Am I an Arsene Wenger Loyalist Rubbed the Wrong Way? No. I'm just another Arsenal fan pouring my heart out!
Arsene Wenger – A name synonymous with Arsenal football club, one of the cornerstones of English football. What he has done to transform Arsenal from what this club was and what it stands for today is incredible. No wonder he’s the most successful, longest serving and perhaps, the most loved manager Arsenal has ever had. Wenger’s persona identifies itself with a common man, his character hardly questionable and his knowledge of the beautiful game peerless. With an inquisitive mind and an eye for mesmerizing talent, Wenger is without a shadow of a doubt, among the best managers the world has seen in the last two decades. Here is a look at some of his achievements with the Gunners, some of which is etched in the memory of every goon, anywhere on the globe.
1997-98: In his second season in charge of Arsenal, the Gunners won the double, having been crowned the Premier League champions and also winning the FA Cup.
2001-02: After strengthening his squad with some shrewd signings, Wenger’s Arsenal went on to win the double yet again by bringing home the Premier League and the FA Cup.
2003-04: Arsenal created history by winning the Premier League without a single loss, the first top-flight side to do so after Preston in 1888-89.
2005-06: For the first time in history, Arsenal reached the Champions league final, losing narrowly to Barcelona.
Looking back, as an Arsenal fan I feel proud of who I am and that I always will be. We’ve been fortunate to experience moments which will last with us for life. Unfortunately though, times change. Arsenal football club too is bound by this fact and things changed for the worse as time went by…
Arsenal have failed to win anything post their 2005 FA cup triumph and with Wenger being chintzy in the transfer market, having failed to read warnings and general stubbornness to stand by his principles inspite of facing an exodus of sorts, problems aggravated. Questions arose. A faction of impatient Arsenal fans started getting restless while most others vehemently backed Wenger and I was no exception. As time went by, with it a couple more seasons which ended empty handed. Frustration grew, now even some of the more optimistic fans started feeling the pinch. I stood by Wenger for who he was and what he had done for Arsenal. Another season went by, same old story. More number of Gunners fans started getting restless. I didn’t budge. Then came the 2010-11 season…
After a good start as usual, Arsenal were in pole position to win the Premier League crown and were very much in the hunt in 3 other competitions namely, the Champions League, the FA Cup and the Carling Cup. What transpired after 27th February is something no Goon would want to think about. After Arsenal’s shock loss against Birmingham City in the Carling cup final on the 27th day of February in 2011, Arsenal’s inexplicable slump in form meant they were out of the other 2 competitions, namely the FA cup and the Carling cup in a matter of a single month. Arsenal faithful were dumbfounded. What was to follow was even worse. Arsenal were still looking to find respite by pushing the title challenge till the end but their dismal form continued and eventually they bowed out of the title race with several games to spare. A horrific end to a promising start and ‘there we go again…’ I, like most other Gunners wished for the season to end and with it the torture, having little idea about what more was coming my way.
The execrable season came to a close. I heaved a sigh of relief. I could hear the chorus of ‘WENGER OUT’ loud and clear. Even the most optimistic Arsenal fans were now questioning Wenger’s youth policy. All the frustration of anticipating Wenger’s ‘team of the future’ for 6 long years was coming to the fore. I could hear my friends who support other clubs (notably Spurs) mocking Wenger and his policies. I could see how the experts were castigating Arsene Wenger, someone whom I thought was unquestionable and preeminent. I chose to ignore my thoughts which were raging with madness and agony. All of that was set to explode with what was to follow in the summer transfer window…
Three of Arsenal’s premier players on the verge of walking away from the impediment, disgruntlement, chagrin and irritation they had to go through in their time with Arsenal and Arsenal are linked to non-entities as replacements. So Mr. Wenger… read what follows very carefully…
To see 3 of our key members depart at the same time is a massive concern and needs to be noted without looking any other way. First and foremost, I would not go to the extent of calling for Wenger’s head yet. FFS we have a lot of time left for the window to close and I think we need to control our emotions a bit. Lets wait and see what Wenger does in the coming weeks. It’s always good to wrap up a few quality signings early but remember Arshavin and when we signed him? I’m sure Wenger is not blind to not see what’s going on and he will come up with something. We can speculate as much as we like but in the end what we bring in to replace the parting stars will matter, not when.
Coming to our challenge against the ‘superclubs’ (Man Utd, Chelsea, Man City and erm, Tottenham Hotspur) as some spud put it (referring to my Spurs supporting fan on a football forum who poked fun at me by questioning Arsenal’s chances to maintain their top 4 position), I am 100% sure we won’t fall out of the top 4. Looking at the composition of our side, I think even without Fabregas, Nasri and Clichy we will do just enough to cling onto the 4th spot if we rope in decent replacements. We don’t need superstars on massive wages for that. Man Utd, Chelsea and Man City (I have my doubts) are the only teams who we have to match to challenge for the title. The rest are just not good enough.
The real question now is this… what do we want? what does Arsene want? The 4th spot with Champions league qualification or the title? If Wenger is content with getting Champions league football, I am certain we will still be capable of doing that without the departing souls. But if Wenger seriously wants to win titles, roping in someone who can only impress with some you-tube stuff is not good enough. Why can’t we think big and be brave enough to break the bank for proven and established ‘stars’? Why can’t we imagine Brazilian stalwart Kaka making our rivals sweat after pounding them in Arsenal colors? Why can’t we dare to think of Sergio Aguero running riot at the Emirates? Why can’t we be bold enough to land someone like Sergio Ramos to Arsenal? We can’t even imagine such things because it is just impossible to see Wenger splash the cash for real winners who can win real titles and not just the Emirates cup and other toys which mean nothing.
Coming to my first statement about not calling for Wenger’s head yet, you see, many consider me to be Pro-Arsene which I am and I have no compunctions about that. I truly believe in this man for all he has done for my club. If he could do it in the past, he can do it now! Every man makes mistakes and Arsene is no exception. His principles are stale and outdated. His morals have no standing in the present scenario. He has been virtually anonymous in the transfer market. However, with all his limitations, he’s still a man. Men do change. It’s high time he does. If his satisfaction lies in maintaining a top 4 spot(4th spot, 3rd at best), he needs to sleep tight, wake up, wash his face and take a good look at the Emirates faithful. Change is invariable. Change is imminent. Change is involuntary.
Today, after being in denial for years, for whatever it’s worth, I DEMAND CHANGE! I will not be content with the struggle to get to 4th. I will not be bullied by a top European side in the Champions league. I want to raise our game and compete against league rivals and get the better of them. I find throwing away the final against Birmingham City unacceptable. I want to see top players of the world gracing my stadium and wearing my colors with pride. I want to see my fellow Gunners smiling and walking with their heads held high, looking at a United, City or Chelsea fan eye-to-eye with no fear.
Arsene Wenger, you have done a lot for Arsenal and I appreciate you for that. Times have changed. We have been let down by your stringent policies and your ‘Project Youth’ and are bearing the brunt of your stubbornness to accept your flaws. If you let us down this time… all over again… it pains me to admit…but you will have to leave!