Wenger vows to stay amid protests

LONDON • Arsene Wenger dismissed protests against him as more "disappointed love" than "real aggression", after disenchanted fans held up banners calling for his resignation in Arsenal's 1-0 Premier League win over Norwich on Saturday.

The campaign saw demonstrations inside and outside the Emirates Stadium, with fans, unhappy at the 12-year gap since the club last won the league, brandishing placards in the 12th minute and 12 minutes before the end. But Wenger played down the protests, adding that he intends to carry on and bring success to Arsenal.

"We were in a position for a long time where our fans thought we could win the league," said the Frenchman. "It's more disappointed love than real aggression.

"It was a strange atmosphere. Some were protesting, yes, but the vast majority were supporting the team. I'm really sorry if I cannot make them all happy. We continue to work hard to achieve it."

Interestingly, the majority of supporters appeared to oppose the protest, drowning out the first disruption with a chant of "There's only one Arsene Wenger".

Many displayed banners declaring their loyalty, with one saying: "Proud of Arsene, ashamed of fans."

His backers will point to the success of his tactical substitution in bringing on Danny Welbeck just after the interval.

Within four minutes, the striker got on the end of an Olivier Giroud knock-down to score the winner and lift Arsenal into third with two games to play. Manchester City could regain third place with a win at Southampton yesterday.

The Gunners could still finish ahead of rivals Tottenham Hotspur, who are two points ahead with a game in hand. That would go some way to assuaging the anger of those who feel the club are stagnating after almost 20 years under Wenger.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 02, 2016, with the headline 'Wenger vows to stay amid protests'. Print Edition | Subscribe