Wenger’s faults – described by a fan that has watched Arsenal for over 60 years…..

Wenger’s faults by Jon Fox

I write as a state retired man who first saw Arsenal live in 1955 and had been a regular attendee since 1958 until early last season, ( forty years plus as a season ticket holder and regular away fan in my younger days too) when I could no longer stomach the disease running through our club, and so stopped coming.

I flatter myself that I know a little about life and how people are, what weaknesses and strengths they bring to the table. I ran a successful business employing many people for a long period and keenly observe how people interact.

In my opinion Arsenal Wenger has two overriding weaknesses, which to me at least, have been obvious almost from his start as our manager. Firstly, he is unable to stomach argument from within the group or dissension against his methods. This is a form of weakness and also of arrogance, which are so often two sides of the same coin. In short he has not the vital ability or real toughness to stand up to reluctant or troublesome players, journalists asking tough questions or even fans who can clearly see this weakness. His standard response to interviewers is to change the subject or to give a prickly response, which are typical responses used by “I always know best” people in many walks of life. Compare that to the highly charismatic and effective Jurgen Klopp; no wonder his players and fans love him!

Observe how Conte at Chelsea handled the Costa situation; decisive management with no changing of his mind and his firm stance, clear to all that Conte wanted Costa gone and not to return. Though some fans would clearly dissent, Conte put the club above the player and all knew where they stood. Remember Fergie with Stam, Keane, even Beckham? Yes, Fergie had faults – who doesn’t – but no one messed with him and he was proven right by results. Wenger has needed to do this with many players over the years but never does. Walcott is the prime example of a serial coaster and too comfortable player, on exhorbitant wages but who just does not deliver, after 11 and a half years. Others for a variety of reasons include Wilshere, Diaby, Ramsey, Senderos, Adebayor, Nasri, Denilson, Almunia and many other players who though talented, (in some of these cases) did not produce what their talent should have produced. Yet many of these stayed at the club, on increased wages doing effectively nothing to help the team. Fergie, Mourinho, Conte, Klopp , Pochettino and Guardiola would have cleared these players out far sooner and saved huge wages, letting more effective and hungrier players play in their place. Not so Wenger, as we all know now, even most of those who until recently harked back to the glory days of his first nine years and refused to move with the times, in true Wenger fashion.

Wenger’s other real weakness is an inability to learn from the mistakes which all managers make. Fans are not stupid, though ours are treated by the manager, in his arrogant statements, as though they are. Remember his comment about if fans wished to have their say but had never managed in their lives ,”even for 24 hours”? Many of us more astute observers are not in the least surprised by this type of comment. This includes many respected ex-players too. Wenger for year after long year has persisted, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, in the belief that no quality proper holding central midfielder with pace and power MUST sit in front of the defence at all times, and particularly so when away at tough away grounds. He has made do with the like of Coquelin and Elneny recently and also Ramsey and Xhaka, neither of whom are disciplined and sitting players with pace and power. Remember when he tried Denilson for about two seasons, who was frankly, hopelessly out of his depth! He has also shown a complete and long term inability to bring in and regularly motivate players to work their utmost at all times.

Another fault stemming from his inability to change non working tactics is to persist with square pegs in round holes; so many central midfielder or even strikers have been used on the right wing, also on the left at times. His latest folly is the right footed Bellerin used on the left, while the powerful and combative Kolasinac is left on the bench. How must the recently bought Lacazette feel too, benched yesterday after two useful outings where he had scored and looked sharp, while the serial non-scorer Welbeck started in his place?

The absent and uncaring owner and out of touch board, without a proper football man like the tragically ousted David Dein among them, have chosen to indulge Wenger and also refused to learn from their mistakes. To re-engage Wenger last spring was a folly of titanic proportions which we dyed in the wool fans have to put up with and be dismayed by. Or do we?

To enforce vital change of personnel in all those owning and (mis-) running our club, things need to get far worse, with hostilities shown to Wenger, the board and owner, making last years displays look like a children’s tea party by comparison. We thousands of fans who, contrary to Wenger’s opinion, know exactly where the problem lies, have now to be the real guardians of our future by turning on the club we love, in order to enforce a new regime. To write this truth hurts me more than I can describe. I have loved this great club for over 60 years but to survive cancer you have to cut out the tumour. (I write as someone who has survived a cancerous kidney which was successfully removed in 2005). Though many will disagree, life being what it is, many others will deeply know in their souls the truth of what I advocate.

