There’s a smell in the air, and I think it’s change. Journalists deeply entrenched in all things Arsenal are raising little white flags all over the internet, leading many of us to assume the curtain is coming down on the great man’s long career in the blue and red zipper jacket of The Arsenal.
I don’t want to jump the gun here, because there’s every chance at 9am Wenger will come out swinging, but something feels very different this time.
Wenger is a sensitive man. He can feel the pressure of the fans who don’t sing his name anymore. He can hear the upset andoverspills of passion. He’ll understand the aggressive tone in the questioning he’s been facing. He will read the negative press. I’d also imagine a man of his intelligence knows that he no longer has what it takes to cut it at the highest level.
Bayern Munich wasn’t just a lesson, it was a decapitation for the crime of accepting the status quo. It was one of the most brutal spankings I can remember over the last few years, and look, we’ve all seen a few. Carlo Ancelotti showed how it was done. He pulled Wenger’s trousers down and whipped his legs with a bamboo cane in front of all his friends.
The ashen-faced Wenger in the post-match press conference had nothing. All the excuses he’s hidden behind over the past decade were exposed as mouldy red herring. He had the transfer budget, he had the wage bill, he had the stadium ticking over and he had a clean run of not losing any of his best players. Yet he still came up short. Exactly what many of us had predicted through the money doping years.
08 the same as 10, the same as 13, the same as 16 the same as last night.
The story is that many of his close aides don’t think he’ll carry on. Apparently, there were heated exchanges in the dressing room after the game, some calling it a revolt. The worst thing about this particular schooling are the videos flying around after of players walking as Bayern pressed on, stomping their feet like they’re school children and shouting at teammates instead of tracking runs. The players are done with Wenger, they saw the noose tightening around his neck and they dropped a performance they knew would hoist him so his toes barely touched the ground.
It’s strange. Everything I’ve been pushing for over the last 9 years looks like it could be coming to a head. Do I feel pleased? Absolutely not. As I always said, I’d love to have been proven wrong. Wenger loves Arsenal as much as I do and you do. If anything, he loves the club too much. He doesn’t deserve to be ducking out under a cloud. He deserves the most beautiful send-off. Open top bus, hundreds of thousands singing his name, a guest appearance from Justin Bieber with Mr Eboue in a tigers outfit singing happy birthday. He should have it all for his incredible service to Arsenal.
However, we have some monster games coming up which based on current form could very well see us put out of the top 4. A prediction I feared at the start of the year. He can’t let that happen, he needs to control the story. He has the chance to switch up the narrative. Don’t make desperate fans wait to know the deal. Don’t selfishly sit on a decision that could impact next season. Do the right thing. Call a press conference, announce it’s over and graciously allow the club to move on.
That achieves three things. Firstly, it brings the fans back onside. If they know he’s going, they have the chance to say goodbye. Secondly, it puts the onus back on the players. They can’t not play for him, because the fans will destroy them. Thirdly, it allows the club to hire a manager early and let the succession take place at a good pace.
Fans need to be positive about what the club can do. Don’t listen to the fear brigade, who have for years pretended this debacle wasn’t going on, now play the ‘I’m the rational voice’ card. Do not allow them to convince you that the club hasn’t given a thought to Wenger going.
There’s no way that’s the case, it’s a stupid thought and I’ve been reliably informed it’s a nonsense concocted by people who haven’t been paying attention. Ivan Gazidis has access to some of the finest footballing minds in the world. There is no way a guy in his position hasn’t been thinking this over for at least 3-4 years. Secondly, understand that the new manager will likely take over a club outside the top 4 without a major trophy in 13 years. That is perfect. The exact thing anyone wants. No pressure, low expectations and a sandbox to play in. No CL is pretty much the perfect kickstarter for a new manager these days.
Of course there are going to be teething problems. There would be at any club. Of course it’s going to be difficult teaching a team that receives zero instruction how to think critically and do things properly. But look, nothing is going to be more painful than being stocking filler in the Champions League. Nothing is going to more embarrassing than watching a man 10 years past his sell by date lose out to Leicester. Nothing is going to be as bland as 2 years under a man who has been failing for 10.
Also worth noting that the club had never moved to a 60,000 seater stadium before The Emirates and got the job done on time and on budget, despite many naysayers saying it wasn’t possible. They ended up delivering one of the smartest moves in football construction history right in the mix of the most cataclysmic recession of all time. Not just that, the stadium became the second most profitable in the world and the club also worked out a way to become property moguls. Did anyone see that coming? No. I didn’t think so.
I reckon they can pick out a decent manager with £8m in hand. I reckon they can look at what the smart clubs do and copy it. I reckon they’ve been laying the groundwork for a better Arsenal for many years.
They’ll clear out the old school deadwood coaches. Priromac, Banfield, Peyton and Colbert will be gone. I reckon they’ll attack our f*cking awful scouting network. I reckon they’ll upgrade all the bits Wenger has been controlling with his iron fist. They might bring in a DoF of sorts who can help set the vision for the club and manage the bullshit politics. I hope they retire the board who sit there hoovering up money for their silence. They should replace them with a blend of business and football smarts.
I really don’t think it’s as complicated as certain sections of the media, who have zero business experience, make out. It’ll be a shock to the system, but there are people out there sending rockets to space and curing disease. This is not a real world problem. Put the challenge in perspective.
So just remember, change is a good thing. This freshener is long overdue. The club will not only survive, it will thrive. It might not bring success right away. It might not bring it the season after. But rest assured, we’ll scale heights like you’ve never seen before and it’s going to be a truly exciting rollercoaster ride of promise.
One thing we must be sure never to forget, Arsene Wenger helped make this all a possibility. For that, I’ll always be grateful.
See you in the comments.
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