Things are a mess at Arsenal right now.
A section of the Arsenal fan base is against Arsene Wenger, and I can see why. We’ve had 14 years of finishing in the Top Four without really looking like winning the Premier League, except in the 2007/2008 season when Eduardo had his leg tragically broken, pretty much ending our challenge that year.
And you would have to say that was the start of a downward spiral for Arsene at Arsenal. We have been in an abyss in the following years, and any solution Arsene seems to find just isn’t good enough for Arsenal getting to the next level.
But it’s not all his fault.
Arsenal fans now want change. But Arsenal have consistently reached the Top Four and for me that is an amazing achievement, considering what Arsene Wenger has had to endure and work with.
The biggest problem at the club isn’t Arsene Wenger, but the Arsenal board.
Arsene Wenger is the only man at the club who loves Arsenal. Arsenal to Silent Stan and the board is a cash cow and as long as they make a profit and he can line his pockets that’s all he cares about. And look, I’m not naïve, I know how business works – but in terms of on the field success, we’re suffering.
It’s not fair for Arsene Wenger to get all the flak. The board, and the players, also need to be made accountable. Arsene Wenger is a man who puts his faith and belief in his players, and of late they have not been repaying him. Arsene Wenger gets all the shit off the fans and the media, yet the board and players get away scot free – and it’s not right.
The fans who protested last night – and they are perfectly within their rights to do so – don’t necessarily hate Wenger, but they just want change. The consistency is boring and when you’re paying the highest ticket prices in Europe you expect some success in the major competition, but that just hasn’t happened.
The issue is that getting rid of Arsene Wenger won’t change anything, and that’s the bottom line.
With our weak board, can you see them hiring someone who actually has a mind of their own? Someone who could ruffle some feathers?
A new manager coming into Arsenal would want around £200 million to revamp the squad and get rid of the dead wood. Do you think Silent Stan would want that? Not in a million years. With Arsene Wenger, he’s guaranteed a big payday every season.
So what’s the solution? To turn against the board.
Without David Dein we have no forward thinking person in the Arsenal hierarchy. There’s actually no one on the board that knows anything about football. They’re all businessmen and women, who love to see the club making money.
You look at other clubs in the Premier League and it’s clear the owners make a big difference. Look at Roman Abramovich at Chelsea. He’s a lot of things but what he does love is football and always invests in the team to keep them competitive. Of course, his rapid hiring and firing of managers is not the Arsenal way but his underlying ethos is for Chelsea to win trophies – which is what the fans want.
Then there’s Leicester City. Their owners have completely embraced the City and have made a conscious effort to win over the Leicester City fans. They come to the games; they make gestures (such as offering free beer and pies to celebrate the owners birthday) and give a clear message that they want the best for the club. And the fans appreciate it.
Liverpool are another team with American owners in Fenway Sports Group and the Liverpool fans I have spoken to are not fans at all. They realise (or believe) that FSG are only there to take money out of their club. I’m not sure that’s the case when they’re spending big on expanding the stadium but it’s interested to know that when things aren’t going well they don’t turn against the manager, it’s against the board.
Manchester United have the Glazier family and it’s interesting to see how the Manchester United fans reacted when Sir Alex Ferguson was managing there. The fans never turned against the man who brought them success but turned against the board – wearing yellow and green scarves, holding up banners and staging protests. Why aren’t the Arsenal fans doing the same?
Don’t get me wrong, Arsene Wenger as a manager has his faults, and we know he’s stubborn in some areas. But despite that he is a top-level coach. Arsenal need to get new owners and have someone on the board (like David Dein) who can push Arsene Wenger and question him when required. I truly believe that with new owners Arsenal can once against become a genuine title challenger and that Arsene Wenger deserves another season under a new regime.