Football 11/12: Gunner Loyalty

There is very little to be said for a team strategy that consists of selling your best players, not replacing them, then leaving your untested youngsters out to dry against the league champions.

The utter demolition job of Arsenal by Manchester United is a game I take great glee from as well as a measure of pity. Arsenal just were not in that game with the bare exception of 10 minutes split between either side of half time.

This brings me onto manager loyalty in football. In the nearly two decades I have been following football, I’ve seen hu8ndreds of managers come and go. What does it?

Simply out, a manager must have goals for his team, goals he must outline to his bosses and fans alike. It is the manager’s job to make sure that these goals are attainable in a timeframe that he can lay out. These goals will change depending on the level of the club, the resources available, the league, the opposition.

But if those goals are not met, then something has to change.

Arsenal, little less than a decade ago, were one of only two teams worth talking about in the EPL. They won multiple leagues, FA Cups, they were Champions League finalists.

Arsenal today, are looking into an abyss. The transfer deadline grows closer, and the team is in 17th.

Wenger has consistently preached a story of youth players being brought up, of well scouted buys, of the team growing together to achieve success. He has been saying this, and a large majority of Arsenal fans have been repeating this mantra, for over six years at this point.

Arsenal, a top four team apparently, have won nothing in that time. They are currently playing their worst football in that time period. They have yet to finish a game this season with 11 men on the pitch, and the team they once went neck and neck with for over seven years just trounced them in the most appallingly pitiable manner.

Wenger has had his team, his strategy for long term growth. He has had money to spend, he has had the good youth players. He has had his chance for the last six years.

Wenger’s era, one that Arsenal can look back on as one of its best, has got to end. The club has gone as far as it can with him in charge, and he looks increasingly out of control at the helm. Let someone else have a go. Six years is too long to go empty handed for a club like Arsenal.

The loyalty is still there, but I see it slipping, much like it slipped for Benitez at Liverpool. Arsenal have showing tremendous, even admirable, patience with Wenger, but it truly misplaced at this point. The two Manchester clubs, Chelsea, Liverpool, even Spurs are leaving them behind.

This is not a case of “It is all your fault Mr Wenger, so you’re sacked”. It is a case of “It isn’t working, so change is required.” Loyalty, and patience, must have its limits.

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