Arsene Wenger says it’s his job to maintain a healthy distance from some of the emotional judgements aired on social media, especially when the media incorrectly make them out to be the view of the majority.
While the Frenchman accepts that a more connected world is positive, particularly the knowledge sharing that has fostered a more informed football crowd, he knows first hand that attacks made on his integrity are something he just has to endure, even when it’s difficult to accept.
Interviewed by beIN Sport during the Interlull, the boss opened up on how he feels about social media and it’s relationship with the beautiful game.
“It is a good thing that people are better informed and can exchange their opinions,” he said.
“What is a bit difficult for us to take sometimes is that the opinions are very emotional, very categorical. Sometimes they are taken by the media as if they represent the majority, that is not the case. You have to take that with a distance.
“Overall I think it’s true that people are better informed and that they have more knowledge about the game. They know sometimes why you make the decisions because they know some details.
“For example, you take off a guy who plays well after 60 minutes and of course it’s normal that people are not happy with the decision. But sometimes it is because you know he had a bad hamstring and you should have already taken him off at half-time. After 60 minutes the physio tells you ‘he’s in trouble there’ and you take him off.
“Of course, people are not happy but that’s easy to accept because you know that’s a normal decision.
“What’s more difficult to accept is the attacks on the integrity of people. That’s part of it [social media], we have to live with it. There’s a lot of positives but some negatives that go with it as well.”
With the financial gap ever-widening between fans and players, the boss also touched on why it’s important that his stars respect the man on the terrace even when relations are strained.
“I teach them [the players] to respect them [the fans]. I feel that respect and humility are part of the values we rate highly at our club. I believe that classy behaviour is to respect people who support you. That’s part of what the club is about. The respect that the players show to the fans is absolutely vital.”