Waiting for Wenger

By Alsace Lorraine du Totteridge

Arsenal modern day script could have been penned by Samuel Beckett

When we are young and foolish we make decisions which are ill-informed but appear to be a good idea at the time. In my case I chose to do ‘A’ Level English Literature. This was in the late 70’s but I doubt that the teachers are any different today. I had two main bugbears. One was what I like to call bollocks-speak (paraphrasing George Orwell in his seminal work ‘1984’ – you see, I’m doing it now) and the other was the constant search and apparent finding of incredible depth of meaning in a work of fiction.

Not a scene from the Emirates... but might as well be

Oh my goodness me we had to put up with some dreadful turgid nonsense. Thomas Hardy (depressing), Keats and Yeats (bonkers desperately dull poetry, the former said in part to embody “ negative capability”). The inevitable Shakespeare - some good stories, but gracious, what bottomless depth of meaning was read into the scribblings of a man who was simply writing hard to keep the creditors at bay. “Let me see”, he must have thought to himself, “Shall I get these pages off to the actors or shall I struggle for more depth of meaning? ”

Eventually and in desperation I asked my teacher what particular brand of bollocks speak the examiners wished to hear? He kindly obliged and I managed to blag a “result” as Big Ron Atkinson would say.

However amidst this large pot of literary bilge we were compelled to study, watch in the theatre and read, there was a piece called, “Waiting for Godot” by Samuel Beckett. It’s about two chaps (named Vladimir and Estragon) who are waiting for a bloke called Godot to arrive. Spoiler alert – he never does. The tedium is punctuated by the arrival (twice) of Pozzo and his mute Lucky. The play is said to embody the French concept of ENNUI. A sort of French version of crippling debilitating boredom.

And so I arrive at Mr Arsene Wenger.

For it came to me whilst watching “Fever Pitch” the other day, that what Mr Wenger brings us is pure unadulterated Ennui. A desperate hopeless boredom. A boredom apparently without end. WE ARE Vladimir and Estragon, Pozzo and Lucky.

I am reminded (chillingly) of an oft repeated piece of text from the play.

(Vladimir) Lets go !
(Estragon) We can’t.
(V) Why not?
(E) We’re waiting for Godot.

If one imagines that the phrase “Let’s go” means lets get moving, let’s improve Arsenal Football Club and push onwards and upwards, then the following T-shirt might be appropriate. Printed on the back would be “Ennui” atop the symbol for infinity and on the front the legend :-

Lets go !
We can’t.
Why not?
We’re waiting for Wenger.

After all. When he speaks. You have never heard quite so much bollocks–speak in your life.

18th October 2017 10:56:06


Comments and Reaction

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clarky  11:19am 18th Oct 2017

What a weird article. - Post No. 110323

mbg  11:40am 18th Oct 2017

Great piece Alsace, lets go, we can, get wenger out. - Post No. 110325

The Man From UNCLE  11:44am 18th Oct 2017

Weird piece for sure but at least something a bit different. I can remember back in the GG days some journo tabbed us "The Lords Of Ennui" which was a play on Milan's outstanding early 90's "Lords Of Discipline" side. Oh how we laughed....and then won the CWC. - Post No. 110326

TonyEvans  11:56am 18th Oct 2017

Interesting take on the simple fact that we are all bored to tears with Arsenal life under Wenger. I used to dream of the day I read that he had left the club, and how madly I would celebrate but now, although I will still be pleased, the sense of euphoria I was anticipating has all but disappeared - I still want rid but the prospect of it actually happening is just not generating the thoughts of wild celebrations like it used to. It's gone deeper than Wenger now with me, he is still the main cancer of course, but there is so much wrong with Arsenal now (in my mind anyway) that there needs to be wholesale changes to get me back to where I used to be with my club. - Post No. 110327

