Vieira: Wenger should decide when he goes


The personal criticism directed at Arsene Wenger is hard to accept says Patrick Vieira, who admits he’s changed his attitude towards his former coach’s recent plight after experiencing life in the dugout for himself.

Since retiring as a player, Vieira, who is currently living in the USA coaching MLS franchise New York City FC, has waxed and waned in his attitude towards the man who helped bring him to Highbury in 1996.

He’s spoken openly about his disappointment at not being offered a position at London Colney but also drawn attention to his compatriot’s commitment to the Arsenal cause when things haven’t been going well.

In a new interview with L’Equipe (£), Vieira outlined why he believes Wenger has earned the right to call time on his Arsenal journey on his own terms.

“I think if it’s the end of the story, he’ll be the first to recognise it,” he said.

“And I would still like to add that in relation to everything he has done for the club, in relation to what he has built and what he has won, he is legitimate enough to decide for himself when he will retire. He has the right to make this decision himself.”

He added: “If there really is someone who loves this club and wants this club to succeed, it’s Arsene.

“Then we can discuss how the team plays or something else, but I find that the criticisms that fall on Arsene on a personal level are difficult to accept. It may have been becoming a coach myself that makes me feel differently. I remember very well every time he refused the biggest clubs to stay at Arsenal.

“I know what I’m talking about, because the same clubs contacted me and told me, when I met them, that their number one goal was to bring in Arsene. He said no to everyone to stay, and today people forget about it.”

Given everything he achieved at Highbury and tipped for a future as a top-level coach in Europe, it’s perhaps unsurprising that Vieira had to field a question about the possibility of himself taking over from Wenger when he leaves Arsenal.

Unwilling to tread on the toes of the 68-year-old, Vieira played down such a suggestion.

“Let’s say that someday it might interest me. But one day,” he said.

“I cannot say anything more because there is nothing to say about it and I do not want to offend Arsene, whom I adore and for whom I have a lot of respect. Because I know that he suffers a lot from the current results, even more than hearing what his former players say.”

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54 Comments on "Vieira: Wenger should decide when he goes"

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Daft Aider

the only difference between vieira and fabregas/van persie,
is that he won stuff before he raced out of the club at top speed,
so his opinion still means little

Too Drunk To Be Offside
Too Drunk To Be Offside

On the issue of Wenger this is one of the most rational, balanced, unbiased and informative pieces I have ever read.

Bould\'s Eyeliner

It’s more like an amalgam of every bleacher report into one piece. There’s nothing new in that that any Arsenal fan hasn’t already read.

Reality check

Don’t you dare say anything about Paddy V.. if this team had half the bottle and hunger that Viera did, we’d be invincibles again..

me 2

The biggest failing of Wenger was to change a formula that brought him success – one that is bringing city success.
Big players like Vieira to boss the game and creative players like Pires and Henry to win us games…

Daft Aider

paddy was a mercenary, little better then cesc

Reality check

Your name says it all mate.. i feel sorry for you that you weren’t there to see what Viera was all about. You could’ve learned a thing or two about standing your ground and leading men on a battle and win..

Kwame Ampadu Down

Vieira was a monster for arsenal, not just on occasion but week after week, every season he was with us. Vieira who turned down approaches every summer from the biggest clubs in the world & who finally left after 9 years when Arsene & Dein brought him in and told him they had accepted an offer from Juventus and he was free to go.
That Patrick Vieira… he’s a mercenary ?? If you believe that you are utterly clueless.

Heavenly Chapecoense

Vieira demanded to go to Real though. I used to talk of of him like you but other fans put the facts in front of me. I think Vieira thinks Arsene will have a say on his replacement and is trying to please him. It is not just on the pitch that Paddy knows about tactics.

Kwame Ampadu Down

Is it not a fact that he stayed at Arsenal until the club told him it was time for him to go ? I’ve no doubt that his head was turned at some stages but ultimately he always stayed. If he really ‘demanded’ to go then he probably would have ?

Wakey Wakey

Three completely different situations. Vieira had spent 9 of his very best years with us fight off interest from Real Madrid every summer, and then the club decided to let him go to Juve. Cesc wanted to go back to his boyhood club and can’t be blamed for that, especially as Barca were far superior to us at the time. Going to Chelsea stung a bit, but what is he supposed to do? Van Persie had one good full season with us after getting full pay sitting on the injury table for most of his time at the club, goes to Utd for more money and wins the league with them. He’s the scumbag out of those three, count Cesc if you can’t forgive the Chelsea move, but don’t include Vieira in the same sentence as Van Purse Strings.

A Different George

I am not much interested in this debate, but I think you should remember that we had the right, which we declined (in my opinion, correctly) to have Cesc return. He only went to Chelsea when we passed.

Adams Jnr

Fair play. I think this is the first time I’ve heard Vieira speak about Wenger in such a respected way. About time.


