Arsenal Fans Build Case Against Arsene

Arsenal knocked out of the FA Cup

The numbers simply don’t lie: Seven long years without a trophy. Comments regarding the team’s demise have been loaded with vitriol: “The worst Arsenal team in ten years,” for instance. Arsenal as a team appears to be in a state of crisis, but there are yet more questions than answers concerning any resolution. Arsenal fans are rightly demanding to know whether Arsene had access to the fat reserve account, whether he should be the target of blame and villified or else forgiven. Within the next couple of days, we will all know if Arsene is still all the hero we once knew him to be or else a piece of waterlogged deadwood weighing the team down.

I have long been an ardent Arsene supporter, an outspoken critic of his critics. I have wanted to team to do well, and I have trusted Arsene’s judgment and perception that the team will improve. I take much of what he says at face value, without the proverbial grain of salt. He’s the boss, and if he didn’t know what he was doing, he wouldn’t still be in that position, trusted as he is by Arsenal’s owner. Nevertheless, a case is being built against Arsene. It won’t be long now before the angry mob shows up with pitchforks and torches, so we need to know whether we stand with him or the mob.

In the past couple of days, the community of Arsenal fans has finally reached a breaking point. A long season of dramatic inconsistencies has created a level of barely-contained frustration that can be difficult to properly articulate. Naturally, fans are looking for someone to blame, and it’s virtually a sure-fire bet the target of the angst will be Arsene Wenger. Making Arsene a scapegoat week to week was a fun past-time for the past couple of months, but most fans have grown weary of this game. Enough is enough. Most of us just aren’t willing to spend any more time in Arsene’s little fantasy world. We’re tired of being placated, sick of being told that each loss was just another minor setback or speed bump. Most of us know the difficulty telling someone that “Everything is going to be all right” when we know they are actually in the midst of a horrible tragedy from which there will be no return to the good life, and with this unfortunate experience under our belts, we can smell an Arsene lie from a mile away. Those of us that continued to demonstrate our loyalty to the veteran manager despite the copious evidence to the contrary now feel like court jesters.

For what it’s worth, Arsene is loathe to admit defeat. Calls for his immediate resignation have been met with typical Arsene cockiness, the expected cheeky comments that demand analysis and criticism. “There has been a lot of conversation about whether I will remain with Arsenal or leave, But I will tell you that I am still committed to this project. So committed that I will continue to manage Arsenal until the day Theo Walcott wins the Ballon d’Or or the day Andrei Arshavin scores four goals in a Premier League match again. Whichever comes first. Or at all. Only then will my work here be complete.”

Basically, Arsene is committed to staying around from now until infinity. But Arsenal fans, represented by the Arsental Supporters Trust, is ready to help Arsene start packing.

Arsenal fans have had little to celebrate recently. The season of disappointments was made only slightly bearable by glimmers of former glory suggesting barely reaslized potential. Thierry Henry energized the team, but even his morale boost in the locker room couldn’t translate into a winning season.

Week after week, Robin van Persie did everything he could to stimulate the offense, and when he scored, he did so in true style, exemplifying all that one could want in a superstar. He remained calm and focused when it mattered most, and ironically, the only glimmer of unbridaled emotion we saw was when he screamed “No!” at Arsene when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was pulled from the field. Van Persie later down-played the strife between Arsene and himself, but one can reasonably assume that the emotion Van Persie was displaying was shared by Gunners fans all over. Due to the miserable season, many Arsenal fans were convinced Van Persie would jump ship as soon as his contract expired this coming summer. Though he’s currently making 80,000 pounds per week, the club is offering him a significant pay raise, increasing his salary to 100,000 pounds per week in addition to a sizable (but undisclosed) renewal fee. The Arsenal club is sure to change dramatically during the summer months and experience a significant makeover, but it’s comforting to know Rob will most likely still be around next year.

