Yes, Wenger had to leave – but do we respect him more now he’s gone?

Has the time since Wenger left changed what we think of him? by Gurjit

Let me start by saying this – It was right that Wenger left. Regardless of who you blame, things were stale and the team was season by season slowly slipping down the table to mediocrity.

Thing is, what came after him was Emery and Arteta. And whilst a lot can be said about the two of them (and the jury is still out on Arteta) there is one thing that is apparent. We have got worse, and that slip down the table has turned into a tumble. It seems much too cliché to use the excuse “the rot Wenger left us with” because that rot was performing much better than our current side has been. That side still played the beautiful football that we associate with our club and which had initially made a lot of us fall in love with it in the first place.

2 years down the line are we happy with where our club has gone? Wenger rightly left but took with him some of the Arsenal DNA that he brought in the first place. It was never expected that we would simply bounce back from such a huge change but at this point a well-run club should be able to say that it is moving in the right direction. I don’t think we can say that yet, and personally I look back at those final years of Wenger’s with at least some respect that he got so much from a group of players that we have not been able to improve since. Looking back, I think that maybe even in those final years he was responsible for a lot of the good within the team, and much of the staleness came from those around him.

I miss the style of play we brought to this league. It was as much a part of our club as the cannon on our badge and I for one hope it returns. I have some faith that Arteta knows this and, with time, I hope that with his own ideas some of that football returns and we can have some pride in how we play.

I think most fans agree it was time for Wenger to go – but has your opinion of him changed now you have seen how the club has been run without him?

Gurjit

41 Comments

  1. Adajim says:

    I do not know what style of play you miss, but for me we lost that beautiful scintillating style since Fabregas left, the rest afterwards were glimpse, which was showed under UE at times and now under MA.
    Delaying AW departure was delaying the inevitable, we should have done this a long time as we are can see, football revolved past wenger and he fail to upgrade, at the time it was glaring no matter who we sign, the improvement on the team might not be significant, loosing a 7points lead in 2007/08 because of Eduardo Injuries was the height of his blunder.
    Do I respect him as a person and for his contribution? YES, do I respect him more now because of our current position? NO, why? Because I feel he was the reason we are here, he didn’t leave us in a strong position, Fergie was the league, left numerous financial power and some good player, still Utd still struggling, not to talk of AW who left us in Europa with lots of issues to take care of, no disrespect, UE did his best and on his 2nd season, he got carried away by some media pressure, then began making mistakes, hopefully, MA rebuild this team

    1. Quantic Dream says:

      @Adajim
      I fully agree especially about the beautiful football. It vanished when key players such as Fabregas and Nasri left. Arteta tried to revive it he was unable. Cazorla joined and tried but it was never really the same. If Cazorla remained CAM and Suarez joined we might have gotten back our beautiful football but Ozil joined and destabilized the team. Ozil and Cazorla could have been very successful if Ozil had improved his workrate instead of leaving all the work to Cazorla. I believe Fabregas and Nasri worked so well coz they shared the burden together.

    2. Diogenes says:

      “loosing a 7points lead in 2007/08 because of Eduardo Injuries was the height of his blunder.”

      You’re unfair there. Eduardo injury was not his fault and we lost the title because Adebayor then stopped taking his chances in the final third of the season which again is very rarely the manager’s fault.

  2. S.J says:

    Well, finally at some point in time he had to go, nothing lasts forever. The after effect of Arsene leaving was inevitable after over 2 decades of relationship.
    Manchester United had the after effect also after Alex left and they are only just regaining strength lately so that is it.

    Now unto the present and future which is Arteta, let the board and us fans back him up, trust the process and see the result.

  3. Quantic Dream says:

    Wenger was finished. Him leaving did a lot to release the toxic atmosphere at this club. I don’t really respect him any more or less coz he messed up and left us in trouble. He could have gone after his 3rd straight FA cup which was a great achievement and enough but he had to cling on and ruin everything. Good riddance.