With respect and best wishes,

Jon Fox


  1. ks-gunner says:

    Its not Wengers fault that sheep people are holding him like some cult figure worth to go at war with other people just to back him up. Now we have this. Do you like this my dear fellow fans? Have you gotten already used of being miserable yet? Pathetic.

    1. ThirdManJW says:


      Did Wenger HAVE to sign a new contract? He should have never been offered one in the first place, but if he really loved Arsenal, he would have walked.

      I for one are not miserable. Everything is going exactly to plan, because Wenger is the most predictable manager in the world. I knew our top players would eventually had enough of Wenger, and walk away. I knew the we’d get even worse domestically, and in Europe. I just cannot wait for to leave, and then the deluded AKB’s can follow their messiah on his next misadventure.

      Fantastic article, thank you Sir! It’s great to get some insight from a fan who’s seen plenty of ups, and downs, from Arsenal, far before the Wenger era.

      1. iGooner says:

        Agreed, great article by Jon the Fox… ks-gunner, Wenger is both part of the problem and the solution. He is the manager of Arsenal and therefore held accountable for the performance of the players and in general how the team is managed. For a very very long time now he has been failing Arsenal as a manager, and the solution is for him to step down and let someone else take the reins. Mr Wenger is not to blame for all the problems at Arsenal (leaving semantics aside), but he is the face of Arseanl, and until he comes out and start pointing fingers at other figures, then we the fans are going to blame him for whatever we feel is in his control to change/rectify… The Owner is the primary reason for Arseanl’s woes as leadership starts from the top > down. After the Owner, there is the Board of Directors and etc., and then the manager. But like I said, Wenger is the face of Arsenal… He can’t have it both ways by accepting all the accolades when Arsenal wins, but not the criticism when they lose. Like Jon Fox said, one of his problems is arrogance which prevents him from accepting criticism and making the changes needed to move the club forward…

    2. Viera Lyn says:

      Always good to hear from someone who has supported the club for such a lengthy period of time…there is no doubt that your words don’t fall on deaf ears…for those of us who have played in and/or managed a highly competitive sports organization, there is no shortage of stories related to the flaws of men…whether dealing with the seeming plethora of bruised or inflated egos or navigating the constant pressure that invariably comes with any high stakes occupation, a manager needs to understand himself even more than those he or she manages…one cannot surround themselves with spineless yes men and hope to inspire others over the long run because the same message without any dissenting opinions surely loses it’s ability to motivate in time…in fact many of the most successful managers in the big money era have carefully positioned those they trust to tell them the truth within their inner circle to make sure they don’t lose sight of reality…unfortunately for us, the exact opposite happened…of course it didn’t happen overnight, little by little, due in large part to the embarrassment he faced during the “lean” years, Wenger’s confidence eroded…to make matters worse, expectations were lowered under the guise that the financial realities of that time required a short-term adjustment of sorts…sadly this was not the case at all…we were all lied to, maybe even Wenger…the difference is that he had a choice, he could have said no at any time, he could have rallied support from those that still supported his vision, he could have found a way to let us know what was really going on…the fact that he didn’t do any of those things suggests that either he was part of the problem from the get-go or a gutless little man that chose his own personal gain over the club as a whole…the real question is tragic or treason, with the latter seeming much more likely

    3. ZA_Gunner says:

      Oh stop, just stop, you are making a fool of yourself. By sheep I presume you mean the board and owner? Well if it’s money you’re talking about it’s a non-excuse (please note JJPawn, this is for you too). 1. We have been promised by the board that there is money and we would be buying top players 2. We have two billionaires in Kroenke and Usmanov, so there is money and if Wenger wanted he can ask 3. If money was really an issue for Wenger then he would advocate Arsenal to become a big money spending club like Chelsea, PSG, Man United, etc which he hasn’t 4. Arsenal has a huge global fan base following and is amongst the top five football clubs by Forbes in terms of riches, no excuse 5. The Arsenal Supporters Trust voted in May 78% in favour wanted Wenger out and yet he signed on for another 2 years, meaning no one is listening to the fans. I wonder what that figure will be now, 90%?

  2. Mark says:

    All true and very considered words. He needs to go, but that’s the problem. He won’t. I’m tired of it already and the season has only just started!

  3. Yossarian says:

    Thank-you Jon Fox. That was an excellent article.

