Wenger insults Arsenal fans, blames them for not winning Premier League

Leander Schaerlaeckens

When you're delivering a questionable performance in your job, and have done so for quite a few years now, yet nobody has thought to fire you, it's probably best to keep your mouth shut.

Nobody told Arsene Wenger this. And on Friday, the Arsenal manager put his foot in his usually measured mouth.

In a long ramble, he not only attacked the media and retired players-turned-pundits, but the club's own fans as well. He essentially blamed their lack of support for yet another hopelessly failed title challenge.

"We lost the championship at home against the lower teams – we have the best record against the top clubs – but we played at home in a very difficult climate," he said, according to The Guardian. "We have to realize that, away from home, we are championship winners."

The Guardian pointed out here that Arsenal's record away from home is only the third-best in the Premier League this season.

"But some groups of people try to manipulate our fans, and I believe apart from an agenda – a personal agenda, a big ego – there's not a lot behind it," Wenger continued.

Professional narcissist and long-time Wenger antagonist Piers Morgan, who briefly hosted a talk show on CNN, immediately took credit.

And this, as usual, sent him off on a prolonged Twitter rant.

Wenger, meanwhile, continued to defend his team's character, which has been widely questioned by TV analysts. And he once again trotted out the tired trope that the construction of the Emirates Stadium had hamstrung the club financially for a dozen or so years, arguing that he should get a pass for those barren seasons. As ever, he neglected to mention that even when Arsenal's purchasing power had perhaps been diminished, it still far exceeded that of most other Premier League clubs, some of which outperformed the Gunners regardless.

The 66-year-old Wenger has now been in charge of Arsenal for almost 20 years, about seven times as long as the next longest-tenured (continuous) Premier League manager – Stoke City's Mark Hughes, who is finishing up his third season. After winning the league three times in his first six full seasons, and coming second five times in his first eight years, Wenger hasn't won it in 11 – soon to be 12. In all of those years, Arsenal has finished third or fourth.

But the excuses have long since run out. Arsenal's average ticket prices are believed to be the highest in the world, the stadium is paid off and he has gotten to invest plenty into his squad. Yet somehow, the Frenchman, whose contract runs through the 2016-17 season, has never been seriously questioned by his club. Not that the well-informed English soccer press knows of, anyway.

In a building Wenger fatigue, the outcries for his departure have grown more voluble lately. Yet it seemed the only thing Wenger could do to make the Arsenal board wonder about whether he should be their manager is insult the club's loyal fans – they're very touchy about that sort of thing in England.

He has now done exactly that.

Leander Schaerlaeckens is a soccer columnist for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter @LeanderAlphabet.

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