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Friday, March 23, 2012

Wenger still knows

It's difficult to find sufficient words in praise of Arsene Wenger and since his arrival at Arsenal 16 years ago the man has only Sir Alex Ferguson ahead of him in terms of being a managerial legend.

Yet those who use Facebook as their barometer  measure if public opinion will have learned over a difficult first three quarters of the season that he's "past his sell-by date...too frugal with the club's finances...yesterday's man" and a lot worse along the way.

As is usually the case it's all an over statement and the reaction of fans disappointed by what they see as a season of under-achievement, all blissfully unaware that two thirds of the clubs in the Premiership would happily swap places with the Gunners and people who bet on football will know how good he is.

Now , of course, it's all a very different story as the red side of north London looks set to reclaim its place in the top four and ensure another fine end of season topped with a Champions League place. The man who invented the catchphrase 'Trust Arsene' is now presumably about to take out a copyright.

Wenger is above all things a highly intelligent man who understands the passions this game generates without ever being moved to outrageous displays of passion himself.

He has uncovered some wonderful young English talent - witness Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain this season - and brought in some of the best from Europe for next to nothing. Fans betting football money will know just how impressive the side look.

When the Arsenal fans were in full cry and baying for blood ahead of the clash which turned their season against Spurs it took opposite number Harry Redknapp to remind them of his achievements.

He commented: "There's nothing wrong with Arsene Wenger is there? He's done a fantastic job. I can't believe what I'm hearing "

Wenger is a magnificent manager but the fans have a right to ask one question of him: "Why does he  refuse to get after the board for more money in the transfer market preferring instead to join them in watching every penny."

A manager's job is to squeeze every last £1 coin out of them possible to spend on his team - not to sound like a financial chief executive watching every bit of expenditure. If he can get that bit of the job right he may even win the title again.

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