Monday, 15 August 2011

Wenger needs to jump overboard as the good ship Arsenal sinks

The boy stood on the burning deck,
Whence all but he had fled;
The flame that lit the battle's wreck;
Shone round him o'er the dead.

A tribute to the boy on the burning deck or Arsene Wenger's defiant stance over his crumbling Arsenal empire?

Actually it's one and the same.

The opening stanza of the poem ‘Casabianca' was written by Felicia Dorothea Hemans in 1826 in memory of the death of a little French sailor during the battle of the Nile.

Lord Admiral Nelson's men had caught the French fleet by surprise and attacked their flagship called L'Orient.

English ships sailed both sides of the giant enemy vessel and sent it up in flames by firing their mighty cannon into its decks.

And as the ship burned a little boy, called Casabianca by Hemans, stood frozen to the spot waiting for his orders.

They never came and the wee man died when the ship's magazine exploded.

A sad tale, and one just as sad as Wenger's inevitable demise. For with the good ships 
Fabregas and Nasri firing broadsides at his Gunners project, and Robin van Persie lining up for a blast as well, Wenger is standing on the deck of his own sinking vessel.

His hopes and dreams of recreating another title-winning team have gone up in flames as his star name players desert him.

And just like the little boy there is no authority figure on hand to tell him it's time to jump.

No-one in the Arsenal boardroom has the guts to throw Wenger overboard for his own good. 

The Gunners boss needs to get out of Arsenal fast before his reputation goes up in smoke along with any chance the London club have of  recovering their status as title chasers.

His continual defiant reliance on a youth system that has not harvested enough champions is costing Arsenal dearly.

And it is making the man once labelled the “professor”, look like a dunce as he keeps reciting that two + two makes five.

Look around you, Arsene. Look at the multiple title winners United and Chelsea.

Neither relies solely on home-grown kids, neither has gone six years without silverware.

His arch rival Sir Alex Ferguson has found the perfect recipe. The Reds bring a batch of kids through the ranks but supplement them with young, proven Premier League talent like Wayne Rooney and Michael Carrick in the past, and now Phil Jones and Ashley Young.

Even Liverpool are following this model. The Reds have always produced brilliant youngsters from around Merseyside and with the likes of Jack Robinson and John Flanagan, have more coming through.

But that didn't stop Kenny Dalglish going out and buying Jordan Henderson and Charlie  Adam, with a young English stopper expected to follow him in the Anfield door.

Wenger's transfer dealings are long shots like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Carl Jenkinson — ever heard of him?

Or foreign gambles like Gervinho, who was sent off on his debut against Newcastle last night.

He follows a looter's strategy of snatching up anything from the shop window that looks enticing rather than planning for the future and building a team, like Sir Alex does so well.

That's why he will stick out a mishmash side once again  this year. A team with no defence or heart, a team destined to lose out to Liverpool for that final Champions League spot, a team that should be the last one he assembles in the Gunners’ name.

The good ship Arsenal is sinking. Can someone please point Arsene to the lifeboats.

Follow me on Twitter @jezbutler