Not the first time. Viera, Pires, Seaman, DB10 and plenty of ex-players are all Wenger in. They have been for quite some time. Viera has always been critical of the players. Let’s not forget Freddie worked with the academy as well. Infact Arsenal are one of the few teams that give ex-players a chance. Every other foreign coach who comes to the league brings his own team of assistants but when Wenger came he only had Primorac with him. He stuck with Pat Rice and now it’s Bouldy.
Some of the ex-players went onto become scouts like Boa Morte, Grimandi, Remi Garde went on to become a manager, Overmars is doing well at Ajax, Van bronckhorst is the manager at Feyenoord, Gilberto is in the board of some Brazilian club. This shows the club always had leaders in the dressing room.

Kwame Ampadu Down

Saying someone is ‘Wenger in’ implies that person still thinks he is the right man for the job. Paddy didn’t say that at all. There’s a big difference between someone saying Arsene has earned the right to decide when he leaves & Arsene is still the right man for the job.

Heavenly Chapecoense

Being a scout is the chance Arsenal gives to its former players ? Liverpool have had a couple of their former players as managers. Giggs was made assistant at Man U right away and not offered assistant to the U18 coach under conditions that any human being other than mother Theresa would have rejected.

Heavenly Chapecoense

Di Matteo coached Chelsea and won the CL for them when given the chance. Let’s stop thinking we are better than other clubs in this department.

Mein Bergkampf

No. No he shouldn’t. That’s not how any job works. Ever. Especially not the head of a multimillion pound company that has thousands of employees. Every one has to be accountable. That’s how the world works.


If anyone says that he has done well over the last decade even if the results haven’t always gone his way, because the financial situation is way better than 10 years before, everybody says: “But we are not a company, it’s not about financial results.”
If the same people want to get rid if him they always say that this is how a big company works.
Should decide if we are a company or not. But then life wouldn’t be that easy, eh?

Mein Bergkampf

I’m just using the example of a company to highlight the strange situation we find ourselves in. Of course we don’t see Arsenal as a business, we see it as a passion and a love. But in case you hadn’t noticed, football clubs around us have been running their clubs like businesses i.e hiring and firing employees on a results basis and it seems to be doing them no harm. Out of the old big 4 we’ve had decidedly less success in the past 10 years than our rivals who have chopped and changed their personnel. I don’t think it’s particularly radical to suggest that if a business sees a slow and steady decline, there needs to be significant changes in the employees and the infrastructure.


Out of the ‘old’ top 4 Liverpool and United haven’t won a shit in the last years. Only Chelsea won things and that’s only down to the fact that they’ve been spending money left right and center over the years. Since Roman isn’t so keen to invest anymore, they’ve looked pretty average too, most of the time. Apart from last season where they had no international duties and managed to stay completely away from injuries, so they could basically play the whole season with the same 11. But you also have to ask what clubs like Pool and Spurs, who are always mentioned as positive examples have won in the last years where Wenger has brought home 3 cup wins.
And if you compare us to a business you have to admit that there hasn’t been a slow and steady decline as our revenues have constantly grown in that period. That’s why I said you have to decide if you want to judge our success based on football or business .

Mein Bergkampf

Sorry, I mean the Arsenal – United – Citeh – Chelsea axis. The ‘new’ ‘old’ top four. These clubs all have far better trophy haul’s than us over the previous decade. And I never mentioned financial success as a parameter for a clubs success. I merely am using the words business and company to emphasise that this is how businesses operate. They don’t just let someone run it into the ground.

Heavenly Chapecoense

Last season, United won Europa League we all are praying to win. Chelsea too did when put on the situation we’re in. We better not miss it.


why would any supporter judge his team on business ? that is one of the current regimes greatest achievements, convincing arsenal fans that money in the bank is such a fantastic thing and one to be proud of, that and the fourth place trophy of course.


I take the point, but the world absolutely doesn’t work like that. There are those that should be accountable and can do whatever they like, particularly some, but not all, in the upper stratagems of wealth and power. Not to be specious or anything, I take your view on the manager entirely.

KW gooner

the worlds messed up… dont want that at Arsenal fC


Don’t these people want Arsenal to do good?


I understand the contribution he’s made but why does a manager deserve so much more grace than a player. Nobody would want Bergkamp leading our attack at 48 for example.

Thierry Bergkamp

He may still be of some use to this lot


Basically just said
” love Arsene, he loves arsenal. People attacking him on a personal level are stupid, but beyond that he is surely hurting at current results. “


I think the large majority agree that the personal criticism is offensive and unnecessary and that he should be allowed to call time on his managerial career at Arsenal because, as bad as we are, it is unsavoury for a manager who has done what he has done for us to be called in and fired by a bunch of suits that don’t care about the club.

At the same time, however, things have stagnated and regressed so much that I think the majority of people doubt that he can call time when it’s right for the club, despite himself. Herein lies the problem. The vast majority respect him and want the best for him, the same majority wonder if he is able to quit the job and worry that if he isn’t, that we will regress too far to recuperate. And the same majority are tired of this. The end of the Wenger era has been an era unto itself, even with the best will in the world, it is surely time to move on.

He hasn’t deserved the personal attacks but the criticisms of the team and his management of things in recent years frankly have been warranted. The club needs a change. We need more people who feel about the Arsenal the way Wenger does, in the club. But we also need a new manager, a new vision and something to reenergize the fans and the players.

