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Dein speaks out for old friend Wenger

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Dan Roan | 11:22 UK time, Friday, 19 August 2011

David Dein's decision to enter into the debate surrounding Arsenal, urging the fans to give Arsene Wenger more respect or risk losing their longest-serving manager, is significant.

The former vice-chairman remains close to the man he appointed in 1996.

The pair met when Wenger was manager of Monaco and on a scouting mission at Highbury. Dein invited him for dinner with friends and ended up playing a game of charades with the Frenchman. The pair have been best friends ever since.

When Dein left Arsenal in 2007 having fallen out with the board over his backing of Uzbek steel magnate Alisher Usmanov, Wenger lost his closest ally, but they remain Totteridge neighbours and speak all the time.

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Dein remains a die-hard Arsenal fan. He retains his corporate box at the Emirates and an impressive collection of club memorabilia hangs on the walls of his home.

He heard the abuse directed at Wenger by Arsenal's own fans at St James' Park last weekend and is aware that the manager's judgement, especially on transfers, is being openly questioned for the first time. And he knows that Wenger is struggling to deal with the toughest period of his 15-year tenure.

In short, Dein has stepped in because he fears for his friend and thinks he needs some back-up. The trauma of Arsenal's late-season implosion last spring, the loss of Cesc Fabregas and the impending departure of Samir Nasri have taken their toll on the manager. Dein knows that the multilingual Wenger would have no shortage of offers should he grow tired of the Emirates hot-seat, from PSG to the FA, and has stepped in on his behalf.

Many Arsenal fans have reacted angrily to Dein's call-to-arms this morning. Some, infuriated by record ticket price increases and an absent, elusive owner, claim they have every right to criticise a manager who seems increasingly delusional, stubbornly incapable of competing in the transfer market and has won nothing for six seasons.

Some believe the game has moved on, leaving Wenger behind; that the manager is a throwback and his emphasis on young players is out of touch when competing with the petro-dollars of Man City.

Others simply point out that Dein's son, Darren, is the agent of Fabregas and Gael Clichy, politely suggesting Dein should keep his thoughts to himself.

Arsene Wenger and David Dein, pictured in 2001

When Dein left Arsenal in 2007, Wenger lost his closest boardroom ally. Photo: Getty

But many Arsenal supporters will also heed Dein's words of caution and note that the club has not won a trophy since the man known as 'Mr Arsenal' left the club. They will also note the complete silence of majority shareholder Stan Kroenke and appreciate that at least someone is issuing a rallying cry at a critical time.

For years, Dein acted as Wenger's right-hand man, dealing with the grubby business of transfers while the Frenchman could concentrate on the actual football side of the club, which is his strength.

Wenger no longer has such assistance and many fans believe the time has come for Dein to be invited back. The suggestion even received a round of applause at a recent meeting of the Arsenal Supporters Trust.

If Dein were to come back, he would certainly have one or two ideas for how Kroenke and Usmanov, two of the richest men in the world, should spend their money. But with opposition from chairman Peter Hill-Wood and chief executive Ivan Gazidis, such a prospect remains unlikely.

Dein misses being involved at Arsenal and would love to return. Whether the man he brought to the club in 1996 is still there when and if he does remains to be seen.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Dein is simply trying to avoid mass panic in the ranks. No crisis has broken out.... yet

  • Comment number 2.

    Man City fan here. While I can understand Arsenal supporters' frustration with aspects of Wenger's management, I for one feel the Premier League would be a poorer place without him and, more specifically, the brand of football for which he is responsible. George Graham's teams were always strong, effective, efficient and dull as a wet February Sunday afternoon in Walsall (apologies to any offended Walsallites) Wenger's Arsenal have probably been responsible for some of the most entertaining football I've ever seen played by an English club. In addition to which he has done a great deal to promote the much needed emphasis on improved technique amongst young British footballers.

    Wenger can be both irritating and frustrating, but I would urge any disgruntled Arsenal fan to value the fact that win, lose or draw at least they can go to a game fairly safe in the knowledge that they will see good, attractive football.

  • Comment number 3.

    We've respected him for 15 years, we've respected him during the last 6 trophyless years too, at what point are we allowed to lay down a protest, voice our dissatisfaction?

    The board have given Wenger too much respect, talk of telling him he's got a 'job for life' a 'place on the board when he retires' - who is in charge? the looney man in the dugout or silent stan?

    I don't see a viable replacement for Wenger and I don't think now is the right time in the season to sack a manager - but whilst theres money in the bank who is to blame?

  • Comment number 4.

    It is difficult to remain calm after Arsenals last year capitulation of titles on all fronts. This side we are weaker than the last and still have inexperienced youth. Calm is based on hope that things would get better. It is difficult after being six years trophyless and repeatedly being pointed towards the inexperience of this young side, to get hope from somewhere? Something needs to be changed

  • Comment number 5.

    Liverpool fan here. The criticism of Wenger is ridiculous.

    Arsenal do not have the money to compete with City, Chelsea, Utd and Liverpool. I suspect that they are still paying off the costs of the Emirates. That Wenger has kept Arsenal competitive on a comparitively small budget whilst also playing the most attractive football in the country is a remarkable achievement.

    How much money has Wenger got to spend? Do you believe the Arsenal board when they say Wenger has X amount to spend? Nina Bracewell-Smith has called for the whole Arsenal board to resign. Wenger is doing a fantastic job managing the team with all the boardroom turmoil.

    Even the staunchest Wenger critic will admit that they can't compete with City, Chelsea, Man Utd and Liverpool for players yet still they want Wenger to splash out big money? What is the sense in this? To be outbid by the other teams and get players that the other 4 have deemed not good enough? Make no mistake, In a bidding war City, Chelsea, Man utd or Liverpool will win 99% of the time.

    Look at the players that Wenger is repeatably told by the media and frustrated fans to buy. Parker, Cahill, Samba, Jagielka. Are these players really any better than what he has? 3 players on the fringes of a mediocre England team and a player who's main attribute is been big! Are these players really better than Song, Koscielny, Vermaelen etc? There are still people saying that Wenger should buy a keeper, even when he has brought through in Schzesny one of the most promising young keepers in World football.

  • Comment number 6.

    "We can't win for toffee, but we play nice football!" - I'd rather not be the Harlem Globetrotters of the premier league, theres nothing attractive about coming 4th in a 2 horse race or picking the ball out of the back of your net.

  • Comment number 7.

    I think everyone has an opinion on Arsenal at the moment and all bar opposition support are valid, including the fans. I one skimmed through the DD interview but I gathered he is backing Wenger and urging supporters to show more respect. I think 99.9% of fans do respect AW and all he has done for the club, both the trophy laden start and the stable transition into the new stadium whilst staying in the top 4 and playing the best stuff around (which as a spectator, being entertained is what we pay for) albeit potless. However the last year has seen a marked turn in fan opinion because we can see that the club, from an outside perspective is being poorly run. Fabregas/Nasri should have been sorted long before the season start, every man and his dog and there flee's know about the defence and no midfield replacements have been bought in despite the loss of Cesc, Nasri, Denilson, Eboue. When we are starting a season with Champs league qualifying with a squad that we have, I find it hard to take. and for all the "we need better than we have" in my opinion West ham with Nolan/Parker have a better current midfield pairing than us. Ramsey, Wilshire and Frimpong (maybe) will be fine footballers but they and we need quality now.

  • Comment number 8.

    I would also like to say that as a Liverpool fan who has almost seen the club go into administration under Gilette and Hicks and has now seen us waste seventy million on 3 mediocre English players (Downing, Carroll and Henderson) I wouldn't mind one bit if Wenger came and took charge of our finances!

  • Comment number 9.

    We gooners have had enough of being the Harlem Globetrotters of football. Sure, games last season like 4-4 newcastle and 3-3 spurs were exciting to watch. But not for Arsenal fans.

    We're biting our nails when defending a 1-0 against Udinese. That tells you everything you need to know.

  • Comment number 10.

    Man City fan here.

