Ex-Arsenal star Charlie Nicholas has backed the fans and their decision to protest against Arsene Wenger and the club, but believes it’s important to do it in a respectful way, as reported by Sky Sports.
Arsenal supporters are growing more and more frustrated with Wenger, and many are calling for his head at the end of this season. Nicholas has always been a supporter of the manager, but he too now thinks it might time for him to step aside.
He is very sympathetic to the fans’ plight, and believes they have every right to protest. He highlighted Liverpool fan’s protest regarding ticket prices as an example of how things should be done though, and suggested Arsenal fans follow suit.
“I believe myself that it is time for Arsene to step aside and I never thought I’d say those words, but I want it done in a way that is done with humility and dignity, if such a thing is possible,” he said.
“However, I wouldn’t have a problem if he stayed, but he has to realise mistakes have been made and solve those problems this summer.
“My opinion is similar to the majority of fans but I find it difficult to be as hard hitting as some of them, but then again they’re paying the big money, more than anyone else in the league, and because of that their influence and opinion carries a greater weight than mine does from the studio.
“Protesting has its place, just as the Liverpool fans did in the correct way with the price increases, but I just hope they do it with a bit of dignity and it doesn’t get angry.
“I just don’t see the need for the silly big banners, ridiculous songs and angry demands. It would be a big shame if there was trouble because of it.”
As much as Arsene Wenger has made mistakes, he’s still given a huge amount to the club. It would be a real shame to see him leave under a cloud, but with the way the fans are viewing him at the moment there’s a real danger of that happening.
The Frenchman has started hitting back at the fans, most recently blaming their lack of support for the team’s struggles at home this season (via The Telegraph). While this is obviously only going to exacerbate the problem, you can also understand that after so much abuse from so many fans, the 66-year-old might be at breaking point.
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It might be in the best interests of the fans, the manager, and the club for Wenger to step down, but only if we can find the right replacement. As Nicholas says, it certainly wouldn’t be the end of the world if Wenger were to stay another season, and most fans who claim it would be are being massively melodramatic. He needs to stop being so stubborn though, and address the issues that are so evident.