ARSENE Wenger, who boasts five league titles and a Double on his managerial CV, doesn’t know what he’s doing? Well knock me down with a crusty baguette.
Thousands of Arsenal supporters, possibly Robin Van Persie even, are doubtless heading for their nearest boulangerie as we speak. But that was the judgment delivered by many inside the Emirates Stadium when Wenger gave Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain the hook in favour of the hapless Andre Arshavin towards the end of last weekend’s defeat by Manchester United.
With the benefit of hindsight it proved a disastrous decision. However, the Frenchman’s detractors would be wise to choose their words more carefully next time they want to have a ‘pop’.
I’ll wager a month’s wages that, when it comes to fashioning a football team, Wenger is far better equipped than the vast majority of those who vented their spleen from the stands. Nevertheless, everyone is entitled to an opinion. So I’ll venture one of my own.
First, though, I’ll explain what all of this has got to do with Bramall Lane. Sheffield United, you’ll have noticed, have recently been organising a series of public forums. In response, I’m sure, to the notion which says fans should enjoy greater participation in the running of their respective clubs.
It’s a theory which has gathered weight as a number of much-loved institutions, the latest being Darlington, teeter on the edge of a financial abyss. It’s a worthwhile idea. But only to a point.
In this ‘Championship Manager’ era, everyone is an expert. Many folk who spend their evenings punching buttons on keypads seemingly do so in the mistaken belief that it provides them with the skills required to operate effectively in the world of professional sport. The dividing line between fantasy and reality has become blurred.
United followers, like others in this country and abroad, have often been taken for granted by those tasked with the running of their club. There are countless examples where, to be blunt, your average man or woman in the street could do a better job than the guys in charge.
But football clubs are not co-operatives and so there must be a limit to our input when it comes to areas such as tactics, transfers and selection. Managers witness performances in training. Directors, by virtue of their bank balances, are usually adept at handling the business end of things. In fact, many tales of monetary woe come when they pay too much attention to the likes of us and ’gamble’ in pursuit of glory.
‘Fans on boards’ is a laudable but flawed policy because those appointed inevitably become divorced from the rank and file due to confidentiality issues and the like.
It is right that folk who part with their hard-earned cash every other weekend are kept abreast of developments and given opportunities to influence policy.
But when it comes to football, we’re best leaving it to the likes of Arsene. And, if we don’t like the results, registering disapproval by not buying merchandise and the like rather than berate and disrespect decent individuals.