The week that he won his final trophy, Arsene Wenger spoke about Arsenal being in danger of losing the proud values that he had helped continue to promote.
For decades the Gunners had a reputation around the UK of being the ‘classy club’ who always did things the ‘right way’.
I repeat this iconic story because I love what it represents.
Legend has it that Herbert Chapman paid out of his own pocket for the Highbury entrance to be painted marble red.
He wanted all visitors to know that this was a club who did things properly.
In the last couple of days various talking heads within the sport have reminded us of the proud image we have in football, making our official statement out of character.
Was Mikel Arteta over emotional after the Newcastle game? Was tis a sign of the pressure too much for one of the youngest at his job in this division?
Or was it a performance for the cameras?
An act of deflection, taking the spotlight off his team?
An opportunity to create a siege mentality?
Whatever his motives he was entitled to say what he wanted.
As part of their TV contract, broadcasters have access to interview managers directly after a match.
If that’s the time you want to ask questions, you can’t judge someone if their answers have a frustrating tone.
The Spaniard had made his feelings clear.
Now was the time to dust ourselves off and move on from Saturday. Like all sides have had to do more than once since this game was invented.
Where Arsenal let themselves down was by posting the following statement,
“Arsenal Football Club wholeheartedly supports Mikel Arteta’s post-match comments after yet more unacceptable refereeing and VAR errors on Saturday evening.
“We’d also like to acknowledge the huge effort and performance from our players and travelling supporters at St James’ Park.
“The Premier League is the best league in the world with the best players, coaches and supporters, all of whom deserve better. PGMOL urgently needs to address the standard of officiating and focus on action which moves us all on from retrospective analysis, attempted explanations and apologies.
“We support the ongoing efforts of Chief Refereeing Officer, Howard Webb and would welcome working together to achieve the world-class officiating standards our league demands.”
We know that a few years ago Josh Kroenke sat down with Arteta, Edu and BFG to review all areas of the club and form an action plan.
So maybe those in power felt obliged to show they were supporting their manager?
Outside of that I don’t really understand what our club is asking for and would have liked a solution or proposal to be suggested.
My own view is that we are better than that.
Is VAR not being implemented consistently?
In 2023 should Technology not tell us if a ball is out of play? Of course, it should.
Is officiating poor in England? Has been for a long time.
Yet in our proud history we have faced more controversial decisions than the weekend!
A Henchoz hand ball in a Cup Final?
Sol Campbell’s red card against Man United?
Rooney’s dive to end the Invincibles streak.
Kovavic not being sent off at the Emirates was more of a disgrace!
Whisper it quietly …. we also benefitted from a few. We don’t go a League season unbeaten if Pires doesn’t cheat to win a penalty Vs Portsmouth.
Either way you get on with it and go again the next week. A ref’s decision part of the drama of it all.
It’s kind of embarrassing that a Spurs manager last night is the one to speak with dignity.
After an evening where he watched two players sent off and a goal disallowed, Ange Postecoglou was still able to calmly remind us all, ‘At some point we got to accept a ref’s decision, that’s how I grew up. This constant erosion of a ref’s authority, this is where the game will end up, they won’t have any authority, we will be in the control of someone miles away in front of a TV screen. You either accept a decision or you don’t ‘.
I’m old enough to recall Mr Wenger’s second Double.
We lost 3-1 at home to Newcastle having led 1-0 when Parlour was harshly sent off.
Then at 1-1, a world class tackle was deemed a foul and we conceded a spot kick.
This led to the famous image of Thierry Henry confronting the officials at full time.
Mr Wenger didn’t shout in his press conference or complain how hard this League is.
He certainly didn’t require David Dein to write a note the next day.
We went to Liverpool days later and again went down to 10 men.
Henry scored a penalty and Ljungberg scored a great goal from a Pires assist to seal a famous win at Anfield that was the turning point in the title race.
That’s how you respond to adversity.
Time to move on. We were on the end of a dodgy decision. Happened before, will happen again.
That’s football. We will also benefit from some bad calls.
Let’s respond against Sevilla and Burnley this week.
What did you guys think of the statement?
Let me know in the comments.