    I actually pity Arsene Wenger at the moment on a professional level. The latest round of sanctions against him for passing notes from the bench are completely out of line. This would probably just have been a point of confusion over what was permitted. Why would he so obviously have broken the rules with every HD TV camera in the sporting world pointed at him? And while I'm at it, didn't we see Mourinho doing exactly the same thing last season when he was banished to the stands against Barca in the Champions League semis? I don't recall further sanctions against him on that occasion..?

  • Comment number 11.

    I agree with #4 and would go further and say that Arsenal are in danger of becoming a stepping stone club for young players to gain experience before moving to Barcelona, Man C, Man U or Chelsea. We used to be a destination club for players with ambition and the move to the Emirates was supposed to provide the financial firepower to support that. Instead it's been a disaster, we've won nothing since moving there and look increasingly unlikely to do so.

    Also, the board situation is a disgrace. We are a football club not a trophy asset for foreign billionaires.

  • Comment number 12.

    I am a Stoke City fan and many may say that I should not be supporting a man who has been openly critical of my football club and individual players in the past but, I am a huge admirer of Wenger's and the work that he has done for Arsenal. Without Wenger Arsenal would not be the club that it is today. For me, one of his greatest achievements has been to ensure that Arsenal are consistently competing in the latter stages of the Champions League despite having a wage bill much smaller than the majority of his rivals.

    The success that Wenger has brought to Arsenal over the years has been a direct result of his ability to nurture talent whilst maintaining a healthy financial balance. The same cannot be said of clubs such as Chelsea and Man City who have built their success (or potentially impending success in the case of Man City) as a direct result of their exploitation of the vast resources at their disposal.

    With UEFA's financial fair play rules to come into force I believe that Arsenal will benefit a great deal as clubs, despite varying in wealth, will be competing on a much more even playing field, once again allowing a manager's ability to shine through rather than an owner's financial muscle.

    Manager's such as Wenger are extremely rare. There are very few who have proven that they can build success as a result of their abilities to actually coach and nurture players, yet Wenger produces wonderful talent on a continual basis. One only has to look back at the Arsenal team that went 49 games and within that period, a whole Premier League season, unbeaten. That side consisted of players who Wenger had purchased relatively cheap, yet had developed into world class performers. Others such as Keown, Parlour and Bergkamp were all into their thirties (37, 31 and 35 respectively) and were competing at the top level at such an age due to the revolutionary methods that Wenger employed off the pitch (diet, training etc).

    Arsenal fans and English football have a huge amount to thank Arsene Wenger for. No manager is without his faults and Wenger has his. At the moment I believe that the press in particular need to show more respect for a man who has revolutionised English football with regards to the scientific approaches now adopted by clubs and, become the second most successful manager ever in the Premier League. Arsenal fans may not currently be pleased with the situation at the club and the lack of silverware over the past few years, but you owe Arsene Wenger a great deal more than he currently owes the club.

  • Comment number 13.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 14.

    Also one more point. The fact that Wenger gets criticised for trying to ensure that his club is run on a sound financial footing is crazy. Arry Redknapp a manager who hasn't achieved half what Wenger has in his career is worshipped by the media for his 'wheeler dealer' style. He did win an FA Cup but at what cost to Portsmouth? Still that wasn't his problem, unlike Wenger he didn't care.

    Mark my words Arsenal fans, losing Wenger would be the worse mistake your club has ever made.

  • Comment number 15.

    I don't understand why Dein sold his shares in the first place if he cared so much about the club and wanted to have an influence on proceedings. Perhaps he thought Usmanov would complete a hostile takeover of the whole club and rid him of his boardroom enemies?

    Either way, his comments - for me - are worthless. If he truly wanted to help The Arsenal, mabye he should have dissuaded his son from negotiating 2 of our best players away from the club.

    As for Wenger, I still back him however if the transfer window closes without this squad having been added to further and it starts to affect our league placings, then doubts will be had.

    He is not stupid and he knows that if he fails to strengthen the squad - which is threadbare at present - and we finish outside the CL places this season, he is very likely to be sacked.

  • Comment number 16.

    @JamTay1 No the players you mention aren't better than our current first team. We have a first team that can challenge any team in the world. Currently though that's where it ends. Our squad is too thin. On tuesday night we ended up with a 17 year old right back playing as left back. Frimpong is our only DM backup. The team is seriously lacking depth currently. For the Liverpool game, we have no recognisable LB and only two fit midfields, one of whom has only played 25 mins of top flight football. This is a ridiculous situation for a 'top 4' club.

    Also whilst Arsenal can't compete with Man City in terms of money, plenty of top players still want to play for Arsenal. Regardless of the transfer budget for this season, Cesc's sale has raised around £35 million which has to be invested in the team. Whether that's as one top player (doesn't need to be a household name, Gervinho is looking like a really good signing) or as a couple of squad players doesn't really matter, but the team needs investment.

    Finally, as a general note, if Dein is such a die-hard arsenal fan, why did he go behind the board's back to sell his shares to Usmanov? If he really had the team's best interest at heart, surely he would have been open and clear about his dealings.

  • Comment number 17.

    We have absolutely no strength in depth, it's going to be another season when we rely on youngsters. I just hope that we don't put too much pressure on the young shoulders of Ramsey and Wilshere, but I fear they are our best hope of getting anything from this season!

    I am in no way confident of a top 4 finish. Something surely has to change.

  • Comment number 18.


    I think you make good points in your post, however I think Arsenal are a bit ahead of Liverpool in terms of attracting players. I still consider Arsenal to be behind only Man City, United and Chelsea… Arsenal have competed in the Champion League and challenged for the title on a yearly basis, which is not the case for Liverpool.

    With players like Walcott, Van Persie, Wilshere, Gervinho and Vermaelen the basis is still their of a strong spine and if the £30 million (Maybe £55 after Nasri) is available then 2 or 3 quality players and I feel this mini crisis will be a thing of the past.

  • Comment number 19.

    I think Dein’s comments seem misguided when he talks about giving wenger respect. Arsenal fans have the upmost respect for Wenger and all he has achieved and have hardly harried him out of the club at the first sight of failure. This isn’t some knee Jerk reaction, more the result of continued pressure without results. Various other channels used to voice fans concerns have been used and ignored. Supporters trust’s fan forums and even the AGM’s have become more and more heated as fans become disgruntled with what seems to be stubbornness to stick to principles that are allowing arsenal to fall by the wayside.

    Wenger has gone 6 years without a trophy and he pointed to last season and used the term ‘unlucky’ when describing the absolute capitulation that saw them team chasing success on 4 fronts to eventually finish empty handed and drop out of the automatic champions league qualification spots. It wasn’t so much a lack of luck as a lack of strength in depth, something that even the most casual of armchair fans seem to be able to point out.

    Arsenal fans reactions now seem to be almost that of despair that in spite of all the patience and support they have shown no-one who holds any power within the club is taking any notice, they almost seem to be reacting with indifference. We have lost our best player and nasri is soon to follow as well as a number of more experienced squad players. This should not be an issue if adequate cover is brought in but the current transfers seem to only scratch the surface. The squad was already too threadbare to remain competitive throughout an entire campaign and this season is looking increasingly grim considering the spending of our rivals.

    Comments that nasri and cesc were going to stay days before they eventually left / will leave and that signings will be made when they can find the right players only exacerbate the situation. We have consistently finished below 3 other teams in the league, maybe we should start asking their scouts where they find this wealth of talent. Even city, for all their big spending have made shrewd acquisitions too in the likes of Kompany. United picked up hernandez for 7million.

    All the old problems and failings that have been there for the past 6 years are plain to see. Even including our new signings we need at least 1 experienced centre back, another DM, replacements for cesc and nasri and even a striker if we’re feeling frivolous. No-one is asking Wenger to spend £30 million a player, but people want players with experience for once, not more kids and he may have to spend a little more than current £0 million of the past few weeks.

  • Comment number 20.

    SamuraisShadow wrote:
    "We're biting our nails when defending a 1-0 against Udinese. That tells you everything you need to know."

