Arsène’s Future Farce: No More Heroes

The febrile atmosphere around Arsenal at the moment, lends itself to all manner of mischief. Arsène’s comment on Saturday that his future was decided played out as expected. Claim and counter-claim, wild stories and baffling leaps of, well, logic isn’t the right word.

Summing up the situation at Arsenal, none of them are easy to dismiss as folly and invention. It began with the pilot of the plane flying the pro-Arsène banner claiming his clients wanted the world to know they were from Hong Kong. No-one knows why but it fed the conspiracy.

If I remember this correctly, Sir Chips’ family firm has offices in a Hong Kong backstreet and because of that, the chairman’s family were behind it all. It’s a more complex plot than a Jack Reacher film. My initial thought was just because the family which owns my local Chinese takeaway is from the same country as the head of the Ministry of State Security in Beijing doesn’t mean they are communist spies.

Team Wenger then spun a yarn about a one-year contract being signed. Why anyone would believe a one-year deal is on the table is beyond me, although to be fair, why I disbelieve it is almost beyond me as well. Anything is possible.

And the topping off the madness, German newspaper Bild got bored of lambasting Donald Trump and reported that Arsenal had approached Thomas Tuchel about replacing Wenger.

Something Better Change

And you thought the international break was going to bring some relief from the madness.

In truth it should end it. There’s no reason for Arsène’s future to be shrouded in secrecy any longer particularly since he taunted the press after Saturday’s defeat.

There’s no good time to announce he is staying. Holding on until after the FA Cup final is a risky business, not least as there’s (a) no guarantee we’ll make it to the final, and, (b) even if we beat City, losing in the final isn’t beyond the realm of possibility. It’s too high risk a strategy for the board to pursue. Or at least, you’d think so!

But they won’t have to. Arsène, according to the Daily Telegraph’s Jeremy Wilson, is staying. The boardroom is expected to resemble a US presidential husting with chants from Chips and co, of “TWO MORE YEARS! TWO MORE YEARS!”

Wenger, it’s claimed, will tell them he believes that he can drag the club out of the worst run of form since Stewart Houston found himself able to delegate cone duty.

Just as Sir Alex Ferguson deferred his retirement out of vanity, Arsène in those circumstances, would be doing the same. Form, as we all know, is transient. A run of defeats is less easily turned than the other way round, but the public image of the squad is one divided. Not among itself, although there’s an element of that, but one which is not responding to the manager.

Burning Up Time

The question for Kroenke to deal with is whether Arsène remaining in charge will damage his investment. Financially, the club will take a hit next season by playing in the Europa League. Missing out on the Champions League was always something which was deemed temporary in budgetary terms; now it looks like being a reality, even if we suddenly find a rich vein of form.

Too many stars need to align for us to finish in the top four. The results this season suggest we’ll struggle to win the big games and we need others to hit a dip in form, and we’re running out of games for that to happen.

While to many the Europa League is an anathema, it could easily prove to be Wenger’s redemption in some minds. Winning the competition brings a return to the Champions League, and ends his unenviable record being the only manager to lose finals in all three European competitions and not win any of them.

Again, I see that as a vanity project. It’s not about what’s good for the club, it’s rehabilitating Arsène.

However, it’s about money and Kroenke’s view of his investment. Don’t kid yourself that there is any sense of loyalty from Stan. Wenger delivers the financial results he wants through ‘Player Trading’; nothing more, nothing less. If Arsène spent £200m each summer, the American would be a lot less forgiving, I’m sure.

No More Heroes

Retaining the Frenchman as manager is a huge risk. The protests aren’t going to disappear overnight and it’s this aspect I find hardest to reconcile in terms of Wenger’s future.

The arguments won’t change but the intensity will. Every defeat is seized on at the moment but we took until the autumn to get here, or even see where it was really heading. If Arsène renews, I’d expect an unforgiving atmosphere from Day One.

A new season wouldn’t bring new hope and the board know it; rocket science, it most definitely isn’t. Nor is it so crass as simply getting behind the team and accepting nothing will change. I think that argument misjudges the mood. Many supporters will see that as the gauntlet being thrown down and will rise to the bait. It’s going to get a lot worse with Wenger before it gets better. That’s if it ever does.

