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Wenger Must Go !

 

My dad was an Arsenal supporter – still is, at the tender age of 97. I say supporter, rather than fan, because he’s never lived near London, so opportunities to attend matches have been limited. His attachment to Arsenal began during the days of the great Herbert Chapman, just as many have been drawn to Arsenal during the days of the great Arsène Wenger.

In the 30s, we were simply the best team in the country, and because we didn’t acknowledge that football was played in any other country (except, perhaps, Scotland), we were considered here in England to be the best in the world.

So I was brought up as an Arsenal supporter. My first memory of Arsenal is of listening to the 1950 Cup Final on a large wooden radio, or wireless as we then called it. That’s how I enjoyed my first taste of Arsenal success. Arsenal 2 Liverpool 0.

Just as well, really. There were very few successes in the years to come. Very occasionally a league title. Or an FA Cup win. Long arid patches (18 years was the longest) not just without a trophy, but languishing half way down the table with little to play for except winning the match itself.

And as we began to realise that they did indeed play football in other countries, we also realised our place in Europe. Which was nowhere. While teams like Liverpool, ManU, Nottingham Forest and even Aston Villa were winning the European Cup, just twice in 25 years we managed to achieve success in competitions for Europe’s second rate – competitions we’d be embarrassed to be in these days.

And so things remained from the end of the Second World War until the mid nineties, the first fifty years of my life. I don’t remember anyone being too distressed by all of this. Of course, we moaned and cursed when we lost. From time to time we had some brilliant players. And even the occasional manager who was a cut above the rest (Whittaker, Mee, Graham) and whose star spluttered with the glow of brief success.

And then, in 1996, along came Wenger and our world changed.

I won’t rehearse in detail what’s been achieved since. In summary, a glittering period of league and cup wins, an unbeaten season, consistent qualification for a European tournament we’d rarely before been good enough to get into and the wherewithal to build and move into a stadium big enough to match our ambitions. All this followed by a period of retrenchment in which, astonishingly, we have remained financially stable while maintaining our place at Europe’s top table.

And, perhaps most tellingly, a complete overhaul of our expectations.

At last we had a manager with both a flair for immediate success and a long-term strategy for the future. Planning in sport is a dangerous game. The elements of luck and timing which poker players call “variance” can quickly derail a plan. The pattern becomes clear only over time and few clubs have had the luck and judgement to retain a true visionary for long enough to see the map unfurl.

All these reflections were brought to mind by the jubilant scenes which followed the Cup Final, Who knew in just how much affection Wenger is held by players and fans alike? A true antidote to the poison of the clamorous small-minded who have constantly belittled his achievements for the club.

When a decision taken in a match backfires, it’s perfectly reasonable to criticise the manager (though much more interesting to work out why the decision was taken in the first place). But could anyone be as successful a manager as Wenger if scarred with fundamental flaws like excessive stubbornness, unwillingness to spend, poor man-management, tactical naivety, incoherent transfer strategy and all the other frailties which are routinely cited against him?

It doesn’t need a deep understanding of probability to work out how unlikely all of that is. Those who peddle these humdrum banalities seem blind to the fact that they are simply parading their own vacuity.

Even harder to take is the hypocrisy of those who understand full well, but pursue these rancid arguments simply to sway the emotions of others they see as gullible. (Especially when these “opinion-formers” are driven by financial motives.) Or those who insidiously suggest – without a trace of evidence – that we can ignore his earlier successes because he is “past it”. Or those displays of wallowing self-regard which dare to propose that future success or failure will depend on whether he has learned to do it “their way”.

Well, everyone’s entitled to a wrong opinion (though few of us know what it’s like to hold one), especially when spiced with a little wit. Like Shankly’s one-liner about football being more important than life and death, it doesn’t have to be true to be entertaining. So we can (and should) tolerate a wide range of views. But many of the attacks – from snide sniping to absolute abuse – are neither witty nor wise, and step well over the limits of acceptability.

Too much to hope, of course, that the criticisms of the intellectually bereft will now be silenced. There’s money in mindless denigration. Which is why the outpouring of joy not just for the club but also for its manager during Cup Final weekend was so striking. Surely the bellyachers must have noticed.

So perhaps we can hope, fervently hope, that he remains at the helm long enough to achieve the one outstanding ambition for him and the club – the Champions League.

 

Wenger must go.

 

But not, please, for a very long time.

 

Today’s post was by Merlot

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100 comments on “Wenger Must Go !

  1. Good morning all you FA CUP CHAMPIONS !!!!!!!!!
    Feels like walking on clouds. I’m even playing better. with more heart and resilience. hahaha.

