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Gary Neville: Arsenal fans shouldn't criticise Arsene Wenger

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14 Aug 2011 01:01:11

Gary Neville: Arsenal fans shouldn't criticise Arsene Wenger

The headlines everywhere are saying Arsene Wenger is in trouble. That he's under pressure. They'll be asking if his time is up at Arsenal. Because there is no getting away from it, if Cesc Fabregas joins Barcelona this week it will be a big blow to the club. But here's the question you have to ask: who's the clever one and who are the dummies? Arsene Wenger has qualified for the Champions League every season since 1998. And Arsenal are making money as a club, not losing millions. So they haven't won a trophy for six years? Well, Manchester United went 26 years without winning the league, Liverpool have now gone 21 years without the title and Manchester City went 35 years without winning a trophy. Tottenham have gone 50 years without winning the league. Right man: Arsenal will not find a better manager than Arsene Wenger I grew up as a United fan in the Seventies and Eighties when the club won three trophies in 20 years. It's not easy. Sometimes you have cycles where trophies are hard to come by. What you don't do is panic when you have the right manager. This is a manager who has won three Premier League titles and taken Arsenal to a Champions League final. Can a manager come to the end of his road at a club? Yes, he can. But I don't actually believe Arsene Wenger has. I believe he is the right manager for Arsenal. In the last six years, it's been clear that Arsenal have not been able to spend huge amounts on the team because they've invested ?390million in a stadium to set themselves up for the next 60 years, not for the next six years. They've invested in the infrastructure of the club and it's a sustainable model. That's why in 50 years' time, Arsenal will still be a great football club. Exodus: Cesc Fabregas (right) and Samir Nasri (centre) are set to leave Six years is nothing. These spells happen. In 100 years' time people will look at those six years and say: 'To be honest, we weren't able to spend ?70m, or even ?30m, every year, because we had just built the most incredible stadium.' And I'll tell you what, when that stadium is paid for in 15 years' time and when there are 60,000 people paying what they pay, week in, week out, Arsenal will be in a great position. You make decisions for the long term. You don't go and cripple yourself financially and I believe Arsenal will be successful long after we've gone. If you buy a house, you're investing for 20 years of your life. And in those first few years, when the mortgage payments are a bit tough, unfortunately you might have to cut down on your holidays. That's the equivalent of what Arsene Wenger has done these last six years. He is trying to produce players through his youth system and trying to find them through his scouting network and it's a sustainable model. And that's why Arsenal will still be around as a great football club in decades to come. Sustainable model: Wenger has built a legacy at Arsenal At this moment in time everyone will be panicking that they might be losing Fabregas. But this is about 125 years of history at a football club and going on for another 100 years. I've been around football long enough to see teams come and go, like Blackburn Rovers did in the Nineties. This is not about producing a football team that can be successful in the next 10 minutes. Of course, everyone wants instant success, but the most important thing is that you have a tradition running through your club that identifies your values. That's what I think Arsenal have. I would be frustrated if I was an Arsenal fan, but Iwouldn't be panicking and that's not being condescending or patronising. I'd be saying exactly the same if it were United. In fact, you've seen it at United. When Sir Alex Ferguson sold Mark Hughes,Andrei Kanchelskis and Paul Ince in 1995 and Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt, David Beckham, myself and my brother Phil were breaking into the team, the headline in the Manchester Evening News was: 'Should Fergie Go?' People from outside can be begging you to sign a player, but it can galvanise the players internally to come together. One for the future: Aaron Ramsey will be at Arsenal for years to come     More from Gary Neville... Gary Neville: Manchester City will threaten, but it will be the usual suspects for me06/08/11 VIEW FULL ARCHIVE Look at Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey and the opportunities that exist for them. Wilshere has already seized his chance and now Ramsey also has the opportunity to become a top player at a top club. If you asked Arsene Wenger whether he would like to sign one or two players before the end of the transfer window, then I'm sure he would say: 'Absolutely.' But if you're asking me if he should rush in a panic and spend ?30m, I would say not only that he shouldn't, but also that I don't think he would do that. And if I were an Arsenal fan, I would support him in that. When United sold Cristiano Ronaldo in similar circumstances for ?80m, everyone thought the money would be shelled out straight away. But Sir Alex Ferguson decided to sit back, watch and wait and believe in the players he had. And during that time he won a league title and reached a Champions League final. Top class: Jack Wilshere has become a brilliant player under Wenger's guidance Arsene Wenger will do something similar if he can't find what he believes to be value. He's just bought Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for the future, so why spend ?25m on somebody whose price will be inflated? It wouldn't surprise me that, if he feels he is having the mickey taken by other clubs, he just sat there and said: 'I believe in my young players.' Of course, everyone can see that they would be helped by some core defensive players in the English style (but it's not as if they haven't been trying to sign them). Of course, they have to cut out the mistakes that saw them lose a 4-0 lead at Newcastle last season and improve at set-pieces. And, right now, United, Chelsea and possibly City look stronger title contenders. But I wouldn't write them off. I've had too many tough contests with Wenger's teams over the years to do that. Would any other manager have extracted more from those players and been able to draw so many young players through to the top level and create such a great team for so little money? The answer is there is only one other man who has done that in the Premier League. Sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for. August friendlies are a waste of timeIt was sad that England's friendly match against Holland had to be called off because of the rioting in London and around the country but, from a footballing point of view, I don't think it will affect England at all. I played in that August friendly for 10 years and, honestly, it was a waste of time. There were always some ridiculously stupid results. And I don't think we ever won one that I can remember. No problem: Fabio Capello need not worry the Holland game was called off The happiest people in the country will be the Premier League managers, who will have had extra time with their players in a vital week. The senior England players would have played 45 minutes or 60 minutes and all it would have helped with is their fitness. From what I hear, they had a pretty good training session on Tuesday, which can often be more useful. The only disappointment was that the likes of Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck would probably have played. Having seen them grow up at United, I would have loved that. But will it have disrupted the preparations for next month's Euro 2012 qualifier against Bulgaria? Absolutely not. Big day approaches for Swansea For three months they have been walking on air, but on Monday, reality bites for Swansea. Big day: Brendan Rodgers' Swansea side take on Manchester City on Monday Their rise from near bankruptcy in the bottom division of the league to the Premier League is one of the best in football in recent years and I'm looking forward to covering thegame on Sky Sports Monday Night Football. They couldn't start much tougher than with Manchester City, but what I hope to see is Brendan Rodgers' team playing with the same freedom they showed in the Championship. Of course, the top flight can punish you if you're naive but, equally, when you get the ball, you have to leave a mark on teams and show that you can hurt them so they don't steamroller you. This is their first test. They've been waiting all summer for it. No one expects them to win, so they have nothing to lose.  Newcastle 0 Arsenal 0: New boy Gervinho sent off as Gunners start with drab draw Fabregas on his way... even Guardiola admits prospects of signing him are 'good'PREMIER LEAGUE LIVE: Newcastle 0 Arsenal 0 - the action from St James' Park as it happenedAll the latest Arsenal news, features and opinion


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