Dear Mr Wenger,
There have been so many ups and downs, particularly in the second half of your time at the club. As much as the protests for your departure increased, in the last few seasons, I just want you to know that the loud people don’t represent us all but unfortunately, the loudest people are always the ones that are heard.
I’m part of the camp that wanted you to leave but to leave with the honour and respect that you deserve.
Honestly, I wanted you to leave after the 5-1 defeat at Bayern Munich. Sitting on my lonesome with the German home fans, watching my team crash and burn was quite possibly my worse football memory ever. (A close second is obviously the 8-2 loss to Manchester United.)
With that being said, you’ve given me some of the best ones too.
Lots of my favourite memories have been FA Cup wins. People like me, that are over a certain age, appreciate the FA Cup and what it means for English football.
There is nothing like the 1998 FA Cup final against Newcastle. The team was filled with arguably one of the best starting 11s under your management with the likes of Adams, Vieira, Dixon and Ray the Romford Pelé Parlour. (I could go on.) The quality in the team is obviously the reason why Arsenal won the double that year. The first goal was gold, classic Overmars beating the goalkeeper to score the perfect goal and not to forget the assist from Petit. As much as Newcastle had their chances, the team showed their style and togetherness.
Moving on to a slightly more recent FA Cup. The unforgettable 2014 final against Hull was to put it lightly of epic proportion. Going 0-2 down after 8 minutes was an event that could not have been predicted. But that’s the beauty of the FA Cup. Thankfully, Cazorla gave us a glimmer of hope in the first half with a marvellous free-kick and then Koscielny equalised in the 71st minute. The relief that you must have felt in that moment. The icing on the cake was, of course, the extra time goal by Ramsey. This was a game of twists and turns but most importantly a game where the team didn’t stop fighting and gained another piece of silverware.
This brings me to the unattainable Champions League. The one piece of silverware that you were close to but not close enough. The team could almost touch it at the 2006 final against Barcelona. If only they could have held on to the lead instead of conceding two goals in the last 14 minutes of the match.
Under your management, Arsenal had more consecutive appearances in the Champions League than any other Premier League team. Maybe, looking back, more people will be less critical of you and actually and appreciate what you did. I guess you can take the criticism you received as a compliment. People expected a lot from you.
I could literally write a book about my favourite Arsenal memories under your reign: the Wenger vs Ferguson feud, Sol Campbell moving across to the right side of North London and of course the 2004 Invincibles are just some more of my favourite moments. With 823 games in charge, 7 FA Cup titles, 19 consecutive seasons in the Champions League, three Premier League titles and winning the League at both Old Trafford and White Hart Lane, you truly deserve to be in the Arsenal Hall of Fame. Thanks for being faithful to the club. To paraphrase, well you, it’s clear you were not just a manager but a fan too. #merciarsene
P.S. You may have left this season with Arsenal in 6th place but still, you gained more trophies in 22 years than the numpties down the road.