Are We Witnessing The End Of An Era?

Written in April 2014 by Rocky, this post illustrates how long we’ve been debating the end of the Wenger epoch and what it might bring. That time is nearly upon us. Exciting or frightening?

There is an old Chinese curse that goes: “May you live in interesting times.”

It is aimed at impatient people; people who are bored; people who want change for the sake of change.

The implication is that although you may hate the status quo, you would be wise to beware of what comes after.

When the third goal went in up at Everton I had a strong feeling that we may be witnessing the end of era.

And not just any era. When the end of the Arsene Wenger era comes it will be the footballing equivalent of the Fall of Rome.

Compared with M. Wenger’s tenure, the reigns of other football managers are mere hillocks in the landscape of history. Wenger’s reign is a mountain – an elegant, ice-capped peak whose stature is rivalled only by the craggy, fractured slopes of Mount Fergie – a once-thunderous volcano now sitting sullenly dormant.

Why did I wonder if we were watching the end of this era?

Because it seemed unfair to ask him to take much more of this punishment: to watch his team (and by extension himself) humiliated again; to know the vitriol and hatred that would inevitably follow; to turn up to work the next day and have to start all over again.

If we fail to beat Wigan this weekend I now feel he will call it quits at the end of the season.

If we get to the Cup Final and lose, ditto.

If we win the Cup and finish fifth… again, ditto.

If we win the Cup and finish fourth… well, that’s a tougher one but I still suspect he will call it a day. He will see out his contract as he famously always does. And then he will bid us all farewell.

Few of us would blame him. Few of us could take the incessant criticism and abuse without it seriously affecting our mental health and our sense of our own worth. The fact that he has stuck it out this long is a testimony to his fortitude and intelligence.

But when he is driven out of the club to which he has contributed so much, we will be entering “interesting times.”

There is a lazy assumption that we will snap up some hotshot young manager who will immediately achieve the success that has eluded M. Wenger. Not so long ago the people who advocated this approach were all for us bringing in Michael Laudrup or Paul Lambert. Or even Andre Villas Boas, heaven help us.

Well, if Arsene Wenger quits we should prepare for a rocky road.

Yes, we could do an Everton. We could find a younger manager who lifts us to another level, but there is a greater likelihood of us doing a Manchester United.

And it will not take too long before people start looking back on the Wenger Era with nostalgia and affection.

This is not a Post about whether or not he should go. For the record I think he should stay because I believe that with a proper transfer budget this summer building on the excellent squad we currently have he can again fashion a team of champions.

If we flattered to deceive at times this season with our table-topping run, the heavy away defeats to big teams are equally an unfair reflection of our capabilities.

However I can understand those who feel his time is up, that the failings have become chronic and beyond his ability to fix. I am happy to accept that he is far from perfect: that he should have bought another striker in January; that he should have got to the bottom of our injury issues by now and much more.

Many decent and respectful Gunners have now reluctantly come to the conclusion that he should go. They tend to be drowned out by the clamour of the ignorant and the abusive who express similar sentiments in unacceptable ways.

And we are fast approaching the time, I fear, when these people will get their way.

I am not looking forward to it.

However, for now I will make a particular point of appreciating our manager whatever the results, whatever we achieve or fail to achieve in the remainder of the season.

These may be his last days and I will give them the respect they and he are due. It’s more important than winning and losing.

After one of our recent heavy defeats a better man than me had this to say:

Football is only truly a business to those who A, rely on it for their salary or B, own shares in it. For the rest of us it is either a passion, a way of life or in many cases a family tradition.

“For me it has been a distraction and motivation through life that has taken my mind off business and filled the boring hours on uncountable motorways and airports and created opportunities to meet and make friends on many a terrace and in many places when I would have been lonely without it.

“Funny game football, which is why I find it amusing that so many of us who have no first hand experience of the business called AFC feel qualified to pass judgement on the course and direction of an entity for which we have no first hand knowledge. Even the mighty guardians entrenched in the fourth estate pontificate their perceived wisdom based on at best second hand information or at worst self published claptrap. As for living in the past – knowledge is gained through experience and what we see today is often relevant to the history of which we are all part.”

But then dandan always did have a way of finding the right words to encourage the better angels of our nature.


28 Responses to Are We Witnessing The End Of An Era?

  1. VP of Oz says:

    My belly button is firmly in but the star bellied sneetches have it.
    We move on, COYG!

    but its the fans that are going to complain no matter what happens that will really irk me, especially the fans that plan to profit from it

  2. mickydidit89 says:

    Love to read the soothing silky notes of a Rocky, but……

    These bloody wise old sagely chinese proverbs really piss me off 🙂

    May you live in interesting times… yes I bloody well plan to, and without all your low risk, zero based excitement bullshit of grass isn’t always greener, beware of what you wish for crap

    These sorts live on a 1000 year timeline. I don’t.