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  2. I think I agree with the view that if TV was to be lost this summer I would think keeping JOHAN becomes imperative. Who else for that third place if not him. He did well when given a chance and only made some errors when he was playing injured. He knows the setup well and he might want back. I still hope TOMAS makes the decision to stay and fight for his spot when the chance comes up. He will have plenty of opportunities to make his contribution count. I still think he is a natural box to box midfielder deep inside. That’s were he would be deadly. I see him perfectly fitting in front of KOSHER & SAKER. we tried him there a few times in the past. I hope we experiment with it some more. If he stays.

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  3. Good luck Lukasz, you deserve to be number 1 at a top flight club somewhere…..

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  4. the problem we have as fans is the affinity we have with the personalities of our players, for Arsene however he has the more difficult task of knowing the exact time to replace or ease a player out of the first team. Just glad its not me making the decision

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  5. I’ll miss him. Glad it was Swansea he went to. Wish him the best of luck. Now we are short one goalkeeper. Work starts.
    WE WONT FORGET YOU LUCKAS.

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  6. hugo lloris.. !!! hehehe…just to fuck levy off….and woijech…losing his spot to a totenham keeper …. courtois or woijech? who looks to you the serious keeper and who looks the joker?

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  7. Brilliant article, more please!!

    I think we all know, secretly many were hoping we’d lose the final in order to fit with their agenda. They claim to be supporters / fans!

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  8. listen to me …all our money on chile to win the world cup …isla vidal sachez and of course undurraga !!!!

    google!!!!

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  9. Much respect Merlot. What an excellent piece. Keep up the good work fellas.

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  10. Sorry to see Bacs go (and his mrs) shame to see the scum on twitter not questioning his loyalty but wishing him and his family ill fortune.
    I was hoping he would go to PSG but again it looks like city have nabbed him.
    Further confirmation, if they needed it, for the doomers who still don’t understand were still well down the pecking order when trying to recruit top draw players.

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  11. Great stuff Merlot. Just wish wenger would sign the thing….know he will at this stage but will feel better when he is signed up

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  12. A_or_B, I wish he would just get on with it already. If you’re going, go and stop with the teasing – 90%. 100%. Be honest, it’s about the money now, so just admit it. I’m also gutted to see Fab join the Swans. He will be a big loss to us and it’s not like he’s walking straight into the number 1 spot there, unless Michel Vorm is on his way out?

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  13. Mellow, Merlot, Mel, Mikel what’s a M between friends. Seriously though Merlot, makorokoto umlhope! Meaning congratulations and salutations, on a very fine piece. I am very impressed; uncluttered, clear, bold writing! Quite Arsenal actually.

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  14. @ passenal – I agree with you about Sagna, he made up his mind to leave ages ago. I was sad but fine with his decision. But now he straying into Gallas territory, i.e shouldn’t try and use the very reasonable contract offered by Arsenal as a tool to start a bidding war.

    Truth is we needed him only for a further 12 months before Jenks took his starting spot. He’s been playing through the pain barrier and out of his skin this ‘shop window – end of contract’ season’. I genuinely wish him the best, but he needs to pick wisely, he is a confidence player and needs encouragement.

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  15. I also wish Fabianski the best too, I have always defended and backed him. His main problem is that I don’t think he’s had more than 1 season where he’s remained fit to challenge for the no.1 spot. On injury history alone, it’s a risk for Swansea to rely on him.

    Like players like Toure, I will always give Fab a cheer even if he’s wearing different badge from hear on in. Being linked to John Ruddy or if the old rumour of Julio Cesar resurfaced, would not leave me angry at all.

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  16. …and finally – Wenger yeah, I love that guy!!!! When he does eventually leave, he should have a diamond studded gold statue….a bit like the MJ one at Fulham. Proper Class.

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  17. i have given my take on sagna in the past. and it hasnt changed. if he wants to go, no problem. but to castigate fans who feel let down by sagna for apparently choosing a rival club who stands for everything we stand against is what i dont understand.

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  18. as for replacement for sagna, and whether jenko is ready to step into his shoes. if what we want is to strenghting our position and be better than the just concluded season, then jenko stil have another season or two to get to own the right back. but if we want to take a step backword in order to take two forward in a couple of seasons, then jenko is it for me.

    what is this about juafran? if 29 year old guy who is just showing consistency in his position for the first season in his career is who we want to replace sagna who to me is the best and the most consistent right back to have played for arsenal with, and for a reported 9m, it will be better if we break the bank for sagna and meat what shitty are offering. or even giving jenko a pay rise immediately and ordering him that no winger must go past him ever.

