Gazidis gives Arsenal boss Wenger vote of confidence

Arsene Wenger, frustrated

‘Arsene Wenger is not broken’ says the Gunners chief executive, but the bookies aren’t so sure

LAST UPDATED AT 16:26 ON Tue 20 Sep 2011

ARSENAL manager Arsene Wenger may be running short of friends on the terraces after the club's dismal summer and terrible start to the new Premier League season. But he appears to have the support of the club's top brass after the Gunners chief executive, Ivan Gazidis, leapt to his defence.

Rumours about the Frenchman's future have been circulating since Arsenal sold two of their best players, Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas, over the summer and were booed by their own fans during pre-season friendlies.

The team then conspired to lose three of their first five league games increasing the pressure on Wenger even more.

However, Gazidis spoke out in defence of the manager at the Sport Industry Breakfast Club in London today, attacking his detractors and saying: "Arsene Wenger is not broken. To see him portrayed as an idiot is damaging - not to him or the club but to the game.... [sacking him] is a route we are not going to go down."

He also told the BBC that getting rid of Wenger would not make sense.

"If we get into short-termism we will do more damage to the club," he said. "The club is not in crisis. There's no division in the club. We work together."

But although his words sound reassuring, they could be construed as the dreaded 'vote of confidence' - a reference to the habit of football chairmen down the years to publicly back their manager while at the same time preparing to dismiss them.

Certainly the bookies are less than convinced by Wenger's chances of lasting much longer in the Arsenal job. This time last year the prospect of him being fired was inconceivable, but by August you could get odds of 16-1 on Wenger being the first Premier League manager to lose his job this term. Now he is just 7/1 to get the chop. · 

For further concise, balanced comment and analysis on the week's news, try The Week magazine. Subscribe today and get 6 issues completely free.