The Arsenal Supporters Trust is taking action. They are going to be polling the membership, attempting to gain a consensus regarding Arsene’s future with Arsenal. Seven consecutive seasons without a championship seems to be the golden number. The support that Arsene accumulated over multiple years has dwindled considerably, and his cache of nostalgia-based goodwill has all but evaporated. Arsene has essentially lived off his past accomplishments, but the capital just isn’t there anymore.

Arsene has chosen to spend less money than some of Arsenal’s rival clubs, and the money he has spent was invested in continuing an ongoing experiment that has been primarily a dismal failure. Investing in promising youth, expecting future dividends once the players gain some experience and maturity, makes sense from a purely theoretical perspective, but what works in theory does not necessarily translate to the pitch. Clubs like Manchester City and Manchester United are more immediate-results-oriented, spending their funds on experienced veterans that translate into…Well, winning seaons. Without the wait.

The AST wants to know whether or not Arsene was authorized to spend all of the club’s cash reserves (fifty million pounds at last count.) Did Arsene have the prerogative to spend all of the money, and if so, why didn’t he engage in more transfer activity during the periods encompassing the summer of 2011 and January of 2012 during the windows? If the money was held back, why wasn’t Arsene given the opportunity to spend it? These questions are well worth asking, and the answers will tell us much about the current state of Arsenal and Arsene’s status as well. Arsene has supposedly been given £55 million for this coming summer, what many sites refer to as hardly enought to reconstruct the team into a winning endeavor once again. That £55 million has to cover not just the cost of signings but the wages of the new signees, so we must hope Arsene chooses wisely.

The Arsenal directors have a regularly-scheduled board meeting this week, and the team’s profits will be under close scrutiny. The Arsenal owner, billionaire Stan Kroenke, is expected to fly into town to loudly and vocally express his sincere support for Arsene Wenger, which will do little to boost the confidence of Arsenal fans at this exact point in time. In a sure sign that he’s floundering, Arsene has attempted to bolster support by restating his belief that Arsenal will finish in the top four, thus qualifying for next year’s Champions League–something he equates with winning a cup. Nice to know he’s bold enough to keep expectations low.

Wenger’s contract with Arsenal doesn’t officially expire until 2014, but considering he’s still a top candidate to replace Mourinho at Real Madrid, a lot of Arsenal fans may be happy to help him pack.

  • Nathan German

    If you choose to comment concerning this post, please exercise good judgment in doing so. This site appears to be unfortunately and recently inundated with trolls intent on infecting the posts with vulgarity, and I hope true Arsenal fans will respond intelligently to posts with an attempt at demonstrating a capacity for good taste. I am always ready and willing to play the part of Devil’s Advocate in order to facilitate  intelligent and informed debate, but I do not have the time nor the patience to suffer fools. If you think the posts are too long, boring, or just plain too intelligent for your limited mental faculties, please feel free to say nothing at all and spare us your idiocy.

    • GoonBag

      Are you serious?  you post an anti Wenger article and sign it from Arsenal fans….  and you don’t want abuse….?

      Are you stupid or just misguided?

      • Nathan German

        Neither stupid nor misguided. But, I do enjoy creating a little controversy now and then, and I knew my article would instantly stimulate a heated conversation from which I could remove myself and observe in order to assess the consensus of opinions. I was not attempting to take one side or the other on the issue. I was articulating the viewpoints of a wide range of Arsenal fans from countless fan pages that have grown weary of losing and are desperate for answers.

        • Mashman147

          Basically, a cheap way of getting hits.

    • John

      First para, your words; ‘cancerous tumor’.

      You now dare to talk to us Arsenal supporters using word like ‘vulgarity’ and ‘intelligent informed debate’?

      • Nathan German

        My phrasing was definitely in poor taste. I went back into my article and edited it to more accurately reflect the tone I’d like to foster in these postings. I apologize if any one was unnecessarily offended, as that is never my intent. I understand that the subject of cancer is a delicate one, and as someone that has lost loved ones to this vile disease, I never should have equated Arsene’s presence to something so diabolical in nature. It will not happen again.

