by Walter Broeckx
As someone said over here, some people like to look back at the good old days. We all do that at times. But looking back is sometimes dangerous because we see the past that we want to remember and not the past that has happened in reality. If I remember my childhood and the summer holidays it looks like I was living in Spain somewhere because the sun was always shining and it was warm. But in fact when we had 1 week without rain in the summer it was a very rare thing and yet when I remember those days it looks like that. So we have to be careful with looking back.
Some people still blame Wenger for letting Henry, Pires, Bergkamp en Vieira go. Yes they all went away from Arsenal in the space of some 2 seasons. But let us take Bergkamp to start. He was just getting too old for playing in the EPL. Yes he still had his moments of brilliance but those days and moments were getting rare. I want to be the last one to give the impression that I talk down Bergkamp as I think he was one of the most important players during his career at Arsenal and maybe a bit underestimated by some people. But it was clear for everyone and certainly for him that he had to stop playing football at that age.
Henry left us because he wanted to win the Champions League and he thought it would be impossible at Arsenal. Maybe if he had scored our second goal in the final we would have won the Champions League in 2006. But he missed and Arsenal missed out . Since then 3 seasons and only one was a good one. The other 2 seasons have been rather poor for a player of his standard. If we would have won the CL and if he would have stayed and produce the same seasons at Arsenal maybe those same people would have said that Wenger should have sold him as he was no good anymore. I think Wenger let him go because he was having troubles with his health and that he wanted to reward him for his best years at Arsenal.
Pires also had one good season left at Villareal but the other seasons he was sitting on the bench a lot. He also grew older and it showed in his performances. Did we really had to hang on to him? He got a lot of injuries also in his last few years so did we had to keep him? And when did we had to let him go? It’s easy to say we should have kept them but this was not realistic and certainly with Bergkamp and Pires.
Vieira is the one player that maybe could have made a difference in my opinion. At first sight he seemed to have won a lot of titles in Italy. But there is one big but. When I look at Italy and the Italian league I don’t know how you win titles. Do you win it on the field? Do you win it with making phone calls? Who knows what else is done over there. One of his titles in Juventus was taken away by the Italian FA as the title was won by doing all kind of things that involved referee match fixing things. And then he went on to Inter who had a run of titles but their name also has been mentioned recently in court because they also seemed to have ordered refs for some games just like Juventus had done. So excuse me but winning the league in Italy is something that doesn’t mean a lot to me. But he has it on his list of honour that is something you cannot take away from him. But if we look at the Vieira from these days it is clear to see that he is at the last stage of his career. The stage where you have to choose between ending your career with grace or keep hanging on and get the most (moneywise) out of it. But I really wonder if Vieira would be better on the field than Song for the moment. I would chose the Song from now always ahead the Vieira from now.
Some people call Wenger arrogant and accuse him of megalomania. I cannot come up with an answer if Wenger is arrogant. To know this you have to know him in person. But if Wenger is suffering from megalomania this is a thing that we can try to find out. If in my country they call a football manager as someone who is suffering from this they mean people who spent millions without thinking of the future. Like in the French expression: après nous la déluge. Which means something like : cleaning up the mess is for the others. This is working like Redknapp did at Portsmouth. That was megalomania. He bought as if he was Real Madrid. Gave players big contracts and gave them high wages and when he saw that the ship started to sink he went on, leaving the broken pieces for the ones that came behind him.
I really cannot say that Wenger is doing such a thing. He is doing the opposite. He is making sure that whenever he leaves Arsenal the club will be in fine shape. He guided us to the Emirates, he gave us the best youth academy in the EPL, he was building for the future. And I think he was the biggest victim of all this. He knew it would be difficult to win prices like he was used to. But he always kept the interest of the club on the long run as his priority. He could have left on several occasions and go to Real Madrid where he would have had all the money available for him to win things. He was linked with every top club in Europe in the last years, linked with the French national team but he decided to stay to help Arsenal survive the most difficult period in their existence if we forget the events of 100 years ago when we almost lost the club for ever. And in all those years when we had to be very careful with every pound we had he kept us in the Champions League. He gave the fans a football style that is admired in the whole world. And by the whole world I mean that part of the world outside the UK. The part of the world where people also take a look at the way you play and not only at the prices you have won. The part of the world where people can see beyond just success for the sake of it. And yes sometimes you can lose a game with the way we play. Those things can happen. At Everton we countered them for a few goals and won the game and we got it the other way round against United. That’s football you know.
Just like the manager who will stick to his players. Have you ever heard a manager openly saying that his player is dross or rubbish? The manager who would do such a thing is a bad manager. Because a manager his job is to build up his players and not to break them down.
Some people keep talking as if they know Cesc in person and have heard the conversations between Cesc and Wenger. I don’t know these conversations so I cannot comment on that. Maybe it would be a nice thing if the rest of us do the same. Because saying that Cesc wants to leave now because the media tell us this story doesn’t make you look like a clever person. It only gives the impression that you are a parrot.
Has Arsène lost the plot big time? Then why is his name mentioned every time when a big clubs wants a new manager? Now it could be that some of us are far better in knowing it all than people who work in football night and day. Yes that could be the case. Why would Milan, Real Madrid, and fill in any name that has been linked with Wenger the last years want Wenger as some of us clearly know he has lost it. Maybe those who are saying that he has lost it are in fact just saying that they have lost something. They have lost the knowledge that in all football clubs there are times when you win things and times when you don’t win. Especially when you are building or have build a new stadium you will have a difficult time. Look at where the other teams that have build a new stadium in the last decade, find themselves right now.
I think we are doing pretty good if you keep that in mind. So it’s not over. It’s just a new start. You just have to open your eyes and want to see it.
- Everton v Arsenal: a happy video, line-up and what the league table will look like after
- Everton v Arsenal: Injuries, points needed for 4th, and Arsenal the first to 100?
- Everton v Arsenal: extraordinary figures seen in the last 6 games table
- Everton v Arsenal: how this referee treats the home and away team
- Everton v Arsenal and the oddity of referee behaviour