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  19. just pay sagna his money.. ..ok maybe not 150pw but why can we not break 100 for him..he is worth it…..the club is wrong to treat him this way. 90k 2year take it or leave it…..its awful….we should not break the chemistry at the back and it will cost more to replace him with equal quality ( unless wenger feels jenkinson is cafu/alvez in disguise) plus he is so versatile he can play anywhere across the defence, is expereinced, runs up and down that line for The Arsenal, and is one-two clicks ahead for he has to accomodate for per’s lack of pace and difficulty in turning, he has been performing consistently well non stop europe epl fa cup every three days…WARRIOR!!! stuck with us in our nadir ..has contributed to the cause… just shut up and pay him…if you dont pay sagna, who you gonna pay? him and konscielny are worth every penny..every penny.

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  20. It would do the club no harm if, instead of supposedly ‘negotiating’ with players who have expressed a clear intention to move on, they made a final £ offer and stuck to it, a number of years on the contract and stuck to it, and set a date on which that final offer expired.

    For a player in their final contract April 1st seems the suitable date.

    What is it about the football business that requires several months of soap opera before a perfectly straightforward exit of one player and the recruitment of another ?

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  21. Remember when the Experts laid into the goalkeeping coaches / scouts etc. at AFC?
    Remember the groaning?

    Swansea fans are happy with Fabianski.
    Assuming he gets a run at some point three out of twenty of the starting ‘keepers in the PL next year will have strong links with the Arsenal coaching team.

    Mannone
    Szczęsny
    Fabianski

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  22. I am in the spam bin ???

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  23. Apparently not !

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  24. If a player in the last year of their contract hasn’t re-signed by the new year the odds are that they are off.
    The concern with Sagna going to City is that he sorts out their problems covering at CB.

    In recent times the maligned Gallas played well in his final season, no one who did not like him can argue against that, though they will attempt to do so. But shortly after he left the frequency of his injuries went up even further, he’d missed the end of his final two seasons at Arsenal. He had one or two decent games for his new club, some mid-table team, and then his form fell off the cliff. And he was on silly money. Our old friend Levy! Lauded to the rafters before his humilation last year by our own expert and shameless Groaners, Daniel has some form…
    I think our favourite RB has at the very least a season left in him, maybe more if he’s playing off the bench but I also can’t deny that he lost that half yard after those successive injuries. So, I don’t know.

    All the coaches need to do is to keep on playing those replays off Sagna’s famous header against 5pur2s to Jenkinson. He’ll be fine. Was Hull at Home Jenks’ first league game of the season? He assisted for Bendtner after about sixty seconds. What will happen with Bellerin? Will Flamini deputise at his age at RB if another CM is signed? There may be a new RB signed, unfortunately I have no idea what will happen. Sorry.
    Bendtner, who scored important goals this year but went into another meltdown when Sanogo was given the minutes ahead of him after his return from injury. That was ruthless, but Bendtner had been given an opportunity previously in a final for Arsenal and, well…Sanogo obviously looks coltish, that recently lost season and a half shows at the moment, injuries, and I personally prefer Akpom who isn’t recovering from such a set back and is definitely quick (heh, I’m definitely not an expert!) but being two years younger, we know the club are more protective of the kicking the kids receive these days, so I can’t groan (IBSF). Sanogo seems to enjoy bullying the opposition and only a blinkered idiot could deny Sanogo terrorised the Hull back line, like the idiot I had sat to my right during the cup final:

    @ 1-2: “Sanogo is a real incitement of Vengaaaaaargh’s transfer policy”

    Yes indeed: Walcott, Chamberlain, Wilshere, Gibbs….Ramsey, what an incitement! I mean, okay I can understand someone not being a fan of the player just yet, but to call him an inditement is pure gibberish. Don’t worry I made sure I reminded our fellow fan of the irony of his words, given that the winning goal in the cup final was scored by a player who rejected Ferguson’s Utd for the minutes and coaching that he’d receive at a young age at The Arsenal. You couldn’t make it up.

    The two coolest managers in the league won the trophies this season. Sagna if he ends up there in the Dubai protectorate will be another player that MP and AW have traded. Nasri, Clichy, Monreal, Carzola, I’ll count birthday boy Yaya for fun, the City accountants will still have to include Ade, hehe, maybe MP will be tempted into letting Aguero come to Arsenal on a special friendly discount?

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  25. This autocorrect rubbish is not Arsenal quality.
    Inditement > incitement.