    Tells me everything I need to know about your knowledge of European football. Udinese are a quality side and 1-0 was a great result (and would have been for Man U, Chelsea, City or any other big team). A goal at the Satdio Friuli would really settle our nerves and hopefully see us through. But don;t fall in to the trap of thinking just because the BBC neglects to cover any football other than within the UK, it isn't up to much. Handanovic is possibly the best keeper in Serie A right now, and players likle Asamoah and Isla are of true high calibre. Not forgetting the one and only Di Natale - 57 goals in 71 games is exceptional!

  • Comment number 21.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 22.

    I'm a Utd fan and and I admire the way Wenger has Arsenal playing football.

    I think his biggest problem is that he thinks he can get decent players at a reasonable price and he won't pay what he considers is over the odds.

    However, Arsenal have always been seen as a big club and as such will always be charged over the odds, so he ends up buying youngsters all the time.

    If someone could just convince him to go and buy 2 of Jagielka, Shawcross, Cahill, Samba or Dann, even if they're a bit overpriced, then they would be much more competative.

    If he does get forced out at the end of the season, I hope the FA will grab him for the next England manager.

  • Comment number 23.

    At first I thought Dein's statement said "Arsenal fans must sack Wenger".

    On reflection, that was probably the right thing to say.

    Whilst everyone goes on about his style of football, which fair enough, is attractive - he seems to bring a really unpleasant culture with him.

    This is why both Wenger and the players are regularly suspended or facing disciplinaries and accused of unfair play.

    And for that reason, I want him out of the PL.

  • Comment number 24.

    Spurs fan here. While I'm quietly taking pleasure in the turbulence at the Emirates, I must admit I think the EPL would be much worse should Wenger decide to go elsewhere. Having said that I have to question the continuing problem areas in the Arsenal squad - namely goalkeeper and defence - and his half-arsed attempts to rectify them. While it's always nice to be able to bring in kids to fill these positions, the squad as a whole is crying out for some older heads to bring a bit of experience and stability to the side. Why he is stubbornly refusing to bring them in I will never know.

  • Comment number 25.

    As an Arsenal fan I remember the days before Wenger and I have to say I don't want to go back to that. It is frustrating to see players leave and the lack of players coming in compounds this but the club would be in a far worse position if Wenger wasn't there.

    I hope to see Wenger at the club for many seasons yet!

  • Comment number 26.

    Hello Spurs Fan here.. since 1973

    While i want to have a good laugh about Arsenal. having talked to fans who have been true gooners for many years, are to be honest happy with the current situation over all as they still remember the times before Graham and the dark years. Any club who can continually qualify for the champions league (in recent years) and regulary get themselves into the position to win trophies (even though they fall over at the final fence) are not doing that bad. just look at West Hams (appologies to hammers) record over the same period..

    All fans demand trophies and I am just wondering whats going to happen when Man city owners get bored with football....

  • Comment number 27.

    Complain about this comment (Comment number 17)
    Comment number 18.At 13:50 19th Aug 2011, Bear_with_it wrote:

    I think you make good points in your post, however I think Arsenal are a bit ahead of Liverpool in terms of attracting players. I still consider Arsenal to be behind only Man City, United and Chelsea… Arsenal have competed in the Champion League and challenged for the title on a yearly basis, which is not the case for Liverpool.

    With players like Walcott, Van Persie, Wilshere, Gervinho and Vermaelen the basis is still their of a strong spine and if the £30 million (Maybe £55 after Nasri) is available then 2 or 3 quality players and I feel this mini crisis will be a thing of the past.


    Fair point. The Champions League is a huge lure for players. My point though was that I honestly don't think Arsenal can compete financially with Liverpool, City, Chelsea and Man Utd.

    I would also add Scheszny and Sagna to that spine, and I think Arsenal are certainly in a stronger position that the Wenger haters in the media would like us to believe. With that said I hope that we will take 3pts off you this weekend!

  • Comment number 28.

    It pains me to see the team falling apart and to be honest you have to blame the Owners. Wenger does deserve respect but recently we are starting to lose that. Right now it will be a miracle if we can even finish to qualify for Europa for next season. When your manager goes and spends £12m on League one player that really worries me. It hurts me to have to say we have became a feeder club.

  • Comment number 29.

    SamuraisShadow wrote:
    "We're biting our nails when defending a 1-0 against Udinese. That tells you everything you need to know."

    “Tells me everything I need to know about your knowledge of European football. Udinese are a quality side and 1-0 was a great result (and would have been for Man U, Chelsea, City or any other big team). A goal at the Satdio Friuli would really settle our nerves and hopefully see us through.”

    Bit harsh there considering it was a very true reflection of the fans inside the stadium, I myself was there and it was a very tense affair in the 2nd half, especially as they were the better side. 1-0 will not be enough for Arsenal if they play like that in Italy and it was the performance more than anything else that was the worrying thing for the fans.

    P.S just because you don’t agree with someone’s points does not mean they have a poor knowledge of football, rather it shows you have a poor ability of having a reasonable debate.

  • Comment number 30.

    The thing is Arsenal fans are not asking for a ridiculous amount of money to be spent.

    All the majority of us are asking for is maybe 40 million all up

    18million for Cahill, 12 milion for Mertesacker, 10 million for say Parker or Jedson or whoever.

    We are not asking for 100 million to be spent.

    It is clear, the results don’t lie, and my eyes are not painted on.

    Djourou, Koscielny and Squillaci are not as good as a lot of other Premier League centre halves.

    Cahill, Jagielka, Samba, Mertesacker all of them would be an improvement on the ones we already have.

    Don’t believe me, watch the last minutes of the Carling Cup Final last season, or the second half of the 4-4 vs Newcastle.

    Or watch the 2-3 vs Spurs. Or any of the last few games from last season.

    I can go with Arsene not buying a keeper because I think Sneezy is pretty good and I am ok with Fabianski too I think.

    But Djourou makes far too many costly mistakes, so does Koscielny and he is not tall enough either.

    Squillaci is just not up to the intensity, it is way too quick and strong for him by the look of it.

    That is why a lot of fans are so frustrated that Arsene Wenger repeatedly avoids buying a new defence even though it is plain to see that we will fail again with only the current group. Not saying get rid of them just have them as the back up.

    If he buys the players the fans are craving, and they fail, I am sure we will be able to forgive Wenger and acknowledge that at least he tried to fix the defensive shambles.

    But if he refuses to spend 40 million in order to at least attempt to solve the problem than I for one will no longer go on supporting Arsene Wenger as a manager of Arsenal.

    The club can and will go on and there are many talented coaches/managers out there looking for an opportunity just as Arsene was back in 1996.

    It would be a terrible shame for him to leave because I do have a great deal of respect for the man. He has done amazing things with Arsenal in his time as manager and I hope he can do more and stay for a long time yet.

    However, he does need to swallow his pride now and appease the fans with some new defensive signings because if he doesn’t spend and Arsenal fail again, the majority of fans may have had enough.

    Please Arsene, just buy some new central defenders.....PLEASE !!!???

  • Comment number 31.

    I think one change Wenger should make over the summer is to bring Martin Keown on board in a coaching capacity, perhaps to share assistant duties with Pat Rice.

  • Comment number 32.

    I am an Arsenal fan more than 40 years. David Dein warns us to be careful and show respect. I respect Arsene Wenger and David Dein and I believe that part of the problem is that Dein is no longer with us. In terms of patience I believe we as fans were patient up to the point where Wengers failed philosophy became his irrational obsession. His unwillingness or inability to compromise his "principles" has become paramont and he refuses to accept reality or bow to pragmatism in any shape or form. I understand and agree with Mr Wengers genuine fear that the beautiful game will perish at the altar of monetarism. Where I differ with him is that I dont want Arsenal FC to be the sacrificial lamb under the table eating crumbs while others engage in a feeding frenzy on honour, glory and trophies whilst our manager seeks to unilaterally cure football of all its ills. It behoves all Arsenal fans to stand up for the club and I make no apology for doing that even if I incur the wrath of David Dein, the Arsene knows best brigade (AKB) or any others that continue erroneously to encourage Mr Wenger's delusional behaviour.

