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Why Arsene Wenger Has Failed For A Decade - An Intriguing Explanation

Conor Neville
By Conor Neville
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How did it end up like this? Arsene Wenger being viciously barracked by his own team's supporters as he boards a train in Stoke, all captured on a mobile phone.

Ten years ago, Arsene Wenger bestrode the English game like a colossus. He had just scooped his third League title in seven seasons and had guided a team to the Premier League title unbeaten. Most of the game's more sophisticated analysts (or those who liked to think of themselves as such) preferred him to even Alex Ferguson.


Wenger being football management's only real economist, it is to a football journalist with the Financial Times and an economist that we turn to for answers. Wenger's extreme unwillingness to spend money is the most common gripe.

At a recent event in Dublin, author Simon Kuper explained why Wenger had gotten it so wrong.

Wenger believed, in a very French way, that there was going to be this massive financial collapse in football. He believed that a club like Chelsea would simply cease to exist. There would be no Chelsea. And that Arsenal, with their massive cash reserves and their full stadium every week, would be protected from all that and when the financial implosion hit they would just win the League every year. We've just been through the biggest financial recession since the Second World War and no big European clubs have gone bust. And it's not going to happen now. Wenger was wrong, essentially.

Throw in Wenger's visceral disdain for sugar daddies who land in and buy success along with a romantic attachment to the idea of developing youth players internally through the academy, and you see the roots of the malaise.


Wenger's economic miscalculation has led us to the current situation - where Arsenal are falling well short of contending for major honours and seem to be forever duking it out for the last Champions League place. It is one that has inculcated incredible levels of frustration in Arsenal supporters.

Kuper wrote this illuminating article for the Financial Times on Wenger some time ago.


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