Ever the voice of calm amid choppy waters, Arsenal icon David Seaman has come out firmly in support of his former boss Arsene Wenger.
In an interview with the Daily Mirror, the three-time league winner warned fans against forcing the Frenchman out of the club, likening his departure to the collapse of Manchester United post Sir Alex Ferguson.
He called instead for fans to keep the faith and get behind the team as they head into the final run of fixtures, with their title challenge hanging by a gnat’s whisker.
He said: “I’m so fed up of all this negative stuff about Arsenal. A change at the top? Not for me. I’m a massive fan of Arsene.
“Let’s see what happens at the end of this season. Let’s see what’s gone wrong and then sort it out.
“But, for me, he’s been brilliant. I worked with him for about seven or eight years and he was fantastic. I would stick by Arsene. I’ve always said that and I haven’t reason to change my mind.”
Seaman won three league titles, four FA Cups, the League Cup and the European Cup Winners’ Cup while at Arsenal.
He also, let’s not forget, did this:
He added: “It’s frustrating. We get to this stage of the season quite a lot with Arsenal and we tend to lose out.
“Over the past few seasons, at this time of the year, they’ve struggled a bit. They’ve got to rectify that. They’ve got to prove they can do it.
“It was a tough draw to get Barcelona in the Champions League. They’ve got a tough run-in in the league, but, if Leicester and Tottenham drop points, then who knows?
“Confidence is my advice. Just believe in what you can do. They’ve shown what they can do. They show it season in, season out. It’s going just that little step further and pushing over the winning line.
“I don’t what it is, but it’s something special that a team needs to win the league. It’s hard.”
In some respects, Seaman hits the nail on the head. We do “get to this stage of the season quite a lot” and we absolutely do “tend to lose out” as well. But his solution for that problem is to sit down in the summer and talk about where it went wrong.
And that is where I disagree with him.
We’ve talked and we’ve talked about where it has gone wrong. We’ve talked to the point of madness about the team’s annual February/March meltdown and still the problem re-occurs.
The trouble is, Arsene has had years to asses this problem and even he, one of the top managers in the world of football – for that is what he is – cannot get to grips with it.
He knows how to win titles, how to bring back silverware, how to manage players, and yet he cannot fathom this nagging conundrum. How do you stop players wilting in the heat of spring?
Seaman went on: “Look at Manchester United. Look at what has happened to them. They lost a great manager in Alex Ferguson.
“He retired. It’s always greener on the other side. Arsene has a great record, but he’s always under pressure. He’ll be under pressure until we win the league.
“It’s frustrating for Arsenal fans. I can understand that. I get frustrated at times. But we shouldn’t be negative about it. We should try to stay positive.
“It was a great win at Everton at the end of a difficult week. Hopefully, that will inspire confidence now in the run-in.”
I’m afraid I don’t buy the Ferguson argument. Sir Alex picked his own successor in David Moyes, moved upstairs to help him adjust, and provided support and advice whenever called upon. He left him a Premier League-winning squad, millions of pounds in the bank, and a coaching staff seasoned with success.
For me, he left him with all the ingredients to make a real go of it, perhaps not enough to win the league again, but certainly not to drop out of the top four so quickly.
Yes, there will be a culture shift when Arsene finally leaves. But it shouldn’t necessarily mean years in the wilderness.
And on Seaman’s point about staying positive: fans absolutely have. They have remained positive through some truly epic meltdowns and some equally crushing defeats.
You won’t find a more positive set of fans, in fact. For years, fans have waited patiently, kept the faith, trusted that better times were ahead. I think what we’re seeing now is that patience, that resolve, finally starting to crack.
So while I have the upmost respect and admiration for our goalkeeping stalwart and beacon of serenity, I’m afraid I don’t entirely agree with his sentiments here.
The German assist machine, Mesut Ozil was up to his old tricks last night (Saturday), notching the assist for Tony Kroos’ opening strike. Alas for poor Mesut, his side were beaten 3-2 by England, throwing away a two-goal lead in the process.
Danny Welbeck managed a shade more than 70 minutes for England in the same match, with Theo Walcott an unused substitute.
If you missed it, you can catch the highlights here: (in Spanish) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_CmbFynqM0
That’s all for now,