When we look at the trials and tribulations of PL managers and just how difficult it has evidently become for a club to make the transition from one to another with any degree of success, I believe that in Arsene we have been truly fortunate.
I can imagine the conversations that must have taken place at board level and between Kroenke and Gazidis as to contingencies should Wenger decide that he has had enough and wants to either retire or seek pastures new.
It would be easy to assume that Kroenke knows little about football, but he is a billionaire who hasn’t made his money by blindly stumbling through his business dealings, waving a Stetson while yelling “Yeee Ha”. For him Arsene is the prudent goose that lays golden eggs season after season. He advocates and practices creative, quality football and gives the club a degree of respectability across the footballing world and though he can be outspoken, he is never going to display the same level of crass petulance that we can expect every time Mourinho opens his mouth.
How vulgar and classless Wenger must find that little man who spends so much of his time either bigging himself up or taking cheap shots at other managers in an attempt to enhance his reputation.
Though it wasn’t a difficult task, he dragged Chelsea down to his level when he was their manager a few years back and true to form, the footballing press adored him. I found that there was always a certain sick edge to his despicable rants that, alongside their owner’s willingness to spend crazy money, made it quite easy to detest everything they stood for. Yet, even after the great financial splurges and their on-field success very few could argue against the fact that they had bought their trophies and there was still the festering, open sore that was Mourinho.
A man like him, who was unable to show even a modicum of class towards his opponents whether he was winning or not, was the architect of a footballing ethos that was so negative, boring and cynical that even Abramovich was moved to throw him out. Watching his toy produce the never ending cycle of tedious long-ball crap, exemplified by the incessant and continuous cheating of Drogba, from his perch high above the pitch must have proved just too much. Mourinho was gone and the PL was much better for it. It was though a stain had been removed from the game and Chelsea began trawling for a manager who might bring a smile to the grey miserable expression that clouds the Russian’s face whenever the camera flashes on him during a game.
Surely Stan, Ivan and the rest of the Arsenal board must cast a worried but amused glance toward Chelsea when they think about who and what comes after Arsene. But hold on, Chelsea have come full circle and after spending tens of millions exhausting all other possibilities, Mourinho is back and of course it’s still all about him. After serving up a trophy filling in a shit sandwich to his employers in both Italy and Spain he has come ‘home’ but this time his gob is not so golden.
He has become rather tired and passé, more Mr Bean than James Bond and his barrage of insults have lost some of the sparkling quotability the press might have seen in them before. Now he seems like a rather odd hate-filled little man, shouting at the world and still bathing in his own excrement on a daily basis.
His recent insults toward Wenger and our club fell on ground somewhat less fertile than he anticipated. The football family worldwide grimaced at how truly pathetic he has become and now, in response, he has gone all sulky. He constantly plays down the chances of his own side with nonsensical metaphors and I imagine that in his own egocentric world he sees this as a brilliant psychological ploy to heap pressure on Pellegrini and Manchester City and on Arsenal and his old nemesis Wenger. Arsene had reeled him in quite nicely a couple of weeks back and he bit, big time, like the inflated-headed bully he is. Arsene of course knew he simply couldn’t resist. Pellegrini probably shook his head in indifferent disgust as he already despises him after their time as adversaries in Spain where Mourinho’s behaviour plumbed new depths of repulsiveness when he attempted to gouge an opponent’s eye after a defeat. Now, that’s class.
When Kroenke looks at this and the car wreck that is Manchester United and realises that the extremely odd Glazers are going to have to dig very, very deep to get Moyes back on track he must shudder. Rooney’s obscene new contract must have old Stan wondering if he can’t sign Wenger up for another 10 years as a buffer against all the madness that we are witnessing in football these days.
Every year we are told that things will change and that the manager will be fully supported in the transfer window and every year we never seem quite able to put together the balance of players that will equip us for competitive success at the highest level. Almost, but not quite.
Watching us line up against Bayern last week with the very inexperienced Sanogo as our striker bought this home with a bang. Giroud, out of the picture because he sees himself as a mirror-obsessed, superstar stud, banging away 24 hours a day, is not the player that we need to complete the picture and allow Ozil to express himself by doing what he does best. This is a very justifiable criticism of Wenger and one that he should have addressed before now with a speedy and deadly marksman. But, we could still win the PL. You never know. If we do, then it will surely be the greatest championship for many, many years and a great tribute to Wenger’s methods and single-minded determination to do things his way.
But then there is the club’s PR and that is the face of Arsenal to its supporters. As anyone who attends the games through a Season Ticket will tell you, it is getting fearfully expensive these days and the cynicism with which us customers are treated with regards to pricing of games that fall outside the ST and any refunds that are due is breathtakingly opportunist and does absolutely nothing to foster a feeling that we are all part of the club. If Gazidis spent his time changing this perception alone, then the supporters would feel a lot better. Give a little and you’ll get a lot more back Ivan. Let’s not kid ourselves that Arsenal aren’t primarily motivated by money because they are, but perhaps if they attempted to make it less obvious then supporters might not feel quite as marginalised as they have grown.
Overall, Arsenal are in a pretty good place at the moment. The squad is generally ok, despite a couple of glaring gaps and some unfortunate injuries, but there are challenges in the immediate and mid term future. The games will come and go and what will be will be. But the transfer window in the coming summer is possibly going to see players, big players, leaving. In other words there are times, a few months ahead, that may well see more players than usual come and go. Wenger and Kroenke understand the need for stability for different reasons I am sure and will want to keep that turnaround to a minimum.
We mustn’t be afraid of change but, through sites like HH, we do have a voice no matter how small that may seem and we owe Wenger the benefit of the doubt even when he seems entrenched in his own ways. He is never going to satisfy everybody, but a trophy would go a long way toward making his point more emphatically.
I think that he really deserves it.
Written by Adam