What we would do if Wenger leaves?

By Walter Broeckx

When Tony started this blog he was doing it mostly because he had enough of the stream of negativity that surrounded the blogosphere around Arsenal and Arsène Wenger. He wanted to balance it a bit with this blog that since then has supported Wenger in what he has been doing for this club.

This blog has shown the problems we faced when building the Emirates, when moving to the Emirates, when adapting to the Emirates. And it also has highlighted that we had to do this on our own. No rich American owners who promised a lot but most of all delivered a lot of debt on some of their clubs. Or rich Russians who got the chequebook out and paid lots of money for all the superstars of the moment in order to win the Champions League. In which they have failed thus far. Or Arab millionaires who wave around their money as if it is monopoly money and also buying all the money greedy players on this planet that don’t give a thing about the colour they are playing in as long as they get the most money each week. Oh and even with spending all that money even Manchester Sheiky couldn’t qualify for the Champions League.

On this site most of the writers AND COMMENTERS saw the bigger picture of things. And we should be happy  about the fact that many Arsenal fans are also able to see this bigger picture of things. Maybe it is time to say thanks to all of you who comment with such well thought replies to what we are trying to say.

How ever we cannot be blind for the fact that there are other people on the internet. People who want us to win now. For the moment I am not going to call them fans from other teams who just are trying to bring unrest to our fans. I am willing to believe that they are real Arsenal fans but that they are  people who are impatient and want us to win a trophy today and so I will call them the impatient fans.   They disagree with the youth project which in their eyes has failed for 5 years now. A youth project that is only starting to bear its fruits if you look at the fact that players like Wilshere and Gibbs look to have made the needed step up. Players like JET, Frimpong who are very close to do the same. But for those impatient fans it doesn’t go fast enough.

Those fans want us to buy players without trying to give that fine young prospect the chance of becoming a better player. If we would have let them have it their way we would have sold Song long time ago. Or even have given him away to any team that would take him. Now those people are asking, impatiently: “when will Song be back”. If we would have bought Melo like they had insisted we would have been first in the red cards table maybe last season and we never would have seen how Song developed in to a very important player and possible one of the best defensive midfielders in the coming seasons.

Many of the impatient fans have been asking Wenger to be sacked. They blame him for everything that went wrong.  I think we all know what those impatient fans have been saying the last years: “he has lost it, he knows nothing, he is filling his pockets, blah, blah and more blah”. You can even read it here on this blog every now and then. They all hoped that the board would throw him out or that they wouldn’t give him a new contract.

Since Saturday however there is no doubt anymore. Arsène Wenger will be our manager for at least another 4 years. The board has underlined the fact that they are on the same wavelength as our manager and want the approach that we have started many years back when they knew we were facing a difficult time ahead will be continued.

This approach is based upon building our own superstars from kids age up and only adding to the squad when needed and nothing could be found in our own youth to fill up the gap. Wenger’s wet dream some have called it but it turns out to be the wet dream of the board also.

So here we have it in the open and clear for all who want to see it. This is not just a solo project from our manager. No the board is fully supporting it and want it to continue. Whatever the thoughts might have been in the past, this is now the Arsenal way. This is our way. And this will not be liked by the impatient fans.

At times we have been called AKB (Arsène knows best)-people. They have said to us that we only support the manager in person and what would we do if the manager would walk away? What would we do? Still support the club or follow the manager to wherever he goes? They threw it at us and wanted us to look like bad Arsenal supporters. We didn’t support the club, we supported the manager was their opinion. They made it look as if we are not real supporters of the club. They were the only true fans of the club and we were just Arsène Wenger fans.

But now it seems that the manager and the board of our club support each other and have the same goal and the same approach to reach that goal. In fact it is now clear to see that those who have been supportive to Wenger are the one that support the long term vision of the club, not just the vision of the manager. By offering him a new contract and by Wenger signing it they have told the fans: you can say what you want, you can think what you want, but this is the road we have taken en the road we will follow together. In fact it looks like  that the way to look at things this site has always taken, is about the same way that the board is looking at things. And as the board (like it or not)  is the owner of Arsenal and it is the board that is deciding on the direction of the club, it looks that we on here are the real followers of the club. And it seems that we are not “just Wenger fans” as they have accused us.

So for those impatient fans it must not have been a pleasant news that Arsène Wenger signed an extension to his contract. And then the questions comes up: What will they do? Will they still support the club now knowing the way it is going? Will they walk away now it is clear that the club is going further in this road? Or will someone of them buy all the shares, impatient as he/she is and do it in another way?

I think this is a time in the history of our club that some fans will have to think about being a supporter or not. Are they supporters of Arsenal with all what it represents and for the moment this is the Wenger + board approach, or are they Arsenal fans who only think about winning things and if possible today. A real supporter would choose for staying a supporter and supporting the club and the players. Someone who only want to win things will have other options if he wants to.

But to answer the question they have been throwing at me in the past: I would have stayed an Arsenal fan if Wenger would leave us. I have been an Arsenal fan since long before Wenger came along. I admit, I became also a Wenger fan for what he has brought us and for the way he has kept us at the top in those difficult years. But no matter what if Wenger leaves I will stay an Arsenal fan. So the question is, will the impatient fans stay Arsenal supporters if Wenger stays? And he does stay.

So time to choose: support the club and support the players and the road we are going, like it or not. Or you could leave and call it a day. But don’t complain if at the end of this decade or so the Arsenal supporters who have supported not only the club but also the board and the manager appear to have chosen the right path. Let’s do it our way, The Arsenal Way!  And let us show some pride because we have the courage to choose another way. It takes courage and a brave man to go on new paths.


