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Back me or sack me: Wenger’s defiant stance at decisive Arsenal board meeting

Date Posted,May 28, 2017

Arsene Wenger will demand the full support and backing of the Arsenal board to continue as their manager.

Boss Wenger wants to hear assurances at Tuesday’s board meeting that they are behind him after being left frustrated this season and feeling they have not supported him enough.

He has urged them to make a decision based on “competence, not popularity” and says there can be “no doubt” he is the right man for the job after winning the FA Cup for the third time in four years.

Wenger, in charge since 1996, knows he has the full support of majority shareholder Stan Kroenke but has doubts about some of the other board members as he has felt isolated during a turbulent season which ended in triumph with the FA Cup victory.

Arsenal won’t be in the Champions League next season for the first time since 1998 (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

Chief executive Ivan Gazidis, chairman Sir Chips Keswick, Kroenke and his son Josh, Ken Friar, Lord Harris of Peckham, David Miles and Wenger will all attend the board meeting.

MirrorSport understands the club expect him to sign a new two-year contract to replace one that runs out this summer, and that there has been a shift in the past few weeks towards him staying.

Arsenal have compromised from a position of wanting a director of football to making a more general backroom appointment and, tellingly, they have no other manager lined up.

But there does remain some doubt, which Wenger refused to remove after the game.

The Frenchman did not give any clues at the post-match staff party at London’s plush Rosewood Hotel and knows that going after the FA Cup would allow him to enjoy a glorious farewell.

These Gooners made their feelings clear at Saturday’s win over Chelsea at Wembley (Photo: Getty)

Wenger will also want final say on his backroom staff and any behind-the-scenes changes.

He knows Gazidis has been pushing for a degree of change after the club’s disappointing Premier League campaign that saw them finish outside the top four and below arch-rivals Tottenham for the first time in his 21 years, but points to winning the FA Cup again — by beating champions Chelsea.

Wenger said: “The best presentation (I can make) is, ‘Watch the game’, and [then] there can be no doubt.

“We live in a society that wants always change, but at the end of the day football is about making the right decision and every company is about making the right decision. That’s why I say it’s not about popularity, it’s about competence and I don’t have that responsibility.

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“It’s the board who has to decide who will lead the club in the future and I have after to decide, if they want me, do I say yes or no? If people (fans) want me out, they want me out. I can accept that. But in the game, you support the team, it’s as simple as that.”

Captain Per Mertesacker made it clear he believes Wenger will stay, but insists his team-mates are uncertain on what the future holds.

Mertesacker said: “We’re all waiting for Tuesday. There was great relief on Saturday night but it didn’t feel as if it was the end. We don’t know how the decision will go. I’m sure he wants to continue.”

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