Guest writer Iain Anderson, of Why Say Anything fame, gives his take on Arsene Wenger’s recent claims about doping in football.
Arsene Wenger appears to have appointed himself as the official spokesman whose sole purpose in life is to expose everything that is wrong with football, whether we already know it or not, and occasionally give his opinion on some of the things that are right with football.
He is the “Dixon of Dock Green” of the Premier League, for those of us with long memories and a penchant for police series of the sixties.
He is getting his opinion across about virtually everything that, in reality, has little to do with him or Arsenal.
His opinion on doping tests is now well known and he advocates them quite strongly. He says that drug taking is rife in the sport, only in the opposition of course, and that measures should be taken to address the situation. So strong is his opinion on the subject that the FA have invited him to explain it to them.
He has said that he would cry if there were no football at Christmas, in an indirectly direct response to Louis van Gaal’s assertion that the game needs a break at the festive time of year. I actually agree with Wenger on this one, particularly when you consider that van Gaal is already halfway through his three year contract with Manchester United, so will only need to “work” another two Christmas’s before he rides off into the sunset.
On Manchester United spending in the region of £280 million in the summer transfer window, he has defended that “as their right.” Correctly pointing out that the money is all generated by United so, the way they spend it is entirely up to them, as long as he can voice his opinion on it.
The Ballon d’Or award, amongst others, didn’t escape his criticism either . This is what he said;”I’m against the Ballon d’Or, I’m against all these things. I’ve seen careers destroyed because the players are too much obsessed to get individual rewards. I feel sometimes it encourages selfishness and people inside the game to go too much for their own sake when some partners are in a better position. Even the agents sometimes motivate the players to get individual rewards because they are more valuable on the market after. That’s why I’m against it.”
Back in August he managed to have a thinly veiled dig at Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville by suggesting that pundits back up their criticism with facts rather than their own professional experience. Something which the pair invariably do on the Monday Night Football programme. As is usually the case, they were right but Arsene, because it was a criticism of him and his team, refused to see it, in the same way that he never saw any of his players make a bad tackle in almost twenty years as Arsenal manager.
So from being someone who occasionally poked his nose out of his shell, he has turned into someone who has cast away the shell and decided to live in the big wide world. Some of his opinions are valid, some aren’t. Very few of his opinions are about Arsenal, which are the ones the fans want to hear, he doesn’t tend to air those very widely.
Sir Alex Ferguson once told Wenger to “keep his mouth shut, firmly shut,” and it appeared that, for many years, Wenger had decided that this was a good piece of advice and that he would heed it.
Now that Ferguson has retired from the dugout Wenger seems to think that he was the heir apparent and has now donned the crown. He can do a lot for the sport in his now senior position. Let’s hope he doesn’t always use it to be negative about things. One thing is for sure, he is always entertaining whether you like him or not.
What will we do when he retires?