You're missing the point, Mr Wenger

I admit it, I shouted at Manu Eboue on Saturday, infuriated by the manner in which he was losing possession and doing a passable impression of a pub footballer.


I did not boo him, because I don’t think we should ever boo our own players, but there is a fine line in the difference between the two forms of verbal criticism.


Yesterday, Arsène Wenger tried to suggest that the criticism was down to fans feeling they have the right to criticise players because they earn too much, which is way off the point.


Wenger said: “It’s a difficult situation when the home crowd is against you. But what can you do? It’s a public job. I think it will be a one-off because it was special circumstances: he was very tired and we were in a nervy situation, only 1-0 up.


“The media stood behind him and that was very positive. That means the fans had gone a bit too far. We do not accept it. We do not want it, but we have to live with it. Without fans you cannot play football. We have to turn the fans in our favour, even if sometimes we say: ‘You have gone a bit too far and that is not right.'

“When I played, you could divide the wages by 100 but I still made bad passes. Once you are on the pitch, how much you are paid does not play a big part, it's how much you want to win.”


I cannot speak for all fans and there may well be some who are jealous of what footballers earn, but given the levels of talent they have, the entertainment they provide, I have no problem with their income. It’s a business of supply and demand....


Saturday was about something far deeper. It was about the frustration of players not giving their all for the team and of lacklustre performances against teams who we are capable of brushing aside.


Eboue personifies what many Gooners consider is wrong with Arsenal at present. It is about an inability to treat opponents or our own fans with the respect we deserve and about failure to do things the right way.


Victory Through Harmony is the Gunners motto and that was sadly in short supply on Saturday.


Eboue dives and moans and cheats his way through games without often providing significant positive impact. He is an extreme version of the bickering, moaning and internal strife that has blighted the club this season, the lack of heart we have seen against Fulham, Hull, Manchester City and Stoke and the indifference towards the fans.


I felt for him as he walked off – no one deserves such abuse, especially when his fitness levels clearly played a part in his deteriorating performance.


But there are a lot of Gooners out there who, having paid out huge huge sums of money on season tickets, feel let down that the club did not buy in the summer; that the attitude of our players is not what it should be when most of us would cut off our right arm to wear the Arsenal shirt; that we are being kidded that we have a team packed full of ‘super talent’ as Wenger puts it, when it’s clear for all to see that half our team is not up to it and wouldn't even make the bench at our closest rivals.


We have no divine right to win. Much as I’m desperate to see us lift trophies, I accept that it becomes harder with new investors piling limitless pots of cash into clubs such as Manchester City.


But I expect Arsenal to maintain the standards that they are renowned for: to play fair, to play with fire in their bellies and fight to win every ball; to respect each other and the opposition and sweat blood in the pursuit of glory.


Sadly, whether Eboue earns £100 a week or £100,000 a week, he fails to understand why Arsenal is so special, and that’s why, after four years at the club, he still hasn’t taken a place in our hearts.