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It’s no great secret that since his arrival in North London, Arsene Wenger has been targeted by the media, as the enemy of the Premier League, a foreigner no less, who came into our country and declared a one-man Révolution against the British game.

Origins of the Feud

With a comprehensive philosophy which encompassed every aspect of running a football club, from player’s diets and discipline to a unique style of play and overseas scouting networks, Wenger was changing the face of English football.

And as you will find in almost any institution, business or walk of life; we tend to fear that which we do not understand, and resist change which threatens ‘the way things were’.

And so, the newspaper editors, journalists and pundits emerged from their houses, pitchforks at the ready and torches alight, waving the flag of 1966, intent on protecting the sanctity of the game which we gave to the world.

Wenger had turned his back on the plethora of talent on our own shores and began to assemble a squad, in his own image; foreign players, full of flair, speed, intelligence and guile, who would eventually justify Wenger’s whole philosophy, by lifting a golden Premier League trophy as ‘The Invincibles’ would go the whole season unbeaten.

Quick Draw Arsene

Wenger was a step ahead of the game, conscious of a gifted group of young footballers coming through the youth ranks in France, and ready to take full advantage of the shortcomings of English football, to pride technical skill over brute size and strength.

And the only danger with being a step ahead of the game is that, if you don’t keep evolving and progressing, eventually, everyone else is going to catch up.

Owners, managers and coaches were desperate to get their hands on Wenger’s ‘blueprint’ and set about adapting it to suit their own teams. Some tried to replicate the formula and some even tried to develop the antidote.

If the likes of Cantona, Kanchelskis and Schmeichel had breached the Premier League defences, then Wenger’s success had blown the floodgates wide open, for there was a dramatic influx of foreign talent, as players and managers were looked to, to recreate Arsenal’s recipe for success.

This undoubtedly contributed to the rise in the global popularity of the Premier league and is something Wenger should be praised for.

The level of competition within the league itself has risen as a direct result of the Arsenal boss showing how teams without bags of money can level the playing field, through strong youth systems and by ensuring that all players are in peak physical condition.

But instead of being held up as a shining example for the rest of the game to follow, he is mocked and singled out by the press. As if being the last sane person in the asylum (which is run by the patients) is a bad thing.

Foresight

While I am not accusing Wenger of slowing down altogether over the last decade, I would concede that his attention turned from the immediate present to sustaining the future of his beloved Arsenal; and with that, some sacrifices had to be made.

The club were tied to decade-long sponsorship deals which diminished in value but were necessary in order to sanction the construction of a new 60,000 seater state-of-the-art stadium.

The £300M debt incurred by the construction of the Emirates, restricted Wenger’s power in the transfer market substantially, and now that everyone had either a strong scouting network or a billionaire investor, it became almost much more difficult to compete.

And still, Wenger refused to abandon his principles and endanger the long-term future of the club, in return for immediate success; and with these limited resources, the boss has still managed to secure champions league football year after year.

Media Stand-off

It is truly a remarkable achievement for a club going through such a drastic transition… unless of course, you tend to pick up a newspaper from time to time, follow twitter religiously or find yourself glued to Sky Sports News each day.

The media have enjoyed their revenge.

Wenger has been painted as a miserly, whinging old man, whose ‘outdated’ views are incompatible with the beautiful game in its modern form.

He does indeed refuse to pay the over-inflated prices for top quality players and would, by his own admission, rather help to create a superstar than just buy a ready-made one.

He is remarkably patient, in a game that has become increasingly desperate for immediate results, and would rather balance the books, than turn to a billionaire investor to cover the losses.

He may even be naïve to believe that the modern-day superstar (even those who he created, moulded and protected) will remain loyal to him when Barcelona, City, United and Madrid try to lure them away with promises of silverware and even more riches.

And perhaps his commitment to one team for 17years without continued success is something so alien in modern football that we can simply no longer comprehend it.