    Respect is a two way street and we as fans have been duped year on year for a number of years now. At the opening of this transfer window we were told how the midnight oil would be burned as new players would be brought in and despite having heard all this before we accepted in good faith the assurances made. The following direct quotations from Arsene Wenger sum up my arguments more eloquently than any further written words of mine could do.

    "Imagine the worst situation - we lose Fabregas and Nasri, You cannot convince people you are ambitious after that. You cannot pretend you are a big club. A big club holds onto its big players and gives a message out to all the other big clubs that they just cannot come in and take [players] away from you. Our position is always the same - we want to keep Cesc and I will fight as hard as I can to keep him. Samir Nasri is exactly the same. We will do everything we can to keep him".

    My heart truly bleeds for my beloved Arsenal Football Club.

  • Comment number 33.

    “I would also add Scheszny and Sagna to that spine, and I think Arsenal are certainly in a stronger position that the Wenger haters in the media would like us to believe. With that said I hope that we will take 3pts off you this weekend!”

    Fully expect Liverpool to do so as the pressure from the crowd at the Emirites may be on the players minds. Song, Gervinho, Djouro and Gibbs are all missing on top of Fabregas gone and possibly Nasri so this will be a huge task after all the media stuff going on for Arsenal. If Liverpool play like they did in the 1st half against Sunderland then there is plenty reason to be confident if you are a Liverpool fan.

  • Comment number 34.

    I agree its so easy to win things in football. Competing with those poor clubs like Man U, Man City and Chelsea should be easy for Arsenal. They even find it so easy they can afford to play the best football in the Premier League. Probably the best outside Barcelona who again are a pretty poor team. I dont understand why Arsenal dont win everything. It is all so easy.

  • Comment number 35.

    Arsenal have become a feeder club for teams that win things. Wenger needs a fresh challenge and he can't see the wood for the trees.

  • Comment number 36.

    I really don't see how any football fan can criticise Arsene Wenger, without him the Premier League wouldn't be what it is today. His methods have heavily contributed to the global success of the league.

    Any Arsenal 'fan' that says fourth isn't good enough is deluded, you only need to look at the amount spent by other clubs and compare them. Arsenal have been punching way above their financial weight for several years now, this is only because of Wenger's ability to find players. Football is a business whether you like it or not, so being a 'selling club' isn't a bad thing, buying players cheap and selling them for £20M+ is the reason Arsenal have been able to compete.

    I don't really understand why people complain about the squad being inexperienced, how are they supposed to get experience without playing? Without young players coming through the cost to keep rejuvenating it would be astronomical, look at Chelsea for example.

    As for #23 are you serious about unpleasant culture? I assume you're probably a massive fan of Mourinho, along with the media. Look at his mannerism though, hes thoroughly unprofessional and hardly ever gets punished for the majority of his actions. He brings and 'unpleasant culture' to football not Wenger!!

  • Comment number 37.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 38.

    Dein Shd shut his face. Every Arsenal fan respects AW, but feel its appropriate to question his judgment this year. Its the 1st time in 15 years. Wenger shdt complain. Its the Board ultimately who need to answer and speak up. Do they back Wenger? Nobody knows and thats the trouble. They seem happy to let him take the flak and he seems daft enough to let them. More fool him. He shd tell it how it is. The worst that could happen is they sack him and on his wages, i doubt it will have much effect. He ll have a new job by the day after.

  • Comment number 39.

    4th isn't good enough, when you are within touching distance of 1st only to be held back by the reluctance to spend money on a couple of players that would take you there.

    It defies logic almost. If Arsenal only had the available funds that Leeds have then spending a 40 million on a couple of defenders would not be wise and 4th would certainly be good enough.

    But when you charge the most for tickets in the Premier League, and you are considered as a contender, then repeatedly finishing 4th is not good enough for me.

    I like Nottingham Forest too, and I would be happy if they got promotion, but hey, they need to live within their means.

    Arsenal meanwhile, could finish 1st, win the FA Cup, and give the Champions League a real good crack, if they would just dip into that big load of cash available to them and buy some decent defenders.

  • Comment number 40.

    This is really simple.just allow him to go and get a manager you think will have the patience to deal with the sort of backroom staff Arsenal has.The kind of players being linked to the club by the media are not any better than those already there or those who would come from the youth system.It isn't like he's losing places to ordinary teams on the EPL table but to great teams and incredible managers.
    And who says Arsenal are battling for top four spot?How long have people been saying this and for how long have they been disappointed.But for injuries to key players(especially RVP) during the early days last season,they would have finished better than what they did cos both Chelsea and Man Utd(yes Man Utd) weren't that excellent.With Man Utd it was Fergie's brilliance and it is no shame losing out to him.

  • Comment number 41.

    I've read a few of Dan Roan's pieces lately and he seems to have become a victim of his own lack of prescience. By predicting a crisis at Arsenal that hasn't materialised, he now feels the need to fan the tiniest of flames until his arms fall off. Yes there are grumblings and rumblings at Arsenal, even more so than normal (I've heard them when we're 4-0 up against teams), and a frustration that we're not the force we used to be or have the same stellar names, but I haven't heard one genuine Arsenal fan even suggest Wenger should go. That's because, deep down, we know there's a bigger picture - at Arsenal and in football on the whole - when it comes to finances and that the game has changed. There's no point in screaming 'buy this established player' or 'buy that established player' because, at the end of the day, if they're that good Chelsea or one of the Manchester clubs will simply outbid us. Under the circumstancs, we should be a little more grateful for what we've got. We could always be Tottenham...

  • Comment number 42.

    “Arsenal meanwhile, could finish 1st, win the FA Cup, and give the Champions League a real good crack, if they would just dip into that big load of cash available to them and buy some decent defenders.”

    Is there vast amounts of cash though? City and Chelsea can do it because they can sustain heavy losses with the owners but Arsenal are trying to be financially astute…and with this comes the problem of losing out on the best players.

    Now with the wage capping at Arsenal how many players who can earn double that at City or Chelsea will be choosing them? This is not Wenger’s fault as he does not control that side of the club.

  • Comment number 43.

    Don't blame Wenger just yet - think about who is responsible for deals and who is responsible for setting up the wage structure in the club. It is not always "splashing" big money on a player, it is the wage the player is demanding that put off any deals. Nasri will probably sign new contract if Arsenal can offer him what Man City can.

  • Comment number 44.

    Only two current serving managers in the Premier League have the experience of winning and are proven winners of the title;

    1. Sir Alex Ferguson
    2. Arsene Wenger

    Arsene Wenger can only be judged on the results of what happens on the turf, not what happens in the corridors of the club. The media typically are having a frenzy on the comings & goings at Arsenal after only one game of the season.

    As a Man Utd fan, it was only about five seasons ago that the media were rounding on SAF for not playing 4-4-2 after United's shakey start to the season and were questioning wether his tenure was coming to an end.

    Wenger is an excellent manager and I for one enjoy having him around.

  • Comment number 45.


    My point was this: I was not arguing about Arsenal's performance. I said 1-0 was a good result, which it is. I take excpetion to, and it constantly riles me, the notion that sides such as Udinese should be swept away by the English (loosely-termed obviously) juggernaut. If it's "everything we need to know" about Arsenal that we were "biting our nails" with a 1-0 win, then we might as well stop giving CL any credit as a competition. I just think it smacks of misunderstanding, and perhaps also of a lack of respect, for teams like udinese.
    I agree that just because I don't agree with someone I shouldn't therefore question their knowledge of football. However, when there is some misguided idea that Arsenal should be thrashing these team's rather than grinding out a good 1-0 I think it's not such a leap of the imagination to assume the person in question hasn't fully done their homework on the opposition.

    Well done A.W. - fully support him. Many players have moved on from Arsenal at just the right time. Overmars, Vieira, Pires, Ljungberg, Henry, Hleb etc.... but A.W always proved to be astute. COYG!!!

  • Comment number 46.

    if chairman Peter Hill-Wood is in opposition to bring Dean back perhaps he should resign or sack his family has been at Arsenal for decades but never done much for the fans,team or highbury

  • Comment number 47.