    Great managers learn from their mistakes, and build upon the experience to develop and improve over time. I always thought that Klopp was a bit over-rated, but he seems to have learned from his mistakes and is getting better. He may well become a great manager, which Wenger will never do now, because he is held back by his arrogance and weak mentality.

    I have often complained about the “Wenger favourites” system, and that is completely ruining the team selection and tactics more than ever before. There is no way Wenger is going to change now, so let’s just hope that something happens and he finally decides to call it a day.

    Some fans like to only blame Kroenke/Gazidis, and I would love to see the back of them too, but I still think that we could be title contenders and win some meaningful silverware with a decent manager and the financial resources that Arsenal have, even with the current (Although far from ideal) owner.

  4. Adam Criniti says:

    Thank you John for your eloquent and insightful words, without reservation the best and most profound post I’ve had the pleasure of reading here in quite some time.

    All the best with health and hopefully we can celebrate an Arsenal resurgence in the not 2 distant future.

  5. Koffi says:

    We need strength in midfield,Grzegorz Krychowiak of PSG is available and he seems to be going West Brom,WOW!!!

  6. To me it seems odd that he has to sell before buying – with all the money we are suppose to have in the bank. Get rid of the rubbish – sell them for anything the club can get and if they do not want to move on stick them with the youth team to train and let them rot.

    The problem is who do we keep – there are not many – The net spend this year is a few millions – why? Is it Wenger will not spend or has he been told you have to sell before buying – does it mean we do not really have the money. Is it ear marked for the owners debts or a guarantee for his other clubs loans.

    Is this the reason we buy rubbish – we cannot go out and compete to buy top players but scramble for second rate players – who knows because the supporters are taken for granted and are not told anything

    I have supported (watched/ season ticket holder plus a share holder back in the 70’s) the team since 1958 when I was 6 – I lived within walking distance of the old ground – I have given up I do not care any more – I will not watch them on Tv or go to a game. My advice is you should all do the same

  7. AB says:

    Thanks Jon for the great article. Feels really good to hear from an arsenal fan for longer than I have been on this planet.
    It would be great if you can inspire Londoners to protest in and outside the stadium and also guide us virtuals with some ways to make our voice heard.

    1. Mr Viewz says:

      Boycotts are better than Protests…
      Back when South Africa was fighting the evil wrath of Apartheid, the world markets imposed a ban on any commercial imports coming from S.A…this flipped our country around. So I beg my fellow Gooners to stop enriching these oligarchs by not showing up to any of our games this season

  8. Durand says:

    Brilliant article, says exactly what so many of us feel. The new stadium lie has been fully exposed, did very little for the club, (in terms of transfer spending willingness) but made Kronke millions.
    A club like Arsenal is more than able to bring in one top top class player every summer; after a few summers we could be great again.
    People are angry because they are being used for the open wallets that they are.

    Lastly, rather see players like iwobi and Reiss be given opportunities to play instead of running out guys like walcott, who is bench player at best after 11 years!
    I don’t understand why he is so hesitant to rip players, but eager to give supporters the hairdryer treatment at the drop of a hat.
    This bed is entirely of his making, so let him lie in it. Regular Greek tragedy, if you know your history you know hubris has its own punishment

  9. Guneal says:

    You nailed it ? Mr Jon

    I wish it was on wenger’s arrogant head though ?????

  10. xxnofx says:

    Very good read Jon
    i am also in the older bracket of an arsenal fan ,been supporting them now since 88 .im now 37 so ive seen the lean times before ,every team as them .But its what you do in them times which define your club .For me the biggest problem being that it all comes down to the money side with our club .We all know that we are in the top 10 richest clubs in the world ,but we dont act like it .we never go for them top tier signings which all our rivals do ,but waste money on average types .
    35 million xhaka
    30 odd million mustafi
    16 million welbeck
    16 perez
    Thats just to name a few, now if you add this up you could have bought yourself 2 top top players just off the money of them 4.
    Its seems to me that he just spends the money to keep it looking like hes making the signings we need ,but all hes doing is wasting it .Then we get left with an oversized average squad every year .
    also we are the only club that i can think of that every transfer is undisculosed .why is that ?
    every team that finshed above us last year as really gone for there transfers and they look good ,we on the other hand have decide that we only needed 2 players and then deicde to that we are going to sell everyone off in the last week of the transfer window. Its unforgivable in my book . we wait every year for the big change just to hear the same excuses (theres no1 out there )(we have the quality already )and we know hes goer sign a couple of panic buys just before the window just add to the already overloaded crappy looking squad that we have .Something not right behind the scenes with the money side or wenger just dosent like spending money and trying to prove everyone wrong .

