The “Wenger must go” chant is rising and rising. Fortunately not in the stadium, where most supporters seem to have a longer term perspective, but on the internet it is everywhere.
I’ve just been reading the post on Arsenal Action called “Sorry Arsene its time to go”, where the writer gives his reason for this view of the world.
What’s interesting is that the writer has admitted that he had no interest in football, and then 9 years ago started to support Arsenal.
Nothing wrong with that of course – we need new supporters coming through all the time. But it is worthy of consideration because I think a lot of commentators on Arsenal (many of whom will not be silver or gold members and so not attend that many matches, with all that that entails) might also have joined during the post-Rioch era.
There’s two key facts here: one is that between the 1950s and the end of the 80s Arsenal were a run of the mill 1st Division club with a great past and occasional moments. We were nowhere near Liverpool during their endless league winning period, and it was the start of the decline of Liverpool that gave us the chance to come up and start winning under Graham.
The other is that for the early years of Wenger’s reign we had one rival club rather than three, and obviously since then the world has changed. (I’d also add that those three consecutive years when we came second were years in which some people were getting itchy – but the memory of what it was like under Rioch kept them in the fold).
My point is that we don’t have an automatic right to be Euro Champions nor to be top of the league. But it we want to be there, we have only three ways of doing it: one is to buy the best player in every position, one is to bring in the best manager in the universe, and one is to bring through some of the greatest young players available.
Given that Arsenal look very unlikely to risk everything by going into unrepayable debt, fighting on the financial front is not an option. Which leaves the manager change, or continue as now.
What is interesting about the manager change option is that few if any of the articles on manager change tell us who to bring in. All the great managers are in work, and few are looking for a new job. Real Madrid who are not afraid to scout the world for a new man searched high and low and then brought in the manager of…
Is that our way forward – to take on the Tiny Totts cast off? If not, then who? Even KGB Fulham with their infinite finance and the Special One (who to be fair, is a stunningly brilliant manager where ever he goes – just look what he did at Porto) could not guarantee winning everything each year. They seem to have found another great manager (at least temporarily) but he too can’t put the KGB in the Euro Final, and his team is fighting it out with us for 4th or 3rd.
So, if we can’t find a proven brilliant manager, let’s just say, Arsene has taken us as far as he can go, and let’s shunt him out and go searching. In short let’s do a Charlton, throw out a terrific manager (I know the club didn’t do that, but many of the fans were reacting just as our fans are reacting now) and gradually sink back to our 1960s level.
There is another way however. The whole point about Liverpool Insolvents, Man Bankrupt and KGB Fulham is that their position is not sustainable, and collapse will come soon. West Iceland have already gone – their owner now has personal debts of over £300m and the club is being taken over by a bank. 84 clubs have gone into liquidation in the last 10 years – some several times over. And don’t think that just means Stockport County. Remember Leeds? Of course if you have started following football recently you won’t know about the 1970s – Leeds and Arsenal were top dogs for a few years.
Great clubs can and do fall. Nottingham Forest anyone? Remember Bolton, Portsmouth and Wolverhampton Wanderers in the fourth division? Not tip top clubs, but clubs that expect to be lurking around the top league – and I watched them play against Torquay United (where my parents lived at the time).
Yes, we can sack Wenger, or (more likely) make such a noise that he will leave, but then what? There is no more guarantee of success without him, and there is every chance of failure.
One last point on players. It is now once again flavour of the month to attack Denilson and Diaby. Song, who was in the position of “he should never play for Arsenal again” is now in favour. Denilson who was “light weight” went on to become indispensible, the player who touched the ball more than any other player in the league, the player who made more intercepts… and is now in disgrace again. Diaby, after being the ultimate genius of the club in Turkey, should be sold at once.
Whatever happened, I wonder, to a sense of perspective, a sense of time, a sense that the urgency of the nursery is not always the best thing when running a football club?
Hey ho – so it goes. One last point. The Guardian is running a story about “anti-football”. I love that, because I think I invented that phrase. Of course someone may have got there before me, but I don’t think so. Nice to see my influence spread.
(Head grows, unable to get through door, fire brigade called, building taken down, hospital alerted…)
(c) Tony Attwood, 2009.