Thursday, December 7, 2023

Wenger: I made a mistake…contract talk was a handicap

Arsene Wenger has admitted for the first time that his indecision over signing a new contract created a climate of instability last season.

The Frenchman chose to sign a two-year extension after Arsenal’s FA Cup triumph at the end of May after months of speculation that had resulted in almost daily questions about his future.

Reflecting on the situation, Wenger stressed that his commitment to the cause never faltered, however, the negativity air around the club, especially when the Gunners form collapsed in the early part of 2017, may have been exacerbated by the lack of clarity.

“For me it [this season] will be a change because [the question over my future] was a bit eternal, a repetition of the press conferences about that,” he told Arsenal Player.

“Maybe I made a mistake and allowed that to happen because I didn’t commit early enough.

“I think at some stage I did not think it would be a handicap for my commitment and it was not. But it was a bit of a handicap because it created a climate of insecurity and a lack of clarity about my person that maybe did not help at some stage.”

Ahead of penning his new deal in May, the boss suggested boardroom politics had played a part in the delay. He also, uncharacteristically, took a swipe at fans who’d questioned his ability. 

He’s now hoping that the positive end to the last campaign can be replicated when the Premier League kicks off on 11 August.

“We basically had three seasons last year: the first part was very positive, the second part was very negative, and the third part was very positive.

“I believe it is important that we analyse well what happened to us, and where we can improve – and then transfer the optimistic final part of the season into the new campaign and start in a very strong way.”

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Agreed, though the club wanted him to sign on an up and that didn’t happen until the end of the season. Too much Wenger In/Wenger Out stuff (see Arsenal Fan TV) stopped him signing.


Arsenal Fan Tv has its critics and gives airtime to number of idiots (not all but a significant number) but ultimately it’s the voice of the fans. For Wenger to claim he did not expect any delay to cause an issue is bollox. I feel there is a sense of arrogance involved and deceit. He was awareness of the repercussions, when you have the likes of Ozil openly making links between his own future and Wengers. It wasn’t a huge mess that he and the board created, a swipe at fans is a cheap shot. As stake holders of the… Read more »


I don’t think Robbie reflects the majority of fans…just the loudest (and often times the more obnoxious ones) Arsenal FanTV is after all also built on personality and many of the fans interviewed are as much there for their character and passion…however misplaced. Much of it is unabashed guttural, visceral, (over) reactions. It isn’t the best place for more lucid and measured reflection. …but it would be boring otherwise and as far as theatre entertainment goes, nothing like the angst of the Arsenal fan.:D In that Robbie does an excellent job and tries to be fair, offering the other view… Read more »


ArsenalFanTV is basically a new wave version of reality TV. The people involved with Big Brother do actually help in some capacity to run the YouTube channel. The ‘fans’ they interview are now just characters basically acting as if they were playing an actual role on stage pretending as if their just personifying their actual individual ‘personalities,’ but they are just basically dancing for the camera with knee jerk reaction stuff all in an attempt to get more clicks. They’ve made sure that the ‘main characters’ they interview consistently capture certain types of the stereotypical football fan demographic by doing… Read more »


It isn’t reality tv. It’s a series of vox pops.


The same Arsenal Fan TV fans that go to every single game home and abroad.

So many slagging them off from some assumptive moral high ground under the pretence of being better supporters.

There are a couple of numpties on the fam / blood.

But can you lot really say you match their passion and investment in the club? Very much doubt it.


Supporting since 1970, yes to passion.

Season ticket holder, yes to investment.

Yes to having a perspective having seen most of the 70s and 80s and how rubbish we were at times then and how much better we have been since Wenger joined.

How about your passion and investment Swerve? Let’s hear your story given you question others on their passion and investment.