Win it now for us

Did we win it in the past

All and more

73 Replies to “What we would do if Wenger leaves?”

  1. When I first started to support Arsenal (over 50 years ago) I had no idea that there even was something called ‘a Board of Directors’. I’m not sure that I even understood that was somebody who played the role of ‘manager’. In those days there was (as Tony has pointed out) virtually no football on TV and the cult of the manager was some years away.
    Arsenal won my heart because they were my local team, played in red and were called The Gunners. How romantic can you get?
    I’m like you Walter I was a fan long before Wenger came and I’ll be a fan (I hope) long after he goes. But in the meantime I’ve become a fan of him too.
    It’s perfectly possible to be a fan of the club and not of it’s manager. For me Terry Neill fell into that category. A man capable of speaking for an hour and telling you nothing. Back then, Don Howe called the shots on the pitch and I bless him for the vast majority of them.
    Now Wenger calls the shots both on the pitch and, largely, off it and therefore has set himself up for criticism on all matters related to the club, not just whether or not the offside trap is working. And most of that criticism is almost laughably uninformed and based almost entirely on conjecture.
    He isn’t perfect but he’s a great deal closer to it than most (and probably all) the alternatives.
    He deserves our fullest support. He’ll certainly get mine.

  2. Fantastic, Walter.

    Truly, the die is cast for the next 4years. the management have taken the step of removing every form of uncertainty about Wenger’s future and the club’s direction so that Wenger and the club can concentrate on the Youth Development program as the primary (bold, underline) route of recruiting players into the first team. They have chosen incremental improvement of the squad year after year over annual recruitment of expensive “stars” to the club in our bid for trophy glories.

    So, as you put it, the choice is clearer for Arsenal fans: either support the club’s direction or find another club to support. Villifying Wenger – despite having delivered 11trophies in 13years, built a beautiful stadium in the last five years and having the debt of building the stadium halved over the same period, kept us in European Champions League continuously over the past 10years and developed a Youth Program that begins with 11-12year olds that is the envy of all Europeans clubs and the hope of England in international soccer – is no longer an option.

    Those who stay on supporting Arsenal but still hate the direction the club has taken will to learn to vilify the entire Arsenal Board and management for their prudent ways and inward focus – even as they claim to be ardent Aresnal fans.

  3. I guess if wenger leaves we get another manager and carry on. Maybe we might re address the imbalance of youth and small players in the side.

    Its not like wenger delivers success any more, but he has done a great job during the move so i’m good if he stays but i’m not going to get upset if he leaves.

    Everything comes to an end and Wengers management is definately on a downward spiral with regards to winning stuff. Its not even like he spent more when we won stuff, the wage bill was lower as he now spends millions on giving young players huge contracts. A new manager might give us the necessary boost to push wengers project on.

  4. fem dee

    You dont just change clubs mate, regardless of what you think of the management. Your club is your club for life and will be through many different managers and policies.

  5. Sensible words Richard, on the whole I concur.

    What is getting on my nerves is the abuse that both sides throw at each other (and which I’m glad you just about refrained from in the article).

    There will always be differences of opinion, I for one expect to be able to speak my mind without being subjected to abuse or bad language that is prevelant on many blog sites these days – I’m neither a ‘doomer’ or AKB.

    My usual comment is that the board, AW, players and fans alike are not Arsenal – we all come and go (most supporters when we finally pop our mortal coil of course!) and others take our place. We are merely a small part of the greater picture. Make the best of what we have, try to be positive, moan if you must, life has ups and downs, football is life.

  6. you missed the point. most people who are disgruntled with arsenal football club are not against arsene wenger or a youth policy but are more aggrevied with both the way arsenal fc and mr wenger fail to keep the supporter that pays the wages etc informed. for years we have not been told the truth any intelligent person if told that we had no money because we invested in the infrastructure of the club would have been happy but we were always told that the debt commitment was ringfenced allowing important investment into the playing side most loyal supporters feel that arsene wenger treats us like school children, he professes to be a learned man but doesnt understand the excitement supporters get from new signings and he appears to be stubborn beyond belief if he thinks he is right and there is nothing wrong with that, as long as he is right. our goalkeeping situation and defence have let us down for too many years don’t forget our most successful period under mr wenger was largely from the benefit of george graham and the wonderful defence he left. We now play wonerful football and promise wonderful things but as yet have produced nothing. eversince david seaman and the defence have left.

  7. been a london born and bread gooner since i was aged 4, will support arsenal with or without wenger, with or without trophies, in the premier league or blue sqaure north, through the highs and the lows, and no one will ever tell me that Arsenal is not my club.

  8. when wenger leaves, a statue should be placed by the stadium – maybe even rename the stadium after him or name the training ground WengerLand!!

  9. why does it make someone less of a fan because they choose to be vocal abt the fact that our manager has failed to address the areas of concern within our squad – areas which he has already stated need strengthening?? 1 game into the season and we are already feeling the affects of an awful goal keeper and a thread bare defence.

  10. read the article again and have too say it is utter shite to tell people to walk away from their club if they are not happy with the managers direction.

    Wenger is employed by this club, Arsenal football club belongs to its fans.

  11. Bruno, it could be that I was not clear enough but infact I wanted to sugges people to SUPPORT the club and not do like they do now. Yes plastic fans can leave for me. As they never loved the Arsenal but only loved the trophies.

  12. Hi Walter! Happy to know that you are a truly great Arsenal’s fan. Iam a supporters for 30 years now and urged all fans and supporters to stop the criticism or at least limit it.

    Arsene may not have the last say in all transfers but Ivan Gazidis do have. Ivan should come out to clear the air on Arsenal transfers this season. Arsene is not indispensable but unless we have another manager as capable and brilliant as he is then not worth asking for his head. Like the Chinese said, if you think you are better than me, then come and take over my position.

  13. I have supported the Arsenal all my life, more than 50 years, and been a season ticket holder since 1970/71 season, lucky or what! My father and 2 brothers all supported Arsenal as did my grandad and uncles. We have seen the Arsenal through many good times and many more bad and when I started going in the early 60’s they were indeed bad. That’s my ‘qualifications’ out of the way – why do fans always seem to need to do that?!