  4. CorporateMan says:

    What I think we miss most is Wenger’s intelligent transfer market dealings. Yes he got a few wrong (who doesn’t?)
    But he got a lot from the market with the resources available to him
    If you gave Wenger £72m he wouldn’t spend it on one player, no matter who.
    I have lost count of the players he brought to the club for next-to-nothing and who went on to be great for his teams

    1. Adajim says:

      And how much did these ‘excellent players’ worth at there prime, as far as I remember the most sale we had during Wenger era wasn’t up to Iwobi sale. Does that mean we sold them cheap? Or does it mean he bought cheap and he couldn’t improve them to superstar from garbage?

  5. Nigel says:

    I totally agree that AW left with the Arsenal DNA the flair the continuity and midfield brilliance. Wenger should have been given 1 more season to usher in the transition of the next generation. We are worse off now bt rebuilding is a process. I will always respect Wenger and Arteta has my full support. Players like Özil are way past their prime n they shud b moved on. A lot has to change and I hope it will change with time.

  6. SueP says:

    Wenger brought so much to Arsenal and this is evident today in the way all clubs went from the booze culture to proper regimens on diet and training. He was before his time.

    It became a two horse race against AF but the writing was on the wall when new owners with money to buy the league swept into the PL and it has been changed forever. At the same time a new breed of manager, with new ideas brought something different. Fergie got out at the top. Perhaps he knew his time was up.

    For all AW gave to Arsenal there was a point at which he should have stepped down with his head held high, his legacy intact and with the love and affection of all of us thanking him for his many achievements. He just didn’t know when that time was.

    I agree with Quantic Dream that the FA Cup should have drawn a line under his tenure but I’d stop at good riddance. It was the club that kept renewing his contract.

    1. Jon says:

      I have read so many comments on here and it is a shame to find so many Arsenal fans accusing wrongly, the blame is always Wenger , Ozil, UE or MA, why are people afraid to accuse rightly? where is the club ownership and management in all these / they are the culprits and should be duely exposed.

      Enough of wrong batterings, AW managed to keep us from a deserved tumble down the table by applying his experience and a few manipulations to keep us relevant as a club. We used to be everybody’s second team and that speaks a great deal of AW’s work. AW only lost to Money, in terms of football revolving no one could do AW’s work without being backed with spending power. From AF to Mou to Pep to Klopp everyone has been backed by a management that spends. AW had to improvise thereby shifting a lot of his focus away from real pitch football, that is what you get working for a club that puts value over ambition.

      AW was an employee and for several years always said that based on Arsenal’s budget top 4 was like a trophy. Now the whole football world understands what he said as a visionary. If the Management disagreed they could have spoken or changed the budget. AW was very honourable and wouldnt fight his employers or leave his ‘baby’ – a club he had come to give his all to as its most successful manager.

      Arsenal fans need to grow up and stop moaning. We are still getting what we deserve. Wenger’s magic is gone now and a selling club is rightly finding its true level on the table. A club that has erased all the wealth Wenger created with the owners just taking and never giving or investing appropriately in the team speaks of no ambition.

      Arsenal dont have ambition and until we do we will continue to fall behind the rest and there is nothing MA can do to help. Arsenal fans should apportion blame rightly and get the club management to become responsible. our problem isnt UE, AW, MA or Ozil.

  7. ThirdManJW says:

    It’s easier to see all the good he did for the club early on in his Arsenal career, now that we’re not calling for his head every week.

    My opinion on him hasn’t changed though. Wenger was here for so long, playing a major role in our regression, that our problems became institutional. I always felt it would take a minimum of at least 3 years from the day he left until we started seeing some real changes, which is what we’re seeing at the moment. Still a lot of work to do cleaning up the mess left from Wenger and Gazidis, but we’re slowly getting there.