These are strange times at Arsenal right now and everything is guesswork. How the club has got itself into this mess is poor leadership. And sadly, that’s the only way we’re going to get out of it.

’til Tomorrow.

150 thoughts on “Arsène’s Future Farce: No More Heroes

  1. Alex,

    Shhh people won’t believe you.

    Worrying reports say that he is off in the summer because of lack of attacking recruitment.

  2. Alan Smith has spoken:

    “If Arsenal are not sounding out managers at this stage there is something badly wrong, they are not doing their job,” Smith told Sky Sports. “If Wenger said tomorrow ‘right, I’m leaving’ then Arsenal would be left high and dry because they would have to scramble to see who might be out there and who might be available.

    “They have got to sound people out. That would only be natural. Whether that is through a third party or whatever – that happens all the time.”
    “[Massimiliano] Allegri has been mentioned at Juventus and there is [Leonardo] Jardim, the coach at Monaco who has done really well,” Smith added. “It is a plum job. I’ve said this before about Arsenal. They will be scrambling over each other to get into the hot seat. It’s a fantastic job to take.

    “It’s a beautiful stadium in London where a lot of the foreign managers want to come and a lot of the foreign players want to come. I don’t that advantage is being exploited enough at the moment. But as a board they have to be looking at who might be available if Wenger does walk away.”

  3. Who gives a bollocks on who Giroud or any other of the spoilt, gutless little darlings want as manager?

    “Continue the adventure”. Jesus H Christ, does he only watch crappy TV?

  4. If Arsene was leaving he’d tell the club a lot sooner than us peasants and Hacks. He’d never put the club in a position to scramble around on the floor looking for a replacement. If the club are putting the feelers out it could mean he has told the club he is off. He’d keep the board in the loop. Whatever his decision decision the club will know a lot longer than us lemmings.

  5. Giroud wants to continue the adventure…(his childhood adventures must have been disappointing and full of lies)…exactly the sort of wet middle of the road hairgel player far too comfortable with an over indulgent boss and no personal ambition. I couldn’t give a stuff what Giroud wants, i dont want Giroud at Arsenal, he’s jolly lucky we are so tight we didn’t replace him years ago, instead we’ve muddled along promoting his limited ability….i doubt that makes much difference to mr pants down Giroud either. The fact the Giroud wants Wenger to continue is actually a black mark against Wenger for any sane person. Which rules out anyone in power at Arsenal.

  6. YW,

    Spot on YW.

    I can almost forsee the day when robots contest matches (& Arsene blames poor microchips)

  7. YW:

    I think as time goes on, the payment of players from gate receipts becomes less relevant. We’re just coughing up for the admin departments now. TV companies pay for the players these days. We’re nothing to the club. Beyond being an irritant. If Arsenal could play the games behind closed doors, they would.

    And tha means the whole new stadium heroism was a waste of time, energy, and ultimately money. A miscalculated vision and a totally unnesessary long term distraction from the football matters which turned a football club into a property agent. And it attracred a wrong kind of people to the club.

    Somone should say it as it is. Arsenal should have stayed at Highbury. Or how about Arsenal should go back to Highbury to find its roots again?

  8. i remember when ozil signed there was quite a lot of chat about how he had seen the books at arsenal and accepted before signing that they were an ambitious club with money to sign top players. i guess he got bored waiting for us to sign someone to convert his chances and giroud wants to ‘continue the adventure’….no wonder ozil wants to run away.
    what kind of adventure is getting progressively sh1tter year on year and continually losing your best players for the last dozen years without ever replacing them..
    i bet wenger doesnt want to leave…..the next manager is going to show just how bloody average he is.

  9. The other notable sign Wenger is staying is the lowering of the bar again. The “we don’t need top 4 because of TV money” mantra tells us the club and Wenger are preparing for life outside the top 4.

  10. I think the club would be more comfortable and more likely to have Wenger managing, a manager happy with finishing 6th /7th and not demanding money from the club. The relationship is too perfect for both parties. I just can’t see the club rocking the boat by bringing in a truly ambitious manager who would want to win and hence spend profits to achieve his goals.