  • Sureli

    What a doorknob of an article. You sound like a skitso. First you say he is to blame then you say that 55 mil is not enough. You confuse me. By the way Real Madrid want him because he is considered to be better than their current manager. They know that if given the fund he will deliver trophies galore. He was the only one close to beating Barça last year with the shoestring budget the real misers gave him the past few years.
    He warned the board not to sell Fabregas and Nasri last summer, but Kroenke himself flew in and forced the Nasri sale. One other thing that I don’t understand is that if you say he is stubborn and will never accept defeat, how can you imagine that he likes to lose to Manu or any other team for that matter. And you can’t say he has run out of ideas because he a competitive person like him and Sir Alex will always find ways to win.
    To me the only difference between the Arsenal that was winning trophies and this arsenal is the person who pulls the trigger in the transfers. Arsene is there to identify players, and Dien was there to complete the transfer. Now Gazidis does it for mr Kroenke and he is not as good as Dien to say it politely.
    Therefore change the person who signs the check and you will have an Arsenal team that will bully any team in the world, not the other way around.

  • Hirodahippo

    Great article.
    The youth system at Arsenal is no doubt world class, but as an Arsenal fan we don’t want to be a club like Ajax. We must start winning trophies, and to do so, the transfer policy and Arsene’s tactics must change. 

    We need to spend more and buy talented players that have leadership since Arsenal lacks leadership at the moment. RVP is most likely going to leave next season, especially if we don’t make it to the CL.

    As much as I respect Arsene, he needs to stop being stubborn and change tactics. Arsenal does not have enough talent to play like Barcelona. It does not seem like he wants to win trophies, as he continues to play predictable tactics. He might as well be an Academy Coach or something since all he seems interested in is developing young players.

    Nevertheless, I will continue to support Arsenal, which means I will lay my trust in Arsene. I just hope things will change and I hope I will be able to see a change against Spurs

    • Mashman147

      Are you for real? Of course Arsene wants to win trophies. Do you think he enjoys not winning? Think about what you write.

  • GoonBag

    Seriously – another American telling me what I am thinking?    Please get real.

    The Majority of Arsenal fans that go to games, support Wenger and the team reggardless.    The ones that read the garbage in the media and take it for gosspil are not realy fans.    Yesterday I had a 23 year old telling me Arsenal players opinions aren’t worth anything…. but a 23 yeasr old American kid with a keyboard is….?   unbelieveable.

    It’s clowns like you that are causing a negative atmosphere,  printing negative rants,  and then posting under the banner of “arsenal fans”   it’s pathetic.    

    If you are serious – come to the games and protest,  but this doesn’t happen…. so you have to ask why?    Is it because of the confrontation?  or do you only feel brave behind a kepboard?     or do you not go to games….  being in America….   so  why do other fans not protest at the ground…….?   a) they are not allowed, or   b)  because real fans don’t reflect the negative crap printed in the media?  

    Your attempts to censor the comments must be a joke.   If you choose to post an article on a specific club and then title it on behalf of the fans – expect some feedback.  YOU DON’T SPEAK FOR ARSENAL FANS. 

    I have been going to Arsenal for over 30 years,  to have some jumped up clown tell me what to think isn’t going to happen, and when it comes from the other side of the Atlantic it’s even more of a joke.   You must understand that.

    The first line of this article  –  The numbers simply don’t lie: Seven years without a trophy….  (really how original)   Please enlighten me who else in the premier league has gone less time without a trophy?   you can count them on a single hand.  

    Only Blackburn, Man Utd and Chelsea have won the league, excluding Arsenal, Chelsea needed a billionaire,  Blackburn almost went into administration, and United have gone deep in debt over the past 5 years – so it comes at a cost.

    Luckily Arsenal is a very well run club and supports Arsene whole heartedly.   Which us true fans support 100%.       

     

     

    • Mashman147

      Spot on. Couldn’t agree more…

  • Mashman147

    Is pretty poor that you patronise Arsenal fans with your comments. People can be intelligent and also state that your posts are poor and too long. I am an Arsenal season ticket holder and I go to alo of away games also. The fans are behind AW. The true fans anyway. Not the Johnny Come Latelys or the bandwagon jumpers, or the Talk Sport listeners who foolishly give the station their hard earned cash when phoning to complain.

