Four-match Ban A Result For Arsène
For the next four games, Arsène will be watching the action from the naughty step in each stadium. Wenger pleaded “Guilty as charged, M’lud” at the FA but at the personal hearing he requested, schmoozed his way out of a stadium ban.
Many of us thought he’d get at least a two-match ban, consigning him to watching the game on an iffy stream – for that true supporter experience – in the Holiday Inn Express at Chorleywood. Instead, he’ll find himself luxuriating in the comfy seats with the great and the good in the director’s box. Able to communicate with the bench, it’s not going to be Steve Bould’s XI, matter how good or bad it goes, or what others might tell you.
When it all goes wrong – and it always does with Arsenal – they won’t have far to look and tell him, “Sawt it aht, Arsène!” No bad language, though; these aren’t the cheap seats.
It’s a sign of his waning popularity that he will probably avoid sitting with the great unwashed. For all the YouTube bravado displayed, few would have the brass ones to take Wenger to task, assuming that anyone could get through the phalanx of security guards who would no doubt accompany him.
The media won’t be happy. Wenger can expect a caning from the press box as they court controversy and offer their unwelcome and ill-thought out opinions. Having demanded that he be taken to the top of the Shard and used as a human lightning conductor, the calls for a 10-match ban seem quite reasoned by comparison.
Keith Hackett, former head of the PGMO, offered a voice of sanity; fourth official Anthony Taylor, he contended, invited the confrontation with Wenger by his action in following the Frenchman to the tunnel. Given Taylor is a prison guard by trade, he probably expected to hear the cell door slam as Arsène serves his porridge.