Arsene Wenger is being widely criticized at the moment, in the press and @ e-arsenal.
I can understand the mainstream press criticizing Arsenal; they do it all of the time. If they are not pointing out Arsene Wenger's many mistakes or failures, one or the other of them is always running a piece about which player Arsenal is selling to which team—the latest being the imminent departure of Pat Rice.
However, where I fail to understand the vitriol is in the world of e-arsenal. A huge number of Arsenal-related Blogs, Forums, News Boards, Fan Sites, etc. have sprung up on the Internet.
Some of them are fairly benign, interesting even. Some are very entertaining and or informative. But some can be described only as Anti-Arsenal.
It's not Spurs or Man-U fans with too much time on their hands though. It seems that bona fide Arsenal fans run these sites. It's hard to tell though.
Most of the articles suggest that due to not winning trophies for four years, Arsene Wenger should be replaced, half the squad should be replaced, and that millions of pounds should be spent on new players.
Now, these concepts are not new, and it doesn't help that Alex Ferguson puts his team's success down to depth of squad. The fact that he has run the club into three-quarters of a billion pounds of debt in order to maintain that depth passes him by.
It is possible to mount an argument for the above points, but not to win it. Arsenal need team stability, not the upheaval that such changes will bring.
Sacking Wenger will be much easier than replacing him. E-arsenal has few realistic suggestions for a replacement manager, and even fewer that are available.
Arsene's vision of a strong side that has trained and played together from youth to club levels is brilliant. It is even more astonishing that he has got this far in today's football world.
With the ever bloated transfer market, player turnover at clubs at this level is very high, so keeping hold of his players is a top priority.
Arsene has already said that he will spend this summer, and I am sure that will appease some people. However, I would be very surprised if he bought any high-profile players for huge transfer fees, with massive wage demands.
The notion that Arsenal should spend £80 million-plus annually on top players is ridiculous. The fact that the other three teams in the "Top Four" need to spend this kind of money to maintain their position speaks volumes.
Man-U and Chelsea have combined debts of over £1.5 billion. Liverpool have to find £300 million this summer to meet a deadline on a loan repayment.
Arsenal have large debts of their own, but because of good financial management, they have a brand new stadium and a sustainable business model.
Traditionally, moving to a new stadium coincides with a dip in results, mainly because of the financial stress on the club involved. Arsenal's "dip" sees them in the semifinals of the FA Cup and the Champions League, and finishing fourth in the best football league in the world this season.
Some dip. I think some fans forget the pre-Wenger era and Arsenal's consistent mediocrity in the 20th century.
As long as there are no important departures this summer, and with the possibility of some arrivals, the Squad is looking good. Tomas Rosicky is training full time at the moment, Eduardo da Silva is so close, and William Gallas and Gael Clichy should be fit for next season.
The preseason friendlies and the Emirates cup are going to be interesting to watch. Arsenal at full strength, Arsene's vision coming to fruition—I can't wait.
All in all, things are rosy at the Emirates. Players are signing new contracts, our new director seems to running a smooth ship, and we are financially sound. Champions League football next season is guaranteed, barring a slip-up in the qualifiers. Andrei Arshavin's selection is a certainty.
Are the impatient fans who want silverware above all else at any cost prepared for major upheaval at the club, drawn out press coverage of the club's attempt to hire a new manager, and the financial consequences of wild spending? Are they prepared for the possibility that even after all of these changes, the situation stays the same, or gets worse?
Unfortunately, I suspect that some of them are prepared for all of the above. Such is the level of antipathy, almost hatred that is expressed about Wenger. Some of us, however, recognise the excellent job he is doing and support him 100 percent.
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