    People like Petit, George Graham, Winterburn, O’Neill, Ferguson, etc etc, have all stated that AW is the best man for the job.

    Watch the Sunderland game if you get it over there. You will see that AW’s name was being chanted by the fans near the end of the game when we were 2-0 down.

    The AST can hold as many meetings as they like, but they dont run the club so are wasting their time.

    It is very clear we are carrying too many average players at the minute and that is down to the manager. He needs to ship them out and replace them. If he does this, he will get majority of fans back on his side.

    One final point, as you clearly belittle some of the posters on here, you need to de-Americanise your posts. Using words like offense instead of ‘up front’ or ‘attack’ makes you sound like a commentator off ESPN or Fox who regularly get laughed at here in the home of football.

    Thanks

  • RVP15

    To Goonbag and Mashman, will be interesting to see whether the chanting for Wenger is positive or negative at the end of the Derby on Sunday. 

    • Mashman147

      Stupid comment really. There will be booing if we lose and cheering if we win. Just like every other home game really….

  • Meh

    Big mistake if you think you speak for the majority.
    You do speak for a certain group of our fans, but its a group we could do without. Childish, negative, arrogant and counter-productive.
    Arsene Wenger is not perfect, but he is one hell of a manager who has made personal sacrifice for the good of our great club.
    You claim to be a journalist, but your opinions are only the ones you have been spoon-fed by a pathetic, xenophobic media.
    We are actually in fourth place, and can hold on to it with a bit more support from the fans. You and your kind seem hell bent on derailing our season, just so you can appear knowledgeable.
    Arsenal comes first.
    Go and write a guest spot on LeGrove, they would adore you.

    • Spectrum

       Meh – ( quote ) ;  “You and your kind seem hell bent on derailing our season”…  Well hello – Our season already IS derailed, haven’t you noticed ? Obviously not. We have never been in contention for the league, and are out of the Champion’s League and F.A. Cup. But fourth place is what you have been indoctrinated into thinking, is a “success”  !!??
                                  “Arsenal come first” ? No, with A.K.B.’s like you, ARSENE comes first. And it’s sickening that “supporters” like you, elevate him above the interests of the club itself. No-one is, or should be, bigger than the club. It is beliefs like yours that are perpetuating our decline. A decline that becomes more noticeable every season that Wenger stays here. He WAS  “one hell of a manager”, he clearly ISN’ T any  longer. And just like you failed to see our season has derailed, so you fail to see this as well.
                                  I suppose you think that extending Djourou’s contract was a smart piece of business as well ? And you support negotiating a new contract for Walcott ? If so, you’re as deluded as your Dear Leader.
                                      ” In Arsene we rust.”

      • Meh

        Youre entitled to your view, but your reply to my comment is incorrect.
        I said Arsenal comes first!
        Who elevated Wenger above the club? Not me.
        Our season is a failure, yes, but if we can hold on to 4th, it gives us a chance to compete again next season. I never said I was happy with it.
        Your pathetic reply, mostly heresay, shows exactly what is wrong with the modern football supporter.
        You sir, as just as blinkered as any fan who thinks Arsene can do no wrong.
        Stick to the facts, and maybe you might be able to make a point. Your reply to my comment is full of supposition.
        Do not put words in my mouth please.
        And no, frankly, Id prefer if Djourou was sold, hes pants. But no need to let a silly thing like reality affect your reply!

    • chris

      Lets look at this in reality in his early years Wenger made some great signings such as Petit Vieira Pires Henry and so on but his signings in recent years with a few exceptions have not been good enough to wear an Arsenal shirt and are not up to playing the style of football Wenger likes you can only blame the manager for this as he buys the players and dictates tactics ,If the younger of you want to live in the past perhaps we should go go back to the 1930s when Arsenal were the biggest club in the world and Man u were in the 2nd div .Its time to look to the future Wenger must go for the good of the club. 