    Never been a big fan of the 'Sun Tan man' and his views are pretty much worthless. He was the driving force behind one of Arsenals biggest ever mistakes - leaving Highbury. Yes we have more seats, but what difference has that made to the clubs prospects on the pitch (as promised). None. Instead, we have a huge white elephant, that is, as with all modern stadia, characterless, and soulless.

    But that's old news.

    Get behind Wenger? Why should anyone be asking Arsenal fans to do that? Unless they are actually struggling, I am quite happy to keep the best manager we've had in decades and far less happy with those who want him out.

    However, I suspect it's not so much the fans as his critics elsewhere that peeve Wenger the most, not least here at the Beeb. The media hate Arsenal, that's a given. Wenger is Arsenals most successful manager since the war that's also a given. So, what could be better than hounding out the one to spite the other...........

    Watch this space.

  • Comment number 48.

    To POW - In the Kisser!

    David Dein left the board in 2007 because he wanted Arsenal to have one controlling partner! He sold his shares after he left the board and not before. He original was a supporter of Kroenke, to take controlling interest. The board was against this (They signed contractual agreement at the time, so no shares could be sold for over a year. In an attempt to warded off Kroenke) but wait its now 2011 and who has the controlling interest in Arsenal!

    Arsenal has missed David Dein massively. He was the link between the board and football (Fans, Players and Manager)! His knowledge of the game and his influence within the footballing world can not be underestimated. At one point he was key figure not only at Arsenal but the FA and G14. With David Dein at the club managing the contract and transfer negotiations, Wenger was able to concentrate on the football and identify transfer targets with confidences that Dein would be able to obtain these targets. Every great player you can think off since the Wenger era began was signed by Dein i.e. Henry, Pires, Campbell, Van Persie, Fabregas, Ljungberg, Bergkamp and so on. The void left by Dein has not been filled. BRING DEIN BACK!

  • Comment number 49.

    “My point was this: I was not arguing about Arsenal's performance. I said 1-0 was a good result, which it is. I take excpetion to, and it constantly riles me, the notion that sides such as Udinese should be swept away by the English (loosely-termed obviously) juggernaut.”

    Not to say Udinese are not a good side, but they were a far better team last season and have been weakened noticeably with the best players leaving to clubs like Barcelona. I agree that some people suggest Arsenal should be beating teams like this without knowing much about the opposition…it can get tiresome especially in the English press.

    Arsenal are far far better than they showed on Tuesday night and should have done better, no it wasn’t a terrible result with all things considered but if the performance does not improve then it could turn out to be a missed opportunity to kill the tie off at home.

  • Comment number 50.

    Arsenal fans are unhappy at the lack of vital signings. Arsenal need a centre half (or possibly two). Yet, they haven't do so. They need to make another offer for Jagielka or look at buying Cahill or Samba. Or even two of the three. Also they need a defensive midfielder. Parker is still available and would add steel to their midfield. Song needed help on Tuesday night. Wenger had no one on the bench who could come in and help him. Also with Song having a suspension hanging over him, who's going to replace him against Liverpool and Man Utd?

    The signings I've suggested aren't world class, but they will add steel to the Arsenal team and allow the likes of Wilshere, Ramsey, Van Persie, Arshaving etc to run the show, while they graft. Those signings could be the difference between a serious title campaign and finishing outside the top 4.

  • Comment number 51.

    and liverpool have more money than arsenal ?
    did they rob a bank?

  • Comment number 52.

    How can you take a guy seriously when he wears a sleeping bag on the touchline?

  • Comment number 53.

    As much as I regret the fact David Dein is no longer involved in the running of Arsenal, friendship is one thing and doing his well paid job properly is another.

    Manager´s and coaches come and go, sometimes too fast but occasionly one is overstaying their welcome like it seems now the case with Arsene Wenger.

    Several great managers/coaches have lost their way after achieving great success in earlier years. Arrigo Sacchi after building the biggest team AC Milan ever had, Louis van Gaal after his success with Ajax and Barcelona just to name two and now Arsene Wenger.

    All three are extremely stubborn, single minded, refuse to take other opinions on board and eventually have (or might) to pay the price for it.

    Wenger had early successes like the others, but times change, the transfer market has changed, clubs revenue has increased dramatically as well.

    No title for seven long years apart from these days minor F.A. Cup win in 2005 is all Wenger can show for. A complete failure that would have been "punished" at any other big club across Europe. Wenger`s life had become far too secure and easy, he was never on any pressure to achieve any success at all and that is something unimagiable at Man U, Chelsea, Barca, Real M, AC or Inter. Those clubs would have shown him the door years ago.

    A kid brought in here and there isn`t turning a club into a title challenging side, that is a long term project if those players stay and experienced players are brought in at the same time to build the backbone for a strong team. As things stand now, even some of the young talents see Arsenal just as a stepping stone to gain experience, learn the trade to play good attacking football and as the club has no ambition whatsoever, move on when a really big club is knocking on the door.

    How naive and out of touch Wenger has become in recent years showed his comments last week, expecting Fabregas and Nasri to stay. It seems he dosne`t even want to be taken serious any more.

    Wenger is slower then a snail in the transfer market, afraid of spending any decent money at. He brought world class players to the club in the past, but in recent years a number of players who are at best suited for the lower reaches of the Premier League.

    As much as I respect David Dein, his move to protect his old friend AW might go down well with the Wenger fan club but not with those who`re completly dissatisfied about what he is not doing spending the huge amount of money he has at his disposal on real quality players.

    Maybe David Dein was concerned after looking at Arsenal`s fixture list: Liverpool H, Udinese A and Man U away. Does he fear defeats against Liverpool and Man U and not reaching the group stages of the Champions League might lead to Wenger`s resignation? The calls for his head might get very loud if all games are lost and quite rightly so.

    Wenger is plotting his own downfall, so what`s the point speaking out for him?

  • Comment number 54.

    All fans demand trophies and I am just wondering whats going to happen when Man city owners get bored with football....

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------This is becoming a bit irritating. This is an Arsenal blog about the Arsenal fans backing Wenger, yet one or two imbiciles want to moan about Manchester City's ownership.

    The facts:

    1. I do not see the CITY ownership getting board. A strategic plan is in place to improve the football club year on year.

    2. Element (1) has been achieved. CITY won the FA cup last year and although you may think this was a small achievemenet we beat Manchester Utd to accomplish this goal. CITY finished 3rd in the PL.

    3. CITY have just signed a multi year deal with Etihad.

    4. Re-development of the area around the Etihad stadium has been approved.

    5. Owners tend not to get board when success had been achieved.

    6. Success breeds Success.

    Just 6 points but I could quote more. I suggest the Spurs fan who wrote the comments detailed above take a look at the Spurs business model, a model that also includes lavish spending but yet I don't see Spurs investing in the local community.

    On another note: I wish Arsenal and Wenger to be successful this year. Although Wenger's personality is not my cup of tea, he coaches and develops youth and plays a lovely brand of football.

  • Comment number 55.

    Also if Wenger needs someone to replace Fabregas, why doesn't he look to Russia's star play maker from Euro2008 to play there? He has premiership experience, still plays behind the main striker for his country and would be free of charge. Because after all Arshavin is already an Arsenal player.

  • Comment number 56.


    Totally agree, people keep saying these players are no better than what we already have (although surely its about depth and a 2nd option?) but then haven't Man Utd been able to house so-say 'average' players within their great squads of past?

    Versatile players who work hard to make up for not being world class? The John O'Sheas, Wes Browns, Darren Fletchers, etc, etc. (I know some of them have now moved on).

  • Comment number 57.

    Pretty sure Arsenal can afford Gary Cahill and Per Metersackers wages now Fabregas, Clichy & Eboue are gone, Denilson and Vela on loan so less wages there.

    I don't imagine the wages of Gervinho, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Miyachi, Jenkinson & Traore are breaking the Arsenal bank.

    And as far as I am aware, aren't two multi billionaires the main shareholders in the club ?

    So I reckon it wouldn't be much of a stretch for someone at Arsenal to say, here Wenger is 40 million, go buy youself the best two defenders you can find that are available and are somewhat on the market (whispers, Cahill, Mertesacker, Samba, Dann, maybe Jagielka).

