11 April 2014

#Wengerout: Some Gooners want us to lose on Saturday?

Sigh. Yes, it's true. There are some Gooners out there hoping we'll lose to Wigan on Saturday, all the more reason, they believe, to get rid of Arsène Wenger. As this logic apparently has it, failing to win the FA Cup will convince the board once and for all to rid us of a manager who has, in some eyes, become worse than dead weight or convince the dead-weight himself to walk away. As much as I feel the frustration many of them feel, and as much as I understand the tension between short-term and long-term dividends, I'm still not sure I'm smart enough to follow the thread to the same conclusion.

We all know that, at some point or another, Arsène will leave. If nothing else, he's getting older, and recent campaigns seem to have accelerated the process. However, even if I know what I'm talking about (usually a dubious proposition) when I suggest that we're well set-up to avoid the kind of calamitous transition that Man U are going through, the old adage of "be careful what you wish for" springs to mind. This is a man who has delivered the undefeated season, four FA Cups, three Prem titles, and a brush with Champions League glory, after all. Even if all of this came in the first half of his tenure, I'm not sure if we should be entertaining the idea of losing to get rid of the manager. Even as we differentiate between what's good for the club and what's good for Arsène and his legacy, there's a certain mulishness to the proposition that I just don't get.

For one, who's to say that a loss would lead to any kind of change? For all the #wengerout crowd know, it's an FA Cup win that would allow Arsène to step down with some modicum of pride and integrity, claiming at long last to have finished on a high note and with his work here complete. Those who want him bemoan his stubborness and his pride; would it not be those self-same traits that compel him to stay until he can prove that he's right by winning a trophy? 

For another, we do have to consider the "bird in the hand..." adage; if not that, then the "devil you know". For as well set-up as the squad is, future candidates will have to weight the stresses and pressures of the job against the glories (not to mention personal finances). Seeing that a legend such as Arsène has been hounded out of his job for his failure to win may just dampen the enthusiasm of the Martinezes and Klopps of the word. After all, Arsène has been able to "hide" behind eight years of of glorious football as the last eight or so have fizzled.  How long would it take for the pitchfork brigades to get restless with the new guy? 

I know that, at a certain point, a debate like this one blurs passion and logic to the point that calm debate disappears. Those who want Arsène gone and those who want him to stay have dug in their heels and it's hard for either side to make headway with the other. There's very little to say that hasn't already been said ad nauseum, ad infinitum

Look. There's a match to be played. After that, there are five Prem matches, plus the potential for an FA Cup semifinal. There will be time to figure out what to do next based on how they turn out after they turn out. Do you think that Arsène or any of the players are ignorant of the pressure? Somehow, I suspect that they're all acutely aware of what's at stake, not that this will stop a fair few fans from sneaking in a banner or chartering a plane to fly by. 

Set aside the acrimony and the infighting. We have a match to win, for feck's sake. We've come through too much, for good and for bad, to bicker now. Get behind this club. Whatever the names are, be they the players', the manager's, the board's, whoever they are matters far less than the cannon and the crest. If you just can't bear the thought of seeing Arsène win an FA Cup, you might be following the wrong club, mate. I don't have the luxury of shouting and myself silly along with some 60,000 other Gooners at Wembley, but I'll be doing my damnedest to support this club from where I stand. "Support" is one of those glittering generalities that sounds all well and good until you pause to pin down its meaning. Does "support" mean that we cheer, win or lose, or that we ask tough questions, or that we demand change? At the moment, I'd insist that it means we cheer and chant our fool-heads off, pouring the passion and the pathos that pulses in our veins into the players on the pitch. Let's set aside the fussin' and a-feudin' and get done to some winnin'.