It has often been said that putting a top manager in charge of Sunderland, or recruiting such players as Messi and Ronaldo (throw in a Pickford for good measure), would not change anything. They’d still succumb to the SAFC malaise.
When we look at players or bosses who arrived at the SoL with big reputations, the point is perhaps well made. But I have a feeling that Arsène Wenger would have been a great Sunderland manager. I just wish he’d been ours for 22 years, not Arsenal’s.
I care little about his reluctance to criticise his own team or even see incidents that reflect badly on his players. That’s not what he’s paid for.
What he is paid for, until the end of this season, is to use whatever skill and resourcefulness he possesses to ensure his club. Arsenal, win or get close to winning trophies.
Forget the whinging Gooners with their ludicrous delusions of grandeur: he has delivered exactly that for a club that has pots of money but not enough to compete with those with Middle Eastern or Russian gold.
And what should we make of Piers Morgan, an especially loud anti-Wenger voice, attempting now to heap praise on the departing manager? I felt nauseous when I read the following remarks :
I’ve led the Wenger Out campaign on social media but I don’t feel gleeful. I’m not gloating about it – I just wish he’d done it years ago. He lost me when he sold Robin van Persie to Man United. That did it for me.
Last year was Wenger worst ever year, this year is even worse [please call in the sub-editors – Ed]. It’s time to go, I’ve known that for the last eight years.
It’s a good day for Arsenal, but it’s also a sad day for Arsenal. I’ll be singing ‘one Arsène Wenger’ on Sunday – he’s done the right thing.
I would be very happy to call the Emirates Stadium the ‘Arsène Wenger Stadium’.
The oafish faction among Arsenal supporters, as exemplified above, sees Arsène Wenger as a failure.
If only Sunderland AFC could have suffered such affronts to their pride as this:
FA Premier League (3): 1997–98, 2001–02, 2003–04
FA Cup (7): 1997–98, 2001–02, 2002–03, 2004–05, 2013–14, 2014–15, 2016–17
And a constant presence near the top of the Premier League and in Europe.
But every cloud … at least I can now look forward to hearing more of Wenger’s eloquent thoughts as a pundit during televised games on French TV.