Statistics may say Wenger IN – adrenalin definitely says Wenger OUT


The two comments currently  on Hami`s ( Guest Writer) very readable and well constructed argument in Gunners Town illustrate the nature of the divide between the Arsenal fans.

I am an “Arsene Out” person but I admire the way Hamir and people like Graham Perry present their contrary opinions. I am also in awe of people like Alex The Tsar Gunner who are able to produce statistics to illustrate and validate their arguments. Marble Halls and Dave Seager are able to produce contrary statistics or interpretations from the same statistics.

Where does that leave the rest of us? I am not a statistics supporter and I cannot motivate myself to delve into the sources where they are found. Football was never an inspiration for me to do that kind of exploration. I played amateur football with some success and I watched it wherever I could. My first love and only one became Arsenal and I have loyally followed them since 1958. In our games, my emotions were carried for 90 minutes on a Helter Skelter of ups and downs during those 90 minutes. My reactions were adjusted by the passage of time. It went from tears when I was a child to drinks afterwards when we lost as I became an adult and to ecstacy when we won. I looked forward to my regular dose of adrenalin at the week ends. Other than that, I did not change. Outside of Arsenal, like most of us in 1958, we watched the best teams in the world on black and white TV`s. Real Madrid were like gods when we saw them or read about them, but Arsenal were the greatest team in England as far as I was concerned.

Was there a better gladiator in an Arsenal shirt?

Was there a better gladiator in an Arsenal shirt?

Black and white TV was overtaken and I watched England in colour in 1966 when they won the world cup. What Joy. I am not English as I was born in Northern Ireland but, we had George Best, the best player in the world for consolation. Over here, England was our surrogate team. Somewhere in the midst of all these occasions, there has been a feeling of love for Arsenal which cannot be analysed in statistics. We all read contributions sent in by fans who still worship George Armstrong who was never mooted as a world class player, but was there ever a better gladiator in an Arsenal shirt? The sublime Rocky who floated over the pitch whilst delivering bone shattering tackles at times. In modern times, Bergkamp, Henry, Pirez, Viera, Petit, Adams etc. I could go on, the list is endless. All of the teams which featured such as these, filled us with pride that they played for our team, and joy when they won. When Wenger arrived, the football he inspired had never been seen before and it was a fact that when one of our games was on Sky, the percentage of neutral viewers was highest. I know that that is a statistic I have mentioned but it is a fact which is not open to debate as the ones used by those gentlemen mentioned above are.

I admit that I cannot present my argument that Wenger should go by pointing towards statistics. Instead, I ask myself; when was the last time that I have looked forward to the incoming season in the hope that we will win the Premiership? Regrettably it has been at least 10 years 9 given the optimism following the Invincibles. Instead, I have had to gradually accept the Mantra presented by Wenger that we are challenging the big teams for the title, but top 4 will be a success. I have watched us go out in the first knock-out stages every year bar one in the Championship and I have endured the agony, with others, of watching us humiliated by defeats of anything ranging from 6 to 8 goals by the top teams.

Signing these two was supposed to be a signal of intent

Signing these two was supposed to be a signal of intent

That is where my argument against statisticians ends. The best statistics in the world would not excite me. If the games which produced them were such that I could recall them afterwards, when the adrenalin had subsided, so that I could, recall it all again, then I would be excited and proud. Instead, for the past three years we have been fed a diet of false promises, mainly from Wenger and we have seen our position as favourites to win the Premiership in at least 3 of the last 5 Januarys to collapse and now find ourselves out of the top 4 and out of the championship. That is two years after we were told that the purchases of Ozil and Sanchez was confirmation of the management, that there was a desire by Kroenke and the Board to compete for the top honours. “Marble Halls” has produced a persuasive article which clearly sets out his reason for continuing to support Wenger and I agree that we should now support the team. I have not changed my mind that Arsene should go. A  man being paid £7million ( now (£8m) as CEO of any other commercial enterprise, with his record over the last 10 years would have been sacked.

We are now in a position that an effort is being made to spend money and improve the team. That effort was unfortunately coloured by the usual red herrings e.g. that we were ready to spend £100m plus on Mbappe! However we are where we are and there is only two more years on Wenger`s present contract. We all need to bond together and support the team we have because there is going to be no change to the Status Quo and we want Lacazzette and Co. to be encouraged and supported to provide of their best. We will need our players to be at the top of their game this season.