    I am in no doubt that Arsene Wenger is the best thing to ever have happened to our club. Like the other great football emperor, Herbert Chapman, he has built Arsenal into such a formidable force that his influence will be felt for decades. Only when he finally leaves us will he be truly appreciated, even by the idiots calling for him to go. Look at the challenges he faced when he arrived, look at his vision for a stadium to generate the money to support the growth of the team and club, look at the trophies he has won. OK it’s five years since we won a pot but when I started going it was a dam site longer than that and there have been many times in between when the years since winning something stretched on and on.

    Arsene has steered this club into a magnificent position at a time when it has never been harder to compete and avoid your club going broke by trying to do so. We are there now in the final straight and we should be saying thank you, not criticising his genius. OK it is not only Arsene, we are frankly fortunate to have a board who know what they are doing and put Arsenal first, not their bank balances.

    To all those who criticise Wenger they should stop and ask themselves, “Where would we be if Arsene Wenger had never joined Arsenal?” We would have been about as successful as THFC have been during our dominance.

    Wenger and the boards plan to avoid us heading into the football wilderness whilst moving into our new home is coming to fruition and we are looking at the brightest possible future on the field while we are financially the soundest club in Britain. No one has a divine right to win anything but if anyone deserves to because they have done exactly the right things then that man is Arsene Wenger.

  14. This is easily the most patronizing Arsenal blog on the internet. The smug sense of superiority from you and all of your writers is vomit inducing at times.

  15. Walter- That question really should be asked to you -“What will you do when Arsene Wenger leaves?” Will you still support the new manager if he doesn’t continue our youth policy?? Will you support the new manager if he uses up the unused profit to buy expensive players?? Will you still support the new manager if he doesn’t play our present sublime football and goes for a more direct approach?? You got a lot of answers to give Walter!!

  16. i,m very happy with wengers contract extension – i,ll even brace myself for a few more trophy’less seasons if need be (but i dont think that’ll happen) but with all the new financial restraints / new regulations to come in to action in the coming years our club will be in a very strong position..on and off the field.
    look forward to seeing more youth making it at arsenal and will trust wenger on his transfer dealings !!
    cant wait to go to emirates saturday and see us bring blackpool back down to earth..
    great blog!


  17. BLC, why do fans have to be vocal when the transfer window is still open? Impatient? 😉
    Suppose Almunia would read all what is said on the internet about him by his own fans. How would you feel if everyone said you are no good at all? Would this be helpful when you are playing in a position where believe in yourself is very important? What if every goal is blamed on you, even if you can do nothing about it? Admit it if it would have been Chamakh who had scored like that no Arsenal fan would have even dared to suggest that Reina should have saved it. We would have shouted : unstoppable. But now the other way round we blame our keeper. I saw him mis a corner and a free kick, those were mistakes but they didn’t have any effect. But they had nothing to do with the goal we conceded.

    Many impatient fans start their rants with: “I want…..”. Try to live with it, no one at the board at Arsenal care about what “I want”. It is what the board want as the board own the shares and thus own the club. And if you are not happy with the board I think there are some 16% of the shares for sale. Find fans like you to buy them.
    Once the club was owned by Norris, people hated him or feared him, they did not like him but he did what was best for the club in the long run, and also what was best for him maybe. But I think Tony can tell more about that.

  18. Supporting a team is a bit different to unswerving blind faith in a failing manager.

    Now before you tell me wenger is not failing, I am judging him purely on what he himself has promised.

    1. Last season he said he objective was to win the league or champions league – 3rd place and a quarter final is a failure.

    2. He promised to strengthen the defence and we went to anfield with 2 central defenders fit and nearly lost one to injury. – failure to start the season with a good enough squad.

    His success in making money isnt a success for me i dont care about bank balances.

  19. Dark Prince if you would have read the article you would read the answer.

    But maybe you are to impatient to read the whole of it so I just give you the answer (C+P from the article):
    I would have stayed an Arsenal fan if Wenger would leave us. I have been an Arsenal fan since long before Wenger came along. I admit, I became also a Wenger fan for what he has brought us and for the way he has kept us at the top in those difficult years. But no matter what if Wenger leaves I will stay an Arsenal fan.

    The other questions is to be seen as I cannot know the future and predict what a new manager would do. But I think the board will be wise enough to appoint a wise manager that works along the lines the board has or will draw. But if a new manager would risk the future of our club I would make myself heard. Even if that manager would win all trophies he can win.

    Because I don’t wan to win trophies and then after a few years only will have to live in memories and tell my grandchildren: “you know when your grandfather was a bit younger he followed a team, the Arsenal. They won a lot, lost all their money to win these trophies and now they are gone. I still have some pictures left and that is all what is left of them. Want to see them?”

    And I cannot see in anyway that Wenger is endangering the future of our club. The contrary I would say is more the case.

  20. I’m a huge admirer of Wenger and I’m so thankfull he’s been with us for all these years. The only concern I have is where the money is going. Arsenal makes a healthy profit every season and I believe that a bigger part of that money should be invested in the team. I understand that the youth project costs money and that it’s great investing in youth. But I think we need to have a better balance of money for transfers and money for youthdevelopment. In short term, the club needs a few more experienced players to be really competitive. Sir Alex got the recipe right.

  21. Bruno some of my post at 1:51 contains some kind of answer to that I think. I just look at it different than you.

    Yes he has said out these targets. And I think he could have reached one of them, the EPL, if it hadn’t been for 9 players injured at the same time at the start of April. We were only a few points behind and with a fully fit squad we would have won all the games. And dont forget we had already another nice injury list before that aswell with RVP and Cesc out for months/weeks.
    and what was your prediction last august before the start? Champions? second, third? or was it : we will certainly not qualify for the CL and we will be out of the title race at the end of Oktober?

    So yes he has failed for his own high set standards but I think he will have surpassed your thoughts before the season started by far.

