Arsenal majority stakeholder Stan Kroenke has explained his reasons for retaining Arsene Wenger last season, when he was given a two-year extension, despite the Gunners ending up fifth in the league, their lowest finish in over two decades. The fans were up in arms over the decision but Kroenke decided to persist with him, saying the easy call would have been to sack the Frenchman.
The Premier League’s longest-serving manager was under a lot of scrutiny at the Emirates Stadium, with questions being raised about whether he remains the right man to lead the club, sparking a civil war between the Gunners’ supporters.
While they finished 18 points behind league winners Chelsea, the club ended the campaign by winning a record 13th FA Cup title after beating Antonio Conte’s side at Wembley. The victory made Wenger the most successful manager in the competition’s history.
He has not started the 2017/18 season very well though, with the Gunners taking only one point from their first four games away from home. However, they turned a corner last weekend, securing their first win away from the Emirates with a 5-2 thumping of Everton at Goodison Park.
Speaking ahead of the club’s AGM, Kroenke believes that they have made the right decision by looking at the long-term rather than taking a short-term perspective.
“Arsene is strong, he’s focused and I think he showed through all that,” Kroenke told the Mirror. “We always evaluate, and it’s fair to look at all the factors involved. But when you make decisions like that, you are weighing lots of different factors, but you hope that you weigh them correctly and come out with the right decision. I think we did.
“It’s easy to change coaches and people do it all the time. But the hardest thing is to replicate success and remain competitive. You have to approach it with clear-headedness, calmness, thinking for the long-term rather than the short-term. An easy answer is it’s easy to do something. It’s harder not to do something.
“Arsenal is a great club – it’s been here for 130 years. We talked earlier about what a great club it is. When you have someone that passionate, when you get one who has really demonstrated that level of excellence – a good character – do you ask, ‘Hey, we should get rid of him or we should make a change?'” – IBTimes