• Premier League

Praying for Wenger to stay

John Cross
March 25, 2014
Arsene Wenger arrived at Arsenal in September 1996 © Getty Images

For years there has been a split among Arsenal fans over Arsene Wenger. But the majority have stayed supportive of Wenger, even through the last nine years when Arsenal have failed to win a trophy.

Even those who have wavered have only really pleaded for a change in the manager rather than a change of the manager; back to the old Wenger, who bought big players and won trophies.

There has been a loud minority who have grown impatient and fed up with Wenger's thrift, despite the obvious reasons for Arsenal's change in philosophy.

Arsenal have gone through major change and a move to the Emirates Stadium, which has impacted their budget for transfers and contracts, and meant they had to sell.

They have looked to the manager as a major reason for that change in philosophy, lack of trophies and change in direction. The good times are easily forgotten.

But this season has brought change again. A record breaking £42.5 million signing of Mesut Ozil has shown the club's revised ambition and hunger for success.

They are in the FA Cup semi-finals, and the club has a glorious opportunity to end the nine-year wait for a trophy.

Yet behind it all is a growing anxiety over Wenger's future. I sense that even those in the loud minority share some scepticism and concern about a future at Arsenal which doesn't include Wenger.

Suddenly, there's growing concern, the majority who support Wenger are becoming louder and seemingly more worried about whether he will stay when his contract expires at the end of the season.

In fact, they're virtually praying for him to stay. At least that's the vibe and the gauge that I pick up from social media. Suddenly the quieter majority are becoming louder than the loud minority. They are demanding for him to stay.

You'd have to be pretty cold-hearted not to enjoy the pandering to your ego. The enjoyment of seeing the fans who had been questioning your management suddenly wanting you to stay.

I think Wenger will stay. I think he's as good as told the club that. They are comfortable and little has changed.

But if everything goes wrong in the next few weeks, and Arsenal blow the FA Cup and the world comes crashing in, then he may still consider leaving.

But the lure and mutual attraction of staying at Arsenal will be too much. Arsenal need a trophy, but they also need Wenger.

Wenger also deserves the chance to lead the club into a new era of ambition, finance and success. He's been through enough in the past 10 years, won enough in his first era and entertained enough to prove he is still the right man.

John Cross is a football reporter for the Daily Mirror. He's been on the Mirror for 15 years. He regularly covers Arsenal and has done throughout Arsene Wenger's reign. Follow John on Twitter @johncrossmirror

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