As per The Athletic, there was trouble at boardroom level at the end of another afternoon of Arsenal’s ambitions being painfully pulled apart.
Sir Chips Keswick felt compelled to consider handing in his resignation as chairman of the club.
The struggle to come to terms with the blame directed at the Arsenal board, when he feels unable to be a part of any decision making which now lies solely with the football operations hierarchy, is taking a heavy toll. He doesn’t want to carry the can for the current situation.
Having recently proposed David O’Leary’s candidacy for the board only to be knocked back he has been uncomfortable watching Arsenal’s struggles without being able to play a meaningful role.
Sir Chips, a lifelong fan who considered it a huge honour when he took over as chairman from Peter Hill-Wood and the dynasty that had guided the club for decades, has become a figurehead in name only.
With big calls now bounced only in the court of technical director Edu, head of football Raul Sanllehi, managing director Vinai Venkatesham, chief negotiator Huss Fahmy and son of the owner Josh Kroenke, Sir Chips is facing the question of whether enough is enough.
How bad does it have to get?
The “we want Emery out” chants gathered momentum in stoppage time. In a way it was surprising it took that long, this being the first time fans openly called for Unai Emery’s removal at a match.
For all the discontent during this troublesome period, Emery had always been spared in public. Until now. There is no hiding place for a coach in moments like this.
He looked frozen when Southampton went 2-1 up. Immobile. Out of ideas. “Sacked in the morning” was another refrain that began doing the rounds
“Sacked in the morning” was another refrain that began doing the rounds. It all got a bit fractious.
One fan in the North Bank Lower grabbed hold of another who was airing vociferous anti-Emery views and told him in industrial language that it wasn’t on. “But he’s rubbish,” came the reply. It was a view that didn’t brook much argument so the fracas fizzled out.
Arsenal have been here before, not so long ago, with a stressed and conflicted fanbase who struggled to cope with the fading embers of the Arsene Wenger era. But Emery does not have history, or a long term relationship built on years of strong emotional experience, on his side.
How bad does it have to get?
The body language of the Arsenal players at times as they strained to cope with Southampton was a picture of disillusionment.
These are not athletes who look, or play, as if they believe in what is being asked of them.
In the second half, as Emery searched for a route out of the tunnel by throwing on all available forwards, he was able to field in the region of £250 million worth of attacking talent. And still they were out-shot by Southampton, second from bottom of the Premier League, recipients not so long ago of a 9-0 defeat.
Did Ralph Hasenhuttl’s team really squander 103 presentable chances to go 3-1 up? It sure seemed that way.
Alexandre Lacazette’s stoppage time equaliser felt like a stay of execution. The celebrations to greet the goal were muted somehow.
It was strange. The usual thrill of football, the quest for a moment of joy that simply has to be a part of it all, was somehow suspended by the bigger picture hanging over everyone like Munch’s Scream.
Emery is hanging on a thread now at the club and surely as opposed to earlier reports, the board are now feeling the pressure as well and it’s only a matter of time before an exit is on the cards for the Spaniard
Via The Athletic.