This article is a continuation of the previous post and if you haven’t read it yet here is the link: Monsieur Wenger and his Transfer policies – Part 1
Am I a fan of Monsieur Wenger and his policies? Without a shadow of doubt. I personally think he’s one of the best things that has happened to English Football. However I would like to refrain from taking up either of the two positions that are mentioned above. Let’s move away from the Wenger discussion and reflect on how we react to winning or losing a game as fans. I would like to come back to how the whole world sometimes forgets that when one speaks of these footballing gods, one actually speaks of men, of professionals like you and me.
In the captivity of emotion and family-hood, football fans , across the globe, and especially in the premier league, become impatient, not just when it comes to transfers, but when players do not perform or when a team loses. Without putting the onus of loss on the fans, who do everything they can to support their club, it is many a times distressing to see how the global conceptions of a ‘good player’ versus a ‘bad one’ or the overtly exhausted ‘world class’ and ‘non’ world class bracket sway from one end to another.
This is all down to the fact that football is more than just a sport to the millions of people who watch it. Fans share a special relationship with their clubs, and the game. As a consequence and over time, it becomes difficult for spectators to digest the fact that every professional footballer is human and bound to fail one time or another. I would not like to frame point of view as if it were mine own or that people have not raised it before. Accepting and treating players for who they must be central to how the game moves forward. I do not doubt for a second that Arsene Wenger is not on the right track on this front.
It is interesting to see that accepting the human agency is perhaps central to Wenger’s philosophy and approach to the game. In the 19 years that he has been at Arsenal he has stuck by some of his players in unconditionally. Robin Van Persie, Alex Song and even Aaron Ramsey, players who did not immediately blossom, were strongly defended by Wenger. Even today, as several players at Arsenal succumb frequently to injury, Wenger has never lost hope in the eventual potential of these players; glimpses of which are already visible.
The finest example in this context is Abou Diaby, who could have been, (if not for his recurring injuries) in the eyes of many football commentators, one of the best midfielders of his generation. A few starts in the league 2 seasons ago were evidence enough to suggest that the French national is a player of exceptional talent. Jasper Reese, in his biography of Wenger has highlighted this trait of the manager on a number of occasions. He is not just a manager who helps his players win games or develop their skills, he manages their lives. He has a say in what they eat, how they sleep, how they look after themselves and how they must be on the pitch. In more than one way there is enough evidence to suggest that Wenger moulds his players as ‘men’ , a reality much too often forgotten in football.
Every now and then I imagine a world where what I am made to believe of a player, is neither relevant nor important to the game of football. I spend hours imagining how the gunners would look like with a new line up. I do not think about what are the ways in which we at Arsenal can possibly be with the players we have. I imagine what Wenger must do to help them be better, especially those who face the wrath of the fans and the world media, some of whom , inspite doing ever so well, are doubted (Giroud for example).
Amongst other things, as an Arsenal supporter, I am relieved at the way our manager and club treat their players. In today’s age when the modern game is completely sabotaged with impatience for success, power and money, Arsenal is like one of those few corners of sanity, perhaps because it’s one of the few clubs at the top level that has not completely bypassed the human agency.
What do you feel about Wenger’s transfer policies and man management?