Or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain. If you had to summarise Arsene Wenger’s tenure at Arsenal in a few words what would it be? A valiant effort? Or a pointless crusade?
After catastrophic defeats on the bounce in the Premier League at the hands of Watford and Chelsea, Arsenal’s title hopes have once again diminished. And the same questions still arise.
The atmosphere at a football club could not be more volatile and it is Mr Wenger that has to try and provide some answers.
What started off as an illustrious, even glorious, career at Arsenal has somewhat tailed away in the last few years.
After enjoying an incredible first eight years at the club, winning three titles and four FA cups, Wenger went the next nine years without a trophy.
Since then he has won two more FA cups but Arsenal have failed to mount a proper title challenge in more than a decade.
You can’t help but wonder, if let’s say Mourinho, Pep or even Klopp were to have managed this side would they have fallen away in such a manner?
Perhaps Wenger’s greatest sin, his most damning deed, the act that will take more than confession to wash away the guilt is his treacherous decision to sell our best players to rival teams. Samir Nasri, Cesc Fabregas, Emmanuel Adebayor, Robin van Persie, the list goes on. Selling van Persie to Manchester United for a ridiculously low fee is what handed Sir Alex Ferguson his farewell title.
What was even more criminal was the fact that he resorted to replacing our best players with the likes of Marouane Chamakh, Nicklas Bendtner and Olivier Giroud. People say Wenger had no choice but to sell in order that he may build our modern day Coliseum.
But tell me, is it worth having a beautiful ground if the atmosphere is poisonous and the trophy cabinets are empty?
Should I be grateful that Wenger clinches Champions League football for us every single year? It’s hard to, when the team struggles to progress past the last 16 every time.
In the last couple of years it’s not like he hasn’t had the money either. He’s spent big on Ozil, Alexis and Xhaka. And yet we still find ourselves in the same position.
It is this consistent false hope and the way in which his side collapse mid-season that is so troubling.
The players have let him down for sure and have a lot to answer for, but it’s the manager who gets paid to get the best out of them.
Where’s that unwavering passion gone? Why has the innovation, the drive, the winning mentality, the killer instinct, the fire, extinguished?
A lot of people sense this is the end for Mr. Wenger at Arsenal and are unsure about how to feel when he finally steps down.
We’ve become normalised to mediocrity and we know no better. But we shouldn’t dread the upcoming change, we should embrace it.
Sure, it might get worse for a little while but the night is darkest just before the dawn, and the dawn is coming.
To Mr Wenger
Wise was the French bird and glorious too,
when it first came to settle in England.
The league it won and built a team it knew
would be Invincible; the world was stunned.
Clever, brave, innovative was its style,
Intense, electric and entertaining.
It enjoyed its stay at the top for a while
but now its brilliance seems to be fading.
The days are colder, the skies become grey
the bird’s support is waning as it nears
its end. It worked so hard, hoping it may
be honoured, it is the reverse one fears.
So soar little French bird into the skies,
may from your ashes a phoenix arise!