Right, because many Arsenal supporters the world over, don’t act like ignorant, bratty [and somewhat drunk] children after matches – nor happen to live within an easy drive to the ground, cannot match the passion or investment? Those same “lesser fans in your/their eyes,” who fly cross country to watch matches with their friends; who buy every kit TShirt and hat, who subscribe to Arsenal TV, crowd the US, Asian, and S. American pubs to watch Arsenal at all hours. (For a good analogy, look at blogs himself – he doesn’t live in Islington, so he’s a plastic fan, according… Read more »

Art Van delay

Fuck the worldwide fan base.


They are not the only ones though going to every game.

Mein Bergkampf

I find it hard to believe he was um-ing and ah-ing about a new contract. The politician in him was just waiting for a good opportunity to announce when he wasn’t being overly criticised. But in trying keep his personal PR campaign positive, he plunged the into chaos and contracts with Ox, Ozil and Sanchez were left up in the air. Really poorly managed situation once again from everyone involved behind the scenes.


exactly. throughout the season there were reports of board reviewing this, that looking at other managerial candidates , widespread changes but now its all clear . there was nothing like that , the contract offer was there from the beginning itself. wenger was just biding his time to sign it on the right time . hell, come to think of it , its not unrealistic to think that wenger might’ve signed the damn thing way back in January itself and was just waiting for the the right time to announce it .


Yes Pedant, fans are guilty for that. Maybe for the bad gameplan, tactics, preparation and motivation of the players as well? Tccc….

Igbo Amadi-Obi

More excuses. You would think that things looked up in the last 10 games because he had signed.

La Grande Saucisse

My theory:
-Wenger would always sign given the option. Regardless of fan opinion.
-The board was dithering and divided.
-None of the top alternative candidates for the job could be lured.
-Now Wenger tries to save face by stating that it was his decision all along and that he was the boards first choice when he probably wasn’t. Now that the decision has been made, him, the board, the squad and the fans, all benefit from declaring that Arsène was first choice rather than the one we had to settle with.


La grande, excellent theory and something that a type of egomaniacal narcissistic persona that Wenger became would do. It is vert frightening if you think about it, the person we have at the club.


Without ArsenalFanTV Wenger and the board would have never felt the pressure to make changes. We fans finally have a voice!


Hmm I suspect our performances and results had a lot more to do with it rather than Arsenal Fan TV.


The past is the past and we’ve gone into this enough. Nice to see that Wenger can at least be objective about the season.

What matters to me now is putting things right and, so far, the summer has been positive.

I would like to see a large part of the deadwood swept away now and at least one more signing that can raise an impressed eyebrow!


Alex, more objective? Guy is full of shite as always, it’s frightening.


Well I see a lot of mistakes – the club allowing him to get to this stage without a contract, him letting that amount of players to get to this stage without a contract. This not a top level organization should act.

Mick Malthouse

There are no maybes. It was handled terribly and was negative for all associated with Arsenal, especially the fans.


“Analyse well what happened to us”
Ah, come on! The same thing that happened to us year after year.
I’m not staunchly Anti-Wenger, I’m OK with him staying on, but I am Anti-Bullshit and pretending we/he don’t know that his pissing about not addressing glaringly obvious threadbare parts of our squad for years is weapons grade boy cow poo

The Loon Ranger

I love this club with all my heart and I’ll never stop supporting the Arse but when I hear the guff that’s rolled out by the club every summer I think to myself ” deja moo. I’ve heard this bullshit before” I’m hoping for a great season to wipe away the memories of the last tripe.

Original Paul

“deja moo” was that deliberate? 🙂

SB Still



Fans need to get behind the manager this year regardless, and end the negative vibes around the club.

In a Reddit algorithm shared by BBC “fourth, embarrassing and typical” – were three adjectives that are most commonly used to describe Arsenal FC.

Embarrassing? My Arsenal? Don’t think so. Let’s drown out the wankers giving out club a bad name.


