Who's next ?

Published: Friday, 20 April 2018

So now we know. Arsene Wenger will leave his job at the end of the season and nothing will ever be the same again at Arsenal.

I’m sorry that he’s decided to go, but I understand totally why the decision has been made. I phrased that carefully as well, because I don’t believe he made it. He’s been nudged, make no mistake about that.

Wenger is a decent, honest man and that makes him something of a rarity in football.

He’s also an Arsenal man to the core, as he proved so many times when turning down every big job in football to honour contracts and remain at The Emirates. He’s been offered them all and said ‘no’. That’s why I’m disappointed in the manner that he’s leaving now. He deserved better than to be pilloried by large sections of the Arsenal crowd and - worse - by high profile people in the media who claim to support the club and should know better. Stirring up the hatred - and at times it’s been that - was totally wrong.

Wenger only knows one thing - football. He’s an expert on the subject and he’s fascinating to listen to. At beINSPORTS we’ve been lucky enough to sit with him once a month for the past few years and listen to him talk on every subject you care to mention. Any individual that’s played the game. He’s an encyclopaedia. He knows more about our game than anyone I’ve met. Arsenal are going to miss that, but they’ll miss his steady hand a whole lot more. I wonder when we’ll start hearing Gunners’ fans lamenting and regretting what they wished for? 

Nothing is forever, I’m very much aware of that, and I wouldn’t dispute that Arsenal aren’t the force they once were, but this is going to be a major turning point in the club’s history and they can’t get the appointment of his successor wrong.

With Wenger resigning Friday it got me wondering - how many of the top 6 will start next season with the same man in charge? Let’s speculate a little. Conte is a dead man walking. Mourinho could easily leave his post. Would that create an opportunity for Pochettino? United would love to get their hands on him. So it might yet be that Arsenal, Chelsea, United and Spurs are all looking for a new man before August. It’s an interesting thought isn’t it - and not beyond the realms of possibility.

In the meantime - thank you Arsene for what you did for our game. You were more influential in changing us than anyone else that’s worked in our league. You weren’t the best - Fergie was - but my goodness you take an honourable second place. I hope it’s not the end. I hope it’s the start of a new beginning. There’s a football club somewhere that’s going to get very lucky. Good luck to you.