Let’s cast our minds back to May 2005, when captain Patrick Vieira swept home the decisive penalty to secure the F.A Cup for Arsenal following a protracted stalemate with Man United. The ball nestling in Roy Carroll’s net wrapped up a decent season for the Gunners after they’d finished runners-up to a superb Mourinho-led Chelsea side who were only ever going to come first that year.
Back then Arsene Wenger was generally regarded in the highest esteem. Sure there was the odd grumble about his side’s disciplinary record, coupled with his bizarre predilection to pretend not to see damning, blatant incidents, but overall he was viewed with a formal respect usually reserved for academics who write books that no-one reads.
He was the unflappable professor. The erudite multi-lingual philosophie who was credited with revolutionising British football and bringing style and pasta where once there was route one and steak.
Fast-forward six years and we wouldn’t be remotely surprised to see him giving a Morris Minor a ‘damn good thrashing’ with a tree branch.
There’s the bottle-kicking tantrums on the touchline, the persecution complex writ large across every public utterance and, most of all – the real fall from grace – the stubborn and perplexing refusal to compromise on his belle philosphe in youth and devlopment.
Despite possessing a Masters degree in Economics the infuriating monsieur still cannot equate that spending money on experienced, quality footballers dramatically increases your chances of success. Even more exasperating for Gooners it is money the club has in abundance and the board of directors are more than willing to part with it.
It is a unique situation and one so nonsensical it is starting to smack not of a man resolutely sticking to admirable principles but of someone unravelling before our very eyes and desperately clinging to the one solitary thread that defines him.
The urbane, twinkly Gallic charm has long since left but so now too, apparently, has his sanity.
The subject attempts to construct a perfect future due to a crippling inability to enjoy the present moment in time.
The Cutter asked a reputable psychologist….okay, the online version of The Simpson’s Dr Nick…..for an insight into Wenger’s state of mind right now and his conclusions reveal a hornet’s next of phobias and psychological conditions that plague the haunted-looking man in the Emirates hotseat each and every day. Over to you Dr Nick…
Fear of the present
Our expert – ‘This can manifest itself either as impatience or, in Wengers, case, procrastination. The subject attempts to construct a perfect future due to a crippling inability to enjoy the present moment in time. Studying Monsieur Wenger you very much get the impression that if he were to be gifted a magnificent, fully-formed side made up of the world’s elite he would promptly sell every player and replace each with a promising teenager who might, one day, become as talented as his predecessor’.
Our expert – ‘Centophobia is a fear of new ideas. The subject has repeatedly displayed signs of being unable to break established, safe thought patterns. In severe cases, such as I believe Wenger to be, sometimes just the mere notion of change can induce serious health problems down the line such as stomach ulcers so I would always espouse a gradual restructuring in order for the patient to slowly acclimatize. Perhaps Arsenal should sign a player over the age of twenty-one who has a baby-face and looks very youthful? Or instead of adapting to 4-4-2 on occasion when the need arises maybe the team could line-up in that formation solely at kick-off then revert back to his trusted but flawed system once play is underway?’
Our expert – ‘Fear of water, or in Wenger’s case, taking the plunge. The Cahill deal was allegedly all tied up with a bow attached but the patient predictably got cold feet at the last minute and baled. Alas there is no straightforward cure for this affliction. The patient must want to get better and conquer his trepidation of the diving board so to speak. Or, to put it another way, grow a pair’.
It wasn’t his player who went in knee-high with their studs showing. It was the referees fault.
Our expert – ‘So often confused in common parlance as indicating a person who has an overly strong love for him or herself. It is in actual fact an inability to accept blame. This has been illustrated time and again over the years by the subject in post-match interviews. It wasn’t his player who went in knee-high with their studs showing. It was the referees fault.’
Our expert – ‘In layman’s terms, a fear of the elderly. I conducted my own simple experiment with the patient last week to fully determine the severity of this problem. I stood outside the Emirates posing as an ordinary supporter, and waited for Mr Wenger to arrive. I shoved a piece of paper into his hand under the pretext that I was requesting a photograph to be signed. The patient – as ever courteous it must be noted – was in the process of retrieving a pen for his breast pocket when he noticed that the picture was in fact an action shot of Scott Parker. The subject immediately began to perspire and became quite visibly agitated. His adam’s apple bobbed like a drowning man at sea – a clear sign of someone fighting back the neusious urge to vomit. The photograph was dropped onto the rain-strewn street as he staggered off into the player’s entrance. I concluded that the patient’s gerontophobia was indeed off the frickin’ scale’.
‘Dr. Ken Dychtwald, a leading gerontologist and well-respected author, once identified seven key markers that lead to a successful diagnosis in this area. A few of these accurately apply to Mr Wenger and his philosophy. They are –
If the young are creative, the old are dull
If the young are beautiful then the old are unattractive
If the young are stimulating, then the old are boring
If the children are tomorrow, the old represent yesterday
– If you say them in a silly French accent you can almost imagine him repeating them like a mantra each morning before leaving for work’.
Our expert – ‘Simply put xenophobia is a hatred or fear of foreigners. To the patient of course, a long-term visitor to our shores, then we are the foreigners. I must state that it is a selective xenophobia in this instance, unlike when I once treated Ron Atkinson; the mouth on that man! Mr Wenger is a committed Anglophile and has very much embraced England and English life. It’s just that he carries with him an extreme prejudice towards our footballers and, like most individuals capable of such bigotry, he is happy to define an entire nation by its negative stereotypes. With this in mind Jack Wilshere controlling a pass before playing a neat one-touch lay-off must fry his prejudiced think-box.’
Empty Nest Syndrome
Our expert – ‘The patient evidently views his prodigies as his children – in fact I believe Cesc Fabregas referred to his ex manager as his ‘second father’ recently – and with his departure, along with the imminent flying of the nest from Nasri, then the poor man is most probably thinking he is forever destined to be used in this manner. It has happened so many times before but it does appear to have hit him considerably harder on this occasion and I certainly wouldn’t be surprised to discover some degree of depression, even despondency in the patient’s emotional make-up presently. I would wager that he has, at least once in the past week, sat on Cesc’s bench in the changing rooms and tried to breathe in the faint musk of his former leader in the same manner of a mother sitting on her son’s bed after he has left for university.’
Diagnosis – ‘Oh he’s crazier than a bag of squirrels. I would have reached such a conclusion if only for starting with Frimpong last weekend’.