Spare Me The Sentimentality: It Was Way Past Time For Wenger To Leave

April 20 Free At Last

Friday 20th April 2018 will be remembered as one of those “where were you when you heard” days. For Arsenal supporters at least. I’m of course referring to the announcement that this season will be the last campaign of Arsene Wenger’s managerial reign at the club. My phone rang and it was a fellow Arsenal supporting work colleague. All he said was “he’s going” and I responded by asking “who is?”. Not for a split second did it occur to me that his next two words would be “Arsene Wenger”.

After initially believing that he was winding me up, I have no shame in admitting in that once confirmation of the news had been received via the internet, I let out a cheer that drew the attention of my colleagues in the office. I’ve wanted him gone for seven years and my wish had finally come true. I suddenly felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders and that the dark cloud that had been hovering above the club for several years, had started to disperse. My optimism and excitement had returned.

Like all Arsenal supporters, my phone and social media accounts went in to melt down following the news and there hasn’t been a single person, who knows me on a personal level, that I’ve encountered since, who hasn’t mentioned it to me. Although most have said that there has been no need for me to say a word as the smile on my face, has said it all. However, Arsenal supporters can be a funny bunch and typically, many of the people who have been criticising Wenger and calling him all sorts of derogatory names for months, if not years, are now mourning him as if he’s died and demanding that he’s given respect.

In my opinion, these supporters need to get a grip of reality because not even Arsene’s biggest supporters are actually saddened by the departure of the manager of today. Their sadness is based on his longevity and on the manager he was over a decade ago. I know this, because aside from sentiment, not one of Arsene’s fan club has been able to offer a reasoned footballing argument as to why he should remain as our manager, for several years now. It’s the end of an era and there is bound to be a strange feeling about the club once he’s finally gone but it’s a change that needed to happen and we have got to start looking forwards.

Your Time Is Up

Past your prime

He was a great manager and revolutionised not only the club but English football on a whole. I’m aware that some may disagree but I certainly consider Arsene to be the best manager the club has had during my lifetime. I’ve never attempted to diminish his achievements at the club and I’ll always have admiration for them too but the key word is that he ‘was’ a great manager. Quite simply, I don’t believe he is a great one anymore. I’ve made it public knowledge for years that I’ve wanted him gone, since 2011 in fact, so now that he’s going, I’m not going to pretend I’m upset by it. If you live by the sword, you die by it after all.

There is a concern about the board making the right appointment as his successor but I’ll give the new man, whoever it may be, a chance and my full support. To start with at least. Provided that I can see that progress is being made and that he’s taking the club in the right direction, forward, he will retain my support. I’m not fearful of change and I’m excited about the next chapter in the story of Arsenal Football Club. That said, I wish Arsene Wenger both health and happiness for the future but I believe this is the right decision for all involved.

I’ve lost count of the number of times that I’ve read or heard the words ” I hope we win the Europa League for Arsene” in the days that have followed the announcement about his future. Hang on a minute but how about winning it for the club and the fans? Whilst I’d like him to go out on a high, we are the ones who give up our time and spend our money following the club all over the country and abroad. Besides, we’ve had to endure some abysmal performances and spineless defeats over the years and this season has been no exception.

The players have done far too much talking, particularly apologising, of late. The Europa League gives them the opportunity to finally do it on the pitch and prove these aren’t just empty words. Au revoir Arsene…..

11 Responses to Spare Me The Sentimentality: It Was Way Past Time For Wenger To Leave

  1. Lars Albæk April 26, 2018 at 1:34 pm #

    Thanks a lot for this piece. This is exactly how I feel so no more words needed. However I will not like to see Arteta as our new boss, but maybe I will have to accept.

  2. Kobie Fourie April 26, 2018 at 3:05 pm #

    I will be polite and say nothing to you. Also for your great insight in context.

  3. Tarquin April 26, 2018 at 3:49 pm #

    Wenger, despite his undoubted success has presided over some of the most embarrassing results that Arsenal have ever had. For all the great buys, there has also been many duffers signed by him.
    He over indulged injury prone players and his knowledge of goalkeepers and defenders were akin to a footballing Pygmy. What purpose Steve Bould has served is another mystery; all he seems to do at Wenger’s bequest is call the subs down the touch line to get ready to come on. This is from one of Arsenal’s greatest ever defenders, hand braked by Wenger’s incompetence. As this blog says, Wenger’s demise is not before time and for such an intelligent man he should have done the right thing and resigned years ago. His failure and selfishness has caused us to lose out on both Gardiola and Koop. Thank heavens he’ll soon say ‘Adieu.’

  4. Spectrum April 26, 2018 at 4:02 pm #

    Well said Nick Birch. Yes, it’s celebration time ! The parasite that has sucked the life energy out of our club has been sacked. Should have happened long ago, of course. I can go one better than you, Nick – I wanted Wenger out EIGHT years ago ! And I share your sentiments about all this sickening adulation he’s receiving. Anyone would think he’s saved the world. It’s way over the top. On balance he’s had more mediocre and poor years with us ( 12 ) than good ones ( 10 ) so on that basis alone you’re right in saying he’s not a great manager anymore. In fact, he’s bought embarassment and humiliation to our club frequently. His poor decision making, tactical ineptitude,outdated training methods, refusal to learn from his mistakes and correct them, his stubborn arrogant attitude towards us the supporters, and a host of other flaws – mean we could and should have won much more than a few low prestige F.A. Cups.

