It is not often I am moved to write a blog, I tend to just tweet my thoughts on all things Arsenal. However I’ve been having a few chats with my dad (a supporter of nigh on 60 years and the person I blame wholeheartedly for afflicting me with the Arsenal bug), and we’ve been discussing why Wenger just doesn’t give it up, for his own sanity if for no other reason.
I have a theory, which is probably wrong and in no way can be proven. It is also likely to draw out the more aggressive faction of the WOB contingent (the ones that wish harm on the ‘senile old fool’), and I am fully prepared for the ‘women shouldn’t talk about football’ mob to start on me.
Before I get to the ‘theory’ (it is not so much a theory as a musing actually), I want to go over a few reasons why Wenger stays in the opinion of various groups of fans.
Some say it is for his ego and/or the money. They firmly believe he thinks he has ‘become’ Arsenal and his word is and should be law. He doesn’t believe he should be questioned & from the outside it certainly looks like he isn’t – neither the owner nor the CEO seem to challenge him, and have come out with some odd comments about him over the years & how they allow him full control (what an odd way to conduct business affairs but that’s another story).
Wenger earns in excess of £8m per year (more now?) and even in our darkest moments, sacking him never seems to be on the cards. Why is that? Other managers have gone for less (LvG won the FA Cup and was still shown the door by MUFC) so why isn’t Arsène asked to leave? Are Kroenke, Gazidis & Co so frightened of this man or life without him, they refuse to contemplate it? Therefore, Arsène stays in a cushy job and picks up his pay cheque.
Except stress wise, it is not comfortable. No manager is as scrutinised as much as Arsène Wenger. The media and some fans live to rip him to shreds – I am not saying he does not deserve it on many occasions, but he is rich enough and could earn more in television where he would be welcomed with open arms. Therefore, I do not believe it is the money. Most that meet him say what a lovely, charming and down to earth man he is, so the ego thing does not quite sit well with me either. Having met him many times, I can confirm he is polite, well-spoken, makes time for you (he waited with one of those smiles whilst I fiddled with my camera like a div) and his hair is every bit as full and healthy as it looks on camera. Moreover, he smells like a god…but I digress.
The excruciatingly irritating AKB faction seem to think he’s got it all in hand and these are just blips on the way to realising his ultimate footballing philosophy without any kind of adaptation and if we just hang on long enough we’ll win the PL, CL and everything else in between. Now anyone that follows me knows that I adore the man (as a man) and I will always stand for him against those that wish death and illness on him, or call him disgraceful names.
However, I am not a blind disciple and I can clearly see that he is not getting the most out of some players and not adapting the game plan dependent on the team we are facing. You can fully understand why fans trot out the overused ‘insanity is repeating the same thing…’ quote that they think Einstein said because they saw it on a meme and want to sound educated.
So no, I do not believe it is all in hand & we just have to sit and wait. If Mr Wenger believes this, he needs to open his eyes.
Wenger is frightened of what his life’s purpose will be after he retires and the board et al are frightened of what life will look like post Arsène.
This is the one that holds the most credibility for me. From some of the things I hear Arsène say on occasion, he definitely needs to be involved in football for the rest of his life, that’s a given. However, he is frightened to take the plunge and do something new, and this is not fair on Arsenal. The owner and board might worry about what we’ll be like when he’s gone as we know (and we need to acknowledge this) that Wenger is a huge crowd pleaser overall, to fans, sponsors & TV. Arsenal being the worldwide brand it is in large part due to him, so there may be concerns that we will not be what we once were. But come on, we are not Blackpool! We are a sustainable brand now, with millions of fans around the globe and we will continue to be that after he goes. Liverpool have not ever won the modern day PL, yet they are still the second biggest club in England. I am reminded of a quote from Tony Robbins – “Change is inevitable. Progress is optional”. We need both.
So my musing was this: does Arsène stay because he is worried what Kroenke & co will do to Arsenal when he is gone? Are we lucky he has so much power because if he didn’t, and we just had some average manager without the influence and brand power, would the board just walk all over them and never sanction big money transfers? Alternatively, maybe this is the final bit of romance left in me talking – about the man that came to my club when I was 16 and has given me so much.
I believe that Arsène loves Arsenal, I truly do, which is what put this thought in my head. As I said, this is likely off the mark and unfortunately, I do not think we will ever know the full story. Maybe if we are lucky after he does eventually retire he will write a book and I suspect even those that say they hate him (what is wrong with you by the way?) will be lining up to read that one.
Whatever the truth, and as much as I have enjoyed much of what he has given me as a fan over the years (as recently as 27th May 2017), I do think it’s time for fresh managerial blood. I will never talk about him the way some do, even though the vitriol says more about the person saying it than their target, which they should remember. Despite wanting change, I am worried about what’s to come, as something is rotten in the state of Arsenal and that is not squarely on Wenger’s shoulders.
I have no faith in the owner or board; they do not care about the club other than its viability as a successful business. However, I do, this club is my love, my home and my heart and I just want us to be the best we can be. Up the Arsenal. Always.
Just the ramblings of a frustrated Gooner, like everyone else on Twitter!
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