As the pressure continues to mount on Arsene Wenger after yet another frustrating season that even the Frenchman admitted to being his toughest season in his 15 year reign in charge of the Gunners, there have emerged two camps of Arsenal fans.
This set of Arsenal fans has opposing views about Wenger’s 6 trophyless seasons at the helm of London’s most prestigious club. One group believes that Arsene Wenger has done the best he could under the stringent financial situation while the other group believes the French holder of a Bachelors Degree in Economics and a Masters in Electrical Engineering has dug his own and Arsenal’s grave by constistently refusing to spend on proven players and his stubbornness in sticking to his footballing philosophy that has not served him well (Wenger believes a team is created and not bought and that you can only play soccer in its purest form).
The first camp of the Gunners faithfuls worships Wenger’s methods and what the Frenchman stands for. They idolise his ideologies and believe he is the best for the job. These are the same fans who, as the Gunners’ season faded away painfully, kept attending the matches and cheering their team on. It’s the same fans who through all the pain kept on carrying banners boldly proclaiming ‘IN ARSENE WE TRUST’ and ‘KEEP THE FAITH’ at the Emirates. These are the fans who believe the Gunners’ move away from Highbury everest to the Emirates depleted the club’s resources meaning the club had to adjust its spending to avoid going down the same path that Leeds and Portsmouth went. And it’s easy to see their point. No other manager could have taken Arsenal through this period without either bankrupting the club or leading it to relegation.
Wenger has consistently guided the North London outfit to successive Champions League Football while also ensuring that the Gunners challenge for the title each season. All this has been achieved on a meagre budget as compared to his rivals. You can’t imagine Alex Ferguson, Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola, Harry Redknapp or Kenny Daglish managing such a feat. And to top it up all, he has ensured Arsenal continued churning out top academy products and attracting top players. Considering all this, it’s absurd to criticize the 59-year-old.
The second group of Arsenal fans consists of bitter fans who believe its all Wenger’s fault that Arsenal haven’t won anything. They point out his transfer policy and call for his sacking. They are the same fans who leave the stadium at half-time as Bolton extinguish our title hopes. They believe that Wenger’s decisions and his buying of unproven talents and converting them into world class players is the main hindrance to Arsenal’s ambitions. They are the same ones who called for his neck when he signed Thomas Vermaelen (a virtually unknown player). And to them, they would rather win with route-one football than play attractive soccer. They see Wenger as an old dog who has lost all the tricks… he’s gone senile… his time is up… he’s past his sell by date.
Unfortunately this group has found vocal support from some former Arsenal players whose careers Wenger helped to rejuvenate. Paul Merson, Ian Wright and even the legendary Mr. Arsenal, Tony Adams think that ‘le prof’ has lost the plot. And they have provided the media with enough vitriol to attack Wenger and the Arsenal and unbelievably the Arsenal board havent been strong in their support for Wenger.
Will the true Arsenal fans please stand up!
Which group do you belong to?