  22. I think I have never said he makes no mistakes. After all then he wouldn’t be the Lord Wenger but the God Wenger. And he is not a God. Unfortunatly maybe.

  23. Walter- thats what i’m tryin to say. We all have different opinions. You may argue about the new manager if he’s quite opposite of Wenger’s approach. But that wouldn’t make u less of a fan, would it?? In the same case, there are people who want their voices to be heard if they are unhappy with Wenger’s policy. That doesn’t mean they are impatient or that they are less of a fan. And most importantly, you have said it yourself, we cannot see what lies in the future. It can be possible that Wenger might not win a trophy till the end of his term, it could be possible that our youth players start boycotting the club. We already have one good example- Fran Merida. The next example to be our very own captain – Cesc. Thats why its important to see whats happening to our present. We have to address the issues that are important to our club right now. Bcoz no one knows what will be our future.

  24. haha “god wenger”

    fair enough.

    gotta get back to work, but i always start the season with renewed confidence and expectations of grandeur. Its usually when we fall apart in the run that i lose faith in recent years. I have money on us winning the league this year, lets hope we have more bragging rights at the end of the season than our bulging bank balance.

    Be nice for all Gooners to be happy again.

  25. Jack, I will be asking if Tony can install some air sickness bags for you, if you ever would want to return over here. But I don’t know if the technology can deliver them so maybe for your own health better not come along anymore. I would hate it if people get sick on their computer.

  26. Dark Prince, That is the reason why I referred to them as impatient. I could have given them other names but I deliberatly did not do this. But the insults that they are throwing at him is a thing I cannot accept. I’m not in any way are trying to accuse you of doing this, don’t get me wrong, but I think you can see it on the internet every hour of the day.

    Have to stop now, game tonight.

    And also to all the other new people who made a first comment from now on : as I really have to do a pre season game over here tonight so please have a bit of patience if your comment doesn’t come online immediatly.

  27. Walter- Patience is a very subjective term. For some, it could be many decades, for some it could be not more than a year. But I agree that hurling abuses at anyone is clearly not acceptable. We all are arsenal fans and we all need to respect everyone, even if we are not happy with their performances. Be it Wenger, or Almunia, or any other player, or anyone connected to Arsenal. We should look forward and think about progressing every year.

  28. Wenger is a living legend as is TH14 , Denis, Cesc and Jack Wishere.
    Don Revie was in a similar position at Leeds.He had to take the passenger seat behind Bill Shankley at Liverpool.
    I hate having to admit it but SAF is so far The EPL’s most successful manager, call a spade a spade!
    Despite that fact, Wenger has brought this club tremendous success!
    This success will continue for years to come because when TH14 takes over in 2014/2015 , the Wenger legacy will continue as did Norris’ and Chapmans.
    Don’t forget that to this day Arsenal continue Norris and Chapmans leadership.
    If not for Norris we could be like Hull City if not for Chapman we could be Ipswich town.
    Wenger has kept us in the Global top 8.That is his legacy.

  29. PS I can only he will achieve taking the CL trophy in his time left with us . That will surely shut the moaners up forever!
    Where were you at WHLane in 70/71?

  30. walter, u see what i think the main problem with project youth is, is that wenger doesn’t realise he can carry on with project youth n win trophies at the same time..wenger ignores the key areas he needs to strengthen so the development of his youth isn’t hindered..as far as his signings for the summer go, i have no problems with them..what i have a problem with is the signings he didn’t make..schwarzer would’ve been an ideal solution to our keeper woes..we could’ve won trophies with him between the sticks for 2 years n by that time mannone or szczesny would’ve been ready to be our long-term keeper..a good, old mountain-like centre back wouldn’t’ve hurt the development of the youngsters either..n we would’ve won trophies at the same time..

    Don’t for a second think that i want wenger out..no, it’s not like that..he’s the only man i want incharge of the arsenal but like everyone else, he’s not perfect..this is not an appeal to sack him but i just want him to be more sensible in the market

    U said that some fans wanna win trophies NOW..yes, we do..why? Coz it’s necessary! Why? Coz if we don’t, when the products of project youth come of age, our best players won’t be at the club..look at fabregas..arsene n arsenal made him what he is n still he’d only stay at the club coz of his contract..nowhere in his ‘official statement’ had he said how much he loves the arsenal..n all of us were disappointed with that..were we not?

    The bottom-line is that we don’t actually want wenger to be sacked, don’t want kakás n ronaldos but sensible signings who can fit in n bring us trophies..winning trophies is important coz without them we’ll fail to retain our top stars at the club when our ‘time’ comes n ultimately we’ll have more cescs who’d want out n then we’d have to wait for the next batch of talented younglings to come of age n i don’t think the other teams would cease to grow during this process..yes, we are impatient coz we need to be impatient.

  31. i am from india, mumbai and i have not yet been to an arsenal game and pre season i was reallly nervous i would miss out seeing wenger and was already making plans to go for some games. and then the contract came which was really good. such joy! in arsene we trust!

    and what the impatient fans dont get it is that wenger loves arsenal more than us fans. i am sure he wants to win trophies for these impatient fans and for others also… the patience fans…. but after 5 years he might be feeling let down himself by his players that he trusts so much. so giving the extension to him shows that as wenger himself might be loosing his faith in himself the board gave him confidence to carry on. which is the right thing to do.

    its a very difficult stage in his managerial carrier. its a very different dynamic for him in this time of his life.. like 5-6 years it was only man utd and arsenal for trophies. with wenger doing it with a smaller stadium of 38k. while man u already had a very big stadium of 75k and more money. so when the youth development project started coming in so did the rich multi billionaires who are having fun with money. nobody would have expected this to happen 5-6 years ago. but it did happen. things changed. lot of multi rich owners started coming in. its such a different time. it much more difficult now which makes it more fun.

    we all know from this site and news that the epl is on a debt bubble. 3 billon in debt? when this bubble burst only one club will be strong. which is arsenal. and thats when wengers and the board of directors vision will be seen. its only a matter of time. i ammmmmm so glad i support arsenal. i would be grummpy all the time if i was any others clubs supported. supporting arsenal with their vision is great joy.

