ARSENE WENGER – THE PRIDE BEFORE THE FALL?… By SN
A phrase taken from the Bible itself, and so it holds true for all. Throughout history we have seen the arrogance and pompous pride of dictators brought to a crashing low. While this is fact, the question then to be asked is, “Is Arsene Wenger a proud man?”
The man steering our beloved ship certainly stirs up mixed emotions among the fans; some love him, some despise him, and some are just too confused by his actions to even know what to think of him. I find myself being the latter which makes it all the more difficult to write this piece, yet I shall try…
I’ve found the easiest clue when seeking out pride is in the use of the word “I”, the emphasis on self. And the twin of pride, arrogance, is indicated by a lack of consideration of how something affects others, because once again, it’s all about self. Arsene does claim to care about how the fans feel, but I’m sure we all can agree that actions speak louder than words.
While I do understand that you cannot please everyone, and you cannot run a club trying to satisfy every (sometimes unrealistic) demand of fans, it almost comes across like Arsene doesn’t give a flying monkey about what anyone thinks. I say this because from all other managers in the EPL he is the most elusive about the inner workings of the club, and I’m not talking about transfers only. Again, I understand the need to be professional and that you can’t share sensitive information, but even with the simplest of questions from the media, he just shrugs it off. It comes across as if nothing that happens within the club is our business, and who are we that he should tell us.
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I’m not sure if he realizes that the media/press is the way in which information travels between the fans and the club, and vice versa. I mean, it’s not like I’ve got Arsene on Facebook and I can message him anytime I want to know something? So the only way we get information is through the press. Now in times past, he was at least more professional in his answers and found a polite way to say “piss off, I’m in charge and not you”, but recently his outbursts during press conference have been nothing short of insulting to the fans. Does he realize that when he answers the press he is actually speaking directly to us? When asked about Arsenal’s defensive issues 2 seasons ago, he lashed out “I’ve been coaching at the top level for 30yrs, I don’t need to answer these types of questions”. When asked recently about transfers he said “I don’t have to explain everything I do”. Does that sound like arrogance? I’ll let you answer that.
If you were having a face-to-face chat with Arsene and he replied to you in that way, how would you feel? After all, the questions the media are asking him at press conferences are the question we’re asking also, not true? Let me pause for a minute and say that I know this does not speak for every Arsenal fan. I say this because a certain blogger (who I shall not name) who happens to be a member of the AST was very upset that the AST wrote in their letter to the board that they don’t feel it’s appropriate to offer Wenger a new contract at this time. This person was upset that he was not consulted because, as a pro-Wenger blogger, he did not support that view. So I do realize that my article does not speak for everyone’s opinion, and let me also reiterate that I am neither pro, nor anti-Wenger, I’m pro-Arsenal. Therefore I support whatever/whoever I feel is good for the club, and likewise I will reject whatever/whoever I feel is not good for Arsenal. Let everyone be entitled to their opinion of what/who they think is good or bad for their club.
So yes, I find his remarks very offensive indeed, and when I hear these things during the press conferences I am insulted as a supporter. I feel like saying, “Yes Arsene, it IS our bloody business because WE are Arsenal, including you but not JUST you”.
I’ve listened to comments from Sir Alex and Mourinho as well, and I noticed how open and honest they are with their fans. Now these are managers who have won allot more trophies than Wenger, so they would be a little more justified in telling their fans “Look, I can’t explain myself to you. I’ve always brought you success so just trust me”. I really believe that if Arsene was just a bit more transparent with the loyal fans who stuck with him all these years, there would be far less booing going on at the Emirates.
He says the perceptions of him are not true, but perceptions are only formed because he doesn’t let anyone know what he’s doing. I read a quote somewhere last year (I cannot find the source for you) and Peter-Hill Wood responded to the fans criticism by saying “Arsenal is our club and we will run it our way, as we feel it’s best”. Combine that with Arsene’s statements about how he doesn’t need to explain himself to us, and it sounds like a whole lot of pride and arrogance from the entire upper management.
In some ways it feels like Arsenal is Wenger’s pet project and he will just do what he wants with it, screw what everyone else thinks. MY youth policy hasn’t worked, so what, I’ll keep doing it and I don’t care what YOU think. No, I don’t think player’s are worth that much so I’m not buying them – I’M the manager and I say what transfers get done, so deal with it. Yeah I haven’t won anything for 8yrs, so what, I still make top 4 and that’s an achievement to ME.
I’m not saying that’s how he really feels but that’s the perception that’s out there. Perceptions don’t get formed out of thin air; someone has to say something or act in a certain way for perceptions to be formed. I don’t think the millions of Arsenal fans got up one day and just decided collectively to question the club’s longest serving manager? Where did these perceptions come from, if not Arsene himself? So if he’s under pressure now, it’s of his own making.
I used to manage health clubs for various chains in different countries, and I was quite successful at my job. I found that health club members are the biggest moaners under the sun! They complain about every stupid thing, like the quality of toilet paper in the change rooms (no I’m not joking). I used to think, “Who gives a sh*t what you wipe your sh*t with, I’ve got more important things to deal with!”, and yet, I had to listen to every one of their concerns because I was there to serve them. I got paid to serve them (Arsene gets paid 7.5m a year to serve us). They were my members and without them I would be out of a job. If I EVER told a member “I don’t need to explain to you every decision I make”, I would be lucky if I had a job the next day. Perhaps it’s because of my experience as a General Manager that I find Arsene’s attitude towards the fans so offensive, so I wouldn’t expect all of you to be as offended as I am. Still, you must agree that Arsene should be accountable to us in some way?
At the beginning I said that an indication of pride/arrogance is a lack of concern for how something affects others, because pride is all about self. So my fellow Gooners, from what you have seen and heard from Arsene so far, do you feel he really cares about how his actions and words affect us?
Let me know your thoughts…
PS: I’d love to exchange views with all of you, so please tick the box to be notified of replies and follow-up comments so that we can chat. At allArsenal.com we welcome all opinions, as long as we speak to each other with respect J