  8. Loose Cannon says:

    Most of the AKBs (some still remain) think that he did favors for us, the main was paid 8 million for what? Taking us to the UCL and being humiliated time after time, season after season? One UCL final in 20 endeavors? Those who mention that he built the Emirates, what a joke! Was he the project manager or consultant? You can defend the man to certain extent, rest you get exposed more than the defense. He did give us the EPL and FA and invincibles, grateful for that, but that was what he was paid for. He did no charity. His success was based on the solid defense foundation of GG and he dismantled the Arsenal from being tough cookies not to be messed around to little boys waiting to be spanked. Some argue that CFC and MC bought the titles with overspending, agree to a certain extent, how did Claudio win with a team of lesser known players?He could perform when the EPL was a two horse race, good he left two years back or we would have been relegated this season. As compared to why we are outside the EL / UCL, the answer is obvious – the trash he collected is jammed to our core, very hard to oust. So we are failing and falling. And no longer are the promoted teams getting relegated that quickly as was in the past. Last year Wolves, Watford and this year Sheff have good hard working players, eager to win/achieve, while our players are more interested in cracking jokes in training and active on social media post matches.
    It is going to take a lot of time and money to rid our club of mediocrity and selfishness which took roots under the Wenger era. Next season will be more challenging with Leeds joining the EPL, Everton and Newcastle investing, so we need to hurry up and cast out the chaff from our team sooner rather than later. Will Ozil move elsewhere for game time?No. Who signed his mega wage packet?You know the answer.For this reason Wenger has humiliated himself.
    The reason why some think that Wenger’s last years although 4/5/6th was better than us today, the answer is simple. You have more teams competitive this year – Leicester, Wolves, Sheff (Sheff will drop down further by the season end) are the reason we are 8th. ManU have added Bruno who is a quality player, we are hanging on to Ozil hoping he will come good – someday?

  9. James Gunner says:

    In fact he shd have left after the 8-2 mauling. His emphasis on attack at the expense of defence papered over the cracks because then the gunners were winning.
    He was resistant to change if you were to judge his record against the top 5/6 epl teams.Thats why he was regularly beaten by these teams because they played counter attacking. To him this is anti soccer.
    Anyway thanks for the memory

  10. Dan kit says:

    Any fan that cannot respect what Arsene bought to Arsenal is a clown .
    This is a man respected by opposing fans ,that to me says everything about this great man .
    Respected world wide for what he did for this great club ,buying world class stars for peanuts was his forte.
    He made mistakes and he paid for them ,but any true arsenal fan who keeps finding only faults is not a fan to me ,just someone trying to make a point .
    I would personally apologise to him being one of many who wanted him gone before he left ,but knowing what we know now having Emery in charge it was definitely the wrong choice to hound him out .

    1. ThirdManJW says:

      It’s funny that you constantly bang on about the flop Emery, yet you always wanted Wenger to stay! Because of people like you, we missed out on the likes of Klopp and Pep. Maybe if all Arsenal fans put the club first, we could have been league and European champions by now. So be careful what you wish for!

      1. Dan kit says:

        And once again you did not read my post ,I said I wanted Wenger out long before he actually left ,but I respect the man and I’m not one to hold a grudge .

        1. Dan kit says:

          And stop kidding yourself if you think Klopp and Pep actually wanted to Come here ,that’s fantasy made up from fans who think that they know what goes on at boardroom level

        2. ThirdManJW says:

          I respect him for what he did at Arsenal as well, but I refuse to turn a blind eye to how he and Gazidis also ruined the club.

      2. Highbury Hero says:

        You could put Pep, Klopp and Allegri together to manage Arsenal and nothing would still change if the team does not or is not smart on their spending.

  11. Lord Denning says:

    Wenger is a class above Arsenal,he left with his human values the club is yet to prove that they hold those great values.we have lost glory and respect.

  12. Lord Denning says:

    Being the first club to implement salary cuts shows we are kreonke FC and we care about his sustainability in making money

  13. Danny says:

    Arsenal should have been more ruthless and sacked Wenger years ago and should have gone all out to get klopp and 100% Arsenal would not be in the state they are today if they had done!! Don’t get me wrong I respect the job Wenger did and the way he changed Arsenal and played some of the best football I’ve ever seen but his period at Arsenal just lasted to long!!

  14. ken1945 says:

    Two comments from views above:

    If Ferguson left United in such a strong position, can we have a list of what they have won since he left!?

    Secondly, results tell us that Wenger’s Invincible defence was better than the GG defence, that in his last season finished in 12th position – something that, whatever defence AW had, never finished so low.

    How I would suggest we look at this, is take the 7 fa cup wins, the three premiership wins, the three doubles, the 20 years of continuous CL participation and the Invincibles away and then ask the question – what did Arsene Wenger do for our club, versus the mistakes he made.

    For me he deserves all the respect the world of football has bestowed on him – “merci Arsene”.

