Let me put my cards on the table from the start. I am for my sins massively pro Wenger. Does this make me one of the fawning AKB brigade that a small but vocal part of our support detest? Probably.
Before the cup final I was still of the mindset that I would like Wenger to sign his new deal come what may at Wembley. As I’ve got older (I’m now a greying 34 year old) I’ve tried to look at the bigger picture in most things in life, including my love of Arsenal. It was easy in the early days of his reign to love everything about the guy. The quirky glasses, the business degrees but most importantly as a fan the success on the pitch.
Little did I know standing in the Cardiff rain 9 years ago that it would be a long time until we tasted further success. Along came our new home and with it came financial restrictions on the boss that would have seen a lot of bigger names and egos fail.
Critics would say its easy to be loyal on £5-7 million a year (depending on which rag you read), but I feel this doesn’t do Wenger credit. The playing field has moved from Highbury to Ashburton but the playing field in the premiership has also moved.
New found wealth of firstly Chelsea and lately Manchester City alongside the massive debts accrued by United means playing things by the book has put us up against it. If you take your heart out of this (difficult when it comes to football) and look it logically we should be 4th at best every season.
To keep the run going of Champions League football while overseeing the stadium move is an achievement that I don’t think gets enough credit. Certainly in the English media, where they bang on about fair play yet bash Wenger and his lack of trophies at the same time.
Now the wait is over what constitutes a good season?
Will fourth place and the FA cup next season be seen as a failure? In my view I’d like to see us push hard for the league and do well in the cups. He needs to eradicate these heavy losses to our main rivals that blighted the last year or two. Also the Champions League bar passing the group stages has proved to be a disappointment in recent years. I can see a real challenge mounted on that front this year.
Let me leave you with a thought I pass onto the anti Wenger brigade when discussing his reign…..
If one person was to leave the club tomorrow (Manager/owner etc) we’d still have a club in good health.
Can they say that so easily at Old Trafford, Stamford Bridge or the Etihad?