  • Comment number 58.

    arsenal fan since 1958
    what we need is a captain that leads the team from the back Fabregas was a good player but not once did I see him give a rollicking to players who cocked up. The likes of Mclintock, Rice, Adams & Vieira were true captains leading by example, if a player messed up they knew about it there and then. We do need a couple of older central defenders that can defend set pieces but we also need players that talk to each other.

  • Comment number 59.

    Obscene Whinger is the architect of the destruction of our national game by promoting the disagreeable policy of swamping it with 2nd rate foreign imports. That he’s now suffering because others can spend vastly greater sums on such imports rather then nurturing home-grown players through youth programmes is entirely of his own making and if it leads to his ultimate downfall, that moment can’t come a moment too soon.

  • Comment number 60.

    People are lacking patience, we can't win all the time. I for one am just frustrated, but do not put sole blame on Wenger, it is more of a media issue and expectations that have increased dramatically. I do feel he could have addressed certain situations better. But for me, the good outweighs anything negative by a long way. People do not know what they have until its gone. I would rather have players come to Arsenal to play for Arsenal!

  • Comment number 61.

    #20 jcb211
    "Tells me all I need to know about your knowledge of European football."
    Then you are a clown.
    I admire Arsene Wenger and I believe he has, over the years, done a good job at Arsenal, but I think Arsenal need to win something soon, very soon, like this season but I can't see it, unless it's the Carling Cup as I don't believe in the players that he has at his disposal, Rosicky, Sagna, Song, Diaby, Bendtner are all lightweights.
    We'll miss him when he's gone, but gone he will be at the end of this season.
    Arsenal 6th in the premiership 2011/2012.

  • Comment number 62.

    Due to the Absence of any higher power AW has become the scape goat for not reinvesting funds. He's a football coach first, not a business man - that's what the board is for! It was Dein who brought is most of our best ever signings (under the advisement of AW, but handled by Dein). This is surely where we must point fingers.

    AW is in a really tough spot, after 15 years he should have the exact squad that he wants, yet here he is forced to rebuild. Why? simple, when was the last time you saw a testimonial match for an Arsenal player? Our players are not seeing out their careers at Arsenal - I used to think this was wise business, sell off the Henry's right as the pass their peek for the highest possible transfer fee. However in reality his presence in the dressing room might make all the difference. Look at ManU, experienced players retiring but young players coming through, this will be another break through year for ManU as many youngsters come of age in much the same way as Scholes, Beckham, Neville, Giggs, Butt etc. did all those years ago. This is a lesson in the correct way to integrate a youthful side, rather than throwing them in the deep end with no experienced support. (what is we were celebrating Veira and Henry the way ManU are celebrating Scholes and Giggs?)

    With no long term, older, experienced players in the side Arsenal have become a stepping stone to success. Arsenal needs lifers, that's how we won things!

    To achieve this would require a paradigm sift, not just a couple of new signings.

    AW himself told us that we would not be a big club if we sold both Cesc and Nasri, how those words will come back to haunt him this year. The problem at Arsenal is not who we buy but rather who we sell.

  • Comment number 63.

    @32 perhaps that should tell folks that arsene is just being a WILLING fall guy and the blame lies elsewhere ;there isn't that much money.
    this arsene philosophy is a myth that has been reported so often it has become fact.
    the only philosophy is to live within your means .arsene has spent big before;henry ,reyes ,wiltord,pires,and has only reduced spending since the emirates was built.
    we are all frustrated but bank notes don't play football people do.
    right now the kinds of players that will make a difference e.g tevez,etoo,aguero are out of reach and arsenal need luck to win anything this season.
    i blame arsene for the ruthless way he got rid of older players .maybe the youngsters saw that and learnt something cf scholes,giggs neville

  • Comment number 64.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 65.

    Of course Dein is right.
    Arsenal were not a big club before Wenger took over, what he's done is not only completely overhauled the way the club is perceived, runs itself and plays football, but his shrewdness and foresight has guaranteed the clubs financial security forever - and how many clubs can say that ?

    Any of these foreign billionaires could get bored of their new toys at any time, when that happens the clubs could die on their feet, Arsenal are not in any danger of that and can boast the healthiest balance sheet of any team in world football, this is mainly down to Wenger and his strategies.

    Any Arsenal fan over the age of 30 will remember the 'entertainment' provided before Wenger took over, anyone approaching my age will remember how dire we were in the early 80s and a 6th place finish and quelification for the EUFA Cup was considered a successful season.
    A 6th place now would have fans protesting outside the stadium, how times have changed.....

  • Comment number 66.

    What's frustrating is seeing "young stars of the future" get frustrated and leave, we always seem to be a team that is young. I don't want wenger to leave but I would like to hear from the owners what the 5 year plan is

  • Comment number 67.

    I am disgusted by the treatment of Wenger by the Arsenal fans. They have played the most attractive football in this country for the past 13 years and gone through the longest unbeaten run the Premier League has ever seen and have also added trophies in the mix. They had to find the right balance between building a new stadium and being shrewd in the transfer market and not spending big- this plan enabled them to be in a very healthy financial position that they are in now. It was a miracle Arsenal still qualified for the Champions League and competed in the Premier League and cups in these sort of circumstances, thanks to Wenger.

    How do you Arsenal fans expect to compete with the likes of Man City, when their competitors go out on an insane splashing spree and spending the money that would equal nearly a developing country's GDP? Arsenal were never subjected to a leveraged buy-out and saddled with huge debts unlike some other clubs and it is the only club thats running successfully as a proper, viable and self sustaining business whilst still providing with great entertainment and then the fans get upset because of a hike in ticket prices?? Please throw your toys out of the pram even more.....

    Despite all these great achievements Wenger has spoilt us with over his long tenure, fans are are turning their backs on him because of a piece of metal that has been missing for the last 6 years...... is this some kind of sick joke?

  • Comment number 68.

    If Wenger ends up buying Shawcross, Samba, Dann, or Jagielka then i really do think he has lost the plot and should retire because any top manager with his experience and know how would never sign these average players. When i hear this from arsenal fans or 'pundits' it really makes me wonder if there are many people who know anything about football, well top level competitive football anyway.

  • Comment number 69.

    Why have we ever been linked with Shawcross and Joey Barton? I think its hilarious journalism, they'll be reporting a Stadium share between Man Utd and Liverpool next.

  • Comment number 70.

    AW is a goo manager, and has been beneficial to Arsenal FC. However, he has to distinguish btw being a manager and a financial director; He cant be both. IMO there is this role in football called football director, its either AW takes up this role or finance director role and let the club get a mangaer who will actually do the job of managing football on the pitch. I dont see the reason why everytime there is a media conference our football manager will be talking finance. We dont get it from the likes of SAF, Redknapp, and other top managers both in the PL and internationally. This is where AW has failed by not concentrating fully on his primary duty as football manager. Let the financial talk of sales be done by the finance people. As manager he should be only concerned about his paycheck, and results on the field.
    As a fan i want a football manger that is hungry to win trophies, not a disguised financial person posing as a manager. People talk about AW saving the club money, my response to this is in a man called David Moyes. I dont want to imagine what David Moyes would have achieved if he had equal resources to what AW has had in the last 5 seasons. If AW were to leave Arsenal today, David Moyes will be a more than worthy successor for managing in the PL, and with 2-3 seasons he will make his mark in europe. I strongly believe in his ability to manage a team who will support him with reasonable resources, and i would rate him to challenge and defeat the likes of Mourinho & Guardiola if he has similar resources to them

    To all my fellow Arsenal fans, AW is not indispensable. He has done us proud over the years, but now its time for change. For a man who cannot reinvent himself, i say we say farewell. This is SAF superiority to AW: the ability to reinvent. SAF did it with the challenge of Daglish, Keegan, AW, Mourinho, and is still going. This is is the simple fact we cannot say about our dear Arsene Wenger

  • Comment number 71.


    '..what happens when Man City's owners get bored with football..'