Yes its Ron  12:14pm 18th Oct 2017

Good article. It really is that simple isnt it, Arsenal FC is boredom in its purest sense and has been for some years. Waiting for Godit, Groundhog days, the dying embers etc etc. Call it what we will. AFC offers nothing. Whats is there about the Club that would attract kids to support the Club these days? Very little i would suggest. Its the youngster fans who i feel for the most. No heroes, no cult figures, an old man in charge, funereal stadium and a very average team that looks to be getting worse by the year. Its the lack of hope thats killing the club and nobody there cares. - Post No. 110328

Ian M  12:29pm 18th Oct 2017

What a shame you have to decry good literature in order to pretend you have some street cred and are down with the fans. Yeah, all the poetry and literature, it's all bollix, innit? Try Endgame, it's a better analogy. - Post No. 110330

Seven Kings Gooner1  12:35pm 18th Oct 2017

Alsace: Oh very good my friend, it is a very different approach to the same problem, you should get the t shirts printed, I'll have one! - Post No. 110331

glenngould  12:56pm 18th Oct 2017

Nice article. Ironic though because you've done at the end exactly what you were complaining about, i.e. read something else into the text to reflect how life feels for you at the moment. Which is a pretty good use of art, hence it being relevant for people sometimes hundreds of years after its creation. There's quite a lot of Shakespeare going on at Arsenal at the moment - the only question is, is it a comedy or a tragedy? - Post No. 110333

TonyEvans  13:06pm 18th Oct 2017

Here's a hypothetical question to ponder - were the magical years of 1998 to 2006ish worth all the grief, anger and frustration we have suffered subsequently under Wenger, where we have witnessed the turning of Arsenal from a well respected club, which supporters of many other clubs secretly envied, into the laughing stock that we are now. On balance I would have to say not. Talking of 1998 to 2006 I still maintain that a better manager than Wenger would have won so much more with that squad of players. - Post No. 110334

Roy  13:47pm 18th Oct 2017

Tony, hypothetical it may be but the answer is almost certainly yes. A better manager than Wenger would have retained the title at least once and put a Euro pot in the cabinet as well. Interesting comment from Lee Dixon who said that he loved playing under Wenger, but he was 32 when he came. He's glad he wasn't under his tutelage at 18 as he wouldn't have learned anything. A clue there maybe ? - Post No. 110337

TonyEvans  14:05pm 18th Oct 2017

Roy - it's a tough call and I can understand you saying yes to my hypothetical question. I was almost delirious with happiness at the football we were playing, the trophies we were winning and the records we were setting between 1998 and 2005 but the flip side to all that is that Wenger has subsequently killed my love of Arsenal stone dead, maybe never to return, which is why I narrowly came down on the side of no - the good Wenger years weren't worth the sum total of the bad. - Post No. 110338

mbg  15:13pm 18th Oct 2017

Tony Evans, I would say definitely not, if wenger hadn't brought us down and made us into the second raters and also ran's we now are, and stripped our rich history and traditions on and off the pitch, and like you said made us a laughing stock along with himself, maybe, if we still had those then maybe yes. wenger out now. - Post No. 110340

Redshirtwhitesleeves  15:25pm 18th Oct 2017

Tony- It would be a no for me too. i would much rather Arsenal FOOTBALL club still existed and would happily forgo the success that came our way between 98-05 and not had this awful money grabbing, greedy, fan-fleecing, lying club/regime foisted on us. For a lot of fans like us it has ruined the love for the club that we thought would last a life time. I now hold the club as it exists today in utter contempt. As Roy said, a better manager than Wenger would have won more with that set of players- if we couldn't retain the premier league or win the champions league with the likes of Adams,vieira, bergkamp, pires, Henry etc then it's unlikely we ever will - Post No. 110341

The Man From UNCLE  15:41pm 18th Oct 2017

Tony Evans; you are spot on about a better manager would have won more 1998-06 with those players. Thanks for the trophies Arsene but what about the ones that got away; 1999 another double, 2000 UEFA Cup, 2001 FA Cup, League titles 2003, 2008. Should have held out against Barca in '06 too. But hey we were punching above our weight in those days weren't we. Weren't we? - Post No. 110342