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2 Responses to Statistics may say Wenger IN – adrenalin definitely says Wenger OUT

  1. Insideright July 17, 2017 at 5:31 pm #

    Being ruled by adrenalin is exactly why fans (and I’m one almost as old as Victor) should be let nowhere near running football clubs. Adrenalin seems to blind people to the fact that there are other clubs spending even larger sums thanks to someone else’s money. It’s called ‘living the dream’ and it’s been the ruin of more than one club which we used to regard as real rivals.
    Important business decisions should always be justified by statistics whether they are as detailed as Victor shies away from or merely dressed up as Wenger’s ‘record over the last ten years’ which Victor passes off without analysis or context.
    I would contend that none of the successful teams(under any manager) that we have watched over the past half century has been fashioned from relatively big expenditure and that Arsenal have wasted less money than any other major team in achieving what they have achieved. The return on investment (which, don’t forget, involves giving money to rivals) is second to none.
    Lastly I can’t take seriously anyone who wants Wenger to go who doesn’t come up with a cast iron certain replacement. While the upside benefit of change is so much smaller than the downside risk it’s a no-brainer that Wenger stays. My faith goes on unabated.

  2. Victor Thompson July 18, 2017 at 4:31 pm #

    Thank you Insideright, I appreciate your contribution. I fear that you have missed the main point of my article. I am not an accountant or a bean counter, nor have I professed to be either of those things.Your`e right, I do shy away from statistics and I did not go into any statistical analysis of Wenger`s last years. With respect you appear to be the direct opposite of me and I do not say that with any intention of disparaging you.

    The last 10 years have been self evidentially poor and I do not go into a long list of examples of his weaknesses. I have done that consistently in my articles and I produced examples of his failures and where they originated from. For the purposes of the above article, I dwelt simply on the fact that I have been a supporter for nearly sixty years without ever having produced a set of facts which would get me excited or set my adrenaline rising, and I readily concede that those attributes do not make me a manager. There is no urgent need to expel me from The Emirates just to ensure that this fan does not become manager of this club. I find such a notion bizarre.

    I applaud your loyalty to Arsenal and even to Wenger. My son shares those traits. Nevertheless, from the perception of a fan ( which obviously you are ) tell me honestly if Ivan Gazidis came through the door with a set of figures which showed that we are eminently sound financially or with a signed contract for Lionel Messi, which of those two items would set your heart pounding?

    I appreciate that Messi is at the extreme of the spectrum but even Ronaldo or Aguero, I wager it would not be the accounts which would “rock your boat”. I`m afraid that the picture you conjure up of Scrooge Wenger. poring over the accounts to ensure that we do not take a chance now and then to go for a star player is depressing. It is well settled that players of the calibre of Messi, Ronaldo etc. pay for themselves in almost their first season in copyrights on merchandise with their names or images which are printed and sold to millions of fans all over the world.

    Players of that stature attract more fans, and I am aware that fans are not that important as far as revenue is concerned, but they also increase the image of the club and the persona of its players. What the right manager has to do in those circumstances is mould them to play in his vision of the game and how they need to perform. At the beginning of last year, many pundits said that Arsenal had the best strength in depth in the Championship, yet once again we underperformed.

    I did not need a table of statistics to tell me we underperformed. I just had to look at results like W.Brom, Watford, again and Crystal Palace or Bayern Munich once again. etc. etc. to tell me that.

    One highlight of our year was the destruction of Chelsea in the FA cup and I readily admit that that performance had my adrenaline going alright. I do take comfort in knowing that Arsenal are once again economically sound. We hear that every year and if I were to put all those years in one bundle and tell myself we have been economically sound for 20 years, I would not jump up and down. That cup final gave me more joy than all of them put together.

    For the price of a ticket a fan is not a shareholder or a member of the board. He accepts that. He has no right to insist that the manager`s tactics need to be changed, nor has he any influence on the purchases of players. No, for his ticket he expects to wear the colours of the club and share the ups and downs with kindred spirits around him. At half time if we are winning he is celebrating with the rest of the fans, but if we are losing and badly. he does not want to see Gazidis coming out and telling “us our accounts are sound, have no fear”.

    If the team comes out and still shows no spirit for the fight, than the fan is entitled to show his displeasure. Unfortunately those times have been so regular and so repetitive that the fan believes that he is not getting a fair deal. Don`t try to say “If you don`t like it, go somewhere else”. LIke me and many others, it is not an option. Arsenal is my club even though I have no legal claim to own a square cm. of it. Nevertheless It would be like leaving home. I can`t do it.

    How do I put that into a statistic?

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