Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Fans Consider Vote of No-Confidence

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Fans Consider Vote of No-Confidence

Article excerpt

Byline: JamesOlley at the heart of London football

IF ARSENAL fans really want Arsene Wenger to quit, now's their chance. The Gunners will not sack Wenger if he secures a 20th consecutive top-four finish and would be extremely reluctant to do so even if Manchester United overhaul them in the final weeks of the season.

The club's financial projections define fourth place as a satisfactory campaign; there is then no need to touch the contingency fund set aside for the absence of Champions League football.

Another season that failed to deliver as Arsenal are undone by the same familiar failings? From a business perspective, some of the elder statesman at the club wonder what all the fuss is about.

But therein lies the growing disconnect between the club and its supporters; fans take little pride in a healthy balance sheet, they care only about the shortfall between a club charging the top ticket prices in the country and a team incapable of challenging at the top of the table.

Wenger is caught in the middle. In one sense, the unpredictable nature of this season's Premier League makes a topfour finish a more valued commodity than in previous years. After all, last season's champions Chelsea have long been adrift, while Liverpool have never threatened and Manchester United have been looking upwards enviously for several months.

The chasing pack have shattered the traditional top four's pre-eminence to the extent that, strictly in that context, fifth place is not the abject disaster it might first appear.

But a large number of Arsenal fans will not see it that way, especially given the presence of Leicester and bitter rivals Tottenham above them. The vitriol aimed at Wenger on Sunday as Crystal Palace secured a 1-1 draw was the latest in a series of increasingly hostile outbursts towards a manager who many believe has outstayed his welcome.

An FA Cup success is not on the horizon to quell the mutiny, either. …

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