    Its just going to carry on.

  11. Obviously Wenger would like to win things but there is a huge difference between a manager that wants to win above all else and a manager who will take winning as a side dish.

  12. I don’t think much of Ozil, but if Giroud is your target man, who on earth would you want to stay. Long John Silver had more mobility.

  13. Wenger is never going out on this low after all these years, unless he gets sacked which he won’t. He has been through this shit over and over again, and he doesn’t care what people say.

    I just hope it’s only one year extension and he’s off to the green green pastures.

    Ozil and Sanchez probably will run their contracts. The whole sale starts after next year and the new manager can clean out the garbage collected in last decade or so.

    We are just paying it forward to all the teams we lost to this season……Wink Wink. Next season we will beat them all, Wenger can have his cake and eat it too.

    Until then, we will gripe and gripe……Cause let’s face, nothing else we can do.

  14. C

    I just went and looked at the data. Our win % is 12% lower with Ozil out of the line up this season but our win % is only 3% worse with him out of the line up since he arrived in 2013. The former is meaningless because of the short sample size and the latter is not even statistically significant. From a statistical standpoint the real difference maker has been Cazorla but even that data is not really easy to interpret. We did not lose a single game with Mustafi in the line up until mid January and there was some thought that may be he was going to be the key to our success but now we lose almost every game with him in the line up. A couple of years ago we did not lose a game for almost a calendar year when we started both Kos and Mert and we have a long run of games where we never lost a game when Arteta played the full 90 minutes. Those short samples were nothing more then a statistical anomalies with no real meaning. The fact that our win percentage is almost exactly the same over 4 full years with or without Ozil in the line up has much more significance.

  15. Dukey:
    I think the club would be more comfortable and more likely to have Wenger managing, a manager happy with finishing 6th /7th and not demanding money from the club. The relationship is too perfect for both parties. I just can’t see the club rocking the boat by bringing in a truly ambitious manager who would want to win and hence spend profits to achieve his goals.

    Its just going to carry on.

    Agree with that. Wenger is staying, Sanches is not replaced, a rebuild without a real rebuild, and a few years of midtable mediocricy. Am I missing something?

    Talking about the FA Cups, it was nice, it really was. So it was for Portsmouth and Wigan. The league is the bread and butter of any club. And mind you, nobody without genouine title aspirations will stay forever in the top four. The complacency will eventually catch up

  16. I’d say top four finish chances are outside at best, particularly as we now appear to lack commitment to achieving it.

    As others have noted, Wenger’s tossing the need to qualify for the CL at the presser was shocking. He dismissed the ambition because TV money covered the loss of CL income.

    There has been a pride in finishing top four for all these years. No, it did not suffice for another PL or CL title but it did set a genuine bar to be met. Further it is the exact metric Wenger has used for a decade to justify wider failings.

    Now, overnight, it is of no consequence – we’ll simply draw a new line in the sand. How does any fan of Arsenal condone this?

    As for top four, just one of those games is against a hard charging Everton. If they win, the gap (based on today’s points tallies) they will be three points behind us. I’m not sure our fight will be for top four but top six by the season’s end.

  17. YW,

    What makes you think Wenger can with the Europa League? There is more games to be played, more, ahem, ‘exotic’ places (more travel related fatigue) and the opposition playing there are no West Broms…

    oh wait…

  18. Giroud – ‘continue the adventure’.

    Jesus wept.

    I admitted a while ago I had kept a general faith in the players, believed they held personal ambition until this season. That said, I would never expect anyone currently on the books to come out and openly criticize Wenger- bad politics regarding the career.

    However, I cannot imagine any of the squad does not comprehend where the majority of fans stand regarding Wenger and from that perspective would choose to keep their opinion to themselves.

    If Wenger is detached then so is any player who offers blithe support such as Giroud. I could give a crap whether the emotion is heartfelt – it shows Giroud’s ambition (or any other player who spouts the party line) is non-existent.

    The club needs a complete re-boot.

