As calls for Arsene Wenger to end his 21-year reign at the club continue to increase, Eamon Dunphy believes the Frenchman has been let down by Arsenal's lack of ambition.
Supporter disquiet has been growing steadily at the Emirates over the last couple of years as Arsenal have drifted further and further away from a title challenge.
That unrest appears to be building to a crescendo this season as the Gunners languish in sixth place, well outside of the Champions League places, and back-to-back defeats to Manchester City have led to further calls for him to go.
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However while Dunphy believes that Wenger must shoulder some of the blame for the club’s current predicament, he also believes that he’s been let down badly by the people in charge of Arsenal.
Reacting to the latest protests and empty seats at the Emirates in Arsenal’s 3-0 league defeat to City, RTÉ soccer analyst Dunphy told 2fm's Game On: "[The fans] blame Arsene Wenger and they want him to go but the club’s policy over the last ten years, that’s to blame.
"I think Wenger is a soft target really. What’s wrong with Arsenal began with the transition from Highbury to the Emirates and with the owners’ reluctance to involve themselves with inflated transfer fees and inflated salaries.
"Then Wenger has to go out there and they’re the rules he’s bound by and he can’t buy the players.
"There is some responsibility Wenger has because of the type of players he’s prepared to sign but even now we’re not sure if he’s responsible for signing players."
"Arsenal now are exposed because all the achievement under Wenger has made them into a big club"
Dunphy believes that Wenger is a victim of his own success as title wins in the first half of his career and Arsenal’s near ever-presence in the Champions League have raised expectation without him ever receiving additional resources to live up to those expectations.
"In this situation he’s the front guy, he’s the guy who’s going to carry the can, his in the name on everybody’s lips, but if you look a little bit deeper I think you can see a bigger picture.
"The bigger picture is that Arsenal as an institution are not prepared to be in the big league anymore.
"Arsenal now are exposed because all the achievement under Wenger has made them into a big club, but that’s gone, it’s over.
"They’re going to go into a terminal decline if they don’t do a root and branch reform of the club and its philosophy."