    Great managers win the Champions League. Wenger hasn’t got past the last 16 for seven seasons in a row. We had a miserable campaign last year and our worst one ever this year. We’ve been on a downward slide for a long time, yet our pathetic board renewed his contract not once, but twice ! Rewarding failure makes us a laughing stock. As you said there are no footballing reasons with which to defend Wenger’s tenure. He’s built up a bizarre cult-like following based purely on credit for what he did 14 years ago. Now the spell is broken and the A.K.B. Wenger worshipers’ fears have come true. How will they cope without him ? Well they’ll HAVE TO now, won’t they ? These enemies of progress will have to change their outlook.,

    A new manager brings hope for better things, where we had NO HOPE before. Our club needs a good shake up, and I’m positive about next season. That’s something I’ve not experienced for so long.

  5. James Parkins April 26, 2018 at 4:04 pm #

    Kobie, I hope you will refrain from committing suicide in the aftermath of your beloved make believe God Le Frauds departure. He’s right, people should have more respect for themselves and want to win it for their own satisfaction than for a stale old Frenchman who only cares about himself.

  6. Victor Thompson April 26, 2018 at 6:57 pm #

    Nick, I`m with you in regard to Arsene`s status in the past and as he is now, but I part company in your “Hard Brexit” approach to his leaving. In the end, it was fan power that unseated him. The empty seats were the last straw for Kroenke and his son and along with Gazidis, they finally had the balls to tell Wenger it was time to go.

    I have reiterated every criticism that you have made in this article, but there are some things which Wenger said that I agree with. Arsenal is a great club and at the time that he joined, he was no doubt heavily influenced by David Dein who was Arsenal to the bone. To Wenger it was a perfect fit for a club which was widely known as the club who did things `the Arsenal Way`and his vision of what the perfect club should project itself. In his way of playing football, and how he conducted himself, we were deservedly known as `The Guards` of the top division.

    By 2004, we were indisputably the best of the best, but then his way of doing things became outdated. We were still highly respected, but not feared so much and better teams have dislodged us from even the top 4.

    His magic touch of being able to find golden nuggets in the transfer market failed him and he clearly doubted his own convictions because often he made no signings at all or he made panic buys. We have fallen inexorably downwards for 14 years and we have morphed from being a team of velvet skills which carried a lethal touch, to one of sideways and backwards football played at pedestrian speed. That, sadly is the Arsenal he leaves behind. Compare that to the one which George Graham left to him, and it is clear that our next manager has a much harder task than he had of restoring our past glories.

    This is not the time for mourning Arsene. That was at least 10 years ago. It was not his fault that his employer didn`t have the guts to have a serious talk with him. Kroenke was happy with the money he generated and Wenger was satisfied to finish in the top 4. Many of our fans shared that view, but those of us who wanted Arsenal to be among the elite clubs in England and world wide as well, were vociferous in our dissatisfaction.

    We were ignored and many of us could have moved to another club taking our support and money with us, but of course, as Gooners we did not have that option. We stayed where our heart was while Wenger confirmed that he did not listen to the opinion of fans. He still even now, insists that it was a small minority of the fans who managed to influence the club ( Kroenke ) to fire him. Well Nick, I have never heard of any leader of countries or Companies who has been brought down by a minority unless the minority had military power.

    We did not have weapons, but we had the injustice of paying Rolls Royce prices to watch Ford Fiestas try to win a Grand Prix. Enough was enough and the empty seats on TV were what effectively brought him down. It is done, and there is no more reason to continue to humiliate him or abuse him. Remember his reference to `The Arsenal Way`. I don`t think that further criticism is warranted and to let him go with no respect, is not `The Arsenal Way` as I know it.

    We face a huge task to overcome Simeone`s team but there is no reason now why we cannot unite at this time and cheer The Gunners to the rafters. It would be nice to see a defiant Grandee of the game, leave with a European trophy and a passport into the Championship which we occupied for 19 years.

  7. Fred April 27, 2018 at 1:09 am #

    Well I find I’m agreeing with you just one question how many kiwi and lime ciders did you down before you wrote this?

    • Fred April 27, 2018 at 1:10 am #

      Guess who sweetie

  8. James Parkins April 27, 2018 at 2:29 am #

    Shame fan power didn’t unseat Le Fraud years ago Victor. Bloke is talked about like he’s another Ferguson but compare their cv’s

  9. Victor Thompson May 1, 2018 at 11:32 am #

    James, Arsene suffered the `death of a hundred cuts` when it should have been short and decisive. Kroenke was responsible for that.

  10. Alex Field May 5, 2018 at 7:58 am #

    Good riddance to the bloody old goat imho he should have been put out to graze long ago the old duffer

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