Another season without silverware for Arsenal and a summer on the way that’s sure to be full of a great deal of finger-pointing, contemplation and changes around the Emirates. The Gunners lack of success over the past six years is something that’s likely to be analysed into the ground over the coming months and not something that I’m too keen to touch on here. Whether or not Arsene Wenger should stay is a touchy issue, which could be argued either way and doesn’t have a definitive answer.
It may be worth considering just what would happen if Arsenal’s lack of success were to occur at other clubs that share a similarity with Arsenal in terms of stature. Would the Old Trafford faithful, for example, continue to hold Sir Alex Ferguson in such high-esteem if he had failed to secure any silverware in six years, or would the fans want Fergie out?
Of course, it’s difficult to make a direct comparison between how fans would treat Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson differently. Ferguson achieved so much before 2005 (the start of Arsenal’s decline) that it’s difficult to find an entry point for any such discussion.
We also have to take circumstances into account. Arsenal fans would do well to remember that their team has been put together on a strict budget (a necessity thanks to the Emirates) and still manages to play Arsene’s trademark flowing football. Whilst the lack of success must be a huge source of frustration for the fans, I don’t think Wenger’s done as bad a job as many are keen to suggest.
Manchester United fans may well suggest that they’d stick with Sir Alex through thick and thin. Back in 2006 when United had gone for three years without a trophy, a small minority had already begun to take to messages boards to call for Sir Alex’s head. I can only imagine that this crowd would have grown if United had remained trophy-less for six years. Even more so than Arsenal, Manchester United have evolved into a club that demands success.
I would question, however, if Sir Alex Ferguson would ever let one of his sides collapse in a similar manner as Arsenal have done this season. Would he ever be willing to put up with players that just aren’t carrying their weight in the same way that Arsene Wenger seems to have been content to do so over the last couple of seasons? That just doesn’t seem to be part of Fergie’s make-up and if he were to let this weakness creep into his managerial style, I wouldn’t be surprised if United fans did eventually begin to turn on him.
Whilst United fans, like Arsenal fans, can deal with limited-spending power affecting their team’s success rate, a Manager’s inability to motivate players is an unforgivable attribute. As time marches on and Wenger’s ability to inspire his troops continues to be questioned the Anti-Wenger faction will continue to grow in strength. That’s something that I would argue would be true of any manager, at any club.
Read more of Harry’s articles at This Is Futbol