  • Spectrum

    “a lot of Arsenal fans may be happy to help him pack.”
             I’ll even offer to drive the removal van !
                                     ” In Arsene we rust.” 

  • Saltbeefbiggles

    Build big new stadiums,  tour the far east and every corner of the globe, and this is what you get, a yank munching on his hot dog thinking he knows the back streets of Holloway and the mind sets of the people who live in it, god help us we are just embarking on this journey and I for one don’t want it !

    • Mashman147

      How many fans come from the back streets of Holloway?

  • arsenepasie

    In Arsene i will always Trust no matter what because he wants the best for the Club. We all know who to blame; the man who signs the cheque.

    • chris

      If this were true he would leave the club as his pride would not allow him to carry on.How can you trust a manager who brings in cheap imports from abroad who are not good enough, he won most of his trophies with George Graham’s defence their play at present is slow and very predictable.A lot needs changing at Arsenal from the board down to the manager. 

      • Berg10

        Did GG have to compete with Chelski and Citeh’s billions?
        Was Vieira, Henry, Petit, Pires, Ljungberg…..inherited from GG?

        The game has changed a lot since Graham’s era, maybe his trophy cabinet wouldn’t be as full currently.

        Our present status is unacceptable but do you think for 1 second if there was an easy alternative AW wouldn’t be pursuing it? It always looks simple solving other people’s problems on the face of it but not without the full facts in front of us.

        • chris

          None of the players you quote are defenders and were not cheap imports which proves Wenger has lost the plot in recent years. Yes the game has changed Wenger and the board have not.

          • Mashman147

            The invincibles were AW’s defense. Mug.

            And how about Sagna, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Sczesny? Are they not good defenders?

          • chris

            I said most of his trophies not all and no they are not the best defenders i have seen apart from maybe sagna. The invincibles had Cambell whom he was lucky to sign on a free and the only mug around here is you.

  • JohninNorfolk

    Where are you Nathan?  Come on speak up!  Defend your arguments! Answer your critics!  Don’t wait three years before getting into the fight, again.

    • Nathan German

      Throughout this season, I’ve actually been an outspoken supporter of Arsene, a fact for which I was frequently verbally assaulted. I personally like him a lot, and when he answers questions from the press, I am usually ready and willing to accept his statements without challenge. I placed blind faith in him from the very beginning, but for purposes of sparking debate, I chose to play the Devil’s Advocate in this one post. Clearly, there are fans with positions on both sides of the argument, and when it comes right down to it, most of us can do little to affect the outcome. I stand with the AST in the questions they are asking regarding Arsene’s ability to spend the available reserves, because it does appear he would have spent more had he been authorized to do so. I have reviewed some of the high-caliber players he is considering this coming summer, and the price tag for some is going to burn through the cash pretty rapidly (like I mentioned, even RVP’s going rate is increasing rather significantly.

      The bottom line is, I was only looking to stimulate debate. And it looks like I managed to do precisely that and then some. Thanks, all, for reading and posting. It’s refreshing to know that there are still real Arsenal fans out there, and I stand with those true fans regardless of how Arsenal ultimately finishes out the season.

  • Mashman147

    http://goonerinbarca.wordpress.com/2012/02/21/archive-piece-fair-weather-fans/

    A proper written blog by a proper fan. Not a German or cock Brus in sight but a well written article.

    • Berg10

      Now that’s a good read.

  • Berg10

    Nathan.

    Have you ever been to our great stadium? The one that was made possible by AW, the diet and nutritional advances he introduced to the club are now copied by other clubs in the EPL (mentioned many times by rival managers) are soon forgotten by some but not all. Of course he’s made errors at the same time of maintaining a high status in the league against the odds which obviously isn’t as good as winning trophies but without that status we’d be no better off than a mid table club at present.

    As Mashman said, we need to drop the deadwood and that is down to Wenger, hopefully he’s realised they’ve let him down but I wouldn’t expect him to let that out, only a fool or enraged manager would do so.