But look at what exactly, the media are trying to condemn; loyalty, virtue, spending within your means, sacrificing now to avoid the club and its fans paying the ultimate price later?

Re-Adjusting their Aim

The press have always had an agenda when it comes to the greatest manager in Arsenal’s illustrious history.

But this doesn’t, nor has it ever fazed the great man. He remains comically unmoved by their criticism and continues to toy with the journalists in press conferences for his and our own amusement.

…And so the media shifted their focus; away from the manager himself, and towards the fans.

They now claim to speak on our behalf; telling us how we should feel about the fact that we haven’t won a trophy in 8 years and pouring poison in our ears.

If there is one thing that can certainly get under Wenger’s skin and upset him, I promise you, it’s the fans and their opinion of him.

And what’s worse; were beginning to listen to them…

They parade Arsenal legends such as Tony Adams, Paul Merson and Ian Wright on our television screens and on our back pages, three players who owe the highlights of their careers to Wenger, and pay them enough to smear his name (and with three brain cells between them, who can really blame them).

We lose to Villa on the first day of the season and they ask you: “Surely now he has to go?”

But when Cardiff turns City over (without the help of two penalties and a red card) it was just Cardiff’s day wasn’t it?

The Rumblings of Civil War

There is no denying that a split between those who still support Wenger, and those who have lost both patience and faith in him, has become increasingly more obvious.

And this article, though I fear it is obvious which side of the fence I’m on, is not a desperate attempt to ease the tension or draw some of you lost souls back towards the light, or even to provoke a reaction.

I mean, rather simply, to invite you to put down the newspapers, unfollow Piers Morgan on Twitter, and really evaluate all the ‘terrible’ things that Arsene Wenger has done to our club.

Yes, he is stubborn; stubborn in that he will not sacrifice the principles that our club is built upon and he feels he has a responsibility to uphold.

Yes, he is also a control-freak; but what would a manager who has experienced so much success in terms of trophies, Champions League experience, buying and selling players, creating superstars and a Masters in Economics know about running a football club?

Yes, we haven’t won a trophy for 8 years; but we have maintained champions league football during a massive transition period, one which many clubs will have to go through in the future. Chelsea were waiting 50 years to win the title in 2005, Man Utd had been waiting for a quarter of a century when Sir Alex Ferguson won his first league title in 1993 and Spurs… as if I need to say any more on that.

Brothers In Arms

With all the battle’s that Arsene Wenger is constantly fighting, he can ill-afford a mutiny from within the club or a civil war amongst its fans. We support Arsenal FC, through thick and thin, and our manager, after all he has given us, needs our support and has earned our patience… don’t let anyone convince you of otherwise.

“The media’s power is frail, without the people’s support”.

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Comments  

0 #21 Paul 2013-09-18 08:57
This is Arsene Wenger's Red Army. Özil aside, the massive clearout of 'dead wood' was the best bit of action Arsene made in the summer. Though we are now too light, we are a tighter unit than ever and with two or thee more ' top top' signings will see us in terrifying form. Our man is brilliant.
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0 #20 Adonis - The Author 2013-09-03 12:42
Quoting Andreas:
I cannot accept the simplicity of saying 'ok we have not won any trophies, so what'.Football is about winning trophies and football is about scoring goals.You cannot manage a club with millions of fans all over the world and exercise your stubborness and eccentricity without winning trophies.As long as you are succesful you can be as eccentric and stubborn as you want and nobody will complain.Maybe Ozil is a good player but he will not solve Arsenal's problems.Which top class players will solve the problems of the defense and of scoring?


Just so I can be extra clear, I wasnt saying that its ok that we havent won any trophies for 8 years. I was saying that 8 years isnt long enough to justify the sort of animosity Wenger faces from the media and a growing section of the supporters.

