Dear Fellow Gunners
If in recent years you have associated yourself with the vigorous anti-Wenger brigade then yesterdays defeat by Liverpool will have reinforced your commitment to the cause that Wenger must leave Arsenal FC as soon as possible. I hasten to add this is not my view for reasons that appear below but if you were looking for ammunition to throw at Wenger then the 3-4 opening day home defeat by Liverpool provided it.
So let me run over the familiar arguments against Wenger that have been given new vigour by yesterday’s defeat – the lack of major signings, the apparent lack of preparation, the fact that four goals were conceded, the re-appearance of injuries to key players. These taken together show that “Wenger does not know what he is doing”. He is out of date. He has lost touch. He is living off past achievements. He is sitting on piles of unused money generated in part by high season ticket prices. He is cheating the fans. The time has come for him to go.
This view is held by a growing number – they are vociferous. They fill social media and the talk football radio shows. They are highlighted by the Press. They give the impression of being large in number. We are a Club Divided. Supporters are in conflict. The fan base is at war. We need change and we need it now. That is the refrain.
As to specifics we have failed to make big signings. We are a big Club. We are financially viable. We have the best facilities but at the helm we have a manager who refuses to act – who despite his protestations is not bringing the very top players to AFC. He is a fraud – a phoney – a man who deceives – a manager who cheats – someone who must leave.
Again I repeat this is not my view and there are many – less voluble – who share my view. We are substantial in number although no polls have been taken of across-the-board supporters to gauge the pro and anti-Wenger numbers but the media will not talk about Wenger’s followers – only his critics. Bad news sells. Good news doesn’t so why talk up the support he receives from me and you. The media only want “crisis” and “confrontation” and “fury”. And of course there are enough discontented fans to give the media what they want.
OK – so why am I not joining the anti-Wenger brigade. Am I like Wenger naive, out of touch, looking at AFC through rose colours spectacles? Why am I not saying three words Wenger out Now?
I do not believe he has “lost it”. His negotiating style may leave something to be desired but he will not just spend the money. Football is gripped by spiraling transfer fees and now more than ever is the time for good sense and good judgment and if it means going to the wire so be it. The season start date is almost three weeks before the transfer window closes. He will not be held to ransom – clubs know he has funds and he is clearly provoked by transfer fees proposed to him. Yes there is delay at a cost and the loss of three points on Sunday hurts. He has been unlucky with the centre backs with injuries to Mertesacker and Gabriel. It was enough that Koscielny was out of contention because – like Giroud and Ozil – he featured in the final matches of the Euros but once Gabriel was inured he was active looking for replacements. As regards a striker he has clearly been in negotiation with Lyon for Lacazette but again that has not happened. And I accept that the combination of no big signings and a 3-4 reverse v Liverpool leads some to say that Wenger is indecisive. I accept that a bad start can damage our prospects of winning the Premier title and I do hold to the view that last year represented our best chance to win it.
Thierry Henry is Thierry Henry. He is not my favourite man. I remember his cheating handball that knocked out Eire in the last minute. I remember his hands on hips when passes did not reach him in his final season. Thierry is not AFC through and through. Remove the scales from your eyes. Henry is now a pundit who satisfies his masters if he criticises the man who made him.
If you are anti-Wenger this is your moment. If you are pro-Wenger you keep to what you believe. You stand firm in the face of the torrent of criticism and abuse. Some friends have urged me to break ranks and dump Wenger. Not me. And this is not stubbornness. I respond to reason and those that want him out have not made the case.
Stand by your man.
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My name is Graham Perry and I have been a lifelong Arsenal supporter since 1952 when I saw the ten men in red shirts hold out heroically until the 84th minute at Wembley.
The Arsenal thing was confirmed by a meeting with Alex James during Easter 1953. As with most of us it is a family thing with my father always waxing eloquent about the Chapman years.
I am married with four children and five grandchildren. I have been a solicitor in a legal aid practice and have just stepped down after 13 years as an Immigration Judge.
Arsenal is in the blood. The goals and the excitement matter but so does the Community thing and sharing Arsenal with friends and family over so many years.
Want nothing more than to see Wenger hold aloft the Premier League Trophy again.