Arséne Wenger – an open letter

Dear Mr Wenger,

The last few years have been difficult for us Gooners.

Those of us who truly understand the game knew that there would be a period of adjustment when we moved into the new stadium.

We knew the players would take time to adjust to their new surroundings.

We knew that the crowd would take a while to really warm to the New Home of Football, needing great evenings and great occasions to create the heritage any new stadium requires.

Throughout it all, you have maintained the dignity which has symbolised your time at The Arsenal.

You have worked with what you have got, you have nurtured new talent and balanced the books, creating a side that has remained competitive and consistently qualified for the Champions League.

When the fans have cried for new signings, you have maintained your silence, refusing to lament the move to the new ground which you too knew was imperative if the club was to move forward.

You have come within a handful of points of winning the Premier League title – and indeed would have done so last season but for an injury to a key player at a key stage of the campaign.

You have taken us to within two games of the Champions League final, where, as you quite rightly pointed out, we faced the best side in the world. You must hate to admit to that, having guided Arsenal to the pinnacle yourself in the past, but your magnanimity must be applauded.

You have taken us to a final, albeit in the Carling Cup, where your loyalty to young charges perhaps put more pressure on yourself and Project Youth, when a more senior team may well have beaten your opponents that Sunday in Cardiff.

You have taken us to the FA Cup semi-final, where, despite dominating the game, it was only a rush of blood to the head by our young goalkeeper that prevented us from pushing our opponents to the end and perhaps returning to Wembley to fight for silverware.

We the fans were almost united in our grief last August when the clear need for new faces was not addressed. We knew what was likely to come – that even you could not guarantee to turn coal into diamonds every single season.

And so it proved.

And yet at all times, you have refused to complain about the constraints you have been after, refused to lament or explain the ‘nearly-deals’ that could have made us more competitive this season. Such is your loyalty to the Club.

The last fortnight has been a particular low point in Arsenal’s recent history. Two heavy, uncompetitive defeats against sides we consider our rivals have left us all frustrated and hurt.

But for those of us with long enough memories, we know how great a job you continue to do, Mr Wenger.

We remember the barren years of the 1970s and 1980s, the lack of direction the club had when George Graham left in 1995, and how, in such a short period of time, you turned it around.

We remember the glorious title successes, crowned at Old Trafford and White Hart Lane; the mesmerising football; the unbeaten season; the ‘hairs-standing-up-on-the-back-of-your-neck’ moments you brought to us, season after season.

Four years without a trophy is nothing in today’s era, and while we all want to celebrate with silverware next season – we all want to be winners – we know that only one man has the guile and the grace to bring us the success we crave.

On behalf of those whose patience has been stretched, those who perhaps were too aggressive towards you at the shareholders meeting last week, we apologise.

Thank you for everything you have done, Mr Wenger.

We at Addict are proud of your achievements, your vision and your dignity.

Long may your reign continue.