    By the way, accept the critisism, it goes with the territory, ask Wenger!

  • Angelo1971

    Jesus. Still so “many” AKBs (but only here, not in real life). Where have you been hiding until lately? I know a lot of gooners and most of them (90-95%) would fire Wenger. Just because people like me are silent to criticize/boo the players/Wenger in the stadium, it does not mean we are happy with them. Yes I/we want to know who is responsible for not buying proper players in the summer/winter transfer window. By the way. Why on earth did Djourou get a lucrative, new contract? Our wage structure is a joke. We will pay the price for long, even if Wenger leaves. The merit should be payed (more) and not the “participation”. Wenger is not a lamb anyway. I would only leave him in position, if 1.) he buys a couple of good players in the summer (5 at least, keeping van Persie) 2.) gets rid of the dead wood 3.) gets somebody proper as assistant 4.) starts using tactics 5.) has somebody to motivate the players (if he’s not able) and 6.) gets rid of the “medical” (or rather injury) team. I doubt he will do these, unless somebody will instruct him from above. Knowing him, he would rather resign. He’s got too much power. By the way I’m a member and I hate the chauvinist idiots, who look down on somebody, just because he writes from America.  Those who criticize are fair weather fans? Ridiculous. They have already left, being sick of the incompetence. I am sick of the extremist and arrogant AKBs.

  • Vlad

    Guys , bicker all you like but the fact is Wenger is going nowhere for the next couple of years.  Personally, my patience ran out with him after that 8-2 debacle at Old Trafford and I can’t see him changing anything all the time he’s there.  I’ve supported Arsenal all my life, through the Terry Neil days, Don Howe, George Graham, Bruce Rioch and Wenger.  I’ll always support my club.  But I find it near impossible to get motivated for this current team.  I expected them to lose in Milan, didn’t even watch the whole of the game.  I expected them to lose at Sunderland.  I expect them to lose on Saturday, I’ve got tickets for me and my little boy so I have to go.  I’m really not looking forward to it.  This is one of the worse Arsenal teams I have ever seen, they cannot defend collectively, the midfield is pitifully weak and, if RVP isn’t on form, can barely muster a goal between them.  And, I’m sorry guys, but I do blame Wenger.  When he first came here he was brilliant.  He gave us wonderful football and brought in some of the best players I have ever seen: Petit, Veira, Henry, Lungberg, Pires, Fabregas, RVP and Overmars to name but a few. In recent years his purchases have been dire; Diaby, Senderos, Mertasacker, Dennilson, Chamakh, Silvestre, Rosicky, Arshavin and, my all time favourite – JOHAN DJOUROU!!!!   His favoured youth policy hasn’t been that great, I can really only think of two of any note that have come up through the ranks and made any impact: Ashley Cole and Jack Wiltshire. You talk about the stadium, well, I’m sure Wenger had an imput but he wasn’t standing there with a hard hat, high viz jacket and trowel building the bloody thing, and I’m pretty certain that he didn’t draw up the plans, get it through planning or write any personal cheques to pay for it.  I think there are other people who deserve some credit there, fellas.  A lot gets said about our lack of money but we found 26 million pounds on transfer dealine day for some pretty ordinary players, so things can’t be that bad.  I mean, ten million pounds for Arteta?  And why did he buy Park, was it to sell a few more t-shirts on the South Korean tour?  Arsenal run a good financial ship and I have no complaints with that.  My problem with Wenger is not – i repeat NOT – how much money he does or doesen’t spend.  My problem with Wenger is how HE manages the football team – his squad of players.  I just don’t think he can hack it anymore.  And people keep banging on about Real Madrid wanting him.  Please, given his record over the last few years, why on earth would a club who yearn to overtake Barcelona want Arsen Wenger? 
    Wenger’s here to stay, I’m certain of that.  I’m less certain that he can turn things around, though.  If he proves me wrong, however, no one would be more happier than me.
    PS  Anyone else think that JIN and Jenny are one and the same?