    Thanks Chas for scooping this one out 🙂

  3. VP of Oz says:

    The parts I dont understand is how finishing top 4 every season and playing champions league was deemed boring because we didnt win it. When other teams win no trophies but finish top 4 they and there coach are glorified. When Arsene won his 6th, 7th and 8th FA cup, it was deemed not really a trophy at all as only the Premiership and CL were real trophies. This season will be a real trophy as Manure and Chels are playing. When DT from ArsenalFan TV was asked if Arsene won the treble would Arsene be deserving of a new contract and the answer was a firm NO. When we won 3:0 we should have won 5:0. When we lost it was AW fault and when we won it was the players not the coach.

    Farewell Arsene and all the best of success at PSG.
    Ive enjoyed the last 22 years much more then the previous 22 years. I’ve even enjoyed the last few seasons more then most of the previous 22 years.
    I look forward to the new era in front of us even if Brendan Rogers or Luis Van Gaal are appointed, albeit with trepeditation.

    Bring on AMad, we are going through to the finals and nothing can stop our destiny (except a scoreless draw or a loss).

  4. LB says:

    They really were top drawer posts.

  5. GoonerB says:

    Excellent post to reminisce over from Rocky and an excellent dandan snippet.

    VP, it is easy for me. Love Wenger, the man is a legend.

    Loved the FA cup wins and recognised the importance and achievement of retaining ECL football.

    Didn’t demand that we win the EPL but did expect us to show some progression towards being serious challengers, especially as we added better players to the squad. That didn’t happen and we have stood still for 5 seasons in that sense, and arguably now we are regressing.

    The same, or very similar, issues kept being repeated or left unaddressed that were stopping us progress and my conclusion was that Arsene didn’t have the correct tools in his locker anymore and we needed to progress into our new era.

    BTW I recognise my faux pas yesterday with the 0-0 vs 1-1.

  6. Big Raddy says:

    Both RL and DD – what a treat

    Excellent idea using old posts. Well played Chas

  7. fred1266 says:

    Who is this rocky chap

  8. Rasp says:

    Hi all,

    Thanks for the match report yesterday chas ….. spot on in every analysis.

    Once again we can luxuriate in Rocky’s brilliance. I agree with Micky about the risk taking v proverb analogy.

    I lost count of the number of times Bellerin received the ball in plenty of space against AM and his first touch was backwards rather than use his god given pace and drive play forward … taking a risk.

    I’m bored with my own constant references to meaningless possession …. now the club has to take a risk ….. hallelujah I say.

    Rocky predicts in the post that the era was about to end 4 years ago … and it should have if those above Arsene had the courage to help the great man make the right decision.

  9. Big Raddy says:

    Crap results today. There is a chance S’ton will survive and Sparky will take all the credit ala Jose

  10. fred1266 says:

    Guessing your not a fan of Hughes BR

  11. Big Raddy says:

    Fred. He is a nasty piece of work

  12. Eddie says:

    no Raddy, chavs winning is good to see Spurs sweating, profoundly

    I have been watching The Bridge series, it’s ok, but the bloody bridge is awesome! Need to do some fact finding on it

  13. VP of Oz says:

    from the Metro –
    Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere and Alexandre Lacazette will miss Arsenal’s clash with Manchester United on Sunday as Arsene Wenger has decided to rest seven first-team players for the trip to Old Trafford.

    Hector Bellerin
    Reiss Nelson
    Eddie Nketiah
    Jordi Osei-Tutu
    Danny Welbeck
    Petr Cech
    Calum Chambers
    Alex Iwobi
    Konstantinos Mavropanos (debut?)
    Henrikh Mkhitaryan
    Joe Willock
    Granit Xhaka
    Sead Kolasinac
    David Ospina
    Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
    Ainsley Maitland-Niles
    Rob Holding

    also from the Mirror –
    Diego Simeone will reportedly be ‘banned from any contact with his players’ during the Europa League semi-final second leg clash against Arsenal.

    Simeone faces an automatic one-game ban after being banished from the dug-out at the Emirates.

    European rules are different to the Premier League and should he face a ban, he’ll be prevented from having any contact with his players in the stadium.

    This would mean that the 47-year-old would have to let his assistant, German Burgos, take charge of the vital game as Atleti look to reach the final.

  14. VP of Oz says:

    Patrick Vieira –
    “If you look at Arsenal today I really enjoy watching them play, they play some really good football – but that is not enough to win football matches or to win competitions.

    “But in our time we were winning and we had the strength to not play well but somehow manage to win the game 1-0.

    “But you’re not going to tell me Ozil is not a leader? You’re not going to tell me Petr Cech is not a leader? There’s leaders in the team to challenge and they have the experience to win matches.

    “But I think it’s just the balance between players are different. If you look at our time, we managed to win games but sometimes we didn’t play well. But we had this physicality to deal with certain situations.

    “Now they are playing well, playing some really good football but they don’t win. So that means the balance between physicality and technical creativity maybe needs to be looked at.”

  15. chas says:


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  19. mickydidit89 says:


  20. mickydidit89 says:

    Let’s put it this way, I did not have a sleepless night through over excitement

  21. chas says:

    New post up very soon.

  22. mickydidit89 says:

    Is it a masterpiece, or a rather casual dontgiveashitski end of season pointless assembly of hollow words and phrases?

  23. chas says:


  24. chas says:

    You tell me

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