I might not have held up a banner myself but I can understand what drove some Arsenal fans to arrange a protest at the home game against Norwich City yesterday. For one thing, the protest was not just about Arsene Wenger but at the whole issue of leadership and ambition and it does seem that things have gone stale and need a shake-up.
But I was also pleased at the support showed towards the manager and the team and I feel that it might end up having more of an effect than the the protest, on the under fire Frenchman at least. Wenger will no doubt be reflecting today on what happened and realising that the desire for him to leave is by no means unanimous but it is there.
After the narrow win, which put Arsenal back above Man City into third place and strengthened our grip on a Champions League spot for next season, Wenger spoke about the fans and his wish to make us happy and from his words reported by the BBC I think he is beginning to feel guilty about the frustration that our latest faltering title challenge has produced.
He said, “We respect the opinion of everybody. We gave absolutely the best.
“I’m really sorry I cannot make them all happy but we will continue to work hard to achieve it.
“It was a bit of a strange atmosphere. I think the fans were behind the team, and I believe as well that we did not have the stylish performance that could raise people off their seats.
“We had a serious, studied performance, a bit subdued at stages, but we wanted absolutely to win the game and we did it.
“Maybe it is as well because we have been remarkably consistent. This season was a bit special because we were in a position for a long time where our fans believed we could win the league.
“We didn’t and that’s why I think it’s more disappointed love than real aggression.”
It is almost certain that Wenger will be in charge again next season and what we want is for him and Arsenal to win the title again but there is the fear that he will make the same mistakes again. In that respect I think the boss may well respond better to what he calls disappointed love than he would to bitter anger and accusations.
Might the support he got after the protest make Wenger more likely to look at himself and the club and do whatever it takes to give us the success we so badly want?