On Friday Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger dealt with questions from the press with his usual level of dignity and class. Qualities that are a stranger to those who have for so long verbally abused him from the terraces.
He said: “No matter what happens I will manage next season – here or somewhere else. That’s absolutely for sure.
“I hate to lose games and I want to do well for this club. You don’t stay somewhere for twenty years, walk out of a defeat like that and whistle. It’s difficult to take but I have the strength to respond.
“At the moment we have other priorities and my future is not important, it’s Arsenal Football Club, the future of our team and what we can achieve until the end of the season that is important,” he said.
Wenger had told the German media that he will make a decision about his future in “March or April.”
Today he added: “What is important is that the club makes the right decisions for the future. I did not work here for twenty years not to care about this club because I had many opportunities to go somewhere else.
“I care about the club and its future and it’s very important the club is always in safe hands, with me or someone else.
“If you look at the history of Arsenal, they had less games in the Champions League than I’d had in my career already [when I arrived]. Since, they have done a few.
“It’s not like before I arrived, Arsenal has won five times the European Cup. They have never won it, they have played maybe 10 games in the whole history of the club. We have to take into perspective some demands.
“As long as you don’t win absolutely everything there’s always something wrong. You have to accept that. On the other hand in the last 20 years only three clubs managed to play every year in the Champions League – Arsenal, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid. If not everything is perfect, not all is wrong.
“Even if I go Arsenal won’t win every single game in future.”
How right he is. Arsenal supporters, many of them living in some golden past when George Graham managed teams that won matches in the most soporific fashion, seem to think Wenger’s exit will herald a new dawn of title winning and Champions League success.
Arsenal is a football club in profit. A rare beast in the game today. But fans want trophies at all costs.
To win the competitions the fans demand the owners will have to throw lots of money at chasing Chelsea, or follow Manchester United into massive debt. In which case so much of the good work Wenger has done at the club since 1996 will be undone.
In another twenty years those moaning about Wenger will take their grandchildren to admire a statue that will have by then erected to honour Arsene Wenger. They’ll tell the young ones about the season of the so called invincibles.
They will fall silent when the little ones ask: “But why did he leave, daddy?”