mr Wenger arrived.
There were no bloggettas then, but the media turned out in force. A story was invented, the media camped outside of Highbury and there was a stand off between the media and the club. Mr Wenger won, but it is certainly possible to argue that this victory sowed the seeds for the who subsequent media movement against him. Journalists never forgive and never ever forget and will carry their vendettas with them until redundancy or retirement. That’s how it goes, and is in part why the agenda never changes. Now they are getting their revenge.
But once he has gone, where is the big story? The media need a negative to get a big audience, (that is why they so hated the unbeaten season – the audience figures for that celebration were far below normal and it wasn’t until game 50 that the media got its big time audience came back). No one has got another negative story as big as Arsenal lined up.
The second biggest problem comes as and when the aaa’s single issue reforms don’t work. If you ever talk to a psychologist who deals with depression or anxiety he/she will generally say that the biggest problem they get comes with people who get fixated on single issues solutions, as in “everything would be ok if we only got married,” or “everything would be fine if only I had a different job,” or for teenagers “if only I didn’t have to live with my parents” etc etc. The problem is that life is complex and that single issues are rarely the source of any problem – quite often in fact it is within the complainant not within the issue complained about.
But both the aaa and their exploiters in the AAA have hit on a single issue to keep themselves alive: Mr Wenger.
Now of course the aaa have recently expanded this, changing their banners to a “Wenger out Kronke out” and this of course has made the achievement of their aim far less likely. Mr Wenger will leave of course, the only issue is when. But Mr Kronke is unlikely to leave for a long old time
And all of that is an issue before we get to the question of who will follow. Those who stick with the notion that everything would be fine if only we could get rid of Mr Wenger, refuse to take into account the fact that the majority of managerial appointments in football are failures; men who actually make matters worse. If that were not the case then Manchester City and Manchester United would be higher up the league than they are.
The other problem is that by bringing Mr Kronke into the equation, those aaa who follow this line are setting themselves up for a very long term war which neither side is ever going to win. Clubs involved in prolonged battles between the fans and the club ownership tend to sink lower and lower, as can be seen in Italy and with clubs such as Blackburn and Charlton in England. The exception of course was Manchester United where the vast amount of income the club has generated from its world wide marketing, plus the fact that Ferguson was able to produce title winning teams built from the money he had, meant that the battle against the Glazer family became a side show, not the main issue.
Of course Arsenal have been here before as we have charted in other articles. “When the anti-Arsenal menace and their media allies sank to the depths” is just one such.
What we can see from those past events is the fact that it can take years and years to overcome the damage that is done. Somehow the thought is that the Arsenal era of 1953 to 1969 when we won nothing and looked like winning nothing for much of the time, can’t possibly happen again. But there is no reason why not especially now that the same conditions have been replicated. Just look at Liverpool – where even a change of ownership (now added to the agenda of requirements, as noted above) where I think it must be approaching 27 years since they last won the league – and they have had the media on their side throughout most of that time.
That sadly is the scenario that we now face. Quite how we can escape it I have no idea, not least because for the new manager, the problems with refereeing charted in such detail recently will still be here.
Arsenal History Books on Kindle
The novel “Making the Arsenal” by Tony Attwood which describes the events of 1910, which created the modern Arsenal FC, is now available for the first time on Kindle. Full details are here.
Also available on Kindle, “Woolwich Arsenal: the club that changed football” the only comprehensive history of the rise of Arsenal as a league club, and the attempts to destroy the club, from within and without. For full details please see here.
Both books are also available as paperbacks. Please see here.