Why Arsenal owe Wenger the chance to make the club great again
The apostasy is spreading. More and more Arsenal fans are thinking the unthinkable.
It is not just the odd guy spitting venom from a seat at The Emirates any more or the poisonous couch-potato spouting bile on a phone-in.
Sensible voices are starting to say it now, too. They want Arsene Wenger out. After the crushing defeat to AC Milan last Wednesday, they lost the faith.
It is hard to ridicule them any more. They have gone seven years without a trophy now and the side is not moving forwards.
These are not knee-jerk reactions now. It would be unfair to label them that. They form a legitimate point of view.
"There's a romanticism about Wenger which is perfectly understandable, but now historic," Arsenal season ticket holder and CNN talk-show host Piers Morgan wrote on Twitter yesterday.
"I'm a realist. We're getting worse. He spent a fortune on last transfer window day - to no effect. His judgment is now the problem."
More concerns about Wenger's management were a feature of a meeting of the Arsenal Supporters' Trust in London on Monday evening.
And yesterday, former player Samir Nasri, who defected to Manchester City in the summer, made his own contribution.
"Sometimes it's good to win ugly,"
Nasri said. "Arsenal play good football but after seven years they don't win so that's difficult for them."
It is hard to argue against some of the points. Wenger is not infallible. Far from it. He has made some bad signings.
He has ignored players who would have been good signings.
He has relied too much on youth. For the last several years, he has been promising jam tomorrow and failing to deliver.
It has got to the point where I don't blame some Arsenal fans for giving up on him. They can hardly be called fickle after seven years without a trophy.
But I won't be joining the apostates. I'd rather watch Take Me Out episodes on a continuous loop than do that.
Maybe Morgan's right. Maybe it's just romanticism to stick with Wenger now. Well, if that's true, I'm a romantic.
Okay, I'm not an Arsenal fan. I haven't got as much at stake as people who pay to watch every other week.
But I'd rather stick with Wenger and be proved wrong than be part of any attempt to force him out now.
This is not some callow boss we are talking about here. This is not a man without experience. This is not a man without achievement.
Yes, it is fair to question his recent judgment but he has been a brilliant judge of players for most of his 16 years at Arsenal. Why should that quality suddenly desert him now?
Sure, Arsenal have not won a trophy for seven years but that is largely because Wenger has not been given the resources to compete with Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City, Real Madrid and Barcelona.
I don't buy the idea that he has under-achieved in recent years. If anything, he has over-achieved.
The move to The Emirates was supposed to allow Arsenal to compete better with the top clubs. Instead it has hobbled them.
The way forward for the club is not to force Wenger out or upstairs to some specious ambassadorial role.
The way forward is for the club to step up their backing for him. Give him a proper war chest this summer.
Don't gamble the club's future but give the greatest manager in Arsenal's history a real chance to win trophies again.
The club and the fans - and English football in general - owe him that.