No sympathy for Wenger

Wenger celebrates – skysports.com

The national reaction to Arsene Wenger’s relief-filled celebration after his side’s 2-1 FA Cup semi-final win over Manchester City, was one of compassion. This is a man who loves Arsenal Football Club, a man who has faced non-stop criticism from fans and media over the last three months, a man deserving of more respect for what he has achieved in the game.

Respect however, should come through reciprocation rather than default. Had Wenger announced his future in December, when Arsenal were top of the league and in three competitions (mathematically at least), the fans would have been more likely to respect him and unite.

Instead, he has chosen to keep the information to himself. That shows a lack of respect to the fans, who pay good money to watch the team and the players, who have their own career decisions to make.

The players have been affected by the uncertainty, controversy and internal tension caused by Wenger’s refusal to open up. The players put in terrible away performances, notably at West Brom and Crystal Palace. They have shown a lack of bravery and commitment at times this season and should not be exempt from criticism themselves.

However, when there is part of the dressing room that wants Wenger to stay and part that would like change, as is the case at most clubs, there needs to be a board that acts decisively. They either back the manager wholeheartedly, forcing unhappy players to either get their head down or move on, or sack the manager if the number of unhappy players becomes a majority.

Arsenal do not have that kind of leadership at boardroom level and so Wenger’s silence has created anarchy. Whatever he does, he should speak now, or forever hold his peace.