When the hit piece comes out on the fans, you have to fight back. John Cross is a very successful journalist who I’ve spoken to on many occasions over the years as well as contributing to his articles back in the day.
I understand his predicament. Everyone needs to make a living. Everyone needs to do things they don’t want to do. The bigger picture for him is access. He needs to make a living and dropping a book about Wenger helps him do that. You have to play the game if you want people to write the foreword in your hardback. So look, I get it. We’re all adults here.
However, you need to call a spade a spade. The article he programmed yesterday was penned by the club and is based on nothing more substantive than the PR dreams of Mark Gonnella who has been working harder than ever over the past few months to soften the blow of an inevitable 2 year extension for the failing Arsene Wenger.
The piece is badly executed if you ask me, and that’s because John is an Arsenal fan and in my opinion, he doesn’t believe the hackneyed points he’s making.
Here is a little extract of the ‘TOP BRASS ARE BAFFLED’ piece.
Wenger’s bosses in the Gunners ‘ heirarchy are privately mystified by the mood of discontent as they genuinely believe the fans have never had it so good at the Emirates.
Arsenal are third in the Premier League [with the same points as the team in second place], into the fifth round of the FA Cup [where they face a non-League side next] and have once again progressed to the last 16 of the Champions League.
They have two world-class players to enjoy in Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, while sitting in one of the best stadiums in Europe.
The two Manchester clubs, City and United, hired superstar managers in Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho last summer and they are both are below the Gunners in the table.
The top brass are not baffled. Maybe Ken Friar, maybe Sir Chips, the guys who only give a rats arse about their elite pensions, but ultimately have no say over the club and seem to have little interest outside keeping their privileges going.
Ivan Gazidis? No way. He knows what a shit show Wenger is. The commercial department? Look at how flat their performance is, mostly because Wenger can’t deliver the success that’ll move the club off the bottom numbing plateau they’re sat on. Marketing, please. Advertising a team that can’t win? Nightmare. The backroom team? Who are you kidding? You think they like working under a failed dictatorship? No way. Why do you think Arteta moved to City despite having an offer from Arsene?
The article finishes on a seriously flat point.
And that’s the frustration among Wenger and the board is that if you look at the bigger, overall picture, then the club is in good shape.
And if they were to make a managerial change, then who can guarantee the grass will be greener?
What does that even mean? I mean seriously. From an intellectual standpoint, where are we heading with that? Stick with someone you know can’t deliver, rather than take a chance? Are we saying that unless you can guarantee success, you should stick with a regressive manager? Who said Arsenal fans are only game for a move if there are guarantees? If anything, I think fans would be game for something exciting, even if it came with a risk (Wenger back in the day).
The whole piece has clearly been requested from Arsenal.com and that gives me comfort. Why? Because the club know Wenger is dead as a manager. They know the fans are going to be incredibly depressed if he signs on. They’re pulling as many strings as possible to convince you, the stupid ingrate fan, that Wenger represents progress.
Don’t fall for it.
The second part of the Daily Mirror attack, a paper that ran a shocking advertising campaign around differentiating themselves with ‘#madeuthink’, a line (hashtag) baffling because they use text type to convince you they’re raising the bar, and it reminds of Peter Griffin saying, ‘proud of you.’
‘Hey guys, Katie Price punched her new bae’
‘What? Who cares?’
‘Damn, you guys zinged me there. Wow. So much appreciation serotonin going off right now’
It also insinuates that before the rebrand, the paper was going out of its way not to make you think? Like guys, where’s the fucking bar here? Surely making people think is a given, can’t we be more ambitious in what we’re trying to achieve with our editorial?
Anyway, they dropped this article about Wenger considering his future because of ‘abuse.’
The Frenchman has even told friends he does not want to stay at a club he’s manager since 1996 unless he feels wanted and appreciated.
Some of the personal flak directed at him during matches from fed-up and disaffected fans has clearly got to him, no matter what he says in public.
Ultimately, it appears the ball is now firmly in Wenger’s court over the new contract and he has said publicly he could leave it as late as April to make a decision.
While the 67-year-old is still expected to stay on, there is a genuine fear he could go at the end of his current £8million-a-year contract.
Firstly, the use of the word abuse is now part of the defence gag reflex of apologists when Wenger goes off the rails.
‘Yeah sure, maybe Wenger didn’t have a good day. But it’s the abuse I can’t handle. Shakes me to the bone’
Please. YoshiKatzima1987939 from Bumbleshite said Wenger should eat cat poo. Big deal. Let’s all start getting super serious about Twitter morons and that ‘right nawty fella’ in block 19 who shouted something blue at the dugout after 17 beers and snort of poppers.
Abuse is wrong, but this is Arsenal, not Millwall after an all you can drink Jumping Jacks special.
If you really can’t take critique Arsene, because that’s what it is, please leave.
This slimey campaign built to impact the fans doesn’t even fall into the category of, ‘well, you gotta give it to the PR team, this is wonderful.’
It’s cynical, it’s transparent and it’s aimed at dividing the fanbase further.
Arsene Wenger isn’t considering his future. He is staying, he just needs to hear the fans sing his name to make him sign on. Don’t do it. No one deserves an £8m a year contract for being average. No one deserves to have their personal fiefdom celebrated. No one should be rewarded with gold because they’re the longest serving.
Wenger doesn’t work by the same rules as you or me. He’s built a squad of players who bow down to him because he offers the most money, he’s cultivated a relationship with the owner that puts him beyond reproach / the normal performance metrics other managers are held accountable to and his retirement fund is built on me and you, spunking out our cash at the expense of progress.
Fu*k his feelings. If he were an intellect capable of self-awareness, maybe he’d address why the most placid fans in the world are occasionally grumbling after the game. Maybe he should exercise a bit of introspection about the reason people find his football uninteresting and predictable. Maybe he should look at why the fans, who love him so dearly, are totally bored of him and want him to move on.
I’ll always love Arsene. He brought me so much pride. Introduced me to a football I’ll never forget, opened my mind to a way of enjoying the game in a way I never thought possible, he helped us all dream big and taught me about loyalty to a cause that has served me so well in my own working career.
But it’s time to go. It’s time to stop pretending. It’s time to realise the fans aren’t being mean, they’re being kind. Tap out. Call it a day. Let the fresh blood come in.
I’d take a new project with an bad outcome if it meant the club moved forward. I can’t sit here and celebrate stasis anymore. Arsenal deserve more. The fans deserve better. The club will be stronger for the foundation Wenger set, but we need a new architect to take us to the Promised Land.
See you in the comments.
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