David Beckham has spoken out in defence of Arsene Wenger, amid growing unrest among Arsenal supporters towards their manager following the club’s surprise FA Cup exit at the hands of Watford.
Goals from Odion Ighalo and Adlene Guedioura dashed the Gunners’ hopes of becoming the first club since Blackburn Rovers in the 1880s to win the competition three years in a row.
Defeat to the Hornets was Arsenal’s third consecutive at home in all competitions for the first time since 2004, but despite the season unravelling at an alarming rate, Beckham has taken it upon himself to blast Wenger’s critics.
A well-regarded Gunners Instagram page – arsenal_worldwide – posed the question to its 170,000 followers: ‘Arsene – Thanks For The Memories But It’s Time To Say Goodbye. Disrespectful or Truthful? #COYG’.
Beckham, who has always spoken in glowing terms about his rivalry and respect for Wenger during his time as a Manchester United player – felt inclined to join the debate.
‘Disgraceful… No respect, attention seekers,’ wrote Beckham, in reference to a banner that resurfaced in the away end during the 4-0 win at Hull last week directed towards the beleaguered boss.
Such is the fickle nature of some football supporters, the banner – which reads: ‘Arsene, Thanks for the memories but it’s time to say goodbye’ – first appeared against West Brom in November 2014.
Unsurprisingly, having retained the FA Cup last May and been in serious contention for the Premier League title this season until recently, the banner has only just reappeared on the terraces.
Beckham, who retired from football in 2013, was clearly angered by both the banner and increased speculation surrounding Wenger’s future at the Emirates.
The 40-year-old, whose son Brooklyn spent time with the Arsenal Academy, was grateful to Wenger in the autumn of his playing career when he was allowed to keep fit at the club’s London Colney training base during the MLS off-season.
The Frenchman came out fighting in the press after exiting the FA Cup saying: ‘What is going on at the moment is very, very difficult to take for the players, but judge us at the end of the season.
‘We have come to the end of a very, very long run in the FA Cup, so it is very sad, but we want now to focus on the next game, which is always a big challenge and you are always in the middle of a drama.
‘It is becoming a farce. We have lost a game. Arsenal has lost games before in history and we will lose again in the future. We will stick together and cope with it and prepare for the next one with complete belief.
‘Supporters stand behind the club and we want to fight until the end of the season for every single game. It is nothing to do with confidence. Of course the team have enough confidence.’
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