Embattled Wenger gets thumbs up from Farah


London (AFP) – Beleaguered Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger received some welcome support on Thursday from British athletics legend and Arsenal fan Mo Farah.

Wenger has been pilloried in the press and by frustrated fans following Wednesday’s 5-1 hammering by Bayern Munich in the Champions League last 16 first leg. 

With the 67-year-old Frenchman’s contract due to run out at the end of the season many are saying it is time for the club to begin a new chapter after 20 years in charge which has brought amongst other trophies three league titles but none since 2004. 

However, Farah told Thursday’s ITV News he believed Wenger deserved to be given a new contract.

“I’d like to see him at the top and see what he can do, get in a few key players,” said Farah.

“I love Arsenal. I love what he does. As an athlete like myself one race doesn’t change you as you, but it changes a result.

“Same thing in matches. A match like that, can affect immediately. But in the long term, if you look back at what he does for the club, he does an amazing job.”

Farah, quadruple Olympic gold medalist having achieved the 5000/10000m double in 2012 and 2016, hit the headlines last month when he denounced US President Donald Trump’s executive order temporarily barring entry to people from seven Muslim majority countries, including Somalia where the runner was born.  

Farah, whose journey from war-torn Somalia as a child took in Djibouti before arriving in England aged eight, labelled it a policy of “ignorance and prejudice that could keep him apart from his family (he and his family are based in Oregon where he trains).”

The order was modified afterwards which would allow dual nationals and British citizens to freely gain entry to the USA although the whole issue is in limbo now as a US federal appeals court upheld the federal court’s ruling issuing a temporary restraining order on Trump’s measure.

“It’s important that I spoke up at the time,” said Farah on Thursday after travelling back from training in Ethiopia.

“It did affect me. Speaking to my kids and not being able to see my kids.

“That affected me so it was important that I speak up and say what was right.

“I believe that was an unfair decision. Suddenly your country… When you’ve been there for 6 years and done everything right, overnight to tell you that you can’t come back to your kids is unfair.”

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