I’m of two minds on this – I agree we need to support the club and the decision to keep Wenger is done – no sense protesting it. That said I also think past actions from Wenger and the club show that there would have been no change at all this year had there not been fan unrest. For the first time in a long time Wenger is addressing some of the well founded criticisms and in that regard he and Gazidas should be given credit -he brought in Lehman who will not simply be another yes man -he got… Read more »


You’re right – the fans do seem to have finally got through to Wenger the board, but that holds its own danger. Hopefully the Emirates faithful won’t now see that as a green light get their backs up about every minute detail of how the club is run. In an ideal world, we would be able to trust in the decision-making of the powers that be, but that seems increasingly unlikely. So do we continue to bitch and moan until everything is peachy keen? We might be waiting a while. Why not focus efforts on getting behind the team no… Read more »


I predicted fans would want to tell themselves this, but most of this is based on myths: -The “yes man” thing is based on nothing. -We’ve done the same amount of early transfer business in previous years: Xhaka, Asano, Cech, Elneny (He was actually six months early, a Summer transfer expedited due to injury crisis), Debuchy, Sanchez, Podolski, Giroud. -A contract lawyer is not going to have any influence on players and agents refusing to negotiate and running down contracts. Our only choice is keep or sell. The fans wanted to keep, we kept. If there is a shambles, it’s… Read more »

Crash Fistfight

Copy that comment so you can paste it again next season. Chances are, nothing will have changed.


our squad has been in dire need of a striker for years now . this is finally the season wenger buys one . after years of jerking us off by telling we have three worldclass in giroud welbeck and walcot (ffs walcot) he finally bought a striker with good track record . last season after buying xhaka club went into silent mode and only completed the much needed transfer of defender mustafi after 3 games was over one of which was a loss against liverpool which will prove very important in final standing of top four . elneny was bought… Read more »


Is that the same Reddit often referred to as “Bullshit central”?


We’ll have all the talk this year of whether Sanchez and Ozil will resign or where they will go. Hope it doesn’t cause the same issues that Wenger’s indecision did last year.


It would be nice if we could be rid of all that for a change. Spoils things a bit …

Jeremy O Dwyer

I think the contract situation was unhelpful and a distraction and probably should have been sorted out sooner but regarding the headline, and it’s a small point for sure, he didn’t say that he definitely made a mistake, as the headline implies, he said that maybe he made a mistake.

If it makes no difference then there’s no reason for the headline to not read ..Wenger: Maybe I made a mistake..’

I realize it isn’t a huge deal but I thought it was worth pointing out.

Yorkshire Gunner

I’m reliably informed that certain board members were quite open in their desire to not renew so it wouldn’t appear Wenger had the final say as to timing.


It was made impossible for him to announce anything at the time as it was so hostile. Could have been handled better by him, the board and the fans.

Spanish Gooner

I hope he remembers this when dealing with the Özil/Sanchez contract fiasco this season. The first press conference after the transfer window shuts, he should say whether or not they will sign a new contract and leave it at that, and not let it become a season long saga. Let’s focus on the football this year

Gutbukkit Deffrolla

We don’t have Champions League this year. They are top players who believe they should always be in the Champions League. We can’t give it to them so they are seriously thinking of leaving, and they have the power to pretty much do what they want. If they choose to go Wenger can either try to get as much money for them as possible, while also trying to steer them away from Chelsea, Citeh or Sp*rs, or he can force them to stay and take a financial hit when they leave for nothing next summer (unless we are clearly going… Read more »

Wenger\'s Pony

So it was him who didn’t commit and not the board? :O

Tommy Gunner

It was obvious to everyone that his contract situation was affecting the feeling surrounding the club, and therefore performances. If we had finished with 2 more points we would have finished in the CL places. Now our best player has said the main reason for him wanting to leave is lack of CL football. Therefore Wenger’s, and the board’s, ridiculous handling of the contract situation may have far more long-term repercussions for our club than he perhaps envisaged.


