Arsenal FC: The Club of 2 Halves as the Emirates Is Split

Samuel MensahAnalyst IJuly 15, 2011

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 24:  Arsene Wenger,manager of Arsenal, waves to the fans after the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Stoke City at Emirates Stadium on May 24, 2009 in London, England.  (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

From my recollection, never have the fans of this club been so split about its future. It's not even a two-way split, as it appears there are fractures everywhere and all about different subjects. It is usual for fans of the same club not to agree on everything, however these subject matters are usually quite minuscule in importance.

However, at the moment, due to the predicament the club has placed itself in, every decision is a key one whether it be on the field or off it. After last season's collapse on the pitch, most fans now feel that their voices should be heard, as trust between everybody in the club has seemingly diminished. Gone are the days when all Arsenal fans could leave their beaks out of proceedings, as they had total belief in everything the board and its staff were doing.

The chorus of "In Arsene We Trust" has quieted as now half of the fanbase feel he may have reached the end of a glittering career, which has faded over the last few years like a pair of stonewashed jeans.

They will argue his best is past him, and he has refused to adapt to changes in football and especially the Premier League. Players he has let go have been replaced by mediocre players. They will look at how Mr. Wenger has had ample opportunities to amend the rearguard, but he has chosen season after season to chance it with his belief in the players he has at his disposal.

They will point to how his players still seem to have a limited loyalty to him and the club, which sends a bad message out in the long run. His restrained forays into the transfer market are of constant annoyance, but worse of all, his tactical stupidity, i.e., playing Nicklas Bendtner on the wings and never changing formation, are reasons why people are asking questions.

Some people are begging him to sell players while others feel the youngsters should be given a chance in a squad that has done nothing on the trophy front for six seasons.

The other half will argue there can be nobody better for Arsenal, and the success of his past cannot be forgotten. This is the man who has won multiple Premier Leagues and FA Cups, as well as creating the Invincibles and reaching the final of both the UEFA Cup and the UEFA Champions League.

He has unearthed gems who have turned out to be global superstars, all whilst maintaining a healthy profit. The highly slick and skillful brand of football Wenger brought to the club is what fans of the world still talk about, and has become synonymous with Arsenal—a far cry from the "Boring, boring Arsenal." I would say he deserves at least one more year.

There is a problem within the squad of players Wenger has—they are young and some are selfish and egotistical. You can say this of all human beings, and therefore of all clubs. But at Arsenal, loyalty and respect is something Wenger cannot get a full grip on.

For years, players have wanted to move on and leave behind his philosophy of nurturing talent over buying proven talent. This causes an unhealthy feeling in the squad and spreads ideas to other players, which in turn can cause a rift. Only this week, Jack Wilshere said of Cesc Fabregas that he should be "a real man" and say no to Barcelona, as reported by The Sun.

If Wenger has become the scapegoat, the real questions must be asked of the board, for it is clouded with mystery, forcing patrons like David Dean out the door in the past. The board's refusal to throw cash at the on-field problems is commendable, but its lack in ambition is a bitter pill to swallow for Arsenal fans who want to see trophies.

It's made worse when there are a few billionaires tagging around, but due to power struggles and backbiting, it all counts for nothing.

The rise in ticket prices is something that has angered outsiders as much as it has angered the supporters who have travelled home and away to watch their favoured club. Now, football is more a business than a sport at Arsenal, and you feel they are discarding the fans of Highbury—the very fans who made all this possible in the first place.

So, there are splits in the fanbase, in the squad, in the staff and even in the board. Everyone must rally together to make this club a serious force again, but is it all too late?