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It's better to play away at the moment says Wenger

It's better to play away at the moment says Wenger

In his press conference prior to the Porto game Wenger paid tribute to the fans and acknowledged their right to express their dissatisfaction though he believes it has crossed the line recently. Arsenal players were mocked on the pitch and jeered as they were substituted in the last two home games against Villa and Wigan

In reference to this trend Wenger said "It is a difficult situation when the home crowd is against you, but what can you do? Our job is a public job, so you have to deal with all kinds of responses from people.

'In some respects it's better we are playing away, it's easier than to come straight back to the Emirates" as he went on to claim "Porto's stadium is hostile but at least they will be hostile to all 11 of our players"

Higher prices and astronomic player salaries may have served to create a greater sense of entitlement amongst fans but Wenger doesn`t think that big money has a bearing on the way players perform.

"If you look brutally at it, and compare the wages then the fans have a point. But if you divide the wages by 20 or by 100 as when I played, I still made bad passes" he said.

"Once you are on the pitch, how much you are paid doesn't play a big part. It's how much you want to win. When you are in the game you have to take risks and this also means misses.

'If you encourage a player to kick the ball forward when he has the ball at the back every time he will not make many mistakes, but his strikers will die of hunger.

'If you encourage a team to play, and the players to play, they will make mistakes and when they are tired or when they are out for four or five weeks you have to accept that it is part of the mistakes"

Though he clearly feels, as many do, that fans reacted poorly in their recent treatment of the team he understands their importance.

"Without fans we cannot play football so we have to turn the fans in our favour even if we have to say sometimes, 'Listen, now you have gone a bit too far. That is not right'," Wenger said. "We have to get the fans on our side because the club, basically, belongs to the fans. When I am gone, the fans will still be there for the club, so they are the core strength of the club."

There is a bit of work to be done on both sides. The team hasn`t been performing consistently well so far this season and neither have the fans yet both want the same things. That has to come from a common sense of purpose but that is much harder in an industry that, to some extent, has created customers out of supporters. If fans increasingly see themselves in that way does that mean the present malaise is here to stay?

The most disaffected fans are those of teams of which most is expected. Liverpool fans booed their team off the pitch after a dull draw against West Ham recently even though it took them to the top of the table. In a curious way failure is most likely to change the attitude of expectant fans. You`ll often hear the most vocal and committed support amongst fans fighting relegation. The singing of 'Bubbles` at Upton Park is never louder than when the Hammers have a battle on their hands and the delirium that envelopes the Spuds when they snatch an unlikely draw are both consequences of long periods of genuine underachievement.

Maybe we also need a dose of genuine failure in order to be more appreciative of relative success.

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Date:Wednesday December 10 2008
Time: 11:44AM


If we see a £50k per week player strolling round the pitch he will get jeered and booed. They want our cheers when they do well, but nothing when they make a mistake (which we all do) or when they are lazy. Newsflash, it doesn't work like that, not in the real world and inside that stadium it is the supporters world not the players, they have been employed, nay "invited" into the stadium we call home. So show it constant respect by at least running your ‘arris off for the cause as I do singing for 90 minutes AND paying for the privilidge.
10/12/2008 11:53:00
Just another quick point, West Ham atmousphere has been awful this season, shambolic even, i've been.
10/12/2008 11:54:00
"Porto's stadium is hostile but at least they will be hostile to all 11 of our players" - Wenger is a comedic genius!!
10/12/2008 11:56:00
booed! it was more like groans and a few jeers after the west ham result.
10/12/2008 11:57:00
Amos is right aswell as Wenger, we do need to get behind the team, but that should not be unconditional and that is what the club seems to be expecting from.
10/12/2008 12:00:00
Not unconditional LG - just proportionate.
10/12/2008 12:06:00
It hasn't seemed that way to me or many other's though Amos. We are all never going to react to the same situation the same way that is the only thing we CAN be certain of. Labelling people for their natural and understandable reactions is futile and pointless. As is trying to please all the people all the time, from the clubs perspective.
10/12/2008 12:18:00
I'm not aiming this at you LG as you have gone to great length to express your thoughts and opinions, and I respect that, but I get the impression a few other fans are now pointing to other reasons as the inspiration for their booing of Eboue. Could it be just a cover up as now they a feeling remorse or embarassment for singling out one of our own when it was complete un-needed?
10/12/2008 12:23:00
As always Wenger makes good points, but did he also think that sending Arsenal to Old Trafford in the FA Cup with the blatant intention of losing or at the very least avoiding any 50/50 tackles was a step too far? I would imagine traveling fans paying to watch Arsenal get willingly pasted by a fierce rival also crossed the line of acceptability, yes the fans perhaps went too far with Eboue but Mr Wenger is not blameless in his disregard for the fans at times. Arsenal seem to want well behaved robotic yet passionate fans who also keep their emotions in check but relentlessly cheer the team on but also remain rational but at the same time totally "Believe" in this team because Wenger says that this team is ready to win now but at the same time be patient. That's all they ask from the fans...oh and lots of money.
Professor Calculus
10/12/2008 12:54:00
Rock - Im knackered mate. I will no longer explain myself becaus emy keyboard is melting lol I see where you are coming from though and some are probably feeling foolish for their own reasons for doing what they did. But this last part from Professor Calculus sums the whole situation up nicely -----Arsenal seem to want well behaved robotic yet passionate fans who also keep their emotions in check but relentlessly cheer the team on but also remain rational but at the same time totally "Believe" in this team because Wenger says that this team is ready to win now but at the same time be patient. That's all they ask from the fans...oh and lots of money---- Fabulously put Prof.
10/12/2008 13:05:00
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