    1. Andrew Elder says:

      Ken, this is one thing we will always agree upon. Yes he probably stayed on too long but he is still the greatest manager this club has ever had. And he did it with grace and humility, a great man and I would second your ‘merci Arsene’.

  15. CorporateMan says:

    Wenger was a victim of “money football” in the PL. Simple.
    Remove the influence of the Abramoviches, and the Sheiks’ oil money, and all that; Arsenal would still be up there with the very best with Wenger in tow.
    Let’s see how we do now without him and with our “self-sustaining business model”.
    As a Nigerian, I’m dying for the day Dangote will take over this club. He is rich, and he is a fan. He would run it for results and not just as another business unit churning in the profits.

    1. Highbury Hero says:

      Funny you should say that. I think even if Arsenal is taken over by Bezos and win the Premier League with a 100% win percentage I would not enjoy it as I did enjoy the wins under Wenger many moons ago. There is something about buying all the best players and win it that makes it seems like it’s not a real win. I enjoyed, cheered and celebrated Leicester premiership win because even though I don’t like them one bit it gave me that enjoyment of pure win without money push that sadly has been lost forever now.

      1. Kstix says:

        You’re funny. This is just like saying, graduating top of the class in havard because I have a rich father and went to the best schools is somehow not the same as going to less expensive schools and finishing second, third and fourth in the class there. Going to a less expensive school to get a third class is better than going to an expensive school and graduating with a first class. It’s a poor mind set. We need to buy quality players to compete with the top.

        1. Highbury Hero says:

          We need to buy top talent to compete. I didn’t dispute that. But I don’t enjoy it. It is me not you. What I feel is for me not for you.

          And your example does not in any way reflect what I said. To use your Harvard example I would enjoy my Harvard degree if I get it with poor parents and without any influence but with just my hard work and determination.

  16. Reggie says:

    I have and will always respect and look back in fondness at what wenger did for 12 years. After that bit by bit we as a club lost our identity, the organisation and direction that was there before. We became a bitty club with no real style of play, we played like eleven individuals and our performances were fragmented and disjointed because he lost his way and vision. The guy deserves a statue but lets not forget the state he left this club in and i dont mean 5th, that was only part of it. We had no real midfield, no defence and our attack were flat track bullies, who couldn’t compete when the big teams came to town. The club was in freefall, we lacked a spine and everything was broke. We are now paying for that in spades. The way the club has been run since is a disgrace but that is another story.

  17. Jimmy Bauer says:

    Ehy do most fans seem to think Emery never did any good and it was such a mistake to have hired him..we finished 6th in the league and Europa league semi finalist in Wenger’s last season.In Emery’s 1st season(mind you in an entirely new country with a new language ,and barely enough money to spend)he took us to 5th a point short of the Champion’s League spot (We also had a better point haul and goal difference,showing he was having an effect on our perpetually abysmall defence)….Let’s not forget the 22 match unbeaten run he did with us.The longest in a very long time for our club…I for one would have left him incharge to the end of the season to see what’s what..I don’t believe (and if most of you are being sincere to yourselves )we would be worst off than we are on the table had Emery remained in charge…

    We’ll Prolly finish outside a European spot.So I ask what really has sacking Emery achieved?..

    1. SueP says:

      We were staring at a relegation situation last October under Emery. Lack of respect or confidence in the manager by the players brought Emery down. They downed tools

      In many ways what Wenger achieved over so many years and what Emery did during most of his first season soon gets forgotten when results decline

      1. Highbury Hero says:

        People who tend to attack Emery always choose to forget this. It was the players and not the manager that was the problem. I believe they did it on purpose to make him sacked while crying his way to the bank to cash in.

    2. Ken1945 says:

      Jimmy what you didn’t mention in your reasonable post however, was the fact that we nearly bought in a completely new team, at the cost of over £200 million when he arrived, followed by the likes of Pepe for a reported £72 million.

      They may not have been his choice of players, but he was the coach.
      Let’s remember that for the first time in decades we were talking about relegation, plus the toxicity from both the fans and the players.

      I wish him well in the future, but it’s now time for Mikel Arteta.

      1. Highbury Hero says:

        They were not his choice and that is very important. He wanted Saga they gave him Pepe. Turns he was right.

