It wasn’t a good week for Arsene Wenger and everyone linked to Arsenal. The annual edition of the club’s implosion peaked the day after Valentines as they were torn apart by German champions, Bayern Munich.
The defeat effectively put an end to what started as a promising season, but fizzled out owing to many things including injury to key players, the most prominent being Santi Cazorla and possibly now, Laurent Koscielny. Typically, Arsenal’s defeat and the derailment of yet another season (in February, no less) has led to more calls by the fans for Arsene Wenger to quit. Fans are frustrated by the repeated failures and have lost faith in his ability to deliver success. To be fair, Arsenal’s recent record in both the Champions League and Premier League makes the frustration and anger of the fans understandable. But what’s not understandable is where they channel that anger.
It is not unusual to see calls from the fans, and even neutrals, for Wenger to save himself some face and do the honorable thing by walking out of the club. There is almost a general consensus that the decision to end the relationship is that of Wenger to make, and I find that amusing.
For all their grievances, it is hard to rationalize the demand for a man to leave a plum job that he clearly loves. Apart from the obvious bias Wenger has for Arsenal, no thanks to 21 years of service, his utterances in interviews over the years has shown that he still cannot imagine a life, his especially, without football.
“No matter what happens, I will manage next season, whether it’s here or somewhere else. That’s absolutely for sure.” he told journalists the day after the collapse in Munich, reiterating the claim he made way back in 2009.
Clearly, if the security of Wenger’s job is tied to his own self-evaluation and judgement, he will choose to stay for a couple more years. Whether you agree or not, he thinks he deserves another shot after every round of failure. And that’s hardly far-fetched given every man’s eternal trust in his abilities. So, with Wenger holding on, how about we turn our attention to those who actually have the power to put an end to Wenger’s reign but often choose to look the other way? Yes, step forward Stan Kroenke, Chips Keswick and Ivan Gazidis.
The way I see it, the demand for Wenger to make the decision is an admittance and most regrettably, a tolerance of these guys’ impotence and irresponsibility. If the club is going south — as everyone claim it is — do they not have a greater responsibility to save it? To paraphrase a famous idiom, as they are the pipers, why don’t they dictate the tune?
After years of service to the club, the board might be biased against sacking the legendary manager who has underseen the club’s evolution in the modern-day era of football. But elsewhere in London, Chelsea owner Roman Abrahamovich has shown repeatedly that all of that should never come before the club’s interest. Abramovich has sacked Jose Mourinho, the man who’s responsible for 75% of Chelsea’s league titles, not once but twice.
The idea that the reluctance to fire him is out of respect (even if he’s insulted after every defeat) and reverence is false and a silly excuse for the spineless board. Should Wenger fail to make top four or even worse, flirt with relegation in a season, will this dithering still continue?
It is misplaced anger and a complete waste of time to continuously yell at Wenger to walk away from Arsenal. He is optimistic about his approach and genuinely gives his all at every corner. If that however isn’t enough, he should be put out of his misery.
Wenger didn’t get Arsenal’s job in 1996 simply because he wanted to. There was an interview, negotiations, contract agreement and an executive decision. He shouldn’t also be allowed to stay simply because he wants to either, there has to be an executive decision. The way to get Wenger out is not by fans’ protest, the board will have to fire him.
Article written by ‘Shina Peter, follow him on Twitter – @Shina_Pitta