  32. its encouraging to see the guys talking with realism ,well done dark prince ,bruno and allen davis.God knows what would happen to our club(fans) if no one complained. for me arsenal is run like a dictatorship(wenger) .with the board acting as the greedy bankers. i know its extreme but its possible to see the relation

  33. Walter! You are spot on with your answer. I believe that if you are a Gunner, you will forever support and remain a Gunner faithful.

    Too much criticism is not good for the players. For all gunners fan the titles is important but not at the expense of racking up huge debt in signing expensive players like some idiots have requested for but I believe we are still short of at least 1 CB.

    The spanish league is different from the English League and Barca used their entire available fund every season to sign world class players because it is their culture and merits to do so and the elected President may get fored for not signing big players. Barca is also capable of repaying their debts due to their huge income generation. So be patience and wait for the good news!

  34. Walter,I fear the worst after I write this next paragraph or so.I love football ,I love Arsenal with a passion(I cant sleep if they lose ,and cant sleep for worrying that they might lose).However ,Arsenal are not my family,In other words “I was not born into them” I married in when Dennis and Arsene made them the best footballing side this country has ever seen.But it is the present style and ethos that I love ,and in truth when Arsene leaves ,if we become an “ordinary”club I might get a divorce.I know this is difficult for most to understand but I for one am more passionate about Wengerball that the club.Perhaps I am not alone.

  35. In case some people managed to listen to this link, and not understand it, for some unfathomable reason, here it is again:

    Ivan Gazidis for you.
    He is talking about the CLUB’s model, for those who might have missed it, again.
    As in, Arsenal Football Club.

    What it means is that, with more then one generation at the club schooled in ‘wengerball’, even when Ms.Wenger hangs up his boots and retires to the sofa in Highbury House, the Gunners of Arsenal Football Club will still be playing Wengerball. Without Wenger.

    Nice try!

  36. Black and White, Us and Them; talk about creating animosity.
    I would suggest the vast majority of fans lie somewhere in the middle.
    What are these Arsenal blogs you speak of that insult Wenger?
    It’s true that I’ve read blogs that want us to spend more and rely less on youth policy.
    I’ve even on fairly rare occasions read a blog calling for Wenger to be sacked.
    However I can’t at this moment recall reading an Arsenal blog that actually insults Wenger? Surely it must be extremely rare and like you suggested probably a fan of another club causing mischief. I certainly wouldn’t read that blog again.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, no-one should be allowed to insult Wenger but it is insane to tell fans to support another club just because they don’t agree with his policies.

  37. Finsbury – interesting to hear Ivan, but be wary. Remember he is an employee, a career politician which is what you must be in this role and in his previous role as MLS chief in the US. He will trot out what the board tell him to, look sincere, promise that we will be successful, tell us we have the funds to compete, and you or I will not have a clue if any of it or all of it is true. Never forget that to these guys this is a business and we are ‘customers’ who must be kept happy, not fans who have a mind of our own. Football clubs have changed from the community based institutions we remember from our youth into global ‘brands’.

    I hope we can be successful, but don’t ask me to buy into ‘business models’ and sharp marketing practises. The clever guys in suits may have a plan, but do shareholder profits take priority over success on the pitch? If they do (and I don’t know that’s the case btw) then do you really expect the guy to front up and say so?

    Just a cautionary note from a healthy sceptic.

  38. andy1886

    I agree with the essence of what you are saying, but also, I do not really understand your point.

    If Arsenal haven’t been following a model ever since they plotted a plan to build a brand new stadium, five hundred meters from their old one, then what have they been doing? How could the club achieve something like that without a ‘model’? You know, pack out Wembley for a few seasons, convince the banks to give them appropriate loans (that aren’t designed for someone else’s benefit), that kind of thing. It seems to be me that you have too ‘black and white’ an opinion of such matters. Things have to get done, somehow. How can you build a £400M stadium in central London without a ‘model’? You’d need a physical model, a CAD model, and a financial model! Three kinds of models! I’d like to see how this can be done without the last ‘model’. Wait!
    I know where to look…not far, just over the other side of the A406…

    Did not the LBO’s of Liverpool FC and ManUsed not follow another banal and well known ‘model’?

  39. Well said Walter.

    I’ve been reading your blog and Arseblog for quite sometime now for the latest news regarding my favourite club. It is not a pleasant experience to support Arsenal in this country. You have too many who likes MU (since the past 10 years due to their trophy winning run), Liverpool (due to their history in the league, but these are the nicest bunch among them all) and Chelsea (well, you guessed it right, most of them only started to support Chelsea after a certain Russian took over the club). And eventhough my country and your country are thousands of miles apart, they do take things personally. Last year, when Barca beat MU in the finals, there was a reported case of some Barca fans got beaten up by the so called MU fans. I mean, just think about it, we are thousands of miles apart but yet, they think they are at Manchester? In doing so they think they are an actual MU fan? That is totally rubbish. And frankly, that is how rubbish some of the so called football fan in this country.

    I wish that the ‘Emirates’ is just a few hundred kilometers away from where i stay, so that i could attend to all of them home matches. i was once questioned by a ‘gooner’ as to how many home matches have i attended to and how much money have i spend for this so called beloved team of mine, when i asked him to be nice with his words about Le Prof. I just can’t figure out the ‘impatient fans’ questioning about our youth project, the vision that the boss have for the youth team and most importantly, the consequences of moving to the emirates where our budget will be really tight and of which makes it more difficult for the boss to spend.

