Saturday, April 19, 2014

Why Wenger Should Continue At Arsenal Next Season

Football is a sport of the present. No player or manager can rest on past laurels to please an unforgiving fan base. Football fans harbor frustrations which are only alleviated by a consistent trophy flow. By these standards, Arsenal fans have been very patient with Arsene Wenger. Coming May, they will celebrate their 10th anniversary of the beginning of an unexpected trophy drought. No football fan in the world would have predicted Arsenal to go 10 years without success following their invincible season of 2003-04. But football and fate have a funny way of coming together to prove any logical assumption wrong. 

After a decade of close finishes and some excruciatingly painful losses, Arsenal stand on the cusp of FA cup success. But the frustration of the gooners seems to have reached tipping point. There is sound reason in this anger. Arsenal began the season very strong and looked serious title contenders up till the 25-match mark in the season. Fans all over believed that having the most experienced manager in the league in their dugout was finally bearing fruit. But then Arsenal seems to have given it away with some huge losses against fellow title rivals. A string of poor performances coupled with ill-timed injuries saw Arsenal exit the Champions League and slip to fourth spot in the Premier league. 

The FA cup final in May seems to be a chance at redemption for Arsene Wenger. But few fans seem to think it is enough. The fury of being woken up early while they were still dreaming of the Premier league trophy until the mid-point of the season seems to be lingering in the stands at Emirates. Fans believe they were promised the Premier league but are having to settle for the FA cup instead. The resulting demands of ‘Wenger OUT’ certainly seem to be misplaced. If only they took a step back, they would realize that the Frenchman has incorporated consistency and efficiency which would make any team reel with envy. 

Trophies are not the only tool of measurement to ascertain managerial capability. Champions league qualification for a decade and a half, supremacy in domestic competitions, historic victories against European giants and a phenomenal youth program remain the highlights of his tenure between 2004 and 2014, not to mention the 3 Premier league titles, 4 FA cups and the 4 Community shields he amassed between 1996-2004. Prior to the signing of Mesut Ozil, Arsenal spent £9million to assemble a squad which challenged fellow top domestic and European contenders who were splashing hundreds of millions of dollars to further their ambitions. The past decade also saw the Gunners move into a new stadium and eradicate the debt which was burdening the coffers at the Emirates stadium. Looking at the debt-ridden fortunes of fellow clubs, Gooners should be grateful. 

Finances are important for club management but the average passionate football fan cares more about trophies and immediate success. Even though other clubs in England seem to be on their way up, let not their successes deceive you. Chelsea and Manchester City pumped hundreds of millions of dollars knowing that their existent quality of football was worthy of relegation. Wenger has money to bring in great players from around Europe but he has more faith in the youth establishment of the club. His faith has almost always reaped rewards. Liverpool had to endure the chaos of managerial exodus periodically and finally seem to have got the right mix after 24 years of domestic starvation. That leaves us with Manchester United, Arsenal’s only worthy rivals in terms history and philosophy. The Red Devils are clearly suffering from the symptoms of transition, having realistically lost out on their chance to feature in the Champions League next season. Arsenal has a shot at the FA cup. Arsenal have their money safely locked up, Arsenal have youth coming through the ranks to perform consistently in the biggest of European stages. Arsenal has managerial experience on their side. Last and not the least, Arsenal have Champions League football. 

With Wenger’s contract expiring at the end of the season, Gooners should hope he decides to extend it. As the famous saying goes - If it ain't broke, don’t fix it. 

Written by Vidur Kalive.
Follow on Twitter: @vidurkalive


  1. Eloquently Written sir.
    You echo my sentiments entirely. I have been banging the same drum in the faces of some "negative" Arsenal fans.
    I would like to add something further to your article but you have covered it exactly as I see it.
    Nice to see a mature factual article.

    1. Thank you so much.
      It was just not fair to see the most experienced manager at the moment receive so much of unjustified criticism