It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.
The comparison of Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities and Arsène Wenger’s time at Arsenal is not quite perfect – the Frenchman hailing from Strasbourg rather than Paris – but there is definitely something in it when analysing the above excerpt. Like Dickens’ classic, and all stories, it seems as though Wenger is reaching a conclusion.
We’ve all been in one of those relationships in which both parties know that things are coming to an end. The conversations seem to repeat themselves, one half desperately tries to blame anybody but themselves and friends are already talking to the other about potential suitors for when things finally fall apart.
This is the poignant state of purgatory currently being experienced over at the Emirates. Arsene Wenger will surely no longer be a part of the Premier League furniture come summer. This will be difficult for all of us; with Fergie gone and now Wenger on his way, it may be time that we admit we are actually adults with responsibilities, unable to fall back on the comforting faces of childhood any longer. There’s a generation of football fans out there that went straight from their mother’s breast to watching the Frenchman claim he didn’t see Tony Adams hack down an opposition player in the penalty box. A host of people soon to be dragged away from the sweet nipple that is Wenger’s monotone.
But there is a group in all of this that will be hit harder than most; Gunners fans have for years relied on their French leader, in sickness and in health. Le Professeur has always been there for support, either as a sage they could draw wisdom from or a masochist willing to take all their rage. Fans have for years been comforted by the knowledge that losses hurt him just as much as them. Should Arsenal continue the tradition of losing games in humiliating circumstances just when they looked to have things in order, it won’t be the nearly as paradoxically satisfying for Gooners watching Eddie Howe or Max Allegri make their excuses.
So, Arsenal fans: This is the end. You must try to enjoy these final months of pain and sorrow. Criticise Wenger by all means, it’s been a cornerstone of your relationship, but please don’t let things turn too ugly. The man has been incredible for both your club and the league as a whole. Think of the good times. There’s no reason you can’t still be friends.
Oh, and please, please close down Arsenal Fan TV.
Made your peace that Wenger is off, Gooners? Good. Because here’s the 12 potential replacements to take over the hot seat.