    Why bring in a so called ‘world class’ talent for 20Mil and not knowing if he has what it takes to play in the EPL and disrupts the growth of Wilshere and Frimpong as an example. Have they forgotten a few season ago when a certain player by the name of ‘fabregas’ was introduced to the world, that many of us thought what a rubbish this boy was? How could wenger let vieira and edu go and play this young unknown? But just look at him now. I think this is the strongest point that one could make when people start to question the boss about his transfer policy.

    Finishing in the top four would be great, winning the league this season would be a bonus. It is as simple as that. we have to look at logic when we support this beloved club of ours.


  40. Dark Prince

    He is Arsenal’s CEO, doing his job:
    Explaining, without much obfuscation, what is happening at the club, why money is now being re-invested now into the stadium (because it wasn’t there before! That’s why we got a raw shell, to deck out as and when the club can. This truth has been physically visible to everyone who’s attended TNHOF and seen it develop and grow. I guess, for some the above can count as Orwellian doublespeak, if they shut their eyes and pretend not to see what is there before them.

    A terrible state of affairs, isnt it.

    But I guess, him explaining that, because it is his job to do so, means that ‘he is not Arsenal’.

    I’d much prefer to have the dude who flogged Liverpool to the broke Americans as CEO.
    Or that bloke from ManUsed, the one who probably cannot ever set foot in Manchester again.

    They were great.

  41. Finsbury – I’m just saying I take such statements with a pinch of salt. It’s all about spin, smoke and mirrors these days. Of course there has always been a ‘model’ or plain old business plan as it would have been in the old days. Do I need to know about it? No, not really.

    I’m happy to leave the suits behind the scenes, I don’t want to hear the proganda. Yes the stadium was in our long term interests. If money for the team was compromised then fair enough, just be straight with us and forget the platitudes and the b*llsh*t.

    But then the best answer is to judge on actions, words are cheap. If the youth project brings results fair play to the board, if not then they will reap the results they merit.

  42. Ooops!
    Of course, all loans are designed for someone else’s interest!
    Some types, are better then others.

  43. Wenger has lost the plot, pretty much this article as well. I even question his achievements nowadays

  44. andy1886

    Actions and results…yup, I agree with that!

    In the same week that Nicholas Anelka got a big ban from International football, it’s nice to see the first batch of graduates from the academy he paid for, make their own international debut’s.

    I also liked the ‘result’ that is Arsenal’s new CB signing. Maybe they’ll be a few more in the window, lets hope if there are, that they are as good as the others.

  45. BTW, As an initial sceptic (I can’t help it!) it was good to see Kos make a promising debut on Sunday. I admit to being concerned, but it looks like Arsene has unearthed another diamond.

    Let’s try not to put too much pressure on the youngsters yet though (some of the hype has been a bit OTT), give them time, forgive a few mistakes, and let them adjust. Yes, they could turn out to be amazing talents, or they could ‘do a Bentley’ (remember the hype a few seasons back?). I’m sure Arsene will be sensible enough to manage their transition, balanced with sensible signings.

  46. The baying for his blood is not about sacking Wenger for the sake of it but for the fact that every year since we moved into the Emirates, the board have repeatedly said that Wenger has x amount of money to spend if he so wishes! Now my gripe with this is that the man has not even spent a fifth of this money which I believe is carried over every year and more added to it! Or am I wrong in this assumption?
    No one is denying he is a good manager but lots of opprtunities have been missed on players that we could have got or even kept had he not been miserly in his outlook in all things. Think on these things Tony and be not too myopic when you castigate these fans who rightly or wrongly call for Wenger’s head. I am happy he signed despite being one of those who have lost some patience with his stubborness however he needs to deliver some trophies after 5 years of barrenness and to show for the reasons why we moved to the Emirates in the first instance.

  47. I am a Nigeria, i fell in love with Arsenal while growing up amongs other clubs in england. Nobody can tell me that this is the Arsenal fell in love with. Lot has changed. I do not think if it was like this i would have fell in love with it, but Arsenal is alreadly a club after my heart, i will surport till i die.

  48. It seems to have escaped some peoples notice that there has been a World wide recession,or have the Ostriches decided that Arsenal are immune to such trivialities

  49. Ondgooner – yes, the board have said that there is money to be spent “if the right player is found”. That translates, in accounting speak, to “we dont really have that kind of money laying around, but if absolutely necessary and if the manager is absolutely adamant then we could all send a collection tray around and rustle up 30million if need be. However we dont really want to spend that money”.

    Rather than focusing on what was or wasnt said to the media (and of course clubs always lie to the media) you should instead focus on the accounts of the club. There you would clearly see how much money the club have been able to spend each summer. It is there in clear numbers. It doesnt lie.

    And once you see the accounts you can see that it is only in the past year or so that the money has truly begun to flow into the club from the move to the new stadium. And yes, Arsene Wenger now has money to spend. But having money to spend and finding the right player to buy are two different things. After all, Barcelona had 30million to spend this summer on an attacking midfielder named Cesc Fabregas.

    Or are you advocating that the club spend money simply for the sake of it, even if they are not 100% convinced that the player is right for Arsenal? If that is the case, then I am very glad that people like you are not in charge of things at our club.

  50. Great piece as always.
    But question I ask my self, what in fact is “supporting” your team. Even I have my opinion (which is not far from yours if not similar), but lets forget what board & Wenger doing last 13 years, and who ever is “head” in Arsenal.
    Point is in support, you love colors of your team, you love million things which stand for that team.

    Once you start thinking about, what would be good to change in team, you cant set limits anymore. Why than we cant ask colors to be changed in Pink. Why cant we ask to be called “Ministry of silly walks FC”. Why John Cleese cant be our manager?

    No one is blind here, and we all see where holes are, but in Board there are people who represent past of team I fall in love with, people who represent present of team I love, and people who represent future of team my kids will love. So I believe they are much more able and skilled to see what is good and what is bad for team than me, and that their decisions are right.
    And they believe in vision of Wenger, why should I question it? What are my credentials to spit on everything ?

