The prospect of the Frenchman hanging around at Arsenal presents a number of challenges for everyone not least the media and the fans struggling to keep any perspective
Rumours that Arsne Wenger may reveal a two-year contract extension are likely to cause a spike in cotton futures, as London bedding retailers expect a run on sheets. For many without a stake in either the linen industry or Arsenal football club, the prospect of Wenger sticking around presents different challenges. What may we expect in the weeks, months and indeed years ahead?
Trivia buffs may care to know that the only Premier League incident that can actually be described as Shakespearean was the time when Jos Mourinho was smuggled into the Chelsea dressing room in a laundry basket. This was a direct and surely knowing lift from a bit in The Merry Wives of Windsor, where Falstaff is covertly transported in what was then known as a buck basket. Unfortunately, that sole instance of analogy hasnt kept commentators from biweekly references to almost everything else that happens in football as being Shakespearean. And frequently a Shakespearean tragedy. Wenger is a case in point. The tragic hero, the hollow crown, the Seven Ages of Wenger
Weve had em all. And frequently. King Lear is a particularly favoured comparison to the Arsenal manager, with those who deploy it usually implying that so much heath-based ranting could have been avoided if the old king had just naffed back off to manage Monaco.
What those who leap to make this analogy always seem to forget is that in the original play, King Lear HAS resigned. His elder two daughters are the managers now. King Lear is basically director of football. If we are going to have more Shakespearean analysis as far as Wenger is concerned and God knows we are please could this plot point be taken into account?
Wenger has often borne the brunt of this, with Mourinhos decision to label him a voyeur the most awkward example. Expect it only to get worse. On Monday, Chris Sutton described Wenger as the uncle who doesnt want to leave the party. I dont know why there should be quite so many alarm bells built into the word uncle, but there are, and you should expect matters to only get more uncomfortable as pundits are forced to metaphorise on the spot.
Many will have seen the lay political analyst/imbecile who was filmed outside the Emirates last week offering his considered verdict on Wengers place in the pantheon of global monsters. I used to live in Zimbabwe, he declared, amazingly contriving not to say Rhodesia, and Ive watched Robert Mugabe ruin the country, and Wenger is doing the same. Hes the Mugabe of Arsenal. This is just the thin end of the forthcoming despot comparisons in six months, that guy is going to look like Alexander Solzhenitsyn.
House of Windsor/House of Wenger
Perhaps all unfathomable matters in Britain warrant some sort of comparison to the Royal Family, the latter having been the most enduringly unfathomable part of national life for so long. Wenger is very much at royal-comparison stage now, with his departure endlessly spoken of as a moment of abdication. But do consider Evelyn Waughs amusing diary entry on the original abdication crisis, a period that has been hammed-up more in retrospect than it was at the time. The Simpson crisis has been a great delight to everyone, Waugh wrote. At Maidies nursing home they report a pronounced turn for the better in all adult patients. There can seldom have been an event that has caused so much general delight and so little pain.
Something for Wenger historians and Wenger histrionics to bear in mind.
F1 needs a speakers prize
Is Formula One still the one with the racing cars? I have to ask after its new CEO gave an interview to the Times, in which he sought to communicate a sense of where he plans to take the sport, is it? It was slightly difficult to tell, what with Chase Carey referring to F1 as iconic unique global event content.
Even by the joy-stripping standards of modern sports-business parlance, this word string feels like a new low. Its as if five lone-wolf words have been assembled and dispatched on a mission to find meaning. Clearly, its a suicide mission. These are the expendables of vocabulary; the ragtag band of misfits that isnt actually going to team up and get its shit together when it matters.
Still, if you enjoyed the phrase, youll be pleased to know that Chase gave it a second, slightly streamlined runout, explaining that unique global event content will appreciate in value in a world where everything else is fragmenting. Go on. F1 is all of that. It is the sweet spot in the content world.
I do hope chaps like Chase find this way of speaking highly effective commercially, because it is anything but informative or appealing to anyone else. Then again, perhaps he could zhuzz things up by introducing a third championship to sit alongside the drivers championship and the constructors one. Could we not have a management speakers championship, and consider its inaugural season already in the bag?