In Defence Of Wenger
We love to compare in England. Compare.com, compare the market, gocompare, comparemysweatyface.org. The French can take their food, the Danish their health care, high average wage, overall contentment with life. Can they compare?
Just look at TV - channel 4 run whole nights devoted to comparison. 100 best magicians, 100 best flavours of crisps, 100 best 100 best shows. The whole nation loves to look at other people. I came home once to find my house mate, pants round his ankles, watching naked girls on his laptop and grunting "oh yeah, compare those coffee filters you dirty b*tch, tell me which makes the best espresso, mmmmm, you love it."
Henry Winter wrote a whole column of comparison in The Telegraph last week. He stated Alex Ferguson "takes action in private," without making a single reference to masturbation, yet claimed that Wenger "loses friends and credibility by defending the indefensible." The Man United, Liverpool loss when players were ordered by "the arch realist" (Henry`s quote, not mine) not to speak to the media must have passed Mr Winter by. Likewise I missed the interview when Wenger claimed child pornography is 'nothing major in France, the kids love it, we give them bananas,` but I`m assured by The Telegraph that Wenger lost 200 facebook chums overnight.
The BBC is great isn`t it? They love to compare, compare two sides of an argument. Present everybody`s views? After the Spurs game they had 6 callers, 4 tweets and 4 texts. Each of the senders expressed disappointment with Wenger. I rang 606, tweeted them twice and sent a text. Each time it was to defend Wenger. Each time I was ignored. When I rang I was told verbatim "Hmmm, We`ll ring you back if that fits with our message." They didn`t ring me back.
It`s OK though, Robbie Savage has the answer; Chris Samba. Wonder why the double winning, Invincible creating manager didn`t think of him before? (Author`s note: some writers may have chosen to have added a punch line here, but I realise you`re smart enough to know that the centre half and captain of a defence with a worse defensive record than Wigan is clearly not good enough for a top side.)
It makes it difficult for the BBC to speak of Wenger being "stubborn" and "bias" when they refuse to entertain anybody who might suggest Wenger`s record isn`t too shabby really.
One of the texts that was printed by the impartial, all representing BBC was sent by 'Jack`. He said "Is it too much for Arsene to hold his hands up and say both teams gave everything? Just a thought." Arsene spoke, to the impartial, never judgemental, always taking our money, BBC, after the game: "We both played and attacked... No complaints ." Maybe listen to the interviews before judging post match quotes eh tw*t? ... sorry Jack. See, easy done this misquoting lark.
According to the BBC "Arsenal fans are getting impatient with Wenger." Just a thought, just a comparison, but in 2004 Newcastle fired Bobby Robson. The awful seasons under Robson saw United finish 4th (having been bottom of the league), 3rd and 5th. That dreadful performance saw him fired due to Freddie Shepherd getting "impatient." Turned out to be a shrewd move, they would have never won the Championship title without it.
At the start of this season Arsenal were predicted to finish, by various all knowing, all impartial BBC pundits, 5th, 4th, 5th, 4th. Strange that a side that will finish 1st to 3rd would be described by the same all knowing, all impartial BBC pundits as 'chokers,` and 'not mentally strong enough.`
Club captain Fabregas even weighed into this debate saying (although badly translated, so he may well have been ordering take out) "If you went to Spain and said to ... Unai Emery they would have 3 years without a trophy, it would be obvious they would not continue." Emery has been at Valencia since August, since then he`s won ... zero trophies. 2011 - 2008 is 3. 3 years without a trophy. P45 on its way to Mr Emery; it would be obvious.
In late 1989 fans at Old Trafford hung a banner that read "3 years without a trophy a still crap, Ta ra Fergie." Later that season United won the FA cup to win Ferguson a cup after 4 years. It took until 1993 for them to win the league. Just a thought, just a 7 year comparison.
When the BBC open their shows with supporting fans and the headlines 'Wenger is past it,` 'Wenger is too stubborn,` 'Wenger didn`t tip well in a restaurant` they may do well to remember what the point of professional football is. The doubles were good, the Invincibles were better, but it`s about being entertained. Arsenal have entertained, and continue to entertain, and no matter what ignorant pundits may say, people do remember being wowed.
I`d love to hear Alan Shearer recite any of the starting XI of the Germany and Argentina World Cup winning teams of 1974 and 1978, yet everybody knows total football, the Cruyff turn, Bergkamp trapping a 5km long pass to scored against Argentina. Beautiful football sticks in the memory like Dennis taking 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in goal of the month from 1 hat trick against Leicester.
A last comparison: Imagine the country, financially speaking, being run in the same vein as United, Chelsea or City; a debt equal to total value, a single man propping everything up. Now imagine a country run for the last 15 years like Arsenal. Not spending money that doesn`t exist, saving for major investments, letting young people show what they can do before replacing them instantly.
Yes Birmingham, Tottenham and Portsmouth have won more trophies over the last 5 years, but have they sat on the edge of their seats, mouths wide and hands clapping involuntarily at the majesty of the art before them? Do they have a structure that is the financial envy of all those around them? Can they all honestly expect to be challenging for more trophies over the next 10 years?
Only when the answer is yes; only then should we compare Wenger to other managers.