    If and when it happens, City fans will do what any genuine fans would do, continue to support their club! Please bear in mind that no so very long ago we were in the third tier of English football, playing the likes of Lincoln City (and losing!) and still drawing crowds of around 20 000+. Can you be so sure 20 000 Spurs fans would rock up each week to see a load of dross play in the old Third Division?

  • Comment number 72.

    Let's face it, Wenger will leave one day, after which Arsenal will go on. I totally respect everything he has done for the club, but that doesn't make him above criticism.

    Sometimes losing members of your squad can strengthen it, if the players that leave are mentally weak. Cesc, Eboue and Denilson all fall into this category to some extent.

    What we need now is to spend the money from the Cesc and Nasri sales to add some quality and hopefully a bit of character. Eden Hazard, Scott Dann and Jadson would be a start.

  • Comment number 73.

    arsenal were a big club before arsene. only man u and liverpool won the league more times

  • Comment number 74.

    Please leave Wenger alone. We need entertainers. Arsenal should stay the way they are while trophies go somewhere else because Wenger is Irreplaceable and has a strong history! SMH

  • Comment number 75.

    @68 - Mr ledge

    Arsenal need those type of "average" signings because they need players who are there to graft and sacrifice for the team while Van Persie, Wilshere and co do the flash stuff. Arsenal used to have players like that who did that for little acclaim (Grimandi, Keown, Parlour) I would even include Gilberto in that list as he was a lot more talented than he had to display in the Arsenal midfield. Arsenal won trophies because of those guys doing the hard unpopular work in defence and midfield, while Henry, Pires and co did their part by doing the business in attack.

    Arsenal could seriously do with some grafters to compliment their current attacking style.

  • Comment number 76.

    I would be saying exactly the same as Dein if I had also made £75M from selling my shares in Arsenal - any investor would love Wenger but as fans his unwillingness to spend the required money on a few key areas is exasperating!

  • Comment number 77.

    If Arsene was to leave, then who would replace him? Would Arsenal go a british manager or a foreign one? Now I know the competition in Scotland is limited (and apologies to all Scots) but the gulf between the SPL and EPL is massive (look at Spurs/Hearts) but I've always respected Walter Smith who guided Rangers to the title with a threadbare squad (much like Arsenal at the present time). True his time at Everton was not a success but look at the circumstances at Everton at the time. Now it could be argued the Celtic blew the title last season but Walter does know what it takes to win a title with limited resources, and lets be honest the EPL is fast becoming a two/three horse race for the title. Like Arsene Walter has taken his team to a European final. Walter may have retired but perhaps the lure of managing one the greatest clubs in Europe may prove to hard to resist.
    David Moyes could be another candidate. Look at what he manages to achieve at Everton with virtually no transfer money and a small squad.
    For the english game and not just for Arsenal fans sake it would be sad to see Wenger leave but if he does then I think he will manage in Europe before returning to England.

  • Comment number 78.

    @71 - ozblue - Just to go off subject of Arsenal. Good point made. I remember when Man City were on hard times in the late 1990s, but you still seemed to have big crowds at Maine Road. So even if the owners left, it'll only be the new fair weather fans disappearing off elsewhere. Although I doubt your owners will leave.

    Now back to Arsenal matters.......

  • Comment number 79.

    Arsene needs to stop posturing, looking like spoilt child on the sidelines and show some meaty intent with transfers.

    The fans do respect him and they would be right behind him if he only put some serious money into a player or two - a lead on transfers and intent for future of the club and aspirations for success would get them on side again.

    He does need to listen and act now though.

  • Comment number 80.

    What I fail to understand is why such a so-called intelligent and cerebral man, who managed the team of 97/98 and the 'invincibles' with their 'iron fist in a velvet glove' approach, seemingly fails to see that for the past few seasons they've been all velvet glove but no iron fist - and the latter does not have to be expensive

  • Comment number 81.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 82.

    Ultimately the thing that will turn the board against Wenger will be empty seats at the Emirates. Already it's getting far easier to get tickets - the Udinese game wasn't full (there's no way there were even 58000 in there). Arsenal have to accept that paying £50+ of your hard earned to watch the likes of Arshavin clearly not give a fig is simply not an attractive option.
    Having said all that, I really hope that we can string a couple of good results together - including getting into the CL group stages - then this 'crisis' will go away. Can't see it happening without signing at least one centre half, one creative midfielder and a defensive midfielder though.

  • Comment number 83.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 84.

    I think the criticism of Wenger is unfair.

    What has changed in english football since his last great Arsenal side of 2003-2004?

    The financial investment pumped into Chelsea of course, and now Manchester City.

    Where once his teams were the only realistic challengers to Manchester United for the Premiership title, Abramovich was the first to barge in with an open chequebook, and the same thing has happened now at City.

    It leaves Arsenal pushed out in 4th place, competing against the two most powerful club in the world in terms of the chequebook, and an already established global giant in Manchester United who are also prepared to spend money when they need to.

    So when he says you should applaud Arsenal for being consistent and getting 3rd or 4th each year, you probably should. It's almost impossible for them to compete for the title now.

    There's no point blaming Wenger for not spending money. Arsenal don't have it. The board try and pump out a different message and spin it positively for the Gooner fans but it's obvious they're still paying for the new stadium and they have to look after their long term future.

    Also Wenger has a point when he says clubs around them are over-spending on comparatively average players. £20m for Jordan Henderson and £35m for Andy Carroll? Unfortunately world class players do not grow on trees, they are either made or discovered and plenty of clubs have scouting networks competing with Arsenal to find them. I hear people talking about the likes of Leighton Baines and Gary Cahill as players that can improve Arsenal. Two players on the fringes of the England squad, yet people talk about them as if they are Roberto Carlos and Fabio Cannavaro and slam Wenger for not paying some inflated fee to sign them. I've got to say- give the guy a break. There's nothing a manager can do if players want to leave either, Ferguson couldn't stop Ronaldo leaving, for example. People need to get off Wenger's back, it's ludicrous to talk about sacking him.

  • Comment number 85.

    “Arsenal have to accept that paying £50+ of your hard earned to watch the likes of Arshavin clearly not give a fig is simply not an attractive option.”

    Try spending it in Scotland to watch Rangers or Celtic toil against unknown European minnows, at least you are getting to watch a decent standard of football.

    Weather it was a wise idea to move to the Emirates remains a debate to this day, bigger stadium which Arsenal deserved but lacks the soul and atmosphere Highbury was famous for. But as like modern day football everything is getting bigger and more expensive, does anyone else miss the good old days? (Man City and Chelsea fans apart) Joke!

  • Comment number 86.

    Name me another club that would have kept a manager that has won nothing for SIX YEARS, keeps selling his best players, tells the fans that their will be transfer action (beginning of August), and buys what?

    We have enough teenagers, we need someone with strength in the defence, and someone who knows how to score goals (once Wenger is told where the goals are).

    It is still a goal if you score from more than 5 yards, do not have to walk the ball in.

    Deins days at Arsenal are done and gone, and so will Wenger’s soon I hope, or are we to wait yet another year with yet more promises of the gold at the end of the rainbow? Enough is enough

  • Comment number 87.

    At 15:42 19th Aug 2011, Edward Anthony Regler wrote:

    Name me another club that would have kept a manager that has won nothing for SIX YEARS, keeps selling his best players, tells the fans that their will be transfer action (beginning of August), and buys what?

    We have enough teenagers, we need someone with strength in the defence, and someone who knows how to score goals (once Wenger is told where the goals are).

    It is still a goal if you score from more than 5 yards, do not have to walk the ball in.

    Deins days at Arsenal are done and gone, and so will Wenger’s soon I hope, or are we to wait yet another year with yet more promises of the gold at the end of the rainbow? Enough is enough

    Would you be happy to see Arsenal bankrupted in the pursuit of this success at the end of the rainbow? It's obvious that Arsenal do not have the financial power to do what fans like you want them to do. They do not have investment on the scale of City or Chelsea, they don't have the TV deal that Real Madrid and Barcelona benefit from in Spain. You talk about your team as if they are in a crisis, do you remember Leeds United? Would you risk it and potentially end up in a situation like theirs?

  • Comment number 88.