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  26. maybe MP will be tempted into letting Aguero come to Arsenal on a special friendly discount?

    hahaha. cheers for that!

    on sagna though i dont agree. he is a robot and not some fat moron like gallas. sagna is fit like bruce lee..even if he only has two more seasons at the top level id pay him, he deserves it. not renewing pires vieira gilberto etc was understandable for we had other financial priorities then but today i can not accept jack wilshere or theo or ozil being on more money than sagna. no way. it is not ethical.

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  27. Sagna would kick Bruce Lee’s Arsenal!
    When Stan Lee first thought of Wolverine’s admantium skeleton he was inspired by Sagna.

    Problem is no matter what Arsenal offer Sagna if City want to they’ll almost double the offer. Aren’t City still paying a chunk of Adebayor’s wages? Doping is too gentle a word to describe what City have been up to.

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  28. i think if we offer him something decent and not that joke 2yr deal at 90k he will stay with us… if they dont want to give him 3years ok give him 110-120k for two plus a signing on bonus. he gave us security for 7 years at right back, its only fair we give him security after busting his guts/legs for us. i agree that my criteria are more to do with morals than sporting and financial reasons though…. fucking love sagna…

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  29. Good news…assuming it is correct…..Sky Sports news reporting Wenger has signed for 3 years. Yes, we knew it was coming but nice to get it in writing…but not yet on official site

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  30. 3 more years!

    suck it up, WOB’s.

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  31. I’m sure Arsene reads this blog, he waited till the ideal post to announce his current three year deal. At least there will be no talk of wo for three years!

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  32. wenger signing arsenal extention is no news to me. he said it long ago that he was going to be here next season. his word is good enough for me. but signing on for the next 3 years is a neck breaker for the end of an era proponents.
    let the work begin. not rebuilding but consolidation.

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  33. Here’s my tweet:
    Welt today, 30 May 2014 is a great day. Arsène Wenger has signed a contract extension for another 3 years. In Arsène I trust!

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  34. I wonder where Hunter is this afternoon ?

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  35. Here’s another tweet:

    If Bob Wilson suggests that we should “cherish” Arsène Wenger, then make no mistake, we should

    But then I don’t need to preach to the converted on here….

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  36. Hunter has to work sometime…..

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  37. hes in a darkened room with a photo of Sagna.

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  38. i own 4 replicas..not one of them has a name at the back…its about the team. tomorrow i will go to the armoury and print SAGNA as a sign of respect to the holy totem of arsenal right back position legendary historic ultragalactic hyper niZna…not henry not patrick ( my favourite ever player)…but SAGNA for his warrior spirit and fearlesss attitude and overthetop professionalism…because he never sulked, and he never ever caused the club any trouble……has honoured the club, wenger, the fans, the stadium, the grass he runs on and we cant pay him 10-20-30k extra a week? come on……. im getting miserable..i will go and drink whiskey…a bottle of blue johnie for bacary…..long live kimi raikonen …

    and yes i know full well that arsene can pull another sagna out his hat like he did 7 years ago….come ot hink of it ..anyoen remember that fucking squad ? 442 ,…arsenal – seville ( b2b europa league winners) …almunia/senderos/toure/eboue/clichy/cesc/flamini/hleb/rosicky/rvp/adebayor……..3-0!

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  39. test 1, 2, 3….alpha bravo fox sierra 713 …… respond !… mayday…mayday…..

    on cruches…the fearless mad dog …for pat! smiling!!!!…pay him!!!!!

    http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/pat-rice

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  40. hey gains !!!! ancelotti or mourinho ?

    Wenger.

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  41. Arsenal’s top flight pre-Wenger average finishing position: 7.8

    Arsenal’s top flight average finishing position in Wenger era: 2.7

    Yet some moronic idiots will tell us that………..

    Oh bloody hell, I can’t be bothered with the dimwits anymore.

    Nice stats and infographics here for you great positivistas:

    http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/20140528/table

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  42. 7.8 eh !

    Thank god I never knew

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  43. “3 more years!

    suck it up, WOB’s.”

    Best news I’ve heard all day!

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  44. anicoll5,

    You are not one of the dimwits now are you?

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  45. He isn’t Bootoomee, but he does a good impersonation from time to time.

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  46. Tomorrows post is very interesting.

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  47. PG,

    I usually reserve my snark for those that I disagree with but we can’t all be the same.

    I am looking forward to tomorrow’s post.

    P.S.
    I owe you an article and I’ll try to get one in very soon. Can you email me privately so that I can get your email address again? I can’t remember it anymore.

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  48. their mood at ‘end of an era dot com’ has been down since yesterday. has anybody died? is anyone missing? i’ll be there to ask them what might be wrong sometime today.

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