(Editor’s Note: This post was written before the 5-1 loss to FC Bayern in the Champions League last night)
Arsène Wenger’s reign is coming to an end, his departure in the summer looking increasingly realistic, and speculations suggest he won’t “move upstairs” but simply leave the Club and either retire or continue his career elsewhere.
Many of you might find the news exquisite, I personally panic at the idea because, as I repeated several times, I’m not necessarily against a change of manager but I’m really scared by the hole left by his potential departure.
Before you all celebrate the departure of “the last dictator in football”, as he’s been sweetly called a few times already, have you considered that we’re currently losing the last football-educated man at the Club?
Arsène Wenger surely has a lot of flaws but he’s among the most knowledgeable people in world football and is a fine connoisseur of coaches, players and tactics (yes, tactics!), exactly what our directors are not.We have a board composed of lawyers, bankers, realtors and any sort of businessmen, none of which possesses an ounce of Arsène Wenger’s knowledge – the closest match being Ivan Gazidis, who was once branded a promising young footballer, during his school years in Manchester.
There are plenty of excellent managers and coaches out there, many of whom could improve our results greatly, but who – within our white collars – will make the call?
Who will make the decision of appointing the man who will replace Arsène Wenger and lead us through a new golden era?
Who will avoid the spectacular fall that happened at Manchester United once Sir Alex retired?
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Don’t forget that those men who are supposed to bring the right manager at the Club are the same who have been branded as incompetent (at best) for having renewed Arsène Wenger’s contract a few times too many!
Don’t you see the irony of it?
You expect those useless, money-grabbers, top-four settlers to finally give you what they denied for almost a decade and finally set the Club free after years of sufferance and dictatorship.
The same people who systematically defended Arsène Wenger from any kind of criticism and supported his frugal attitude, should now guide us to glory?
Would you trust Stan Kroenke and his son Josh, given how Colorado Rapids (Major League Soccer), Denver Nuggets (NBA), Los Angeles Rams (NFL) and Colorado Avalanche (NHL) are faring in their respective sports and leagues?
As a refresher, the Rapids failed to qualify for the playoffs in six of the ten seasons since the Kroenke took over the Club and the owners forced a change of the Club’s colours to burgundy-blue and designing a brand new crest “to align with other KSE’s teams”; Avalanche hockey team has a similar record, they started with a bang and then failed to qualify for the playoffs in seven of the past eleven seasons (post NHL lock-out). Guess who changed the Club colours and crest? Yes, you got it.
Denver Nuggets are struggling in the NBA, too, going three consecutive seasons without playoffs and only reaching the conference finals once since KSE took over – but at least didn’t have to stick to the burgundy-blue colour scheme.
Finally, Los Angeles Rams are still without playoff qualification since the Kroenke’s took over and have moved from St. Louis to Los Angeles, which didn’t please the fans, of course.
I don’t trust the Kroenkes as I don’t trust Ivan Gazidis, while Sir Chips Keswick and especially Ken Friar aren’t getting any younger.
Now that we cannot rely on David Dein’s special talent and vision, who is going to guide the Club?
When the vituperated, ridiculed, obsolete Arsène Wenger walks, it will be an eye-opener for many Arsenal fans, who will suddenly realize that the Frenchman wasn’t a problem, the owners are.
Arsène Wenger might be stubborn, antiquated, naïve or whatever you want but he’s a football man, a fierce competitor, a manager whose drive, dedication and passion have never faded since he took the reins; his figure, once unanimously adored and recently bitterly divisive, kept us fans focussed on his choices, his faults, his qualities, his mistakes and hid the downfall silently happening upstairs, where football has been evicted from the board of directors and business finally took over.
Arsène Wenger could possibly be the last piece of football still attached to the Arsenal, these days, as supporters haven’t been part of the scheme for some time already; I might go a bit over the top here and be excessively pessimistic but I feel we are one step away from completing the transformation from a Football Club into a corporation.
Those fans who are protesting against the manager and those who fight the protesters should unite, instead, and fight for the Arsenal to keep being a Football Club.
Thirty-something Italian, currently in Switzerland. Gooner since mid-ninties, when the Gunners defeated my hometown team, in Copenhagen. Twelve years ago I started my own blog (www.clockenditalia.com) after after some experiences with Italian websites and football magazines. Debate, don’t insult or you’re out.