Why Is Arsene Wenger Never Under Any Pressure At Arsenal?


Jose Mourinho has been talking to the media, making thinly veiled comments criticising Arsene Wenger (not in name) of being seemingly immune to pressure. Mourinho said that “[in] this country only one manager is not under pressure.” He went on to state that “He cannot achieve [success] and keep his job, still be the king. I say just one.” Many will ignore these comments as the further ramblings of a seemingly angry, bitter man. But I feel that they are comments that warrant being looked into further.

It would be naïve, of course, to blindly state that Arsene Wenger is under no pressure at all. It has been clear for some time now that the Arsenal fan base is split between those wanting the manager to stay, and those asking for a change. This sort of divide could only look to increase the pressure felt by the manager in getting things right.

More from Pain in the Arsenal

What Mourinho was hinting at is that very few managers, if any, would have been allowed to oversee a period of failure, as Mourinho and others see it, and still retain his job. Not only does Arsene Wenger keep his job, but he regularly gets vocal backing by the clubs hierarchy.

Arsenal, as is widely known, have not won a Premier League title since the 2003/2004 season. It can be argued that Arsenal have also not convincingly challenged for the Premier League title in every subsequent season since then. Our record within the Champions League, since reaching the final in 2006, has also been very poor, particularly in the last five seasons.

While we have won back-to-back FA Cup trophies in the last two seasons, many of our campaigns have been littered with sub-par team performances. A lack of defensive quality has become almost synonymous with Arsenal FC in the last ten years, a far cry from “One nil to the Arsenal” and the solid defence built by George Graham.

We have often seen results against Arsenal that, had they taken place against any other team in the world, would at the very least cause a managers position to be brought into question by the powers that be in the club. 8-2 against Manchester United, 6-0 against Chelsea, 5-1 against Liverpool etc. Two of those results actually took place in the same season!

It could be argued that a one-off result such as the 8-2 destruction, despite it’s severity, should not be the catalyst for terminating Wenger’s contract. This way of thinking completely disregards the subsequent failures of Arsene Wenger to make his team perform competitively, in all competitions.

Such a result, if a one-off, could be disregarded had the team went on to win or, at the least compete for, the league that season. But the fact is that we did not.

If reports are to be believed, Arsene Wenger is on an astronomically high wage of around £8.5 million a year; allegedly one of the highest managerial wages in world football. This is a rather high wage for a man that has apparently promoted a ‘socialist wage structure’ within the club. He has also has repeatedly bemoaned the hardships he has faced due to the ‘financial doping’ of other clubs, meaning they are able to offer players ridiculously high wages. These claims and statements stink of hypocrisy.

More from Arsenal News

The reported wage of £8.5 million a year for Arsene Wenger also seems rather high when taking into account the repeated, long-term failures of the club that he manages.

Success, it can be argued, is a difficult aspect to measure. How does one measure success in their daily lives after all? Within a footballing context, however, the measure of success is rather more simplistic. Do you measure the success of a club in historical terms? In economical terms? Or in terms of how many pieces of silverware that is won?

Again it could be argued that all three of these factors play a part in success. But aren’t they mutually exclusive to the branding of a football club being successful? If, for instance, a football club is classed as being economically lucrative can it still be classed as being ‘successful’?

Surely the ultimate measure of success for a football club is success on the pitch and in the accumulation of silverware. If this is the case then Arsene Wenger has drastically fallen short of success with Arsenal in the last ten years. Especially given his increase in wages over that same period.

If I wish to earn a promotion or an increase of wage in my day-to-day job I need to prove that I have performed in my role to a successful level. If I have failed to do so then I do not earn a promotion or wage increase. Why then, over the last ten years, has Arsene Wenger been rewarded with an increase in wages for what could be argued as an overseeing of repeated failures?

One explanation is that the current owner of Arsenal FC, and the current board of directors, do not see the winning of silverware as being an indication of success. They believe that Arsene has overseen a period of economic growth for the club, which has in turn seen a period of economic growth in their personal finances.

In other words, as long as Arsene Wenger manages to keep Arsenal within the boundaries of financial success (Champions League qualification) then he will continue to be free from pressure. Regardless if it means a lack of ambition being shown within the club to compete and win the silverware available to them.

As long as the current board and owner favour steady economical growth over an ambition to compete and win silverware, Arsene Wenger will remain immune to pressure from above.

Next: Can Theo Now be a Striker?

More from Pain in the Arsenal