  51. I’m from India and a football lover. Unlike most of you, I started following Arsenal closely only after their move to Emirates stadium. At that time, I was a great fan of Henry. But once Henry left, the only reason that kept me an Arsenal fan was Lord Wenger. It is the brand of football that we were playing kept me glued to televisions even at wee hours. So I should say, i became an Arsenal fan because of Arsene Wenger. But after following this club now for 3 to 4 seasons now I feel arsenal flowing in my blood. Arsenal has become an addiction to me.
    Will be a gooner for ever. In Wenger I trust.

  52. Personally I have no problem with those who wish to express an alternative view. My problems are as follows:

    1. It is rare that there is any reasoned and/or thoughful analysis of what alternative course should be taken (I should say that I think some of the people on Le Grove actullay do put forward some pretty cogent alternative arguments but they are a minority)

    2. Much of the so called criticism is little more than abuse. This is what makes me wonder about some of the comments appearing lately suggesting fans from other clubs are adopting this tactic in an attempt to undermine the Arsenal project.

    3. If people really are as upset and emotional as some of the comments suggest why don’t they get up off their fat arses and do something about it. Call a meeting, get a petition going or perhaps even threaten go on hunger stike outside the ground until a £80 million signing arrives.

    Anyway – just my view.


  53. l’m sorry but l think u’ve missed d point. IT’s not a question of how good Wenger is cos we know he’s brilliant. No one is asking 4 £20m signing. We are asking him 2 merely show d desire 2 win titles, which l’m sure we all want. I can never 4give him 4 sticking with Silvestre, Almunia & refusing 2get a striker when RVP was out. He built a title winning squad in 2007, destroyed them & began afresh over & over again. He is 2 determined 2 win things his way, which shows he isn’t interested in winning. SACK HIM..

  54. To Paul C: Far from it as I would never advocate spending over the odds for players we could ill afford! My concern in terms of missed opportunities are in the following examples: Diarra was allowed to leave for £5M and how much is he worth now? yaya Toue was with us for trials but wenger wouldn’t sign him and when he tried to a couple of years ago, the player was no longer within our financial reach! Shay Given thought he had joined Arsenal some 2 or 3 years ago only to be disappointed, but can we afford him now? Reina was a snip at £6M and guess how much Arsene was prepared to pay for him some days ago if recent paper talk is to be believed? You cannot on the one hand bemoan our finances and have less than average players when you let quality slip through your graps when they were within your financial means on the other!! He has been an excellent manager for us, no doubting that but now and again his obstinacy has somewhat clouded his judgement on more than a few occasions to the detriment of the team and our chances of celebrating winning silverware at the end of err.. the 5th season! Be accomodating of him but also be intelligibly reflective & realistic of what could have been had he…..

  55. I have never read a blog that articulate the issue of supporting Arsenal as this one. It represents the entirety of my deductions as an Arsenal fan. The board has chosen a direction for the club that in their wisdom, they see as the best way forward. They have a long term vision for the club. They want Arsenal to be here and doing fine 50 years from now. To achieve this, they see that there is a need not to send the club into the kind of debt that is sinking many clubs today. Providence brought a manager that buys the idea and is walking along the same.
    Simply put, Arsenal is not, and does not intend to become a splash-the-cash club. They believe in developing young talents into stars rather than going into spending tantrum.
    The question every Arsenal supporter needs to ask him/her self is – how did you become a supporter? Was it after they won a trophy that you joined the band wagon? Did you become a supporter because it is your family tradition? Did you become a supporter because of a conviction? I believe the proper and most enduring way to become a supporter is to do so out of conviction. That conviction should come after you study the philosophy of the club and you assent to it. If after you acquaint yourself with the philosophy of the club you do not agree with it and you just cannot bring yourself to accepting it, then you should better quit.
    The truth is that Arsenal is not basically a player buying club but a player developing club. They will only buy what is needed that is not available from the youth set up. As a fan, (or so called) if this is unacceptable to you, then you better jump ship and go join Man City.
    I normally laugh at those that are calling for the sack of Wenger. This is far from any possibility. In a recent ranking, he was rated as the second most secure manager in the premiership behind Ferguson. In my opinion, I think Ferguson should come after him. There is perfect agreement between him and the board about the way the club should be run. The chance of him getting the boot is remote. Forget the idea and watch out in a few season when the Wenger philosophy comes to fruition and other clubs that have almost squander their futures begin to sink like the famous titanic.

  56. ondgooner: You shouldn’t dwell over missed opportunities. Sure there are some players we could have signed and would have made a contribution to our club. But it is impossible to get it right with every single player out there. There are probably hundreds of fotballers who have failed trials and play in League 2 and what not. It is easy to slate Wenger afterwards. Arsenal have won a trophy every 13 years during it’s history. If it wasn’t for Wenger we wouldn’t be where we are. I can wait longer for a trophy, can you? He is staying another 4 years and the board wouldn’t sack him in a million years, it is better and easier to learn too live with it. Slating him isn’t helping anyone. Every person makes mistakes 🙂

  57. To Fedda: Of course I am willing to support him, which I even alluded to in my write up as him being an excellent manager, but now and again the frustration becomes unbearable having to spend hundreds of pounds each season just to witness also-rans when at the back of ones mind it could be a lot better! Let’s hope we do something special this year and I have the feeling we just might if the right pieces are in place to complete the jigsaw. I.e. one more quality CB, a GK and a striker. Yes another striker as the ones we have are prone to lots of injuries.

  58. Ondgooner – sorry, but the examples of players that you use hardly fill me with any confidence as to your ability to assess talent. Diarra is a decent player, nothing more. We actually ended up getting 11million for him (after his sell-on clause was invoked, AW insists that there is always a sell-on clause on every transfer) which to me is excellent business. He couldnt break through into Chelsea’s team, and he couldnt break into our team. I thought he was one of the weak links to Real Madrid’s side last season every time I saw them play. His passing is AWFUL, and AW places kind of a high premium on passing.

