There comes a time in many relationships when you have to look at yourself in the mirror and face the fact that it’s over. If things are going to change for the better at Emirates Stadium in the near future this is what manager Arsene Wenger needs to do. He also needs to have the guts to realize that things are going to get worse before they get better. After seven years of relative misery he needs to face up to the fact that the love affair’s over.
Hanging on just for the sake of it, be it his stubbornness, his ego, or just for self satisfaction is wrong and is hurting everybody involved with the club from the fans, to players, to owners. Like a marriage, if he truly loved Arsenal he would leave so the club could enjoy better days in the future. This is how people deal with problems in the real world.
When things are beyond repair in marriages it’s possible to attend therapy and try to fix them, but if the problems are still there seven years later it’s time to show how much you care for the other party and move on with your life.
Since 1996, Wenger’s done more for Arsenal than anybody has in the past, but hanging onto the past basically means you’re living in it, not the present. All Gunner fans appreciate everything he’s done for the club and he’ll likely go down in history as one of the best managers ever. But once you start saying things such as a fourth place finish in the league is like winning a trophy, then you’ve lost all ambition and are out of touch with reality.
Sure, Wenger wants to win, who doesn’t? But he’s been eliminated from every single competition he’s been in over the past seven years, with this year’s Champions League hopes hanging on by the proverbial thread.
The fact is, for whatever reason, the players aren’t playing for him and he’s no longer able to do a good job because of this. Different players could produce different results, but this is his team. He put the squad together and has to take the blame for the constant underachieving. In what other profession could you be unproductive in your job for seven straight years and still be employed?
Most other experts see the problem with Arsenal, except those who matter the most, who are Wenger and the board. Ex-Gunner players like Paul Merson and current television commentators such as Roy Keane have all chipped in with their opinions and for the most part they’re spot on. Wenger’s had money to spend over the years but he hasn’t spent it wisely. He’s rivalling Rafael Benitez when it comes to wasting good money on mediocre talent.
When a professional football club has approximately 78 male players of various ages on the books, loans 18 of them out, and then has a manger complain that his squad isn’t strong enough, there’s a serious problem. There are too many players under contract that don’t deserve to be and too many of these are way overpaid. Wenger had the Midas touch years ago when signing the likes of Robert Pires, Patrick Vieira, and Thierry Henry, but his signings over the past few years leave a lot to be desired and it’s frankly just wasted money.
The current team could make the Champions League next season, but it’s going to be a struggle. If Arsenal fans are happy with this situation, that’s fine they have nothing to complain about. However, if they want more than this you can’t blame them for asking questions and becoming a little agitated after seven years. The undeniable fact is that the club is going backwards, not moving forward. Being beaten by an aggregate of 6-0 last week in two of the biggest games of the year is an indication of this.
Against the league’s best teams, Manchester United, Manchester City, Tottenham, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Newcastle, the Gunners have won once (5-3 over Chelsea) lost five and drawn one. Beating up on a hapless Blackburn team 7-1 at home just doesn’t cut it for one of Europe’s top teams, especially considering they beat you 4-3 earlier in the season.
Wenger should stay on until the end of the season and then resign his post because of his love for the team, not because he’s been offered a better contract somewhere else. Arsenal is closer to a revolution at the moment than any evolution. Supporters groups are starting to revolt because of poor results and no clear solution on the horizon.
Wenger would be better off leaving the club than eventually getting sacked. There comes a time when you must do what’s best for the majority not yourself and this is why so many Arsenal fans realize it’s time for Wenger to say goodbye and are finally speaking up about it.
As the great Martin Luther King once said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”