Big week over at Le Grove HQ. Did I take it too far? Maybe. Did I speak the truth as I see it? Absolutely. I’ll never apologise for that.
Then I read Ian Wright saying Wenger looked like he’d tapped out.
“He didn’t say to me: ‘I’m leaving at the end of the season’ but … I just get the impression in him and looking at him that’s it. I think that’s it. He actually mentioned when we were talking that he’s coming to the end. I’ve never heard him say that.
“He looked winded, like someone has whopped him in the stomach. Do I feel he will go at the end of the season? I think he will. The players have let him down badly. If he does leave at the end of the season, there will be a lot of changes.
“They should have a long, hard look at themselves. He has been so faithful to his team. It has been misplaced.”
I mean, I feel bad when I read it like that, but look, this has been a damn long time coming if it’s real and not yet more spin that’ll lead to chants of ‘one Arsene Wenger’ tomorrow.
I also felt bad for going too far with the critique of John Cross. He’s a Gooner who has to do things he doesn’t want to because he’s a journo. I understand that. Sometimes I have to market products I don’t want to. That’s life. I just find it all a bit depressing because fans fall for his press releases. I’m sorry for taking it too far, but not in a way that shows weakness.
However, I do not apologise for calling him out on his latte comments (because they aren’t even hipster or elite. Try calling the fans Raindrop Cake eating mugs or Kale snorters if you want to be mean), nor do I apologise for attacking his ‘the board are baffled’ comments. You know that was a nonsense and so do all the fans who read your work religiously.
I’ll never apologise for the narrative. I’m right. I know the game. I work across sport, media and advertising. I know how bloggers, tweeters, explayers and journos are paid off with access and nice things.
However, it’s pretty clear this is about Stan and Arsene. That’s the powerplay we can’t control. Our manager is one of the greatest, no doubt. I love him like you all do. I just can’t stand his reluctance to end the regime and duck out. I can’t stand that Stan just can’t quit Arsene.
I remember Wenger once telling a story about when he was a player. He asked the owner of Strasbourg to tell him when the game was up. When it was, at 33, the owner told him. Wenger said he was thankful for that.
All I’m doing is telling Wenger the game is up. It is. I feel for him, because he’s like an old boxer being asked to retire the gloves. I don’t feel for him on a pragmatic level, because it’s over. I won’t apologise for calling him out as a dated dinosaur because he is. I just wish he’d duck out on his own terms, rather than wait for the fans to run him out… because that’s the way it’s going. I don’t want anyone to be sad, but come on, this is real life, he’ll leave the job with £100m more than me and you.
Wenger is done. Accept it. It’s the circle of life. It’s the Steve Jobs speech about death and renewal. It is not a moment to worry about. Allegri can map the future. Simeone can do the same. Sarri of Napoli, Sampaoli of Sevilla, Tuchel of Dortmund and the sublime Jardim of Monaco are all there ready if the Juve man says no.
Future success is NOT guaranteed. No one asked for it to be. But it will be brighter. Give me 5 years with 5 managers over 5 predictably bland ones with Wenger at the helm. Progress will be bumpy, but as long as it’s smart, aggressive and pointing to a north star we can all get excited about, I’ll be happy.
I love Arsenal. I want to see us fulfil our potential. I’m desperate for the next chapter.
Anyway, it’s that time of the week where you SHUT UP AND SUPPORT THE LADS.
Before I go. The fans were on my back about the Wenger / Spurs comment. I don’t know where the original view came from that Wenger didn’t compare Arsenal fans with Spurs fans, but I can imagine. My point here is simple. When you are the coach of Arsenal, you do not compare our fans to Spurs fans. You do not ever put yourself in a position where that can happen.
Wenger did that, in my view, on purpose, because it shifted the narrative. I’ve watched the video, I’ve read the press… it’s clear he said it. Comments like this ALWAYS happen when he’s under pressure and we always blame translation.
‘No Pedro, if you listen to the way he exhales on the 3rd syllable, it’s clear he was referencing a metaphorical bible quotation using breathy tones’
Wenger is 67. He speaks 235 languages. He is very fluent. His words are never a mistake. I refuse to believe his Spurs comments were an accident. He knew what he was doing. If you think I’m wrong, he’s worked his magic.
We face Hull City who are proving that silly foreigners from unknown leagues can roll over with their stinking philosophies and make diamonds out of steaming turds. Marco Silva has turned Hull around, he has them playing smart football and he has them racking up points. An unbelievable effort so far and one that has me on worry tenterhooks.
Arsenal on the other hand are in freefall. Back to back losses for the first time since 2012. A manager who now looks like he’s losing the will to live. A fan base on the verge of revolt.
So what’s going to happen? Will Wenger hit up a 4-3-3? Will he revert to type. Will he drop world class Cech for world class Ospina?
Who knows. But we need a reaction. We’re playing for pride and we’re playing for a CL place. Doesn’t that make you feel warm inside?
Front three for me are Welbz, Sanchez and Perez. Midfield of Elneney, Ozil and Chambo. Then the back 4 pick themselves.
Here’s hoping for 3 points. Here’s hoping Wenger’s negative body language doesn’t filter onto an already demoralised team.
SEE YOU ON THE OTHER SIDE!