    What is going on? Nowhere else on earth would this debacle be allowed to take place. The ineffective board should be questioning the managements current policy and looking for an alternative. Wenger's time is up.
    Any football club is ultimately about the supporters, who make everything else possible.
    The board and the management are giving the supporters nothing, but asking a lot in return.

  • Comment number 89.

    Even with Man City and Chelsea's having a rich benefactors, Arsenal still had a team capabable of beating both last season and also finishing 2nd. It was the lack of reinforcements in January that stopped them from being Man Utd's main challenger. And Wenger wouldn't even have had to spend a lot to get the reinforcements. A half decent keeper, a back up centre half and defensive midfielder were needed. Money should not have been a barrier. He could have got decent signings on the cheap.

  • Comment number 90.

    Hi I would like to say that even though Arsene has done a good job he must realise that losing two of our best players so quickly will obviously upset a lot of fans unless he spends the money with experience he will not get the fans on his side and we must remember that to stay in the top four we need players who have been there and done it in the premiership he must get at least two centre halves as we are weak in this position I just hope he spends the money on the players to make us challenge on all fronts especially the league and champions I am sure he will do us proud by the end of the month well we hope so come on Arsene prove everyone wrong

  • Comment number 91.

    I hate to say it really, but... Mourinho?

  • Comment number 92.

    Love him or loathe him, he is the best you can afford at Arsenal. Blaming him and sacking him will get the Gunners absolutely nowhere.

  • Comment number 93.

    Fans can show Wenger respect but what about his son Darren who as an agent has arranged moves for Henry, Cesc, Nasri and is now also looking after Van Persie and Theo. Why didn't you ask David about the role his son is playing in all of this?

  • Comment number 94.

    At 15:54 19th Aug 2011, magicDarkshadow wrote:

    Even with Man City and Chelsea's having a rich benefactors, Arsenal still had a team capabable of beating both last season and also finishing 2nd. It was the lack of reinforcements in January that stopped them from being Man Utd's main challenger. And Wenger wouldn't even have had to spend a lot to get the reinforcements. A half decent keeper, a back up centre half and defensive midfielder were needed. Money should not have been a barrier. He could have got decent signings on the cheap.

    But you have plenty of back-up. We're talking quality here, surely? And which players who are world class or even international class are freely available in January? The argument sounds great in theory, but I find it absurd that fans now think they know which players are better for their team than Arsene Wenger. We can all say 'buy X, buy Y'- what are the practical issues with such transfers? You don't know, but are happy to pull the plug on Arsenal's greatest ever manager.

  • Comment number 95.

    Mourinho would never come to Arsenal- He would only go somewhere where he has a huge amount to spend. Who'd want to watch his anti football style anyway? Wenger has to be commended for doing an unbelievable job on the budget he's had. His net spend in the last 5 years is something like 17th highest in the EPL. I don't think any other manager could do what he has given his budget. The problem is Arsenal are up against 3 clubs with a virtually unlimited budget- City, United and Chelsea. Would Arsenal fans have to happy to have spent £35 on Carroll or £20m on Henderson? Not me. Most clubs are up the financial creek unless they have mega wealthy backers- look at Everton. We have the best stadium in the league and a solid footing for a generation.

    We all want reinforcements- but Wengers point about only getting those in which will improve the squad is a fair one. I rate Vermalen and Kosceilny above Cahill and Samba. I'm sure we will get at least a couple of good signings in. I still feel positive for the future of Arsenal, depending on how the fair play rules are implemented.

  • Comment number 96.

    @94 - Have you looked at our squad recently? "plenty of back-up" truly makes me wonder. The Nasri deal is delayed because he's in the squad for tomorrow against L'pool to make up the numbers.

    We are apparently loaning out our 2nd choice LB (whilst our 1st choice is injured) to QPR. We have 2 strikers in Van Persie and Chamahk (Bendtner is off and only ever got played on the right wing) our 2nd choice DM is Frimpong (he's having to play his first full games against Liverpool and Man Utd) I wish him the best but lets be serious for a minute.

    We have a tiny squad and where we do have back-ups, they're not good enough (Fabianski, Squillaci, Chamakh - the untested Jenkinson, Ryo and AOC).

  • Comment number 97.

    I only hope that if Arsenal finish 5th this season (and they might) that the good younger players like Chamakh and Vermalen stick around for one season out of the Champions League for everyone's sake (not just Arsenal) as if they don't they're effectively saying only the CL will do and ripping apart the fact that a lot of clubs will only ever acheive Europa League football. In anycase I'm sure Arsenal would the season after get a 4th place finish once some investment was forced in by the board (who I can't see liking Europa League football).

  • Comment number 98.

    Forest fan here - I think that there is a danger that Wenger is going from being Arsenal's greatest Asset to their biggest liability. A similar thing happened up here with Mr Brian Clough - who 'oversaw' a drastic and swift decline from 4 successive Cup Finals to relegation a year later (1993). The cause was good players leaving and not being replaced and a certain stubborness in the tranfer market and his own judgement. Ring a bell ? OK, Forest being relegated 20 years ago and Arsenal NOT finishing in the Top 4 are hardly comparable - or are they ? Arsenal have no right to play in the 'Champions' League (what a misnomer!), and yet if - as I suspect - they do finish 5th this season, then there is only one man to blame - Wenger. The buck stops with the manager - always has done.
    A recent survey showed that in the past 5 years, Arsenal's NET spending on players was a paltry £30m. Supposing that the departure of Fabregas / Nasri / Eboue / Clichy had been concluded already - there would be an inexcapable conclusion that Arsenal ARE A SELLING CLUB. Or to put it another way if in the summer of 2006 - fresh from a Champions League Final defeat - someone had said to the Arsenal Fans - over the next 5 YEARS (!) we WILL NOT BE SPENDING ANY 'OUTSIDE' MONEY ON NEW PLAYERs AT ALL - there would've been a revolution !
    As President Kenedy once said "The time to mend the roof is when it's sunny, not raining". Wenger has had plenty of sunny times even since that defeat to Barca, but has done nothing to patch up the roof that EVERYONE saw was starting to leak ! Ferguson must be laughing into his beer.
    The thing is that now Wenger cannot change his approach for fear of being shown up to have had his strategy wrong for the past 3 or 4 years. He won't buy British players. He won't buy recognised stars. He won't buy anyone over 25. One could say that his obsession with youth means that Arsenal will have ONE HELLUVA SIDE 2015. Sadly by then Man U, Chelsea and Man City will be so far ahead that 4th will be the height of Arsenal FC's ambitions. I'm still waiting for the day when UEFA only make the Top3 places available for the 'Champion's League'.

  • Comment number 99.

    poster 33- good point. However, I see Nasri and Cesc as two different propositions. Fabregas was eventually going to go to Barca, world's top team and the club of his youth. AW managed to squeeze another season out which is all anyone can do in this circumstance. Thats all SAF could do with Ronaldo for example.

    Nasri is a different proposition altogether, and a much more telling one IF he goes. First, he's going to what everyone must now recognize as a club competing to win the EPL. Second, Nasri will not be going to a club to which he has any hstoric ties and you can't tell me he always dreamt of playing for City. Third, Nasri was for my money the best player the Gunners had, at least in the first half of last season. His loss at this time to City will be a very big statement, if you're an Arsenal fan you can't ignore it. And by the way, given City's new financial might, I doubt any club is going to be immune in future.

  • Comment number 100.

    £15m for Oxlade-Chamberlain?????? Why did he spend that money on a player who MIGHT be good enough in a couple of years time when he needs midfielders, goalkeeper and defender now. Im sorry but AW got that completely wrong. Arsenal are desperate for an airely dominant centre back and an experienced quality keeper. I think they also need to replace Nasri and Cesc which im sure they will do and AW needs to pay Valencia £25m for Juan Mata. There is also Bendtner who is going, Chamakh who is poor and Vela has gone out on loan which leaves Gervinho and Van Persie as only strikers. If this carries on i can see Van Persie leaving soon!.... and no im not an Arsenal fan but have a lot of respect for the way they play football and would prefer them to win the league over man u, Chelski and Eithad City any day of the week!


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