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Arsenal's tryst with uncertainty 

Zeeshan Ali
SENIOR ANALYST
Editor's Pick
638   //    21 Apr 2018, 17:03 IST

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What now for Arsenal Football Club?

For the average Joe wearing the Arsenal badge sitting in his living room, writing in asking us why the mood surrounding the coverage of the, now global, event of Arsène Wenger stepping down is so sombre. Asking us why it is we're choosing to celebrate a man who has led Arsenal to a state of paralysis...

To them, we would like to ask if now is not the time to celebrate the genius of Arsène Wenger, when is. Tell us and we'll pay a premium to be first in line to pay our homage to the man who has lit up the English game for over two glorious decades, and watch on as the line behind us extends into the millions.

And what is utterly shocking that not all of them will even be wearing the red of Arsenal. You will find Chelsea fans, along with United and Liverpool fans, not for a moment hesitating to express their admiration for the man who has survived in this whirlwind of modern-day football.

In a world where managers lose their jobs almost as frequently as Syria make the news, Wenger has managed not just to hold on to one, but also lead by example. The first European in the Premier League; and boy did the board at Arsenal Football Club pick one.

The record of the Frenchman will probably never be matched in the English game - of being the longest-serving manager in the league's history.

Now that the former Monaco boss will be stepping down, Eddie Howie will become the longest-serving manager in the league with 5 years at the helm at Bournemouth. Followed by Sean Dyche at Burnley. That is what we call perspective.

A major reason why Jose Mourinho had run-ins with the Arsenal boss is because he will never be able to have the kind of legacy that Wenger enjoys. 22 years at one club. Loyalty. Cult status. Something neither the 'Special One' or the even more special one at City will ever be able to replicate.

And that is a reflection of the towering stature of Arsène Wenger - inimitable.

With the modern-day uncertainties of the shifting geopolitical alliances, when we seem to have lost complete touch with our basic human values, when states seem to alienate their ideals for petty gains, don't you think the world can find relevance in the leadership provided by Wenger?

Also read: Arsène's Arsenal: Forever and for always

We may not have had all that money or influence - the financial might of oligarchs and princes - but we had principles. In a world where nothing was the way it ought to have been, Arsène Wenger was our knight in shining armour.

Granted, Arsenal had won the league on 10 previous occasions but who even knew about the club apart from a few aristocrats in Islington? Few, if any. And now the Emirates packs a good 60,000. Week in. Week out.

And what did we give the man in return. Not turn up for the last few home games in open defiance of his leadership. I wonder what kind of justice is in-store for us "fans".

It was Arsène who elevated the stature of the club on the global stage to such an extent that we have fans in Ghana and Nairobi and Kathmandu balling their eyes out, trying to figure out how to find the will to live in a post-Wenger world. Their guess is as good as ours.

For all those celebrating, unable to contain their delight at what has transpired, the cocky jibes and witless remarks, with all due respect, shove it. More so, if you claim to be an Arsenal fan. There was no Arsenal without Arsène Wenger and we get this funny feeling that history is bound to repeat itself.

They keep saying: Be careful what you wish for. Amen brother.

We lived through the Tony Adams and Martin Keown farewells, the Barcelona blow in the Champions League, the moving blues, Thierry Henry, Ashley Cole, Cesc Fabregas, Robin van Persie, Samir Nasri and Alexis Sanchez's departures. We lived through Birmingham in 2011. All because we had our saviour. What now Stan? What now?

For a club which claims to be all about the stability we better damn hope we know who is going to be coming in to steady the battleship which already had far too many chinks in its armour and has now, also lost its captain.

Where is Arsenal Football Club headed?

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Zeeshan Ali
SENIOR ANALYST
"Played 38, Won 26, Drawn 12, Lost exactly none!"
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