    Yaya Toure lost his place in the Barcelona team to Busquets!!!! If City are willing to pay 25million for him then that is their business. I think he is one of most overrated players in world football.

    Why oh why does everyone make Given out to be a superman? I think he is an average ‘keeper. He makes a ton of mistakes. His reputation has been helped by the fact he has been on poor teams but the moment a decent young ‘keeper (Joe Hart) comes along he is dropped from the side.

    Reina. Hmmm. Reina. Is that the same Reina who threw the ball in his own net on Sunday? And dont believe the press when they say we offered a certain amount of money for him. Reina makes a lot of mistakes as well.

    See, you call Given, Toure, Diarra, and Reina “quality” players and intimate that they are better than what we currently have. I dont agree with that at all. I do not think they are any more than decent players. I certainly dont think Given is any better than Almunia at all. Reina, yes maybe he is better than Almunia now, but when Liverpool signed him nobody knew about him. Benitez benefited from his Spanish background to sign him. Toure and Diarra? Nah. I’d always pick Song over those two.

    I think AW was absolutely right in those cases, with the only proviso being that nobody predicted Reina would turn out to be a consistently excellent ‘keeper.

  59. Interesting… OK, I sometimes read this blog among others as there are times when you guys write with good rationality and intelligence and indeed passion (Arsenal is a club to be passionate about, but then I’m biased). But there are other times like this, that I think you sort of, well, I guess come over all religious. Been reading Dawkins God Delusion, and some of the things you wrote here seem to be of the same ilk – such as twisting or distorting perspectives to ‘vindicate’ your faith (i point to your comment of the board also believing in Wenger’s policy, thereby proving they as owners of the club are who we should support (of course they would, he is good business) oh and who was that owner of Newcastle? He did’nt seem to get on too well with the fans – should they have left??). Sorry, dont wanna harp on about that kind of stuff, but I hope you get my drift.

    I ALSO like Wenger. Alot. Have done since he ushered in a new era of play as well as integrity and responsibilty, and a few years back, some of our most successful times. But that doesn’t mean I always agree with him. Generally yes I would defer to his better judgement, but to say that anyone who comes close to leveling a criticism of his recent transfer policy as being, ‘an impatient’ Arsenal fan who maybe should pack it in and not support anymore comes across as rather self absorbed and a little closed off from other meaningful perspectives. Arguing about football is a wonderful thing, but annihilation of others views is not. Please, continue to write good informative blogs, but please don’t get too carried away. Truth is most Arsenal fans, AND Wenger fans have recognised gaps in the current vision which has been of a defensive nature. Yes, Song has been great and a good indicator of youth investment, but this does not vindicate that it will come good all over the park. We need defensive cover to match that of the other big 3, (or 4), we need not just a great shot stopper but a commanding figure in the box. Yes yes, I’m sure there are a million reasons why we have still not got that, and I really would love to see the continued development at the club prosper with silverware this year. But I dont see it happening without some serious investment. I like Wenger, but I would love to see this – should I stop supporting because I have an alternative view to yours? Well – whatever you think I will continue to support, but will also listen to other views.

    Sorry long email, but its late and I felt bored 🙂

    Come on the Arsenal!

  60. based on the most comments above and the article, it seems arsenal now are more on youth development rather than finding finish product-new path..as for financially, it is still limited by the new stadium..sometimes i think all this just an excuse for not winning any trophy but it just my bad thinking..i hope i’m wrong but this season will not be so much different from years before..fabregas has hinted the possibility of departure..but we have wilshere, nasri and rosicky if he go..i make my decision not to hope so much this year..but if i’m wrong it will be an Utopian dream come true..

    i also notice some of the fans who are regularly post their opinion(with facts) last season regarding Arsenal policy are not in this blog anymore..so IMHO, this blog is suggesting that the stability is more important than winning trophy which is good and not good for football depend on our own perspectives. till then lets hope arsenal wins against blackpool by a large margin goal scoring..say 5-1 :p

  61. I have formed my opinion of the blog world as “Make your point in a few sentences or write a piece so we can comment on it.” The point is my attention span is very limited so make your point and be done with it! Tony is not adverse to publishing good sound articles relavent to Arsenal…. But, as a constant reader and supporter of this site I would appreciate short, concise, and powerful points in agreement with this blog’s guidelines.

  62. Finsbury- Ivan Gazidis is the Arsenal CEO but he isn’t what Arsenal is. Neither is Arsene Wenger. Though i love and respect Arsene Wenger, he isn’t the what Arsenal is. Gazidis and Wenger are temporary. But Arsenal is forever. Infact, we have been fans of Arsenal for a longer time than both Wenger and Gazidis. Thats why we have to first support the club and then the persons associated. And Gazidis is just an employee. His first task is to make profit for the Board of Directors. And a Fans first wish is that Arsenal should win the title. thats why we have different opinions. You will look at the profits that Gazidis is making for the club. But whats the use of such profits if its not utilised?? And now our Stadium debt is almost gone, so we dont have to be stringent anymore.

  63. this is the best article for all to all yhose who purpote to be arsenal supporters we chose this road and we will follow it till we achieve what we have been yearning 4.to those who cant support the club you can move on to other clubs man city has bought alot of big names what did they get against the spuds?

  64. I reckon if you don’t like the views of other Arsenal fans then you should jump ship and go support another team! 😉
    The above ridiculous statement is every bit as valid as the points you make in the article.
    The fans are what make Arsenal, not the board and not the manager.

  65. George and Farland Gooner – you make me sick. your support isnt needed or wanted you plastic, prawn sandwich w*kers

  66. Sometimes I get the impression that Arsenal had won the league every season until Wenger arrived. But I guess we didn’t. Chelsea didn’t either. I think some of their fans had been waiting for 50 years. So I could do with 5. Football’s changed and so have Arsenal. I’ll cherrish the feeling of once again being champions, one day. 🙂

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