San he’s is speaking in football code. When he says he wants CL he really means shitliads of money. Lack of CL didn’t stop Pogba or the Swede going to Man Ure last season. It hasn’t stopped Lacazette coming to Arsenal. No, it’s all about money

John C

He’s been offered a shit load of money to stay at Arsenal, it’s about ambition, and we have none

Crash Fistfight

How dare you! I think it’s very ambitious to aim to win the PL whilst Arsene Wenger is still manager.


John C, totally true. We have a lot of empty words about ambition, but really, there is none ambition really.


ClockEnd, that’s true but also a load of BS. They are earning a lot of money and they can earn much more with us. Don’t you think that Sanchez got fed up of being spanked regularly in big matches, with a bad gameplan, tactics and preparation from Wenger, like we got spanked 10-2 to Bayern? We were humiliated. Of course he does not believe in this team under Wenger, he has been here for 3 years and things will not change.


The “handling of the contract situation” was entirely due to the behavior of some fans. If that’s what cost us CL football, people need to look at themselves.

John C



Ah, the gratuitous negativity of John C, always such a joy..

John C

It’s positivity not negativity


Ahh, blindness of Wenger knows fans, Georgey, keep it up… A new season and blind hope is here again, for no real reason as we have the same egomaniac and spin doctor at the helm with total power.


I just prefer to start the pre season with an open mind and see how events unfold, rather than right the whole thing off before its begun.


Yes Georgey, but how many times before you decide enough is enough? He’s had more chances than any living manager would get, just because of the love and devotion we all had for the guy. At one point you need to take of the pink tinted glasses and see the things for what they are. Wenger is past it and every day with him is another the wrong direction.


PaulS, that’s not true. Actually, a shitload of BS from you. Fans lost their mind when they (we) saw that things are not even the same as before, but actually going worse. Did you watch the team from Jan to April?


Tomy, fully agree with you. Heck, if we weren’t so badly prepared for the first match of the season, when we lost against L’pool, we would have been in the CL places because that would directly involve them (L’pool) who got in instead. Our playing with the fee for Mustafi when we could have had him weeks ago and before the first match made us a defensive shambles for this 1st match.

This is no one’s but Wenger’s fault.

Naija Gunner

I think he’s doing well in the market because he wants to end his career at Arsenal on a high, so he’s buying all the best guys in the job and hope for better successes than last season. He’s really spending the money this time ?



Lord Bendnter

well well well…

Terry Henry

Hopefully that will be a ‘note to self’ in 1.5 years time.


Wenger has the class to put his hand up and admit his part in the mistake. Others should do the same – the board, the players (they did eventually and responded with an FA cup), and most obviously ‘the fans’. A vocal minority contributed to a poison atmosphere, which worked against our team. Some fans need to wake up and understand that when we play at home they are our advantage, they are our ’12th man’ . Its a two way street, players play for the club and the fans, but they need our support too. And when the fans… Read more »

Terry Henry

The fans reaction is the final outcome of everything that comes before it. I don’t believe that last season the unhappy fans were the minority, they were the majority.
All stems from the top. Period.

Gutbukkit Deffrolla

No, they were just the noisiest ones. People who scream their anger at anything in this world always think they are in the majority because they make more noise, and the silly buggers always assume anything that subsequently goes right is down to their brave and heroic spraying of spittle-soaked abuse and vitriol. It all stems from the majority of angry people being self-centred and thick.

Terry Henry

You don’t have to be kicking and screaming to be unhappy with the board, manager, results.


Roger, are you crazy or you enjoy being in Wenger’s a**hole? Fans did not choose the players, made the gameplan, motivation, tactics etc. Did you see the mess we were in from Jan to April?

And btw., he admitted nothing here, he said maybe it was a mistake.. Also, the part with “we had 3 seasons…”.. OMG!! Effing spin doctor.


