FORMER Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein has urged Gunners fans to show Arsene Wenger respect or run the risk of losing him as manager as he comes under increasing pressure at the Emirates.
The Frenchman is enduring a difficult period in north London with the fans frustrated after six years without silverware and little investment. Matters have been compounded by the departure of Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona and the apparently imminent switch to Manchester City by Samir Nasri.
Supporters vented their frustration at the end of last season and the lack of transfer activity has done little to mollify them. However, Dein – who left Arsenal in 2007 – insists Wenger could choose to leave if he does not get the fans' backing. Dein said: “That's always an option open to him because it could come to a stage when he will say, ‘Well, I have had enough’. “The fans should at least give him the respect that he deserves for what he's done. People talk about ‘Has his time finished?'
“That's a very dangerous thing to say because it's easy to get rid of people and then what? People talk about buying players. “Well, you've got to get players who are better than the ones you've got at the moment.” Dein was instrumental in appointing Wenger in 1996 and he admits he can empathise with the Gunners fans. “I can understand their worry because the expectation level is so high and Arsene has brought such success to the club.
“In 15 years that he's been there every year we've been in the Champions League. So you can understand, perhaps, fans feeling a little bit frustrated. “Under Arsene Wenger's stewardship, they've had good times and very good times and there's no reason to expect why we shouldn't see them again.” Dein’s backing will be welcomed by Wenger, whose woes have worsened with news UEFA have opened disciplinary proceedings against him for allegedly breaching the terms of his Champions League touchline ban.
Wenger, serving a punishment stemming from last season's Champions League last-16 defeat by Barcelona, was seemingly caught passing messages to his team via a third party during Tuesday's 1-0 win over Udinese in their play-off first leg. Arsenal immediately confirmed that they will argue Wenger's case when the disciplinary is held. Wenger will be back in the dugout for tomorrow's Premier League clash with Liverpool, where he faces a number of selection dilemmas. Jack Wilshere is set to miss the game and is 50- 50 for Wednesday night's Champions League return in Udinese. He’ll also be without forward Gervinho and midfielder Alex Song, who are starting their three-match bans tomorrow.
A defensive crisis also means Wenger could hand summer signing Carl Jenkinson his Premier League debut against Liverpool.