Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal board have been handed a vote of no confidence by the club’s Supporters’ Trust as the Frenchman prepares what could be the most crucial month of his career.
A survey carried out by the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust has revealed that 78 per cent of their members do not want Wenger to sign a new contract and 86 per cent believe the board are not acting in the best interests of the club.
Wenger has claimed he has made a decision on his future, which he is yet to reveal, but the AST have now called for the Arsenal board to withdraw the offer of a new two-year deal.
The damning verdict comes as Wenger faces a month in which Arsenal have to play Manchester City on Sunday and then in the semi-finals of FA Cup on April 23, before the North London derby against Tottenham Hotspur seven days later.
A statement from the AST, which has a membership of just under 1000, said: “In light of these survey results the AST now calls on Arsenal’s board not to renew Arsène Wenger’s contract at the end of the 2016-17 season.
"A substantial majority of our members believe he is no longer the right person to take the club forward. We are confident this is an accurate reflection of the wider fanbase.
“The AST will be writing to and meeting with members of the Arsenal board to convey these results and our position that they should now withdraw the offer of a new contract.
"We believe the board’s role now is to successfully manage the transition to a new manager, an eventuality for which they have had plenty of warning and time to prepare.
“The AST has long believed that change is needed in the Arsenal boardroom. The fact that only nine per cent of our members believe the Arsenal board have handled this issue well reinforces our view that a fresh approach is urgently needed.
"The board needs more dynamic and independent members with skillsets that reflect the challenges Arsenal face, including the need to grow commercial revenues and to rebuild a football management structure that increasingly looks out of date.
“In adding our voice to calls for Arsène Wenger to leave Arsenal after 21 years we would like to reiterate the importance of this debate taking place in a civil and responsible way.
"We respect the right of every fan to have a view and for that view to be respected and heard. For this reason, we have reported every opinion our members offered, but we are compelled to go with the majority.
“We also recognise and pay tribute to the tremendous contribution that Arsène Wenger has made to Arsenal. Regardless of the current debate around his contract we believe that he deserves huge respect and admiration for his long-term contribution to our club, including delivering some of the best football ever witnessed not just by Arsenal fans but all of those who follow the English game.”
This is not the first time the AST have conducted surveys on the role of Wenger. In the summer of 2015, 84 per cent of members agreed that he was ‘the right person to manage Arsenal’, with only 10 per cent disagreeing.
According to the latest AST survey, the main reasons given for 78 per cent of fans now wanting Wenger to go are ‘the time has come’, ‘a need for fresh ideas or a new approach’, ‘a paucity of leadership and direction’ and ‘a lack of ambition’.