If Wenger is the Impressario then The United Performance has left the paying public wanting more

#JustwhoisVictorthompson – ACCOUNTABILITY? 2nd in a series taken from Victor’s comments

This gem was left after a blog by Zwi ‘Where’s the buck stop? last week



I appreciate your dissertation on the relationship between the manager, the club and the press. The most difficult matter to explain is the role of the fans and the issue of accountability.

Some fans are shareholders but most are not. However, shareholders are usually only concerned with how their shares are doing. They do not imbue the company whose shares they have bought, with any of the emotional connection they have to their chosen football club. The fan turns up and pays his ticket to see his team perform. The price of the ticket is not his only contribution. The players feel obligated to perform in order to earn their wages but also to reward the fans for their support. In turn the supporters expect that their return will not be a dividend on their share, but rather a response from the team.

Arsenal`s tickets are the dearest in the world but the fans willingly pay the price for them. The price of their ticket does not buy them an automatic guarantee that their team will be the best but it does certainly entitle them to an expectation that their team will compete with the elite clubs in the game. They do not expect their team to be beaten regularly by teams like Dinamo Zagreb, Olympiacos, Monaco etc.

Fans not shareholders

Fans not shareholders

Arsene Wenger is responsible (probably more than any other manager with the exception of Alex Ferguson) for the team delivering results. Occasionally, as it against United, the team shows a tantalising glimpse of what his teams can do. It was like watching the finest ballet, opera or any other spectacle of art. A game of football was transformed into a glimpse of aesthetic excellence, Pavarotti at his best. Something seared into your memory so that in years to come you will remember that for that opening 20 minutes, probably no team on earth would have lived with them.

Aesthetic Brilliance

Aesthetic Brilliance

That is the fantasy of football coming alive. Unfortunately, after watching such a performance, it is a monumental exercise to convince yourself that this is the same club whose teams regularly get beaten by artisans like Chelsea, Stoke or  Bolton  (under Alardyce). Unfortunately, Arsene lets the baton drop from time to time and the orchestra plays out of tune, or not at all.

The fans pay to see the orchestra and when there is clearly something wrong and some of all sections are out of tune who should be blamed?  Who pulls the strings? Is the conductor accountable to the theatre? No! The fans paid to see a performance and if they do not get their monies worth they are entitled to show their disappointment. At that moment, the conductor is only accountable to the audience, not the theatre owners or the shareholders if it is a company who owns the theatre.

If Arsene has a philosophy of how his teams are expected to play and that philosophy was epitomised in last Sunday’s performance then in the words of the old adage “leave them wanting more”. That is what the fans will expect. They have seen what this team can do, they will expect more of the same and that will be Wenger`s job to see that they do. He is accountable to the fans. They will not expect to see a repeat of the Ospina/ Cech fiasco.

Victor Thompson

Read Victor’s introduction to Gunners Town here

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