Anon, you're wrong - Wenger SHOULDN'T stay; it's time to go
This is a response to yesterday's post on YouWrite championing a job for life for the manager.
I think it's important to start off by saying that I once loved Arsène Wenger. I was still quite young when he came to Arsenal and no-one really knew who he was yet but he was a breath of fresh air.
Wenger modernised English football and brought something that set the foundations for the English Premier League to become what it is today. The first ten years of his time at Arsenal were immense. We played a brand of football I didn't think was possible here. At the time that style of football - flair, power, ambition - was, for me, for powerhouses like Madrid, Barcelona and the Milan clubs.
Playing that breathtaking football we won titles, doubles and went a whole season unbeaten - something I don't think will be achieved in this country again in my lifetime. This was the football that made Arsène a target for all the big clubs in Europe.
The following 5/6 years were arguably Arsène's best work. Arsenal wanted to build a brand new stadium (allegedly in order to compete with bigger better and richer clubs) and in order to do so Arsène was asked to sign a long-term contract - something many didn't know, until recently, was at the request of the people financing the move. During this time we had to sell some of our best players and ensure we ran at a profit. We even had to pay pretty average players more than they were worth just to get them to stay. It was an amazing feat that with a bunch of kids, and some let's be honest absolutely awful players some years, he managed to keep us in the top 4. However, he was compensated generously for doing so.
That was some time ago though.
Since 2011 (not 2013) Arsenal have had money to spend. In the 2011/12 season we spent £50m bringing in Per Mertesacker, Mikel Arteta, Gervinho, The Ox and others. The following year he brought in Santi, Poldi Nacho and Giroud. In fact, since 2011 we have spent over £260m (more than a quarter of a billion) on players. Money isn't the problem. The man choosing how we spend it is.
Arsène once had an eye for talent, especially for players on the continent. He also had a scouting network that was miles ahead of others. He cornered the market of the French pool of talent and dominated it for years even as other clubs started to wise up to the potential in France. Now sadly it seems he's lost that ability and every club has a good scouting network.
Every year he tells us this is his best team; that the team spirit and unity is the best he's ever had yet with alarming regularity our league position rarely changes and our seasons follow predominately the same pattern year after year. We don't ever actually compete for the Premier League title. We are always the nearly men.
We're also constantly told no-one was available better than the players we have already despite a mile long list of players that moved season after season who would have bettered us. At the same times we've seen players who don't really have any business being brought to a club like Arsenal in our first eleven and being rewarded with huge contracts they don't deserve.
The two FA Cup wins were great and we all thought they'd be a springboard to challenge for the two biggest trophies that have eluded us for so long. For the first time in a long time, we found something that we perhaps had forgotten existed. Hope.
Frustratingly they weren't a springboard at all. Arsenal has stagnated.
Fans have been rightly growing frustrated with Arsène over the last few seasons. There is a large proportion of fans now, not just inside the stadium but all over the world who think the time has come for change. Poor performances from players, poor tactics, lack of signings and a seemingly weak mentality in the squad all contribute to that. The divide amongst fans who want Arsène to stay and those who want him to go has reached boiling point.
Both the banner wavers and Arsène's die hard following are equally as guilty of abusing, spitting and attacking the other because of their opposing views on the manager. It's gone too far. It needs to stop.
Ivan Gazidis once said that when a manager loses the backing of the fans it's game over. Well our manager has lost the backing of a huge number of our fans. Some people claim that the protest at Norwich only saw a couple of thousand people holding up A4 sheets of paper and this proves the majority still back Arsène Wenger. This isn't the case. Scrawl through Twitter and Facebook or speak to people on the streets and you'll see many many thousands unhappy with the manager but for various reasons (they respect the manager, they don't want to protest during the game etc) they chose not to protest.
The anonymous writer of yesterday's blog said that Arsène is building a legacy yet many believe he is actually destroying it. Arsenal were famed for beautiful, fast flowing football even if it didn't bring silverware but that is a distant memory. For over 3 seasons we've seen the standard of football on display drop like a stone in a pond. We see glimpses of it a few games a season but that only serves to annoy fans even more.
Why can't we play that beautiful football we were once famed for consistently? Why are we routinely out thought, out fought and out played by inferior teams and allegedly inferior managers every season without fail? The playing staff have changed. The back room staff have changed. We've upgraded the training facilities. We've brought in a few world class players. So why are the same failings not rectified year after year? What is the common denominator?
Yes, we have had it bad with injuries but we always do, so why is that never thought about? It happens every season without fail, so why hasn't that been mitigated? Mismanagement? Neglect? Undeserved belief in average squad players? Through all the changes we've seen over the past 10 years at our great club there has been one constant. Arsène Wenger.
For all the excuses he's given, all of the injuries, the poor refereeing decisions, the lack of quality signings available, he has been the only constant. The man we all once loved has too much power. He runs Arsenal and ultimately he is responsible for a large proportion of its failures. That's why many feel it's time for change. We need a manager who hasn't been surpassed by younger, more capable managers with a much better eye for what is necessary to win the big trophies in the modern era of the Premier League. A manager capable of change
Abuse of Arsène Wenger is uncalled for unwarranted and doesn't give Arsène the respect he deserves but I fully support people's decision to voice their displeasure for change not just at management level but board and ownership level too. I respect some people's loyalty to Arsène but for others it's purely the fear of the unknown or fear of uncertainty as we have seen happen with other clubs but there comes a time for everyone to move on. It's that time for Arsène. It's that time for Arsenal.
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