Also I would be careful not to underestimate the knock-on effect of signing a player like Ozil. It is a serious statement of intent from Arsenal and to say this guy is just 'good' is simply blasphemous lol
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-7 #19 Andreas 2013-09-03 07:48
I cannot accept the simplicity of saying 'ok we have not won any trophies, so what'.Football is about winning trophies and football is about scoring goals.You cannot manage a club with millions of fans all over the world and exercise your stubborness and eccentricity without winning trophies.As long as you are succesful you can be as eccentric and stubborn as you want and nobody will complain.Maybe Ozil is a good player but he will not solve Arsenal's problems.Which top class players will solve the problems of the defense and of scoring?
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+1 #18 Leelively 2013-09-03 00:48
think Wenger read my comment lol comment no5 ..he he ,,he did exactly what i said was needed if we add a world class player every year ...soon we can enjoy the season to the wire every year ..bang on wenger !!!!
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+6 #17 Denzie 2013-09-02 23:25
Well written 100% agree with you. Lets hope everyone gets behind EVERYBODY wearing an Arsenal shirt and that includes Bendtner!!! Who knows the new signing might encourage him to pull his socks up!
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+11 #16 Pony Eye 2013-09-02 18:50
People are just incapable of seeing the larger picture,as they are blinded by the pains of loss and the fears of the future. In other words, people are incapable of objectively managing their pains and their fears. Your article is a masterpiece but don't expect to turn hardened hearts. Remember the mob must shout "crucify him, crucify him!" while the blessed will give a helping hand in carrying the cross on the way to Calvary. It is the cosmic drama.
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+1 #15 sulaiman bakori 2013-09-01 20:53
Without injury arsenal team is OK. I think the only thing the team is lacking is finishing outside 18 box. Wenger try that and see on three matches..tnx.
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+11 #14 Demostines 2013-09-01 19:26
"If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:"
There is very little in this poem I wouldn't attribute to Wenger. He is a better man than me. Class is Permanent :D
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+7 #13 Macgooner56 2013-08-31 23:06
This article Gunning for Wenger is a great piece of writing.the author should be proud of it.you dont have to agree with it( though id find it difficult to disagree with it). If its time for arsene to leave lets do it with respect and pride,though i fear the cancerous presence of Kroenke and Gazidis will ultimately tarnish Wengers legacy. I am firmly behind Usmanov & Dein gainin control of the club.
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-7 #12 The BearMan 2013-08-31 21:09
Some people seem to have forgotten our great coach for six seasons fielded the team with a hole in defence and could not find it much less plug it.

If finishing 4th meant you win the Premiership, I would agree with the author of this article. But I feel Arsenal can do much better than that. The truth is Wenger needs HELP and should be more humble to buy into the services on some of "the legends" to make Arsenal great again. In every other field of Pro sport that is what is done.
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-8 #11 nico 2013-08-31 20:37
The fact is Wenger has alienated many fans by playing with our hearts. Too many fundamental footballing mistakes, too many false promises. He has lost touch with the fans and has shown us no respect. The weak minded naive fans get fooled by his political mind games. Yes he is a good coach but he has proved to be a bad manager. David Dein and our former legends which he inherited were a huge part of the basis of his success. The board need to take away some of his powers and let him concenrtate on what he is good at.
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+5 #10 Effizee 2013-08-31 20:07
Very fair and thoughtfully written article. Arsene made me love Arsenal. He can be stubborn and dither when it comes to transfer business but deep down I feel he's still the man for the job. TBH though being a fan can be frustrating at times and we all can't deny that. Gunner forever...
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-3 #9 The BearMan 2013-08-31 19:57
Do you know it is by fans revolt, Wenger is kept on his toes. He had already lined up two other players on free transfer, but knew he would have had a job trying to pass them off as quality player as he did with Squallaci
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+9 #8 mark222 2013-08-31 18:30
Wenger has been a rock when this Arsenal ship almost sank,he is a true leader and get it wrong at times as well,but only hm(AW) can correct it.I cannot think of any great manager who would put up with limited funds,greedy board members,abusive chants when the team loose.surely this article was written by a great master who understand just what it takes to manage a team like AFC.Great piece mate
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+9 #7 Raz 2013-08-31 17:34
My thoughts exactly, its sad to see players such as the above mentioned speak ill of the greatest manager in our history. There seems to be no voice of reason. Jack Wilshere even claimed that without Wenger he may look elsewhere, he supports the manager we as the fans should also. Everytime I think about the bad things that have happened, losses, decisions etc I remember how happy I was to watch the club, the players, style of football that were all enjoyed through and under Arsene Wenger the man who made me Love this club.
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-5 #6 The BearMan 2013-08-31 17:25
The only problem with this article is that it suggests Arsenal fans lack an understanding of the beautiful game and they so not have a mind of their own.