  11. Arsenal_Girl says:

    As much as I hate Wenger as manager and what he has done to the team, it’s Kroenke and the board who pays him £9 million a year. How many people would voluntarily give up a secure £9 million a year job? Wenger is one of the World’s highest paid managers

    The board had plenty of opportunities to hire Guardiola, Klopp, Alegri etc. They would most likely have come here for the salary alone. Not to mention living in London. It would be a very attractive job opportunity

    Wenger needs to go, yes. But so does Kroenke

    Both Kroenke and Wenger have overstayed their welcome. They are “Persona Non Grata”

    1. gotanidea says:

      This is the best comment I have seen so far. Unfortunately the players and the fans might be able to get rid of Wenger, but not the board.

  12. Arsenal_Girl says:

    Has there been an article yet on Sterling and cash for Alexis? I missed articles this morning and afternoon

    I’ve just been reading about Alexis going to City of Raheem Sterling and money (not a straight swap). Also read about Wenger wanting Aguero instead of Sterling

    I really like Aguero. He is world class. Sterling is not world class, although he has been playing well recently.
    But where does that put Lacazette if we got Aguero?
    If he came, we would have Aguero, Lacazette, Giroud and Welbeck. If Sterling came we would have Sterling, Walcott, Iwobi, Welbeck. None of these four are of the same quality as Alexis.

  13. arsenal-steve says:

    Well here I am, another old guy. First saw Arsenal on my Dad’s lap in 1958, against Man Utd. They won 5-4 but what a game. Hooked me. Great times. Watched us beat the spuds in 1971, Ray Kennedy’s header won us the title. 1989 Michael Thomas’s amazing winner at Anfield. Even Wengers great Tony Adams and Martin Keon team.The icing on the cake was “The Invincibles”Henry, Bergkamp, Robert Pires and Patrick Viera, just the best of the best.
    Wenger should have gone six years ago. He started buying misguidedly lower level players and selling our best players. He now has become quite confused at the ripe old age of 67. At 67 good and wise men make way for young inspiring, energetic new managers closer to the modern game. If you read the Greek Myths you see what happens to those who suffer from arrogance and hubris and won’t let go. My friend Wenger it’s time to leave. Remember the good times and let a successor take your place. Do it out of love for Arsenal and stop taking revenge.

  14. Andrew Elder says:

    Excellent article Jon I agree with you on every point. I too have supported the club for nigh on 60 years and I don’t think I have ever been so depressed. How can Arsene Wenger continue as manager, he has lost the respect of the majority of supporters but continues as though nothing has happened? Lacazette and Kolasinac are the players I sympathise with, not the other overpaid (some) disloyal players who continue to be protected by Wenger, especially Walcott and Ramsey who are overrated and grossly overpaid.

    I honestly think that things will have to get a lot worse before the gutless board eventually sack Wenger. I now don’t have any sympathy for him, his selfishness and stubbornness are the cause of the current woes of this great club.

    The club has a good financial base and things could turn around relatively quickly with the right man at the helm. But first somone must go or be pushed!!

    Would anyone like to see Patrick Viera back?

    1. jonfox says:

      Andrew, We could do a lot worse than hire Viera. He has a toughness and an aura about him and now has managerial experience in the MLS. I would however prefer Simeone, Allegri or proven winning managers of this ilk at the top level. As I am a third generation in a family of now five generation Gooners – my late Grandfather usd to watch us at Woolwich – the Arsenal blood flows right through the veins of my family but unless we all act straight away we could see the club we love fall right out of the top strata for a long time. Leeds are the best example of a once great club (not that long ago either) who are struggling still to get back in the Premier League. DON’T THINK IT CANNOT HAPPEN TO US , BECAUSE IT CAN, UNLESS WE ALL ACT NOW. PLEASE REMEMBER TOO THAT ALL BUSINESSES OF ALL TYPES THE WORLD OVER ARE ONLY AS STRONG AS THE PEOPLE WHO MAKE THE KEY DECISIONS WHICH CONTROL THEIR FUTURE AND ALL SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSES HAVE PEOPLE WHO CARE ABOUT THEM AT THEIR HELM. We have Kroenke! Nuff said!

