Football

A stunning revelation

Embattled Arsenal boss Wenger hints at exit, announcing he has made up his mind about his future

He is the longest serving manager in the English Premier League, having joined Arsenal in October 1996.

In that time he has become the club's most successful manager, guiding the Gunners to three Premiership titles and six FA Cup wins.

But the call for Arsene Wenger's head is now the loudest it has ever been, and the Frenchman stunned the football world when he announced on Saturday that he had made a decision on his future and will make it public very soon.

Normally one who plays his cards close to his chest, Wenger seemed to hint his time was up after his side were humbled 3-1 at West Bromwich Albion. His current contract with Arsenal expires at the end of the season.

Fans rounded on the Frenchman at the Hawthorns with "Wenger Out" banners, anti-Wenger songs and a plane overhead towing a banner calling for his departure.

That was followed by another plane with a pro-Wenger banner, but he still suffered the ignominy of travelling fans singing "you don't know what you're doing" near the end of the game.

Wenger, 67, has previously said he will make a decision on his future before the end of the campaign and it appears the news will break very soon.

"I know what I will do in my future, so you will soon know, very soon," he said.

"You will see. Today I do not necessarily worry about that, we are in a unique bad patch we never had in 20 years.

"We lose game after game at the moment and that, for me, is much more important than my future."

Wenger insisted he did not pay attention to events in the stands or in the air as he watched his side lose yet again.

A fourth loss in five league games left Wenger's record of reaching the Champions League in every season of his reign in peril.

Arsenal are in danger of sliding out of contention for a top-four finish and Wenger, whose last Premier League title was 13 years ago, said: "We have a big fight, I agree with you and it could be very difficult now.

THE INVINCIBLES

"Anyway, we've no other way than fighting until the last game of the season and if it is not good enough, we have to face the consequences.

"In our job, it is like when you have a problem with your engine; you can always find many problems, but is important to find the most important one."

Wenger's scientific approach to management has been credited with transforming the English game.

He produced the Invincibles in 2003-04, when Arsenal stormed to the league title going undefeated through the season.

But it does look as if his time up and, while it will be a sad exit for one of the best managers in the history of the game, expect the accolades to flow, if, as expected, Wenger ends his tenure with the Gunners this season. - AFP

arsenalarsene wengerengland