Get Rid of Wenger?
What has he done for the club anyway?
So that’s it 2010/11, another frustrating season of failure draws to an end without a single piece of silverware to place on the increasingly dusty shelf that has remained empty for six years. The debacle that ended their Carling cup aspirations was like a blow to the ribs, Champions league defeat against Barcelona was a right hook, departure from the FA cup at the hands of Manchester United was an uppercut while the late headed goal at Bolton Wanderers was like being hit by a haymaker. Now dangling on the ropes, the Gunners require an unlikely knockout to have any chance of winning the league or their opponents need to trip over their own feet, fall out the ring and accidentally KO themselves.
And it’s all Arsene Wenger’s fault. That useless, good-for-nothing loser who refuses to pander to the fans desires to get rid of all those evolving youngsters and get on with splashing millions of pounds on real players who are going to win stuff. Let’s face it, what has he actually done for the club anyway? OK, he won a couple of doubles, took the club to the Champions League final, made them alongside Barcelona one of the most attractive teams in the World to watch, instigated the modernisation of an old creaking football institution alongside the move to a state-of-the-art stadium consistently filled to the rafters. So what if revenue has increased several-fold and the club are ahead of schedule in paying off the Bank loan for the stadium development. Who cares that he has developed a glut of outstanding young players to secure the clubs future, maintained an ever-presence in the Champions league and graced English football with players like Thierry Henry, Patrick Viera, Robert Pires, Robin Van Persie, Cesc Fabregas, Sami Nasri, Jack Wilshere etc…etc… But other than that, what else as he done?
Surely it's time to get rid of him in the midst of his masterplan and get err, well, you know someone else. It is tedious mixing with the likes of Man U, Barcelona and Real Madrid? Why not enjoy the virtues of regular Champions league non-qualification success like Everton and Aston Villa or once in a blue moon achievements like Spurs, Liverpool and all the other successful teams over the last couple of decades. Yeah! To hell with this having no trophies scenario. It’s boring just simply being amongst the few elite clubs. Surely it is time to spend and bust their way to trophy success as we all know how that brings instant returns - doesn't it?
Short-term thinking, that’s the way forward. Scrap the youth development policy, stop the sustainable business model rubbish and let the club spend, spend, spend their way to success. Just because Man U, Barcelona and Real Madrid are historically massive clubs and Chelsea and Man City are backed by billions of pounds is no excuse for not paying grossly unrealistic prices for potentially good players in a market falsely inflated by the elite few. That shouldn’t make any difference? A few hundred million Euros debt is completely acceptable in these times. Just look at the achievements of our financial institutions not to mention whole countries like Greece, Portugal, Ireland and Iceland. It didn’t do them any harm did it?
Yep! Bye-Bye Arsene Wenger, hello gum-chewing, track-suited, gold-clad wide boy. A £100M spending spree should do it. A Rory Dellap-type long throw specialist supported by some hoof-the-ball-forward midfielders, spearheaded by good old-fashioned up-and-at-em centre forwards is what Arsenal fans really want. Throw in a touch of booing and crude chants and it would be just like the good old days. At least mid-table anonymity in front of an half empty stadium would make any achievement feel like a trophy…
A bit of perspective I suggest may be needed here in the tedious face of media sensationalism. At one point in the season, in pursuit of 4 trophies, Wenger's team were playing every 3 days. In being handed draws against Barcelona and Manchester United in the midst of that period, they could not have been presented more difficult obstacles when a bit of luck was needed. The gleefulness expressed by TV commentators in watching Arsenal battle to cope with Barca's sensational football revealed much about their desire to spin as much negativity around Wenger's charges with one pundit even suggesting Tottenham's win against a prehistoric AC Milan outfit was superior to Arsenal's victory against the best team on the planet - que? They seemed similarly satisfied as Man U again squeezed the life out of the them to gain victory in the FA cup.
If one considers Barcelona's demolition of Real Madrid on their own turf in the Champions League 1st leg tie, Arsenal's home victory and eventual 4-3 aggregate defeat after Van Persie's ridiculous sending off alongside Bendtner's late miss presents a truer appreciation of where they stand amongst the elite. Man U's continued efficient performances in the Premiership and victory over Chelsea in the Champions league also adds further perspective to Arsenal's perceived weakness in failing to overcome them. As Wenger has stated to the often deaf ears of press and media, the club has no given right to win trophies and if his team have tried their best and lose out to some one better, then so be it.
While he may invest in a couple of experienced players next season, I do not anticipate a major spending spree as Wenger will once again point to returning players and a production line of young stars between the ages of 18-20 now knocking on the first team door. Thomas Vermaelen's unexpected near season long absence has been a tremendous loss defensively and an obstacle to Wenger spending large sums of money to add a further player he would need to accommodate on Vermaelen's return. Without doubt the young Djourou and Koscielny are talented players that will benefit from his presence next season. After his World Cup exploits, Van Persie has played only 16 league games to-date scoring nearly as many goals. Certainly a full season from him will make a significant difference. Chamakh will be a year wiser and the younger players a season older, buoyed by the return of Aaron Ramsey.
The powerful youngster Emmanuel Frimpong who spent much of his development as Jack Wilshere's midfield partner was destined for the first team squad this season before getting injured. He will be available next term plus a host of his and Wilshere's former youth League and cup double winning colleagues will be returning from loan spells around the country, many of them English. Henri Lansbury (Norwich), Jay Emmanuel-Thomas (Cardiff), Kyle Bartley (Rangers), Conor Henderson and ignasi Miquel, all six-footers, certainly posses the required physicality and have bright futures ahead of them. Additionally, several other talented young stars from across the globe are currently gaining valuable first team experience at clubs in Europe and may become available.
Does this sound like a club in a terrible downward spiral destined to eternal failure? Can there be any justification for Wenger's removal. I suggest that all Arsenal detractors might just have to keep dreaming because Mr Wenger is certainly going nowhere and despite the failure of only achieving likely Champions League qualification, his long term outlook of developing youngsters and prudent spending looks set to continue.
As Spurs again embark on an end of season scrap to gain fourth spot, Harry Redknappexpressed how difficult it was to break into the top four and that is despite significant player investment and numerous managerial changes over the last few years culminating in his own appointment. Arsene Wenger has managed this achievement consistently via his increasingly maligned youth development policy and relatively minimal outlay. Surely he is doing something right...