According to a survey run by the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust (AST), 78% of the organisation’s members do not want Arsene Wenger to sign a contract extension when his current deal ends in July.
The AST highlight that this represents a huge swing in opinion since a survey in 2015 when 84% of it’s circa 1,000 members agreed that ‘Arsene Wenger was the right man to manage Arsenal Football Club.’
The 2017 survey also highlights dissatisfaction with the way the board has dealt with Wenger’s contract situation with 86% of respondents claiming they’ve not acted with the club’s best interests at heart.
It’s worth bearing in mind at this point that the latest survey was conducted between 20 and 26 March 2017 (off the back of four defeats in five games), while the 2015 survey was conducted after our FA Cup final triumph over Aston Villa.
A statement by the AST reads: “In light of these survey results the AST now calls on Arsenal’s Board not to renew Arsène Wenger’s contract at the end of the 2016-17 season. A substantial majority of our members believe he is no longer the right person to take the club forward. We are confident this is an accurate reflection of the wider fanbase.
“The AST will be writing to and meeting with members of the Arsenal Board to convey these results and our position that they should now withdraw the offer of a new contract. We believe the Board’s role now is to successfully manage the transition to a new manager, an eventuality for which they have had plenty of warning and time to prepare.
“The AST has long believed that change is needed in the Arsenal Boardroom. The fact that only 9 per cent of our members believe the Arsenal Board have handled this issue well reinforces our view that a fresh approach is urgently needed. The Board needs more dynamic and independent members with skillsets that reflect the challenges Arsenal face, including the need to grow commercial revenues and to rebuild a football management structure that increasingly looks out of date.
“In adding our voice to calls for Arsène Wenger to leave Arsenal after 21 years we would like to reiterate the importance of this debate taking place in a civil and responsible way. We respect the right of every fan to have a view and for that view to be respected and heard. For this reason, we have reported every opinion our members offered, but we are compelled to go with the majority.
“We also recognise and pay tribute to the tremendous contribution that Arsène Wenger has made to Arsenal. Regardless of the current debate around his contract we believe that he deserves huge respect and admiration for his long-term contribution to our club, including delivering some of the best football ever witnessed not just by Arsenal fans but all of those who follow the English game”.
Arsene Wenger says he has already made a decision about his future but repeatedly refused to be drawn on whether he’ll stay or leave when he was questioned during yesterday’s press conference.