Get in their Domi, stick a few dozen comments on the boards. You demonstrate perfectly my point about a poison minority shouting loudest. Have a cup of tea and reflect how in spite of a mid season crisis we recovered to be 3 points off third and won an FA cup for the cabinet. We didnt finish where we wanted and we all seek to improve. You could contribute with your own attitude. Peace.


Yeah, because your unbridled optimism did wonders….and remember you claim to be the majority…

John C

Haha exactly!

John C

I like you wonder why the tidal wave of optimism from this so called majority didn’t sweep away the minorities “negativity”?


Roger, sorry for me being so rude to you. However, I still strongly disagree sith everything you said. I am as positive as you can get, as a person and up until this season I strongly believed that this would be our year. After seeing the mudpie our glorious manager served I changed my mind and there is no going back. Reality is that if he was not able to win the PL the year when Leicester (Leicester!!) managed to do so should have shown us that we are on a downward spiral with the man. And for all who… Read more »


Cheers, positive passion for the new season


AW created that uncertainty after the WBA shambles by telling the Press they would know ‘very soon’. If he failed to comprehend the damage that this had on the team/ club/ fans then he lacks the insight one would expect for someone managing one of the worlds big clubs. To then blame the fans was a cheap shot, and again, shows a lack of respect and insight. The Sunderland game was an embarrassment for attendance but rather than acknowledge it he trots out the corporate line about the game being a ‘sell out’. I really want Arsenal to challenge this… Read more »


What a load of old sappy bol1ocks! Three seasons in one?? Excuses as always from spin doctor. We had one season, monsieur Wenger, and it was sh1te, FA cup, for all its enjoyment can’t redeem it.

John C

Spot on!

He’s the manager, he’s responsible and our performances were down to him. He talks a load of shit and the atmosphere will be exactly the same this season as it was last unless there’s considerable better performances both on and off the pitch.

Gutbukkit Deffrolla

Well the fans are off the pitch. Maybe they should get with the team spirit and perform better themselves..

John C

Fan’s don’t make operational decision on contracts, tactics, and signings


Thanks John! For now I guess we are in minority here until the season starts and the same old problems arise.. Can’t blame the guys for being positive, however, these are not changes, these are reactions and with being reactive you are never ahead…


Completely agree.

This belief that Wenger, after 20 years plus in charge, is somehow going to magically change his ways and that a handful of decent signings is going to close the gap between Arsenal and the top is quite delusional in my opinion.

As you said this is reactive behaviour, not proactive.

The gaffer even said last week trophies aren’t the only thing in football.

It is going to be a very long season.


I mean he spent something in the range of $100mn last summer and we finished out of the Champions League spots and 18 points from the top.

So please someone tell me why this summer and upcoming season is going to be so different?


Exactly bda, well said. He spent shitload of money and everything became worse, in every department we regressed. I see only one constant that is not changing and that is Wenger.

John C

Exactly, 18 points or 6 wins!

We need a 20%+ improvement in our points total, i haven’t seen anything that suggests that’s even remotely going to happen


Thanks bda, happy to see a few rational people here. Hopefully it will only be a (one) long season, instead of two with Wenger at helm.

John C

It seems only a few of us don’t have the memory of a goldfish.

It’s not positivity it’s delusion, there’s no precedent for optimism, i’ll believe there’s been change when i see it, until that point I remain cynical


Hello John,. I’m on holiday in an old medieval town steeped in history and amazing architecture and the weather is spectacular. Just bought an expensive mountain bike for my woman for her birthday and she is gleaming. She’s a wearing a ptetty red dess and we’re going out for a meal tonight. Life is pretty ace here. On top of that my team finished the season with a record FA cup win and we’ve added two proven players to our squad. Mind you the star player is being a primadona which is a shame but it’s nothing our team won’t… Read more »

John C

I’m very well thanks


Glad to hear it. Amazing how much there is to be happy about when you think about it, isn’t it?


Twat… sloch, what an incredibly patronizing approach to John.. Congrats.