        1. Gwin says:

          I beg to disagree with Zaha better than Pepe this season. Pepe has scored more and created more than Zaha this season. If you compare Pepe and Zaha’s output this season, pepe has been the super star.

  18. Durand says:

    Emery was his own worst enemy.
    1. Deceptive about his style of play; he said he preferred attacking 5-4 win than 1-0, yet repeatedly fielded 7 defenders.
    2. He said he liked creating friction with players
    3. Gambling everything on Euro final and throwing away last 5 matches with ridiculous lineups when we’re almost in 4th place
    4. Agreeing to 5 captains nonsense

    Emery made his own bed, and couldn’t evolve in his second year.
    He was hired as “coach” remember, not manager. He failed to improve players or the defense.
    Compare that to how Arteta has improved us defensively, and our style of play.
    We wasted 18 months with the Emery experiment, and it’s just business nothing personal I’m glad he’s gone.
    If he wanted patience and understanding then talk to a shrink.

  19. Jimmy Bauer says:

    Yes Ken1945..They weren’t his preferred choice..Despite that, he went a decent number of games unbeaten… We often tend to forget even coaches ,new ones especially need time to understand a new culture and new crop of players…Its my opinion that Emery wasn’t given enough time…Its important to note, Our loss percentage with him was 20%..Without him,Loss percentage increased to 25%..we weren’t losing many games under Emery,we were just drawing too many games..He proved he could win games … Remember or unbeaten run in the Europa on our way to the final?..What Emery needed was time..He should have atleast been given to the Ned of this season…

    1. SueP says:

      Sorry Jimmy I disagree , or to put it another way, do you think that he could have done an emergency stop, done a three point turn and pointed us back up the league?
      Personally speaking, I don’t sadly. We were heading off to championship football

      I blame the board for employing a man who couldn’t relate to his squad due to his weak grasp of English. I never thought he was a bad man but he was out of his depth at Arsenal

  20. jon fox says:

    My thoughts on thr Wenger years have obviously not changed because the facts have not ,so why would my thoughts change on his years here! What has happend since is an entirely different matter when judging the Wenger years. As the article talks about the Wenger years I will first answer those 22 years and then talk, separately, about the years since. I had wanted him gone since 2008, as I saw a steady regression beginning at the time Dein was shafted and Kroenke bought in, back in 2007. By 2008 he was not the same manager as the previous years of glory since he arrived in 1996. Essentially he had a decade of succes and a decade of drift,and by thetime he finally, far too late, left, this drift was so very, very obvious to all save Wenger fan boys, mostly very young but with a few older fans too.

    On Emery, he initially did well with an unbalanced squad full of holes but thelanguage difficulties AND his constant tinkering with shape and selections sowed confusion and thus did for him.
    On Arteta he took over a squad still very unbalanced with many holes but with a growing stream of promising young players about to come through. Under his unwavering demand for effort and his clear instructions plus his sheer man management ability and deep understanding of the game, the team now looks set for an upturn.

    I say this despite the huge Kroenke handicap of no spending money and the Ozil waste of approx £17millwages annually. But that will end next summer and we can finally move this lazy idler on elsewhere. He will probably retire but in actuality he retired, to all intents and purposes, about five years ago, despite being on our books. I remain agreat supporter of Arteta abd retaingreat faith in him BUT I also, being arealist, cannot expect miracles while Kreonke remains as owner. I believe within two years Kroenke will beforced to sell up, because the danage Covid is doing to his iwill be too much for him and w e will finally be rid of him. THAT AND THAT ALONE WILL BE A MAJOR GAME CHANGER FOR OUR CLUB. I firmly believe Arteta will be here for many years to come, which is good news !

    1. SueP says:

      Jon
      A very good read
      You saw a down turn some while before me: I was happy to be a top4 club year after year
      Arteta is restoring a some belief not only in the squad..but me too

  21. David says:

    The main thing that halted Wenger’s succes was the new money Chelsea brought to the game and a team like the Spuds copying our succes. We all know the very long list of players who almost signed for Arsenal. We know AW had the principle of paying no more than +- 10 million for a defender, 20 million for an attacking player and Wenger got priced out easily for the players he actually wanted.

    For me he was and always will be a legend of the highest order. I look back in shame how he was treated by some fans. I did agree that his time was up.

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