MERCI ARSENE WHO?
As we say goodbye to the man who came to England as an unknown I can’t stop admiring how principled the man Arsene is. Wenger’s introduction to the English game was met with the greatest sceptism of all time in footballing circles. The appointment of Wenger became a headline story as Media Houses coined the “Arsene Who” headline. For a man who had no history of success his appointment was always going to attract a lot of doubts.
Arsene is the best and most successful manager in the history of Arsenal. He is the man who changed how foreign managers were viewed on the English turf. Arsene is the man who sacrificed personal glory when he turned down approaches by bigger clubs like Real Madrid just to see out his vision for Arsenal. Arsene risked his coaching career by sticking to Arsenal during the years of austerity as the club focused on keeping its head above water when they borrowed funds to construct the world class and magnificent Emirates stadium.
It is Arsene’s 2004 team which the whole season unbeaten and earned the “Invincibles” tag. In the process Arsenal were awarded a golden trophy and remains as the only club to have received a Golden trophy in England.The record remains intact to this day and Arsene should be respected for setting a record which Barcelona are about to set in La liga.
As we ponder on who will succeed Wenger it is really hard to imagine how the next manager will kick start his career as an Arsenal Manager. I can’t wait to see how the world will react to the person who will succeed the man who was a virtual unknown but eventually became a club Legend.
I know Wenger’s reluctance to change his tactics exposed him to a lot of stick and criticism but every life has a dark patch. Arsene deserved the criticism because he was in charge of the first team selection and game plans – but he is the same man who transformed the club into a real force. His main weakness was maintaining a philosophy that ironically threatened to rip apart his legacy. Wenger always set up his team to play in line with his clear philosophy which favours beautiful football.
I must admit that Wenger did not leave the club where we all wanted but we must all appreciate the man’s love and committment to the club. Arsenal is not a club known for a hiring and firing policy and I believe the next manager will be given enough time and resources to assemble a squad that will bring back the good old days to the Arsenal.
Arsene might have failed to win bigger club trophies like the Champions league but maybe fate had it that way. He might have failed to win the league one more time before his departure but we must all salute his dedication. As tradition dictates in the human society we must respect Wenger as much as we respect the dead. No matter how much ill we harbour against the dead we have to show them respect. In Wenger’s case the end of his Arsenal role should be appreciated by all normal Arsenal fans.
Let us all salute the man who dedicated twenty years of his life to our beloved Football Club.
Merci Arsene Who! Merci Le Professeur!
Amagore@Zim Arsenal Desk