David Seaman Hits out at Arsene Wenger Critics, Issues Warning to Arsenal Fans

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistMarch 27, 2016

LONDON - MAY 15:  Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger (R) and goalkeeper David Seaman share a joke during traing on May 15, 2003 at Arsenals training ground in London. (Photo by Phil Cole/Getty Images)
Phil Cole/Getty Images

Former Arsenal goalkeeper David Seaman has come out in support of his ex-boss Arsene Wenger, encouraging the club to stand by their long-standing manager despite calls for a change in some quarters.

The Frenchman has been on the end of a lot of criticism this term, with the Gunners underwhelming both domestically and in Europe. But Seaman, who was a key figure in Wenger’s early successes with the club, has called for calm in the midst of recent fan angst, per Anthony Clavane of the Sunday Mirror:

I’m so fed up of all this negative stuff about Arsenal. A change at the top? Not for me. I’m a massive fan of Arsene.

Let’s see what happens at the end of this season. Let’s see what’s gone wrong and then sort it out. But, for me, he’s been brilliant. I worked with him for about seven or eight years and he was fantastic. I would stick by Arsene. I’ve always said that and I haven’t reason to change my mind.

GB and Ireland's English goalkeeper David Seaman smiles during a charity football match between a Great Britain and Ireland team and a Rest of the World team at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England November 14, 2015 in aid of UNICEF. AFP PHOTO /
PAUL ELLIS/Getty Images

Seaman thinks the Gunners only need to look to Manchester United to see what can happen when a football club loses a key figurehead. “They lost a great manager in Alex Ferguson,” he said. “He retired. It’s always greener on the other side. Arsene has a great record, but he’s always under ­pressure. He’ll be under pressure until we win the league.”

Those sentiments have been echoed by another former Arsenal player and current club scout, Luis Boa Morte. 

“Be careful what you wish for,” the former Portugal winger said when asked about a possible departure for Wenger, according to Joe Bernstein of the MailOnline. “Look at Manchester United after Ferguson left, who has been successful? Nobody. It is the same thing.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 28:  Luis Boa Morte of West Ham United looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United and Everton at the Boleyn Ground on December 28, 2010 in London, England.  (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
Scott Heavey/Getty Images

At Arsenal’s last match, a 2-0 win at Everton, a banner was on display in the away section calling for the manager to depart.

For some who frequent the Emirates Stadium, the perennial underachievement of this team in recent seasons is tarnishing the legacy of the Frenchman. Indeed, while Wenger can look back on six FA Cup triumphs and three Premier League wins, the last league title came in 2004; that’s been deemed not good enough by a section of supporters.

An anti-Arsene Wenger banner is displayed by the Arsenal fans after the English Premier League football match between Everton and Arsenal at Goodison Park in Liverpool, north west England on March 19, 2016.  
Arsenal won the game 2-0. / AFP / OLI SCARFF /
OLI SCARFF/Getty Images

World Soccer Talk’s Kartik Krishnaiyer tried to take some positives from what’s been a poor 2015-16 season for the Gunners, though:

While it’s a point made in jest, for a lot of supporters, having the safety blanket of Wenger—who has always steered the club into the UEFA Champions League—is vital. The Frenchman may have done things differently over the last few years, but he’s always delivered consistent results that see Arsenal mix it with European football’s elite sides.

When the Gunners are in the groove they’re superb to watch, too. Chris Bascombe of the Daily Telegraph is unsure why some supporters want Wenger gone:

Fear of the future should not be enough to prevent the club from making tough decisions, though. As well as Wenger has done at Arsenal, he should be held accountable to the same standards as any other Premier League manager with the resources to compete for the title. And when you think of the players he’s had over the past decade, 11 years without being champions is a failure.

With his contract up at the end of the 2016-17 season, developments on Wenger’s future will be fascinating in the months to come. Of course, it’ll take the club some time to adjust when he eventually walks away, although the foundations the Frenchman has put in place are secure enough for another coach to come in and succeed.