How much longer can Arsenal fans expect to wait until some much-needed clarity over the future of the manager and, indeed, the club is forthcoming?
It has been almost a fortnight since Arsene Wenger announced, in the wake of our mauling at West Bromwich Albion, that he had made up his mind regarding his future and would be announcing his decision “very soon”.
Yet, here we are, still wondering, still agitating, some two weeks on, with only rumour and leaks to sustain us since that game-changing announcement. Why?
There is a school of thought, widely reported, that Arsene and the board have agreed a two-year extension to his contract and that it is simply a matter of announcing the deal. If that is true, what are they waiting for?
The international break seemed the ideal opportunity, if a decision had indeed been made, for all parties to come out and make it public. If the club was worried about the possible backlash to the decision, it would have made perfect sense for them to reveal it when the focus was away from the Premier League’s bread and circuses, and on the England team instead.
To have continued to allow this long-running saga to rumble on has only served to deepen resentment against a board which has become so far removed from the fans that its members may as well be perched atop a tree planted on the roof of a mountain-top ivory tower.
You would have to go a long way to find a fan who believes the continued obfuscation of this issue in any way helps the team, which is struggling badly at the moment.
Whether an announcement either way will help the players refocus for what will be a hugely important Premier League run-in remains an unknown, but it certainly can’t hurt to try. Frankly, they could scarcely be performing much worse at the moment.
With the visit of Manchester City to come this weekend, a match that will likely prove absolutely crucial to our top four hopes, the team needs all the help it can muster, let alone the battle-weary fans.
There has been a lot of talk about respect and class and dignity these last few months, with accusations aimed at a particular section of fans regarding their conduct towards the manager. In a lot of cases, the finger-pointers have been right – some of the vitriol aimed at the manager has been crass and uncalled for.
But if respect is to be the buzz word of the season, surely the fans must be owed a little as well? How much longer can we justifiably be kept in the dark?
Arsene is due to hold a pre-match press conference in the coming days. For me, that will be his last best opportunity to get this announcement – whatever it may be – made and the focus put back on turning this sinking ship around.
In the wake of the West Brom defeat, I felt sure it would be the final straw for the manager, the result that finally convinced him of the obvious: he can no longer take this club forward. But, as time has gone by, and leaks have continued to emerge, it seems increasingly likely that he will sign the extension that has been on the table for many months now. On what basis he believes he can justify that extension only Arsene knows and, if true, I hope he will take the time to really explain why he believes fans should back his decision.
And I mean really set out a vision for the next two years because it is going to be a pretty unpopular decision should he decide to sign on the dotted line and a lot of people – even the more moderate among the fan base – will take a lot of convincing that the club’s best interests lay with the Frenchman’s continued tenure.
Above all, though, and whatever Arsene’s decision may be, we desperately need an end to this saga. The club has been in a sort of dreadful stupor these last few months and some clarity is desperately needed.
The time for being coy has long finished, the time for answers has arrived.