Editor’s Note: Rebecca Searleman recaps her emotions and ruminates on the legendary Arsenal manager’s resignation
I’ve had 70 minutes to process the news of Arsene Wenger’s decision to leave Arsenal at the end of the 2017/2018 campaign. Following a fit of shouting “Wenger’s leaving! Wenger’s leaving! Wenger’s leaving, ”I contacted my Arsenal-supporting friends in England for their reactions. There responses ranged from, “Sad, but inevitable” to, “He should have sacked Steve Bould first” and, “Think we should go after Spurs’ manager?”
And finally, “Let’s remember he was a true footballing revolutionary.”
I too have profound respect for what Wenger achieved in his 22 years at Highbury and Emirates. I had hoped that Wenger would have left the club on a high note. Specifically after the FA Cup victory over Chelsea last May.
The unfortunate reality is that Wenger’s 2 year contract extension was announced immediately after the Gunners hoisted the FA trophy.
My suspicion is that he had put pen to paper months earlier. Kroenke and Company were waiting for a success, any success, to break the news that Wenger would remain.
So the sad reality is that Wenger announced his end-of-season departure following the Gunners’ loss to Newcastle. A defeat that capped off a record of no away points earned during the first four months of 2018.
And instead of a sense of appreciative regret that accompanies a departure on a high, the reality of Wenger’s departure feels more like one of those infuriating Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductions.
You know, the ones when a legendary artist gets the nod after years and years of snubs.
Like when Lou Reed was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2015…18 months after his death.
Lou would likely have said, “Thanks for nothing,” and he likely would have dumped the trophy into a storage unit in Hell’s Kitchen.
Yes, that’s exactly how Wenger’s departure feels
He’s a legend who deserves a nobler send-off than, “Thanks for nothing,” but he entirely stage-managed this process, such was his power at the club.
Not surprisingly, the news just broke that Wenger resigned before he would have been sacked. Hopefully a year or 18 months from now we can celebrate the success of Wenger’s 2018 signings, once Aubameyang, Lacazette and Mkhitaryan settle into the squad.
There’s hope Ozil will find consistent form and finally play to his full potential. Even more hope Wenger’s successor will finally address Arsenal’s defensive failings. So let the new Manager-Conjecture game begin.