There is a march on Sunday before the Villa game organised by WHOAG (Where has our Arsenal gone?). It is aimed at putting across the views of those fans that are disgruntled; be it by the ticket hike, the catering, the broken promises, the team or the manager. Some of the issues are about commerce and an established institution like a football club pays little heed to such criticism. This is not to say the march is a waste of time or anything like that. A substantial turn out must, by definition, have some sort of impact on the faces behind the name at boardroom level; no matter how meagre.
The one face behind the name that will pay no heed however is that of Arsene Wenger. A smattering of voices will not inject Wenger with a feeling of responsibility to change those things that he can control; namely the squad and team that he is charged with managing. He may feel that he has been successful in the last six trophy less seasons by achieving qualification to the Champions League and balancing the books. If those were the only two criteria then yes, he has been a major success.
THE LAST SIX SEASONS STATISTICS
But, and this is what differentiates a football club from ‘just’ a business; Winning things and bringing entertainment to the fans;, the investors if you will, is also a major part of the mission statement.
In this area the manager falls flat. In terms of competing for and winning trophies here are the facts:
Trophies available 24
Trophies won 0
In regard to competing for the league with the best (*Champions during this period) here are the sobering statistics
League Games played against Man Utd*
League Games played against Chelsea*
Let’s not forget also that Arsenal have been knocked out of The Champions League and FA Cup, and beaten in the Carling Cup by our so called domestic competitors on a regular basis over this period.
In terms of competing domestically, the argument about money spent on players by other clubs can be used as mitigation up to a point, but the extent of the disparity in achievement is far too wide for such excuses.
Once you digest these facts the regurgitated statements about belief, mental strength and spirit have truly out stayed their welcome.
Aside from the cold hard facts there are actions that are unexplained and defy logic. From selling proven players that wanted to stay, too early, to not buying proven players who wanted to come. From giving certain players who are not good enough, chance upon chance to buying players from Europe’s minor clubs and leagues. From showing faith in a goalkeeper among the worst in the league, to making nonsensical substitutions. From playing players out of position to allowing players to underperform week in week out.
There is also the question over the wages and length of contracts given to players incapable of winning; a prerequisite of their job you would have thought. Then there is the failure to address the statistic regarding conceding from set pieces; another damning fact.
Therefore the question has to be asked; what other manager in charge of a similar club as Arsenal would be still in a job given the facts presented? This, above all other issues, should be the focus of Sundays post demonstration discussions. We need an answer, but I doubt we will get one any time soon.