Time is a ticking clock and it certainly is for a few managers, but Wenger and McClaren have come in for more stick than anyone else lately.
With Newcastle it is a tale of complete misery and abject woe. Not one Geordie fan would have dreamt that with ten games left of the season and mid-March staring us in the face, that they would be second from bottom in the Premier League.
Not only that, but it’s been a wide open league where teams are stealing unlikely points from other teams, yet it hasn’t happened for Newcastle. Whilst the season up north has been anything but rosy, in North London, Arsenal fans have at least the luxury of knowing their side will not be scrapping for relegation. Add to that a likely and usual top four finish, a crack, albeit short, at the Champions League and the possibility of another F A Cup triumph to paper over the cracks.
And covering over the problems is what is upsetting the fans. They all know that the club need quality players, a proper striker, a tougher defence and a more creative and passionate midfield, rather than the abject offering against Manchester United. At a time when United were there for the taking, Arsenal just didn’t seem to want to know and that’s something that also needs to be overcome.
So, Arsenal aren’t playing well and Newcastle are yet to get going. However, one club only bought a single player last summer and one more addition in January, while the other has splashed out over £80m on several players and yet they are still looking like relegation fodder.
McClaren had accumulated individuals who play like individuals and Newcastle fans expect more. Whilst they don’t realistically think themselves as league champions, fans want to see some guts, some passion and pride and the Magpies just don’t have that, and no one seems to know why. Laughably, at the weekend against Bournemouth the scenario was McClaren pointing and saying one thing to his players, whilst his assistant, Paul Simpson, seemed to be saying the complete opposite. Normally you would say that the only way is up, but at the moment there is an alternative and it’s the monkey on their shoulder.
At the other end of the scale, Arsenal haven’t been splashing the cash and that’s hurt the club this season. Their form has dipped so alarmingly, that any consideration of winning the title is evaporating quickly, as are any Champions League aspirations.
A reported £200m is sitting in the Arsenal bank account, yet Wenger won’t spend it unnecessarily. If he values a player at £20m and the price increases to £25m, Wenger walks away. In a business situation you can see the point, but in football where the extra £5m might win you the league and the coveted crown of European Champions, it must be worthwhile, surely? But Mr Wenger is a man of principle and there’s your problem. Wenger runs Arsenal and what he says and wants goes.
No one at Arsenal have the balls to sack Wenger. He is relatively safe and will call his own shots. He may well stay on until the end of his contract in 2017 and he may just win the F A Cup again, but the fans want more and in fairness, to the big teams, the FA Cup isn’t really that important to them. The fans want a reaction on the pitch as their season fades and this summer they want star names, star quality and a proper title challenge. When you consider the players at Arsenal’s disposal, they really should have won the most open league in years with relative ease.
So, we have two clubs, north and south. One club will spend for success, the other is decidedly reserved about money. Both sets of fans want to see more from the players and need to see some leadership from both the bench and the board. Both clubs are dropping points at opposite ends of the league, one precariously and with financial implications iminent.
Without doubt the fans deserve better – it’s always the long suffering fans.
The axe will fall. Tick, tock.