In recent weeks the football world has been divided over the treatment of Arsene Wenger. Some are disgusted with the way he is being hounded out of Arsenal, others siding with the man who has created so much Premier League history and has taken The Gunners to the top with over 20 years of management at the club. If this scandal of unjust treatment of a manager wasn’t enough, last week, Leicester announced the outrageous sacking of Claudio Ranieri after taking them to an unprecedented Premier League title only last season. This dismissal sent shockwaves through the footballing world, which begs the question as to whether clubs should stay loyal to the longevity of the man on the touchline, especially when they have brought the club success? Either way, and whatever becomes of the fired manager and clubs in question, one factor in this messy saga is for sure, football history has been tainted by extreme handling of difficult managerial circumstances.
Wenger’s situation is different to the Ranieri debacle since he is still in a job, but only just, and in recent weeks he has been subject to extreme criticism and pressures that would make anyone want to walk out of a club. It is fair to say Arsenal have underachieved in recent years in which Wenger’s signings, or lack of them, have been questioned, and with no Premier League title win for nearly 13 seasons, it is no surprise the Arsenal manager is coming under fire by the media and fans alike. However, with ‘Wenger out’ banners amongst supporters during matches and constant questions being asked about his team selections as well as a barrage of speculation over his future, can we truthfully say this man who has managed the same team for over 20 years and made them one of the most successful and consistent top clubs in the league, deserves this treatment? Even if your answer is a resounding ‘yes’ and Wenger leaves or is sacked, when trophies and records are discussed and the history books are looked back on, the club will be tainted by the sour end of the Frenchman’s time at the club.
Arsenal under Wenger have an array of historic archivements from Premier League titles, FA cup wins and not to mention some of the world-class players this manager has brought to the club, Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira to name just a few. Fans may be frustrated by the fact that they have not won the Premier League in recent years, but Liverpool haven’t won the league for nearly 27 years after pervious domination of finishing top, yet a man who could be described as ‘Mr Arsenal’ has to endure endless berating. If Arsene Wenger is forced out, despite all his success, the sad reality is, this will be one of main moments he will be remembered for from his time at the club.
Currently, on a bigger scale, Leicester City’s unbelievable achievements from last season have been completely ruined by the sacking of the man who brought the club their first, and astonishing, Premier League title. That season, and that trophy, will never be looked at in the same light now after the ousting of Ranieri, the manager who only nine months ago was being hailed as a legend of the club. The team may be languishing near the drop zone this season, but this was something that was always on the cards after what some may call a brilliant yet ‘fluke’ title win last season. Ranieri was never brought in to manage a team to lift the Premier League title, he was deemed the man who could keep them up, therefore, couldn’t he have at least been given the chance to prove he could keep a team in the Premier League as well as take them to the top. Either way, whenever Leicester’s extraordinary title triumph is conversed, it will always be tainted by the shameful sacking of their most successful manager.
It seems sad in the modern era of football that such treatment of managers is deemed acceptable and at some clubs, their history is based around how many managers they have had and which ones they have fired rather than the success of a team. Whilst it is realised nowadays with big money to be made and instant success needed, clubs sometimes look for a ‘quick fix’ or a change in management for a turn in fortunes, but surely as with ‘player legends,’ who are given high profile status and respect, certain managers deserve the same.
Imagine the tainted history of clubs such as Manchester United or Liverpool, not to mention the lack of respect, if these clubs had sacked Sir Alex Ferguson, Sir Matt Busby, Bob Paisley or Bill Shankly? Busby’s second spell in charge of United was disappointing in which he tried to bring some stability to a failing side since the appointment of unsuccessful managers. Some may say he should have never gone back to the club after retiring, however sacking the clubs most successful manager was out of the question. Therefore, his legacy and return to the club he left, in an attempt revive their fortunes, will go down in history, not a sacking or unjust treatment by the club owners, players or fans.
It is easy in the modern world of football we live in to dismiss managers, ship in the new, and out with the old, but with these attitudes it will only overshadow the historic achievements of a club and the man in the firing line. It is sad to think whenever Leicester’s incredible title win is discussed in years to come, the end of the conversation will take the gloss of this success and will be dominated by the lack of respect, the sacking and unjust behaviour of the club as well as spoiling their history books. Come on Arsenal, don’t let this happen to you – stand by your man and look back on your club’s history for the right reasons, not for an unjust dismissal.