Yes its Ron  15:42pm 18th Oct 2017

I think Wengoes best teams in 98 and 2004 were at their peak both in age and ability. I dont think he nor any other coach would have done more with either team. Lets be honest here, they had loads of luck in that 49 game run. Yes, some great games and performances too, but lady luck shone often. I saw about 35 of those games and wondered how we won some of them. A different Coach wouldn't have let those teams go stale so quickly maybe and the re build might have been different and better structured. If anything, the class of 2002 maybe shd have won the title again in 03 but in my view by 2003 the flakiness/bottling capacity was creeping in and was well embedded in the 2004 team. For me, the way that team and its players and Wenger reacted after losing that game 49 was a Club disgrace. They all sulked together for about 8 months. The players reflected the coaches persona then and the Board should have gotten rid of Wenger then ideally. They couldnt handle a loss and blamed it on roughhouse tactics by Utd. Load of rubbish. The problem that day at OT was players with no balls, like Reyes.The problem has persisted ever since. - Post No. 110343

Arseneknewbest  17:02pm 18th Oct 2017

Alsace - Nice one. I enjoyed that. Linking the tragi-comic nature of literature to Arsenal seems perfectly fitting. Had he been alive in the autumn of 2016, Keats might have written, "Season of sh*t and nasal runniness" by way of succinct commentary about Feo and Arsene's appalling habit of thinking his puma puffer is a giant hanky. Ozil too as the Prince of Denmark as he dithers over which corner to put the ball in, Or Prospero as he pulls a rabbit out of wengo's corriolanus. George Orwell too would not have had a good word to say about neither Kroenke nor Wengo. Down and Out in Munich and London. - Post No. 110344

markymark  18:02pm 18th Oct 2017

Alsace - poor old MBA toady is now totally confused wondering who is Godot and can he insult him for being an embarrassment to the club. Meanwhile Badarse is grabbing his pen and paper ready to despatch a Badarsien philosophical Guide to the meaning of life and devotion to Wengo. I can’t wait for further instalments ! - Post No. 110345

MAF  18:26pm 18th Oct 2017

Wenger sees himself as a Philosopher / Mensa brain of Football he is so up his own arse. when in fact he was left behind 10 years ago by other Football coaches. we are left with some pompous old arrogant drunk fool dribbling on about the past. and he gets £10mpa to do it. so hes not such a fool... - Post No. 110346

Gaz  18:30pm 18th Oct 2017

Tony E: Its a no from me too. Never liked criticising Wenger's early years but he definitely should have won more and his record in Europe has always been poor considering the sides he had. Agree with Ron RE that Utd game too. The whole Club should have collectively rolled up their sleeves and started another run but all of them led by Wenger let it effect them for months. Interestingly its that same kind of attitude that saw us collapse on Saturday after they scored their equaliser. Anyway the last few years has seen any remaining respect I had for him go so I'm not at all bothered about calling out those early years now. - Post No. 110347

CORNISH GOONER  19:41pm 18th Oct 2017

Ron, you are so right about those "great teams", the flakiness was already there but because of the trophy count we all ignored it. I remember watching some games & just thinking "we aren't up for this one" & sure enough a poor performance was indulged by Arthur. Finally, I am going to have a nightmare tonight about that lovely 110 year old lady whose birthday was today. The nightmare will be about that birthday but the face will be of a smirking, dribbly Arthur who WILL STILL BE THE MANAGER OF AFC. I need a drink!! - Post No. 110348

markymark  20:21pm 18th Oct 2017

I would have definitely sacked Wenger when he said he would gladly finish 2nd for the next twenty years. When he said this he basically undermined sporting endeavour with an unpleasant cynicism. In fact I think this was crafted quite deliberately to set an agenda of not having to win. The very supine press at the time allowed this to go unchallenged (anyone remember when pundits were laughing and calling people mental for asking for his removal) a proper journalistic challenge at the time would have seen Wenger scuttling back to a ‘I was misquoted defence ‘ instead he was allowed to get away with it. Another thought it bought back memories of a number of one issue Wengerites . For months I remember a guy berating people for repeating the quote , sarcasm and abuse, claiming he never said it. Of course the chap disappeared probably after realising to his horror Wengo had actually said it. One other was Amos who would come on here every week claiming his financial acumen trying to claim Wengo was out performing. What a bunch of thetan worshiping loons. I wonder where they are now? - Post No. 110350

