Friday, 8 April 2011
Was this an admission that all is not as it seems?
If you get the chance to see any of it on Sky or on Arsenal TV Online, then make sure you watch Arsene Wenger's press conference from today. Le Boss came out swinging punches at the media this afternoon after a week of near total silence from within the Club. It is rare to see Arsene Wenger quite so animated away from the touchline. Daily Mirror journalist John Cross put a message on Twitter to say that he has never seen Wenger so upset after the TV cameras were switched off. We all know that Arsene Wenger doesn't like to be criticised, and today he left the press under no illusions as to his view of their commentary on Arsenal's recent travails.
The crux of Wenger's rant today was that he knows more about football than the rest of us. Of course he does. There are some things he says and you simply can't argue with them. A man with such experience obviously knows far more than the rest of us about the game. I found it rather amusing that he was going down this road with the press. As fans we have a right to air our views, whatever our lack of knowledge, because it is us that pay the wages. However, the press have absolutely no right, nor qualification, whatsoever to question the likes of Arsene Wenger. Having said that, what he has done is pick a fight with the media.
Arsene will get slated for his comments today. I wonder if this was all part of his plan. The players have been under massive pressure in the past couple of weeks, taking flak from all angles. I believe this may have been Wenger's way of absorbing all that pressure, and making himself the focus of everything over the next few days. If that is correct then it's a sign of his, still excellent, man-management skills.
Of more interest to me, however, was what he had to say about the squad as he ranted at the press. Arsene started to ask what constituted success, and was told by the Sky reporter that "a trophy" was the answer. Wenger rebuffed the answer and said that success "was getting the best out of what is available." Is this an admission that what is available is not good enough? Is it, more importantly, an admission that he is unable to add to what is available, because the money doesn't exist? Is Wenger saying that he is doing his best with the tools provided - i.e. "I have no money so I have to make the best of a bad lot?" If this is the case then I want him to come out and say it properly, not in some sort of coded dig at the Board. If Arsene Wenger was to publicly say that the reason we haven't signed the obviously needed reinforcements is that there is actually no money then things would change. I believe that, even now, most of the fans (myself included, and I'm as anti-Wenger as you can get, right now) would back him. We would see that the Board had been dishonest about the transfer kitty, and their position would be untenable. Perhaps we can not expect such a statement from a Club employee (particularly before we are mathematically out of things), but it would certainly set the cat among the pigeons.
I was less enamoured with the rest of his ramblings where he got on to the "youth" of the team we have. He started to say that, with the ages of Wilshere, Fabregas, Nasri etc, we are performing miracles. I find that so infuriating. Sadly I could probably find the same comments from press conferences at this time of the season going back to 2007. The whole "mental strength/togetherness/spirit/we are a young team" nonsense has become annoying and the fans are numb to it. We no longer believe it, so why should the players - after all most of them have been hearing it as long as we have.
I'll preview the Blackpool game tomorrow evening - the team news is pretty awful.