Arsène Wenger has said that he understands some people might want to kill him, but he’s still here.
The Arsenal boss was the subject of intense media scrutiny in the 2016/17 season as his contract ran down and the speculation that he may be planning to call time on his career grew. This speculation was further fuelled by disgruntled fans who wanted to see Arsène give way to someone new.
These fans helped cultivate an atmosphere around the ground each match-day that put a lot of pressure on the team to perform, and when they didn’t it only grew worse. Arsenal ended up missing out on a Champions League spot, although they did pick up the FA Cup at Wembley in May.
Wenger pointed out in quotes, via Express, that fans and pundits always want the best of both worlds with Arsenal, as he said: “When we qualified for the Champions League, people told me, ‘But you didn’t win a trophy’.
“Now we won a trophy and didn’t qualify for the Champions League and they said to me, ‘Why are you not in the Champions League?’ That’s normal to live with but I want to focus on my job and do as well as I can and win absolutely every competition.”
As a result of Arsenal’s season ending without both the Champions League and a trophy, fans started to grow even more restless. The calls for Wenger to turn down a new contract and walk away grew, and the protests and abuse seemed almost relentless up until the day of the announcement that he was staying.
Wenger clearly decided that he was not quite done yet, and apologised to the protesting fans that he didn’t feel like it was the right time to give them what they wanted, saying: “I’m sorry I am still here! I can understand that people want to kill me – but at the moment, I survive.”
So we go again, starting with Chelsea on Sunday at Wembley.
There can’t be many fanbases who take a break from protests about their manager to play a few matches at Wembley, but there aren’t many fanbases like this one.