The Wenger-out protests organised by the Online Gooner have more than doubled in size from the 400-strong protest at the Bayern Munich home game on the 7th March to over 1,000 prior to Sunday’s home game against Man City.
There have only been two games in between, which shows that supporters are getting their heads round the idea that it’s okay to protest. The bigger the protests become, the more fans will take part as they start to realise it’s the only way to pressurise the board into revoking Wenger’s contract.
Tonight, there will be another protest prior to the West Ham game. Fans will assemble at the old Highbury, Avenell Road, at 7pm, and march to the Two Cannons Roundabout outside the Armoury. Further to that, there will be a protest inside the stadium with supporters asked not to take their seats until 13 minutes after kick-off at 7:58. This is an alternative way of heaping pressure on the manager via the board.
As owner Stan Kroenke only cares about money, any resistance he perceives having a financial effect is more likely to make him sit up and take notice. If there is a repeat of the estimated 10,000 supporters that didn’t bother turning up to Sunday’s game against Man City, then combined with this protest it shows a very clear and visible sign of dissent. However, with so many supporters voting with their feet, it does make you wonder how big these protests would really be with them on board too.
Some fans might think that 'turning their backs' on the players for the first 13 minutes of a game displays an unwarranted lack of support, but what’s best for the players (assuming they ever want to compete for a major trophy again) is for Wenger to leave, so you’re actually doing them a favour.
CEO Ivan Gazidis met the AST (Arsenal Supporters’ Trust) on Sunday, but very little of what was said has been leaked out. All we have is a paltry Gazidis quote about Arsenal’s form needing to be a “catalyst for change”. So where’s the rest of what was said at that meeting?
When questioned about Gazidis’s quote at yesterday’s pre-match press conference, Wenger predictably rejected the need for change. Naturally, some have assumed this represents a gulf between the ideology of the board and the manager.
Of course, we still don’t know what’s really going on, but there are three scenarios:
1) Gazidis is spouting any old crap; he just wants to get to the end of the season before announcing a new deal for Wenger.
2) No decision has been made regarding Wenger’s future, but Gazidis genuinely wants change and is trying to implement it in a diplomatic way with Wenger on board.
3) Gazidis wants to force through change and deliberately create resistance between the board and the manager in the hope that he steps down.
One has to hope option 3 is the actionable one, but knowing the way this spineless board operates, it's merely delaying making an announcement on Wenger staying until the season is over and the lights are switched out.
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