Sports Letters: Short-term memory loss

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The Independent Online
Sir: In the pandemonium surrounding Arsenal's exit from the Champions' League, many newspaper articles have blamed Arsene Wenger for selling Ian Wright and not strengthening his squad.

You don't have to be a shrewd Arsenal supporter to recognise that Arsenal would never have won the Premiership with Ian Wright in the team. His style of play encouraged the longer ball game - a game that we have seen is woefully inadequate nowadays. While manager, Bruce Rioch tried to sell Wright and met with supporter (and allegedly board) annoyance. Does it not say something about the respect that Wenger commands that he faced no opposition when he sold Wright only one and a half years later?

This year's pre-season transfer merry-go-round saw newspapers criticising "player power", "over-inflated transfer fees" and "player wage demands". Wenger made a stand against player demands, and Patrick Kluivert was criticised for wanting pounds 40,000 per week. Yet now, hypocritically, newspaper articles conclude that Wenger was wrong not to buy him.

Are the press and supporters so fickle that, late goals in Champions' League games together with recent poor performances, mean the scrutiny of Wenger's judgement? Was 16 May 1998 such a long time ago?

Gary Jacob,

Oxford

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