Arsene Wenger blames section of Arsenal fans for harming the club’s reputation ‘worldwide’
PUBLISHED: 17:41 22 April 2018 | UPDATED: 18:10 22 April 2018
PA Wire/PA Images
Arsenal reporter Layth Yousif reports from a remarkable day at the Emirates.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger appeared to blame a section of fans for damaging the reputation of the club.
In another remarkable day at the Emirates, soon-to-be-departing boss Wenger, speaking after his side beat West Ham 4-1 on Sunday, rounded on certain supporters who he felt had harmed the perception of the North London giants around the world.
The Frenchman, who has been at the helm of the club for 22 years – when asked if he was relieved to be leaving after the strength of personal criticism he has received, shot back saying “No, because I was not tired.
“This club is respected all over the world, much more than in England. Our fans did not give the image of unity at the club I want, that was hurtful.
“Because I feel the club is respected and overall the image we gave of our club is not what it is and not what I like.”
Wenger had been the subject of intense personal criticism including a section of supporters hiring planes to protest about him, images that had been shared around the world.
While insisting he was not resentful and did not want ‘stupid headlines’ a clearly annoyed Wenger, who appeared to want to say more than he did on the matter, explained: “Sport is about winning and losing and you have to accept that you are going to lose games. But it’s about something bigger. For me, that was always a worry how the club was perceived worldwide.
“For kids who play in Africa and China and America. The dream that it can create for young children who want to play football.
“All our clubs have a responsibility in that.”
Wenger won three Premier League titles and a record seven FA Cups, including the Double in 1998 and 2002, also led his 2003-04 vintage to an unbeaten league season in a team that is now known throughout the world simply as the Invincibles.
However the team have stalled during the second half of his reign which started in 1996, with fan protests and bitter resentment created between supporters who wanted him to stay and those who wanted him gone.
He added; “I am happy when the fans are happy, I’m willing to suffer to make them happy.
“Every decision I’ve made in 22 years has been for the good of Arsenal.
“I will leave a club which is in a very strong position.”
On a day of mixed emotions at the Emirates his side beat West Ham 4-1 with two late goals from Alexandre Lacazette sealing the victory.
Aaron Ramsey had put the Gunners 2-1 ahead following a curling cross into the box which callow centre-half Declan Rice ducked out of the way from.
Marko Arnautovic had put the Irons on level terms after a clinical finish on 64 minutes cancelling out Nacho Monreal’s opener six minutes after the break.
Wenger added: “I told the players at half-time if we keep discipline we will find space. That’s what we did in the first half.
“At 1-1 it was bit of a test but once we scored the second they collapsed a bit.”
Do you think Arsenal fans have damaged the club’s reputation as Wenger hinted at. Or do you think the criticism has been justified? Tweet your opinion to Arsenal reporter @laythy29 and join the Islington Gazette Facebook page to take part in the discussion.