Watching that clip of Arsenal players being abused by our own fans at Selhurst Park is really tough viewing – another low in a season that’s magicking lows out of nowhere.
It’s not pretty. But in the absence of any other way to air their grievances, with the board largely silent and Wenger not prepared to talk about his future, I understood why the fans did it. Had I been there, I may well have been caught up in the emotion of the moment too.
That being said, I’m not a banner holder or a marcher or a Wenger Out chanter by nature. My own protest – such as it is – has taken the form of burgeoning apathy.
How? Well, despite being a season ticket holder, I’ve been only twice since 12th December. A load of us got our £55 back on the exchange and went out for a curry instead of bothering with the Champions League return leg. I’ve stopped blogging (not, to be fair, entirely attributable to the current swirling eddies of misery, but partly – after all, what else is there to say?) Out of the eight of us who registered for the cup semi-final, only two ended up applying.
Like the players, I’ve given up a bit – and even allowing for Twitter and the web being an echo chamber, I know I’m not alone.
Maybe that makes me a plastic fan. If you level that at me, fine. But if my mood is reflected widely, then the club has a big problem on its hands.
Because if they’ve lost the fans, nothing they do round the edges of the problem will make the slightest bit of difference. It’s not tenable.
They’re aware of this, of course, which is why Wenger’s future is a such a taboo subject in the corridors of power.
In my mind I’ve been through Wenger’s strange deflection of the subject, and the general silence from the board, dozens of times. To me, if he was planning to leave all along, the silence doesn’t make any sense at all. He’d have announced it by now and basked in the long valediction.
So the new deal was always going to happen, irrespective of how the season panned out – it was to all intents and purposes a fait accompli. But the reason they won’t talk about it now is because they can’t. Imagine the response.
We have a manager who wants to stay and a board who want him to stay too, and they’re desperate for a break in the clouds so they can hang out the washing.
But as I said in my last post, ‘sometimes these decisions take on a life of their own’, and I think that’s what’s been happening. There is no break in the clouds – it’s lashing it down. The team’s descent to mediocrity and the fans’ mood have made this the impossible announcement.
It’s astonishing and bonkers, but it could still go either way.
However, for their preferred outcome (Wenger staying), they’ll need a volte face in supporter confidence that they can’t easily engineer, and currently looks like utter pie in the sky. There’s too much water under the bridge and I don’t see most people being assuaged by a few recuperative wins. Put simply, it’s broken.
So we’re in limbo.
What a mess.