The point is that he’s always miserable and should cheer the fuck up. For his never ending moaning and pessimism, even when things go well, he deserves to be patronised.


We have ambition and we proved it the way we won the FA cup. Sanchez wants money and a place to be accommodated specially(that’s called attitude) He can have money and trophy with Arsenal but he must drop attitude to be part of the team.


Ambition? Really? Players and Wenger showed up for a few matches at the end of the season, when sh1te was up to their necks.. They had minor/moderate success by winning the FA cup and by all accounts, that was below our ability and the real ambition this club should have… And it is not about a sugardaddy, spending like crazy, it is acting within our budget and the extracting the most from the resources/players we have… I would say that Wenger has been unable to do that for many years now, and that’s my main problem – we are constantly… Read more »


Part of the team?

Without Sanchez’s goals/assists last year, where would have we ended up in the table?


Without his sulking an temper tantrums and his demanding the ball all the time we might have been able to play as a team and do better than we did.


Deflection at its finest…

Your theory doesn’t hold validity when we look back at the Liverpool game huh?

Wenger dropped him to send him a message and then sheepishly had to put him back in for the second half because of our dire performance…

So I ask again: Without Sanchez’s goals/assists last year, where would have we ended up in the table?


Well said bda..


Yeah, remember Liverpool game dude.


I still don’t think he is right man to take us forward. We had a good enough squad last season, as good as Chelsea’s, maybe only a nothch below in the striker department. But that doesnt give us an excuse to not challenge, forget finishing 5th. Wenger cannot motivate his squad and that’s well established now. Howsoever great signings we make I don’t think he can take us across the finishing line. Sometimes I even think that, more than Wenger, we owe the pre-2006 success to the players of the calibre and the personalities of Keown, Adams, Henry, Viera, Bergkamp,… Read more »


Excellent adgooner, spot on!


Given the hostilities, I wouldn’t have wanted to announce my staying on until much later, either. I’m surprised there wasn’t any burning or looting of the Emirates from some militant faction through it all. From the comments here and everywhere else, the chance of unity this season also seems bleak. Tenner that we don’t get through the FIRST match without some numpty holding a Wenger OUT placard and start this shit, again, right out of the blocks?


Hostilities are the effect, not the cause, gooner.. Do you want to solve causes or just the effects?

Igbo Amadi-Obi

I watched as he was asked if he was staying or leaving and he answered that smart people focus on the next game. Now he says it was a mistake to focus on the next game rather than decide if he was staying or leaving. So what exactly do smart people do? I am confused now.


A spin doctor who is given more credit than he is due, at the moment. There was a time when he deserved all the awe abs respect. Now he is tarnishing all good.he did, by his own choice.


The headline says ‘I made a mistake’ but the quoted only say ‘maybe I made a mistake’. So in truth he is not even outright admitting it, very wenger-ish


I think the contract talks were late and could have beween wrapped up earlier in season. That it dragged into our slump was the issue. I think Wenger could have nipped it in the bud and committed slightly earlier but when the trouble started, I’m not sure if a commitment then was the wisest choice. If he said he was intent on staying, the noisy banner crowd would only ratchet up the ante and further poison the already toxic atmosphere at the club. Don’t think the tepid atmosphere is not palpable to the team. If he had said he was… Read more »

Rwandan Gunner

Wenger, yes you contributed to that


I get it and I even kind of get why he said it, but really this is the kind of stuff I don’t what to hear about.

It’s done, it happened, leave it alone or keep it behind closed doors, because, you know what, if Wenger doesn’t outright move on after these two seasons, it’ll drag out again, I guarantee it.

I love him, I wanted him to stay, but this ‘admission’ does no one any good, no one.


And yet again wenger takes the blame for an under performing bunch of halfwits. . I mean what sort of player downs tools halfway through a season with everything still to play for (like ours did)??
Wenger is a genius at subtle deflection. . All talk remains on him not the bottlers..

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