These comments were quite guarded and tactful by Viera. You wonder whether his return to the club ‘one day’ might be sooner over the horizon than we think.

me 2

Perhaps the personal attacks would not have happened if he had the good grace to accept that it was the end and walk away with dignity and most importantly as a legend.
It says everything about him that he decides to stay way beyond his time regardless of the fact that as a manager it is clear he is in decline.
As I stated before he was offered a new contract on the basis that he improves Arsenal.
Now it is possible we could finish at least thirty five points behind and out of the reckoning for European football.
From every perspective you look at he HAS to go.
There is not one logical reason to keep him on.
THAT is why he gets the abuse and his stubborn attitude encourages it..

A Different George

So, really you are saying Wenger deserves the personal abuse, that he has brought it on himself. The whole point other people are making is that, although many (most) of us think we need a new manager, we think the attacks on Wenger are uncalled-for; we basically agree with Patrick.


Crazy that Wenger might leave the club without ever replacing the defensive midfielder who was the bedrock of his early success. In the 13 years since Vieira left we had Fabregas, Lass Diarra, & Song, but none of them a true Midfield General™.

The main characteristic of Wenger’s recent sides has been their inability to control football games at the highest level. All the defeats in big games and in Europe stem from that weakness in midfield, and I think people are beyond tired of seasons where every matchday is Groundhog’s Day.

I respect Vieira’s opinion. But a manager being kept in place based only on sentiment gradually loses the respect of the dressing room. The table never lies.


It’s great to see blogs diversifying and start reporting other clubs news like this man city news piece.


I know right. What could a former Arsenal player talking about the current Arsenal manager have anything to do with Arsenal?

Jimbo Jones

So which team do you support?


The football millionaires’ union protects its own. So what’s new.

Except Per, who fines the millionaires and likely uses the pot to buy gifts for sick and poor children everywhere. Like a beautiful Santa Hood beanpole.


If anything Wenger will have produced a large crop of player-becomes-manager. Will have to wait a decade or so but at least:
Who else?


Not surprising simply given how long Wenger has been a top club

me 2

What a load of crap.
When managers are getting sacked left, right and centre why should he get the choice of when he goes?
When he was offered a new contract it was on the condition that he improved Arsenal’s performances on the pitch – that is what he is paid to do, that is what being a manager is about.
Arsenal finished eighteen points behind in 2016-17 in the 2017-18 season we are thirty three points behind with nine games to play.
How on earth can anyone in their right mind argue that there has been improvement?
Josh Kroenke has stated that the decision has to be done without emotion and he is absolutely spot on it does – it has to be done on performance not because Wenger is a “nice guy”
Vieira’s logic is based on emotion because Wenger gave him his opportunity – fair enough but in no way, shape of form can he stay on because he is “loyal”
loyal to the ten million a year he is getting paid to do fuck all for…


Good man Pat. Spot on too.

me 2

I guess you are happy with Arsenal finishing further and further away each season.
I thought the idea of supporting a team was to want them to do well.
Or do you believe that we are improving under him?
Last season we finished 18 points behind.
This season who knows – with nine games to go we are 33 points behind.
I respect his achievements but he is leading us to oblivion…
I am thankful for what he has done – a legend but legends die and Arsenal have to move on…

Thierry Bergkamp

Tired of hearing about who he turned down 13 years ago. When your time is up, that’s all irrelevent.


I think the people attacking Arsene and the team are hurting the results.

me 2

Do you really believe that ?
Do you think people writing negative things on blogs is causing our defense to play like a set of traffic cones?
Do you think a few twitter comments resulted in the team capitulating in practically every away game this season?
Do you believe a few boo’s and banners of protest results in the team playing like they don’t give a shit anymore?
Keep clutching at straws.
Keep defending a manager who is so obviously not up to the task anymore.
If Arsenal were playing well and were really trying to win games people would have no reason to attack the manager or the team.
The issue is the manager and the team not the fans or the media…


Must be stressful for them. If you have ever experienced that you know debilitating it can be. Read Per’s interview.

I mean basically they are being abused and humiliated in a stadium of thousands of people and on national TV, their ability and commitment questioned, every mistake scrutinised etc.

I’m not sure how that would make me feel. Also easy to forget these are young guys in many cases.

I understand why the supporters feel the way they do but the toxic atmosphere certainly can’t be helping. It doesn’t take much to set it off again right now, and I’m sure the players know that.


What a decent human beeing. Very rare nowadays.


Turnaround sounds so much like turncoat and Vieira likes coats


It is interesting that we live in a time where none of us will tolerate being abused, but, have no issues abusing another to show our unhappiness with a situation. Bizarre.


Nice guys finish last….Never did like that quote but its apt for Wenger…We are technically last…

Lord Bendnter

One thing’s for sure. I can’t wait for Arsene’s Autobiography to come out


Wenger’s face when they asked him about Deeney’s comments! Ahhh sooo close to losing his composure and yelling NO CAJONES!!


Uhm no.