Wenger Out: A Cautionary Tale

Arsenal fans have become accustomed to these sort of headlines in recent months and weeks, with even some of Wenger’s loyalist supporters beginning to doubt themselves and the great man himself:


“Wenger will see out his deal but only a trophy may keep him at Arsenal.”


“Arsene Wenger might not see out his contract at Arsenal,” says Jeff Stelling


“Wenger must go, says former Arsenal star.”


“Wenger: Future is out of my hands.”

A support base divided but is this a foolhardy suggestion?



Today I am delighted to welcome back top Liverpool FC blogger, Karl Koppack, @TheCenci to give us Gooners what I hope will be a very enlightening  perspective. A perspective on the current divide in our support base when it comes to the future of our current manager and the length of his tenure. Karl over to you……

This isn’t going to be popular.

See, I’m not an Arsenal fan. I Never have been. I admire Arsenal, yes. I’ve had some dealings with the club and found them to be dedicated and easy going people who were anxious to help me. I’ve been to the Emirates more than a few times and been beaten. I’ve admired your ground. I’ve admired your pies. I like your comfy seats. I’ve stood on your pitch (long story) and I’ve liked Highbury. In fact, I’ve always found Arsenal to be top of my Least Irritating London Club award but I’m not an Arsenal fan. I’m a Liverpool fan. Sorry but that’s the way it is.

So why am I tugging your shirt tonight? What could I offer you other than a possible anti-Manchester and Tottenham empathy? Well, it’s your manager.

I follow a few Gooners on Twitter and know many more in the real world including one named after Sammy Nelson (in fact I sort of know Sammy Nelson. Long story) and have had to read Piers Morgan’s constant diatribes about dismissing Wenger thanks to an average start to the season, the odd embarrassing result and a few barren years. I’ve seen his views echoed in some quarters too and despite thinking that anyone that agrees with Piers Morgan should be the subject of some sort of investigation, this Sack Wenger movement is gaining some momentum.

My advice is this.


Seriously. Don’t!

Not because of a loyalty to the man, although that’s always welcome for a man who’s served you well, but because you don’t know what’s coming next.

I speak from experience. In 2009 Rafa Benitez confounded his ignoramus bosses and guided Liverpool to second in the League and was a John Arne Riise mindmelt into taking us to his third European Cup final in five seasons. We were on the up. In March we put four past Real Madrid and Man Utd in the same week. Torres and Gerrard were magnificent. Mascherano and Alonso were the envy of many and our defence was staunch. Shout ‘Rafa out’ back then and you’d be shown the door with some speed via some quality Adidas footwear.

Fast forward twelve months later and things had changed. We finished 7th and were out of both Cup competitions in a matter of days (thanks for that). Europe fell by the wayside too as we failed to get out of an average group. The football was dire. Our home win against Debrecen was one of the worst games I’ve ever seen. I wrote at the time that we took the sting out of the game and kept it there. When Dirk Kuyt scored the winner many laughed. Bloody awful!

Sacking Rafa was in hindsight an awful decision

Rafa was dismissed despite an unbelievable Champions League victory, an FA Cup, a League Cup final and another Champions League final. One bad season. Sacked. We’ve paid for that ever since. Last season we finished eighth. For some an eighth place finish this season would be a sign of progress. At the moment we’re trying to buy back a kid we released in the summer at a loss of £3.75m and he may be our only purchase in January. We had to ensure Rafa went to Chelsea just so we could over-pay for Daniel Sturridge. Suffice to say, the definition of success has changed.

I’ve always liked Wenger. I like that he got under Ferguson’s skin and I like that he’s produced some of the best football teams in the last twenty years. I was at Highbury when Henry played us off the park in 2004 and it was one of those games where you just have to admire what’s beaten you. I’ve liked his signings of players I’ve never heard of but made them Premiership mainstays. Yes, he’s bought the odd turkey (Gervinho, Chamakh etc) but he’s also had to sell some great players. These things take time but you have a manager who can at least entertain a crowd. Yes, Bradford was embarrassing but you can still batter teams when the mood’s upon you. Our biggest League victory is 5-2 but save for that our biggest lead has been 2-0. We ended up drawing. (NB. written before Fulham match.)

Should Wenger go you’re going to have to rely on money men picking a replacement as we did in 2010 and 2012 and it’s a slippery slope of interim managers if you don’t get it right very quickly. We’ve had Rafa, Hodgson, Kenny and now Rodgers since the money men stepped in. Four managers since 2010. Four managers pre Rafa would take you as far back as Dalglish in 1985. Managerial longevity does work so don’t risk it over a League you couldn’t possibly afford or the odd lost trophy. Bradford cost you your easiest chance at silverware. Winning it last year didn’t help our manager save his job.