  19. Suga

    FFS, I’m trying to think of positives in all this shit. I thinkn he could win it; there’s no-one left in the tournament this year that we should be scared of. Well, ok, aside from the fact that we can’t defend.

    Or attack.

  20. YW,

    I feel ya, man. But Wenger is unfortunately a completely busted flush. You know too well I am not a fan, not since the 07/08 season farce and the summer after. This was the moment for him to show mettle and pull the team up after that horrific Eduardo misfortune. But by failing to control the team, he showed weakness and the blood was in the water there and then. Closely followed by dismantling a great team for the sake of pennies, then sprinkled by spending pounds on dross.

    Now that not just a handful of ‘doomers’ knows he is full of shit, this is only going to get worse. If anything, we should finish outside the European places altogether, as we will just not have the squad to play this many games.

  21. It’s amazing how last season can be viewed as a success by the wengerites for Wenger “getting us a runners up finish” . I believe they actually might believe it… Or are they really typing that whilst crying and giving themselves a slap round the face. Who are these people? I’ve yet to meet anyone in real life at football with such unawareness of the game.

  22. DFS – It’s moments like this that brings the talentless suck-arses floating to the top. Giroud knows that if Arsene is replaced, he’ll be tied to a catapult and flung over the city wall.

  23. There really is a straightforward correlation between Dein leaving (with Fiszman terminally ill) and things going south.

    Dein was a visionary, Gazidis is just a suit. I said as much when the latter was appointed. His biggest job in football before AFC was being some sort of commissioner in the MLS, which is nowhere near the level of seriousness of EPL and regulated up to its eyeballs. He is still so out of his depth here it is not even funny. You’d think a top professional would actually learn a thing or two in nearly decade. But oh no, he is still the same slaphead muppet he was.

  24. It’s no ones fault except the big fat stone faced Stan….Every one in the club is keeping the job with his blessing.

    People like Stan look at the General Ledger at the end of the season, we are in the plus…..Good job everybody, let’s keep going as is.

    The man is American, we invented GREED and called it Capitalism. So long as you’re making more money, then fuck all else.

  25. G4E,

    Kroenke demonstrates the wrong kind of greed here. I mean, it may be a sound strategy if one just looks for a steady profit, but he does not get how much potential there is to, well, make some more effin’ money!

    Take catering service for example: do away with cash service, start using meal/drink tokens or prepaid club plastic. I mean, every other festival organised by a bunch of old hippies can do this, why can’t the crack team of greedy US suits?

  26. SUGA3

    I agree, it’s because he doesn’t have a clue that he can make a shit load of damn money if he really cares about the club. He can benefit the club and make more money.

    Like I said a few weeks back, not all too familiar with the US clubs he owns but they all sound mediocre to me.

    So it’s his modus operandi, buy cheap, spend nothing and collect in the long run.

    People like should not be permitted to own football clubs, at least not of Arsenal caliber.

  27. US leagues are a completely different kettle of fish: first of all, there is no such thing as relegation. Secondly, there are wage caps and even if you sit there picking your nose, you will get some good players through draft, just based on the law of averages.

    Also, there is usually just one ‘franchise’ of the same sports discipline in the nearby area. You rarely get more than one major league club in your close vicinity. So, if you happen to like baseball, basketball, ice hockey, football or ‘soccer’, you usually have one club which plays in the league locally. It’s a ‘build it and they will come’ mentality. Unlucky for us, Kroenke does not quite grasp the competition in Europe, particularly football in the UK. You have five London clubs playing in Premier League alone. See where I am going with this?

  28. SUGA3,

    I agree with you about Dein’s vision but you overlook a few points. Like Dein introducing Kroenke to the club, letting his son sell our assets to Barcelona…and making a fortune for his shares.

  29. freddo,

    This is a sad side to this type of debacle – what gets exposed. Ultimately it’s all for the better but still leaves a bad taste in real time.

    I always admired Giroud to a degree – if nothing else because he was supposed to be a secondary striker. I was forgiving of the loss of form, the games where he looked disinterested because he could score those key goals.

    Personally that faith took a hit when he admitted he needed competion for a starting place to keep his motivation. You seriously find it hard, during a limited career earning muti-millions per year to keep focused?