  15. Billy says:

    Great piece John. Any chance you could buy the club????

    If Arsene loves the club as much as what we read, then surely he would step aside. Take an ambassadors role, and go find the next Mbappe or Dembelle.

    I would love to see John and Usmanov buy the club, stick Koeman in charge with Viera as 2IC, and Berkampk back on the staff.

    John if you made beer it would probably be the best in the world.

    I have to dream now to hide the pain.


  16. Frank says:

    Nice one Jon. Someone send this to Arsenal FC.

  17. kelvin says:

    To Arsenal Football Club


    It has come to our attention as fans of arsenal football club, that mr.arsene wenger is hurting and spoiling our club.He believes that he will win the premier league which is in itself stupid and foolish cause he can’t no matter what he tries.No wonder Jose mourinho called you a specialist in failure cause you are too stubborn to accept assistance even when you are wrong and for that you will never achieve anything in your remaining time as manager.

    How can we achieve anything with you as manager when you struggle beating the top six clubs and if we add stoke city fc together with leicester city fc,those are 8 teams and thats 18 to 24 points lost so it just becomes a fantasy that every arsenal fan in africa dreams of coming true but cant especially if you are the one at the helm of the club.you truly are a specialist in failure.How can we win the champions league if winning the premier league itself is a problem ?

    Wenger gave stability to the club but its past his time and all good things must come to an end eventually.if he continues being the manager for the time allocated to him then arsenal will go from one of the best supported football clubs in africa to the least and that will in turn affect the market i.e no buying or selling of arsenal merchandise and many others and such will lead to the devaluation of arsenal f.c.

    Arsenal f.c is in the top 6 biggest clubs in europe and as such requires to be competing at all fronts not just competing for the F.A cup only.And with arsene wenger as manager that is just impossible.Fans are loosing wives cause of bets made,commiting murder when they are taunted about arsenal f.c loosing a game and also commiting suicide cause the pain is too unbearable.As you can see we are very passionate supporters so for every game its a matter of life and death.In a way an old dog can’t be taught new tricks.

    We take a look at Liverpool f.c,Tottenham f.c there is progress but Arsenal f.c is on the decline.All because the board and fans are afraid of life without wenger.If thats the case then our beloved club will be the club that never was because Arsenal f.c is a big football club but the management is bad.It is already a laughing stock because of the embarasment the way the top six clubs inflict heavy defeats on us plus even a few smaller ones.

    Wenger will tarnish his legacy if he continues at the club because we have observed and realised that he wont ever win any major trophy as manager.He truly is a specialist in failure and we the club wants success the sooner we get rid of him the better for all of us.

    Potential arsenal managers:
    (i)Louis enrique
    (ii)Thomas tuchel
    (iii)Diego simeone
    (iv)Maximilliano alegri
    (v)Roberto mancini
    (vi)Roger schmidt

    Thank you for your time and change the manager earlier so that the new manager can adapt quickly.

    an arsenal superfan

  18. B9 says:

    Perfect article Jon Fox….many arsenal fans can run the club better than that tumuor Wenger!…Arrogant n selfish!…should have left on a high after the FA win…I mean…Man u sacked Van gal after winning the same,but what do we do…award this tactless fool with 2 more years!…his transfer business recently had been shambolic,…Xhaka…though a great player wasn’t wat we needed….the sale of Gnarbry,loan of Campbell…and even Gabriel just beat logiic! Stupid old man!

  19. Scubagooner says:

    Great article,
    I hope to see protest at the ground. Fans not turning up in the thousands until minute 20 or something.
    We need big statements.

  20. Turbo says:

    I’ve been an Arsenal supporter for 40 years. I’m very hard pressed to think of a time when I’ve been more depressed about the club, more angry with it’s mismanagement, or more humiliated by a shambolic spectacle on the field as the recent complete and utter disgrace versus Liverpool. I used to take pride in supporting this club, now it is a matter of embarrassment. Friend supporting Spurs, AC Milan, Barca, Real, Dortmund, Everton, even Crystal Palace (FFS!) are being especially nice to me lately, maybe feeling it would be plain cruel to rub it in and give me a hard time for my AFC support. Not much more to say at this point. I could rail on about the obvious gross mismanagement of the club, etc., but plenty of others to do that. Just incredible sad at the moment. Frankly very hard and even awful to watch the matches anymore, but impossible to not look after so many years of following so closely…

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