But I would suggest if it were not for the foresighted fans, Wenger would get away with bringing French players coming to Arsenal simply to top up their pension pots.

Why did Nasri, Cesc, RvP and others leave Arsenal, was it simply money or because they felt they could never fulfil their true potential and ambitions.
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+4 #5 Leelively 2013-08-31 17:22
FAIR and even balanced point of view but i would ask u to consider that the most successful companies, organisations and anyone that is successful will deviate from their original business plan or die ,,that's just how it is ,u make a blueprint/plan but without the wisdom to change it with the times can be the end of it ,like all things in this world we evolve and change..Wenger i admire greatly and feel he is on the majority correct, however a combination of his policys and man utds years ago would help us greatly ,,wen i say man utd, the seasons where they said whos best defender , rio buy him , next season whos best etc, rooney , persie , etc ..we have amazing players , but to win the league ,shouldnt any manager who spends a hundred million be judged for his spending but in the same breath a manager who has that and doesn't spend also has to be held accountable if they fail, thats why they are paid so much ,,,lets not do a banker and pay bonus for bad performance ..u spend and fail ur sacked , u dont spend through ur choice and fail ...my personal feeling is ur sacked ..arsenal is bigger than wenger , and u dont stick to not winning through fear of change .
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+2 #4 richard morgan 2013-08-31 17:22
A well written piece and though some of it make's you sound like a Wenger apologist it is well written and there are many anti wenger writers out there too. I probabbly sit in the pro Wenger camp because i have seen the ride Wenger gets from the press. Utd have yet to spend but I haven't seen any article saying that he is not up to the job of leading utd. pellegrini spent millions and has struggled for points against two clubs new to the premmiership. mourinho well he is something different. yet Wenger gets vilified for not spending even though he has tried if unsuccessfully to strengthem the squad
Had we not got any injuries I feel we probably had enough talent to see us to the january window, however injuries have hit and we need to buy now rather than later. Wenger does have some weaknesses and they are plain to see but he also has some very good strengths.like his ability with the worst arsenal team ever according to some still making cl football.
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+15 #3 Rpw567 2013-08-31 17:19
Brilliant article. I couldn't have put it better myself.
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+7 #2 Martin 2013-08-31 17:00
Excellent article - and about time too that a balanced picture was painted. Crisis - what crisis? Just wait and see what happens if AW was - -wrongly - dismissed. The worlds best clubs would bend over backwards to grab him and we would end up with a second rater. Maybe that is what some want. Me - not a chance. In Arsene - i trust. Ok we havent won a trophy. So what - we have no divine right to one but we do have a fantastic and well run club that I am pleased to support.And the trophies will be back, i have no doubt. just a matter of time
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+4 #1 RedandDread 2013-08-31 16:45
Keep it coming Bro. I'm on track with this 100%. Glad to have a well reasoned article that's not only not ain't "bashing" our manager but putting foward valid points that many fans have glossed over and taken for granted.

The sheep are following the wrong shepherd but they don't see it.......To think they believe all the BS from the media and don't want to believe the manager. I know who I'd trust-and it ain't the Sun.
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