    Then this twaddle of ‘continuing the journey’.

    My bad for placing faith in the wrong direction – obviously people did have serious cause to question Giroud, and I largely dismissed it.

    Worse still, I now look across the squad and believe players such as Walcott (as YW underlined) have not had anywhere near enough demanded from them for years. If Wenger were to announce he is leaving this season, I am sure many of us would chill and trust the incoming manager would assess the team and take things from there.

    But I would suspect many are ‘damaged goods’ at this point and if half were moved on, I would have no issue.

  30. SUGA3,

    Thanks Suga3, very helpful and I unfortunately live in a state that doesn’t have a soccer league in the MLS. So I’m safe from all that 🙂 But your explanation rings true with one team, one sport for every state.

  31. Here is how my dream should go till the end of the season.

    * We will not qualify for the Champions League, fans will be mad but Wenger will sign the 2 years deal anyways.

    * Wenger rights the wrong and wins the Premier League, and we are all ecstatic about the Trophy.

    * Wenger then announces he will break his contract for the first time with Arsenal and retires after next season.


    I see sleeves of white, red shirts too
    I see them play for me and you
    And I think to myself what a wonderful world

  32. Pete,

    Fact of the matter is that all these assets wanted to go to Barcelona to ruin their careers, Dein Jr only happened to be their agent. Also, Dein Sr may have introduced Kroenke to the club, but he did not sell his shares to him, did he? Actually, him selling his stake to Usmanov is the only thing preventing Kroenke from taking the club off the stock exchange, remortgaging the whole thing and other ‘vital’ decisions, which would not do the club any good. Long story short, AU keeps SK honest.

    Finally, Dein was kicked out of the boardroom and was effectively out of position where he could control his investment. And make no mistake, it is him and Fiszman who made this club, not PHW, Sir Chips or Wenger. Wouldn’t you sell? I would.

    This club needs a 20 years younger Dein figure pronto.

  33. We have to all brace ourselves for proper mediocrity now. The club and Wenger are now going to take us through the “we’re not entitled to make top 4 now”. Who fancies a can of tenants super?

  34. It’s all inevitable, wenger is obviously signing on, the noises coming out of the club and the drip drip pr from the press…..”one more year” “giroud continue thee adventure” etc. I think where wenger and the club have massively underestimated things is that obviously nothing will improve in a sporting sense so the atmosphere at the emirates is going to get worse and worse and worse until it becomes completely untenable for him to continue. I do not believe even he is thick skinned enough to put up with boos and abuse every home and away game and that is exactly where this is heading. If he does sign on then he deserves it all, he wont change. It seems almost surreal that top four being a trophy has suddenly become top half is a trophy. What’s next year, relegation will be good for our running costs ? Perhaps the most amazing thing is Stan being pushed around by Wenger, he might be rich but let’s face it everyone is laughing at Stan, the kept man. When are you next coming over for a game Stanley ? Hahahaha.
    Come on cowardly wenger and arsenal announce that extension……or are you just trying to work out how best to deceive your fans….respect is two ways as you are going to find out, can’t wait.

  35. Bufallo,

    They are all utterly clueless, incompetent. It’s almost certainly going to be another two years, we’re getting the same old ‘war chest’ stories that nobody has believed for years, the idea that he can ‘turn the club around’ and all the same old bollocks that they deploy coming up to ST renewal time. Oh, and those that want Wenger out are just a ‘small vocal minority’ apparently. Madness, utter madness.

    I’m old enough to remember the protests against Terry Neill and although we’re a more middle class bunch these days I’m pretty sure things are going to get even worse than that by the time this is over.

  36. I think there’s just no pleasing the Wenger out crowd.
    First they complain about the predictability of Wenger making the CL every year,but when the man tries his best to mix it up and go for the Europa league next season, they complain again.

    They say following Arsenal has become boring , yet there isn’t another club in the world that has been generating more excitement recently.

    Look at Chelsea, comfortably strolling into the title and hardly anyone talking about them. Now that’s what I call fu#king boring.

    Make up your mind people. Arsene Wenger I totally right when he says nothing is good enough anymore.

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