A couple of yards behind the Arsenal manager strode Sam Allardyce, a massive beam on his face.
As the Crystal Palace supporters burst into another chorus of their theme song “Glad All Over,” their manager delightedly waved his arms around to orchestrate them, and then punched the air in triumph after his side’s 3-0 win.
Ahead of him, Arsene Wenger trudged on, glancing briefly to his left where a disconsolate Shkodran Mustafi was also walking off the pitch. No words were exchanged.
Behind Wenger on the pitch, a few Arsenal players, led by Hector Bellerin, went over to their furious fans and tried to wave their thanks for the support. They were met by a hail of abuse and retreated quickly.
Later, as Wenger and his players left the stadium and boarded their coach, the abuse flung from behind the barriers was venomous. A couple of players, Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud, went over to sign autographs but caught the full force of the anger.
Arsene Wenger must announce his decision soon
The sight of Wenger trudging down the touchline was a sad one
It cannot carry on like this.
The atmosphere around Arsenal right now is toxic, and there is only one man who can puncture that.
One man who can put the club and their supporters out of their misery by making a decision about his future, whether he stays or goes.
That man is Arsene Wenger. And now, they want him to go.
The directors apparently still want the Frenchman to stay, and a two-year contract is waiting on the table to be signed. The decision is down to Wenger.
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The atmosphere around Arsenal is toxic at the moment
But with each week it gets worse – the relief of a win against West Ham last week now looking like a mere blip amid a period of steady, dismal decline.
On Monday night at Selhurst, it looked like his players had stopped playing for the Frenchman. And that is the end for any football manager.
What does he do?
Stubbornly stay on, rip the team up and start again with fresh faces who still believe in the Wenger magic, the aura?
Or quit, most likely now at the end of the season, with dignity still mostly intact.
Arsenal fans discuss who they want to replace Arsene Wenger Tue, April 11, 2017
Arsenal fans discuss who they want to replace under fire Gunners boss Arsene Wenger
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Because that aura, polished over 21 years at Arsenal and numerous honours, is fading fast.
The word is that Wenger is likely to sign on for two more years, and that the club will be reconstructed around him, with a new director of football, new coaches and a new scouting staff.
But Wenger will still be there, still apparently the man Stan Kroenke wants at the helm of his club.
And that is the problem.
Arsenal’s away fans have generally been the most loyal. The steadily rising chorus of dissent against the Frenchman has been there for more than a year now. But now, by the sounds of it at Selhurst Park, even the hard core, the ultras, have turned.
The question is, can a stubborn man like Wenger keep ignoring that abuse?
Is it good for the club if he does?
How does that affect his players – especially if the clean sweep is made, the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil moved on and new fresh young faces brought in?
How will that affect them if the fresh start is not a clean one? At most clubs, Monday night would have felt like the end of an era, the tolling of the bell for a manager. Arsenal are different because it is Wenger, because he is so omnipresent, so much in control still.
Now is the time to make that decision, Arsene – for the good of the club.