Arsenal’s manager Arsene Wenger is one of the most prolific football coaches in England. He is also well recognized in the international football for his achievements. The Frenchman has been under fire from the press and the Arsenal fans on numerous occasions, but he has always managed to respond by returning his team to an acceptable level.
However, Wenger has just pressed a wrong button in an interview with BeIn Sport in which he suggested that the ageing football coaches are more exposed to criticism than their younger colleagues. He said:
“When you age, you focus on doing well for your club and ignore all the rest. The older you get, the more it becomes age discrimination.”
Such statements show a lack of judgement, which has nothing to do with the fact that Wenger is a 67-year old. It has a lot to do with the fact that for complex reasons his team is underperforming in the Premier League and other domestic competitions, and that this time, the Frenchman might not be lucky enough to turn the things around. Arsenal have a lot of fight for in the UEFA Europa League and almost nothing to achieve in the Premier League.
“I accept if the results are not good enough then you have to take the consequences. But overall that perpetual thing of how long you have been at a club, how old you are, I find that a bit difficult to take. But all the rest I have to accept because I am in a public job and have to make results and I accept I will be judged on results”, said Wenger.
He has also commented that he is maybe “naive enough to believe that with the time going on, with perspective and context what will stand out” is what he has done for Arsenal and “not so much the result of the last game or how much I will be applauded when I stop one day”.
The Frenchman admitted that he is “a little bit fed up of all that modern thing about completely taking care of image” and added “I’ve always worked my whole life about with the idea of who you are rather than how you look so I’m not too concerned about that.”
A younger manager would not be given the chances Wenger had!
Arsene Wenger is wrong about the fact that he is being treated unfairly because of his age. In fact it is completely opposite. Any young manager who does not have his record and hist history at Arsenal would not have been given even 10 percent of the chances and the tolerance that the Gunners board gave to Wenger. Arsenal executives have simply decided to honour the Frenchman’s legacy and have obviously taken into consideration the fact that they haven’t been backing him enough on the transfer market, and haven’t been spending as much money on players as their Premier League competitors.
Complaining about unfair treatment due to his age, does not help Arsene Wenger. They suggest that he lacks judgement and that the time for a managerial change at Emirates has come.
He should focus on preparing the Arsenal players both tactically and mentally to go all the way to the Europa League final and eventually to win it. This would allow both him and the club to finish the season at high. If the Gunners lift the Europa League Cup in May, Arsene Wenger would be allowed to say whatever he wants to say and to exit the club the best possible way.