Vieira’s penalty in the 2005 Cup Final does seem like a long time ago but it’s easier to fall away as we did than climb dizzying heights with a new manager, a new backroom staff and a new philosophy. Our greatest ever manager once went seven years without a trophy too. We had faith in him and he built a legacy.

I’d have the man in the Duvet coat in the LFC dugout in a heartbeat

So be careful what you wish for and give the man in the duvet coat time to get it right. There’s no one better around at the moment. I’d have him in our dugout in a heartbeat.

Thanks again Karl for bring an intelligent outside perspective to ‘1nildown2oneup. ‘ Food for thought for my Gooner readership.


Until next time thanks for reading.

Like what you read? Agree/disagree? Leave a comment below or follow me or comment on this blog on Twitter – http://twitter.com/goonerdave66


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  1. Pingback: Arsenal News
  2. Great post and great outside perspective… if only the ones on the inside had as much sense and appreciation of what they have and how good they have it

  3. Great one Karl, I hope it acts as a timely reminder for all those anti-wengers about the ability of man in the duvet coat and what might happen if we lose him. Old tiger is always preferred to young jackle.
    Thanks Dave

    1. why do some Arsenal fans think we are the only club in the whole world which could never find another manager ? We will have to one day.

      1. Bse no one is better than the wenger at the moment, u will gadiola, bt consider the Arsenal squad and Of Gadiola in his time at Barca?? and wat if he say no as he has Chelsea& Man U

  4. Great post !!! Exactly what I think of the current situation and how I point at Liverpool’s situation when someone calls for a manager change.. I hope and pray Wenger stays and guides us to the glory days back again..

  5. But i have also looked at chelsea changed 8 managers in seven or eight years and hav won not less than 12 trophies
    i think a change is needed
    doing the same thing over and over for seven years will not bring a different result

    1. Sorry but you are also overlooking the 1.2 billion pounds they have spent on tranfers and wages since then…thats 100million pounds per trophy…You think we’ll spend that kind of money if someone else comes in?

  6. I’m afraid that your cautionary tale has come to the wrong conclusion. The moral of the story is not refrain from sacking the underachieving manager, it’s don’t pick a turkey of a replacement.

    After all, were you calling for Houllier’s re-instatement after Rafa won the Champions League? We’re you calling for Roy Evans’s return when you won the treble? Perhaps Arsenal should have persisted with Bruce Rioch rather than bring in Wenger?

  7. Why can’t we all think like Karl??? Read blog by Tot. Fan saying the same.Some of us gooners are nobs!!!

  8. Apparently a wenger like to signe French players?I think is pathetic hypocrite and nonsense,if he realy like to signe a French players he shouldn’t bring a average players like he always did,there is loads of good French players to match arsenal team,the lack of ribery-benzema-Ben arfa ect…why always sale the team best players especially to your rivales and inspect your team to win a trophy?is time to mouve on we need a top class players dnt tell me there is no money in,we can afford any player we like,but the question is would top player like to comme to a team that don’t win a troph???

    1. Ribery earns €200,000 a week, and Benzema will also be on a wage that is unaffordable for Arsenal. Practice your English somewhere else please.

      1. Any reason to be quite so obnoxious and condescending? Surely you can put across an opposing view without being so abrupt and rude?

  9. Something tells me that he is not the only supporter of other clubs that has the same perspective. Well written & excellent read. Cheers mate!

  10. Interesting perspective and a thought provoking article. Good stuff!

    I’ll confess I am a Wenger-out member though I refuse to slag the man off out of respect for what he has done. I personally think the club has gone stale and needs a change, ideally it would be the board but that’s unlikely and we’ve tried changing players (not that we wanted to in most cases). Only the manager has remained constant.

    I’d love nothing more to be proved wrong by Arsene but I doubt I will.
    It’s no pleasure being on the same side as Piers Moron though…

  11. Great post, Karl. Thanks, Dave.

    Looking at that pic of Wenger in the duvet coat makes me think of those air-filled advertising hydra tubes – you know the ones…

    Problem isn’t entirely with Wenger : I feel that a large portion of the current Arsenal squad don’t exhibit the same belief, passion and loyalty for Arsenal that you see in Man Utd and Liverpool players. Not sure how Wenger instills that belief.

    Arsenal used to be a powerful cup of no-name-brand coffee that kick-started your week. Now they’ve become a little too MacLatte for my taste.

    Arsenal needs more Gerrards – we’ve got one, Wilshere, bit a couple more would bring the fire back to the engine room that was lost when we upgraded Highbury.

    Thanks again for a great post.


  12. I’ll always, and keep on repeating, Gooners who want AW out should be careful of what they wish for.

  13. Thanks Karl,

    Wise words indeed. As Joni Mitchell and plenty of others who’ve covered her sing:

    “Don’t it always seem to go
    that you don’t what you’ve got ’til it’s gone…”

    I wish Liverpool much luck and good wishes to return to form one day (as long as it’s not at our expense!)

