Time for Arsene Wenger to leave, Arsenal Supporters Trust survey reveals
By Michael Cantillon
Last Updated: 12/04/17 12:32pm
A majority of Arsenal Supporters Trust (AST) members believe that it is time for Arsene Wenger to step away from the club, board member Akhil Vyas has revealed.
A 3-0 defeat to Crystal Palace on Monday Night football has left the Gunners in sixth place, seven points off fourth place.
Vyas was present at Arsenal's defeat to Palace, and the AST board member revealed that 78 per cent of the supporters trust believe Wenger should go.
"Well going back two days to the away end at Selhurst Park, it was very hostile," Vyas told Sky Sports News HQ. "That was probably the first time I've seen the fans go for the players. It's usually been the manager that's taken the brunt, sometimes the owner and the board, but the players really got it.
"Some sort of announcement could really add clarity, and if they announced that this was Arsene Wenger's last season, then suddenly that hostility might go and people would get behind the team a lot more.
"The last eight games, regardless of results, would just be a celebration for a fantastic career to this football club but not knowing is causing problems and issues for fans, as it is maybe for players.
"We've recently announced our results from an Arsenal Supporters Trust survey from all our members on the future of Arsene Wenger, and 78 per cent have decided that it is time for Arsene to leave the football club in the summer.
"Only about three per cent called for him to leave right now, so 78 per cent think it's time. We had comments as well and we did get it independently looked at by a company who identified respect for Arsene Wenger.
"So from the 78 per cent a lot of them think it's time but a lot are very grateful for what he's done and I think that's the feeling around the fan-base from what I've seen home and away."
Wenger has guided Arsenal to a top-four finish and Champions League qualification in every season of his 21 years in charge, but Vyas echoed Jamie Carragher's comments from Monday that trophies were more important.
"Absolutely, it's definitely about winning trophies," Vyas added. "With the top four there's a part of about £50m so you're more likely to attract players.
"I mean if you're not in the top four, are players like (Alexis) Sanchez and (Mesut) Ozil going to stay? Are they going to stay anyway? We don't know.
"I think maybe being out of the top four will be a wake-up call to the board more than anything because you'll see that financial loop and if we we could get straight back into it, potentially it could be a wake up moment for the club.
"A lot of them [Arsenal's players] have come out and backed Arsene Wenger, talked about him being a father-figure and said all the right things really, but on the pitch they haven't backed it up and that's been quite upsetting because you're saying one thing and your actions are not supporting that.
"As supporters we want players to show 100 per cent on the pitch but there's something wrong at this football club."
Arsenal next face Middlesbrough at the Riverside on Monday, live on Sky Sports 1 HD, and while Vyas accepted the result there is important, he has stressed that the club's FA Cup semi-final with Manchester City is now make-or-break.
"A loss there [Middlesbrough] and it could be similar to Palace with the away end unbearable again," he said.
"If you look ahead to the FA Cup semi-final, that could be a bigger game because of the opponent and putting the top four to one side, losing that could have a bigger impact on the future of Wenger."