Date: 4th December 2009 at 1:16pm
Written by:

As is tradition in the Premier League, Friday is a day of pre-match press conferences, a day when managers answer questions regarding their up-coming games, injured players and also when Sky Sports News reporters ask club custodians to answer questions that are completely irrelevant to their team, players or their next match, in an attempt to squeeze every last drop of blood out of a ‘story’ ….. usually involving Arsenal’

Today will be no different. We’ll see images of an amorphous blob in a Blackburn tracksuit spitting bile and saliva all over the camera during a rant on how the lowly teams teams have to endure much more than the ‘big four’ and how he got robbed of a chance to be England boss. We’ll be treated to moral pontification from men with all the ethics and social aptitude of a dung beetle. Yet funnily there will be no articles written with quotes from managers agreeing with (or writing it off as something that happens in the the moment) Wenger’s decision not to shake Mark Hughes hand at the end of the 3-0 defeat to Man City at Eastlands earlier in the week (And there were some to see if you could ignore that massive media outcry).

As long as I can remember, fingers have been pointed at Arsene, labeling him a sore loser, a baby and a person who doesn’t know how to behave, and yes, sometimes the Arsenal gaffer has said and done somethings that have been a bit cringe-worthy, but I believe he should be commended.

All too often these days people refuse to think for themselves, they go along with the most common opinions and beliefs to avoid ridicule, they’ll conform to others traditions and ways of doing things simply because they’re afraid that their own beliefs will be mocked and shunned amongst their peers. Yet Arsene Wenger has the courage of his convictions to go against the flow and do what he considers to be the right thing. Of course sometimes he’s wrong, but he is only human.

His decision not to shake Mark Hughes hand after being label a ‘fucking wanker’ by the Welshman (and god knows what else) was a small one, it probably was one that was forgotten by Wenger until he was quizzed about it by reporters. Arsene sees the handshake as a mark of respect, and will not shake hands with anyone he deems has been disrespectful to him. And surely that’s fair?

Wenger has been lambasted, even by some of his own fans, for lacking common courtesy or the professionalism to close the game in a traditional manner, but if courtesy hasn’t been shown to him, then why should he return it? Many have said that things happen and words are spoken in the heat of the moment that should be forgotten once the whistle blows, but I defy anyone here to switch their emotions off and on at the blow of a whistle. It’s impossible.

So to label Wenger unprofessional and uncourteous because he refused a handshake ten seconds after the final whistle, yet Hughes gets away scott-free simply because it was in the heat of the moment of a match is not only hypocritical, but it’s bullshit. Who here is still incensed everytime they picture Stephan Henchoz handling the ball on the line in the 2001 FA Cup final, or Wayne Rooney taking a dive to end Arsenal’s unbeaten run? So don’t tell me that seconds after a game can no longer be considered the heat of the moment just because a whistle has blown. So if Hughes can be forgiven, then so should Wenger (not that I think he did much wrong if he believes he was disrespected).

Upon reflection, I think it took tremendous courage for Arsene to do what he did, right or wrong, he stood up for what he believed in in spite of the fact he knew the shit-storm he’d face after the match. If the world had more people like Arsene who had the bottle to do what they thought was right in the face of persecution from their fellow man, the world would be a much better place.

So get out there, make your own traditions, stand up for your beliefs, shun conformity and refuse to shake the hand of a twat. Embrace your inner-Wenger …. liberate yourself.