  14. Leave the proffessor Arsene Wenger to be, because he is the only best manager so far the club do have and i don’t think that there is any manager out there the club can get at the moment.

  15. Be careful, be vary careful. Being old enough to remember that Arsenal where just a tough team to beat, but more or less a cup team. You may well regret the day you wished goodbye to Wenger. He turned a mediocre side into a class act. The Double first season isn’t bad. George Graham had done something similar, though you don’t sing 1-0 to the Arsene do you ?
    Bertie Mee would have been sacked in this present climate. Then no fairs cup and first double and making me a very unhappy boy on May 8 1971 (and the name of your site ? ) As managers, Arsenal have had some dross over the years (just like my lot)
    Embrace what you have and accept that though you have sold some quality players, he was the one who found them and gave you the good times.
    And give the new lads he has brought in, a chance.

  16. Similar story at Charlton when they lost a manager some years ago and then proceeded to be relegated twice in a row…Grass isn’t always greener.

  17. The real issue facing this club is not Wenger. Its Kroenke. The scouser should understand this.Liverpool didn’t decline because Benitez left.They are suffering because their club has been in the hands of American ”sports entrepreneurs” for the best part of a decade,and because of the appearance of Abramovich and Sheikh Mansour.

    I believe changing managers on a regular basis is no bad thing per se.The elite clubs in Europe seem to do rather well rotating their managers. The difference is they are run by football people whose main motivation is the club’s success, rather than profit.

    I’d like to see Kroenke out.Once that happens is the time to discuss whether a new manager could take the club furter than Wenger.

    In the meantime fans who believe the manager is the main culprit behind our relative decline should be culled in a humane fashion.

  18. The saying ‘you never know what you have until it is gone’ is so true. It’s very easy to say Arsene Wenger out but who comes in ? All the usual suspects, Klopp, Pep or Mourino. What if they don’t want to… Then what Hughes ? Because he’s out of a job. Arsene will go when he knows everything is in order & prepared for our next manager. Thanks very much, pleasure to read another supporters view point.

  19. Nice Post Karl,
    I kinda agree with ‘gm’ and ‘alims’ comments above.The problem lies with the ownership of the club.The board has made arsenal a selling club,whether or not Wenger is fine with this remains a mystery to me.(isnt he one of the Top paid Managers in Epl? Europe?)
    I Like Arsene Wenger,but still i cant cast a blind eye to the Mistakes he’s been Making.I openly criticise him for the way he’s been handling issues.Like example,he openly states to the press that he will do everything to hold on to his best players but come the transfer Window,we end up losing the very players he swore to keep.He obviously knows they gonna leave but he still chose to mess with the fans feelings and expectations.Thats absolute intolerable.I aint trying to be Sentimental here.
    second.I will also openly state that Le Prof is nolonger a genius that he once was.He’s lost touch of the once admired thinker.Like example Why on earth would he consistently keep on playing a player out of Position? Even Aaron Ramsey himself doesnt seem to enjoy his ‘new role’ thats utter madness,when he does that when there’s players like the Ox on the bench.Am not a big fan of Gervinho,and i think he’s a top 3 Worst EPL signings.Okay i exaggerated,maybe Top 3 worst Arsenal signings.Gervinho makes Vela’s departure more painful than the Ucl final loss to Barca.He’s so awful,but wenger kept on making him the new No9,While podolski continued to irritate on the Left.
    Anyway,the willing Mentallity of the invicible seems to be a tale to this current arsenal team.I have seen Extreme Passion on only 3 of the current arsenal players.That is Wilshere,Rosicky and Jenkinson.you wouldnt question their love for arsenal and their desire to give their best.

    Thanks Karl,
    And thanks you too dave:)

  20. The signing of the Brit Five gave me a fresh perspective. The way I see it now we are team building and making a damn good job of it. Clearly Wilshere sees it that way and he’s a solid Wenger man. Im for trusting wilshere and his positive view of Arsenals prospects. Wilshere knows!

  21. Only if you have loads of money like Chelsea, city, psg can a club change managers so frequently. When SAF leaves, utd wil Also have a difficult time finding a good replacement to continue the good work. Managers that did well over there might not do well here, it’s simple ad that. If you can give a manager a whole wad of cash to buy whoever, then u might be lucky to win something in next few years, but then he will get stale and more money cones out for next manager. You end up in debt like Madrid are, but we don’t have a bank that will lend the money so easily and a country that will not let the club die.
    We have a billionaire like Usmanov waiting but he is even worse if u ask me, that’s why kronke is there to stop him from taking over and to stay out of the way and let us play football.
    So to sum up, keep Wenger until he wants to go, them promote new manager from within and kick on. That’s a better plan than get rid of Wenger now and hope it gets better, how utterly retarded…

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