The Arsene Weng-era is coming to an end. Even though most of us saw it coming, it still comes as a shock. It is a big moment in the history of the club and years from now you will still know where you were when you heard the news. I must admit that I felt elated with of course more than a tinge of sadness.
It is the best decision best for the club and the Man in Full that is Arsene Wenger. The secret of a long life is knowing when it is time to go, and it really is now time to let somebody else take over from the great man. Regardless of us potentially winning the UEFA League and thus still qualifying for the financially so attractive CL, which would be a big achievement for the club and the manager, to most of us it is clear that we need a new manager to take us forward.
The PL may not have all the best players of the world, but the best managers, give or take a couple, are leading our competitors on these shores. The lack of balance in the team resulting in poor defensive team performances, the number of PL games lost this season, our dismal performances away and the humiliating exit from this year’s FA competition, and of course our poor position in the PL table, meant that a change really had to happen this time round.
But let this not take away from Arsene’s enormous achievements in over a fifth of a century at the club. You all know the stats on Arsene’s silverware, and two things stand out to me: the 49 Unbeaten Invincibles and him winning the FA Cup a record-breaking seven times.
His biggest achievements, though, are the lasting shift in values, the (financial) stability of the club, our style of play and beauty of our game. This was based around a vision of how the game should be played – beautiful, winning football rather than calculated, safe winning football – and the hygiene factors required to bring this to fruition. From a classy, brilliant new stadium to excellent training facilities, and from new fitness regimes to attracting some of the best talents this country has ever had the privilege of watching week in week out, Arsene made a fundamental, long-lasting change to our club, and PL football in general.
With these achievements, Arsene will always be immortal at the club and for the fans. He is leaving a legacy behind on which the club can build further in a highly competitive environment, both home and in Europe. Arsene played a pivotal role in letting our club grow with the times, and now we have everything in place to compete even with the Oil-sponsored clubs in the PL and CL. Our biggest competitive advantages are our culture/values and strong ‘natural’ financial basis.
We as supporters, but also the BoD, have a duty to protect the values going forward, and I reckon we are in a very strong place right now thanks to Wenger.
And for that I say thank you Arsene.
Thank you for staying put and give your all to us for 22 years.
Thank you for the fabulous football and achievements, and for all those moments of delight and passion on the pitch.
Thank you for the legacy you have left behind.
You have become a Gooner for Eternity.
Now let’s end the season on a high by winning the UEFA Cup and add a big price to the Home of Football’s trophy cabinet. Manager, players, supporting staff and supporters should all unite now to give Arsene Wenger a great farewell.