KC38  20:31pm 18th Oct 2017

The great times under Wenger were great took us to modern day levels we have never been to, including football to die for that so many neutrals loved and spurs fans could not handle? I was there under GG for Lea Sharpes hatrick and when Benefica played us off the park in extra time. That is not the issue, the issue is Wenger has lived off that greatness and obtained ultimate power while losing his sporting integrity. He has sold his soul to an American cancer and treats us like a fantasy football team knowing he is not held accountable. - Post No. 110351

mbg  22:48pm 18th Oct 2017

Redshirts, good post, like you say we couldn't do it with those players back then, and here we are now Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen ? years further on you'd think we'd have progressed wouldn't you such was the hype then, but have we ? no here we are now with players who aren't fit to polish Vieira's, Bergkamps wrights, Adams etc, etc, etc, boots, (not even their bidets) with second third raters like wally, Giroud, Wilshire, etc, the list ove the years is f*****g endless, light bulb head, etc, etc, we haven't moved on a bit, haven't progressed in any way, in fact got worse completely regressed over those years, what does that tell us all ? and certain fans still think wenger is a fooking genius ? How sad can they get. wenger out. - Post No. 110353

GoonerRon  23:29pm 18th Oct 2017

No way would I change it, no way. If we're all honest, Wenger took us to heights that not one single person (apart perhaps from David Dein) thought possible when he was appointed. We went from finishing 12th to double winners in 3 years, largely due to his liberation of existing players, successful signings and methods (and Bergkamp). It's probably fair to say we could and should have won more with that and subsequent squads, but important parts of those squads (and the modern day legends borne from it) wouldn't have existed were it not for Wenger, so it's a moot point really. He's out-stayed his welcome now, that much is clear, but despite the many low moments (particularly the heavy defeats against key rivals) in the latter half of his tenure, the 'depths' we have fallen to on the pitch over the course of a season are, relative to the low points in our history, not that (in italics) low whereas the highs were like, really high. - Post No. 110354

Scruff  0:27am 19th Oct 2017

Are you willing to destroy a person to the point of no return? Winge winge winge nothing will change same topic next year and the year after and the year after that . Have you got the balls to stop this **** or not? Stop talking and let's act . Put mbg in charge I will donate and attend all protests time to act. - Post No. 110355

mbg  0:31am 19th Oct 2017

CORNISH, good post LOL, I saw that old dear too, you can imagine TOF at 110 surrounded by his AKB wengerites singing happy birthday to you, and him coming out cackling away just like her, with his smarmy grin, and after every embarrassment and defeat telling anyone who would listen I have ze ten telegrams from her majestyee and no manager has ever achieved that and I am ze right manager to get us out of ze third division and back in the super premiership, and all his wengerite sheep hanging on his every word lapping it cheering and believing this is our year. wenger out. - Post No. 110356

Alsace  18:30pm 20th Oct 2017

Ian M. I wondered whether I would encounter adverse comment from the English Lit brigade. As someone else has pointed out, I have extracted other and deeper meaning from Samuel Beckett's text so don't despair. The point is that literature is very much like football. It's all about opinions. I regard Godot as bone grindingly boring, less on the page with your mates in an English class than on the stage. My mate Mark says that he enjoyed it. My idea of entertaining and pleasurable poetry is AA Milne, of prose P.G. Wodehouse and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Keats, Yeats, Hardy - I'd rather listen to Arsene Wenger talk nonsense. I'm glad that everyone found it a little bit different. And yes Clarky, I knew it would be a bit weird. You aren't wrong. - Post No. 110391

Issue #269 - Out Now!

Gooner Editorial

16th February 2018

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