In a season that has seen Arsenal constantly ridiculed by the press and its minions, no-one has taken the full brunt of the media defamation more so than Mr. Arsène Wenger.
The once idolised manager has seen his reputation and prominence slip away as Arsenal endured their worst start to the season in 50 years on top of 7 without silverware.
Pundits and fans were wondering whether or not he had lost it, whether or not he was out of touch with modern football and whether or not he is the manager he once was.
I won’t discuss his life and career in full length as I’d be copying most from Wikipedia, so you may as well just read that. I will, however, give my thoughts on him, share some of my favourite quotes from him and do something different to what most have done this season, praise him. So here are a few words on the stubborn, long coat-wearing, sore loser, “I didn’t see it” yet respectable, intelligent and humorous man.
1996 was the year it’ll began. Arsène Wenger was hired as manager after a successful 18-month stint with Japanese side Nagoya Grampus Eight.
It was actually recommended by then technical director of the French Football Federation, Gérard Houllier, that David Dein would consider “Le Professeur” for the Arsenal job. Arsène was unknown in English Football at the time, it was a shock decision. But that decision was proved right, as this picture below shows: The league positions of Arsenal since 1947. We’ve been consistent under him.
Arsène Wenger revolutionised Arsenal. He changed the philosophy, the style, the team and even the diet. He brought beautiful football to the masses. He is responsible for the football we all love and adore being played by The Arsenal to this very day. In his first season he finished 3rd, behind Newcastle United.
And then in his 2nd season, he won the FA Cup and the League even though many had written them off as they were at one point trailing by 12 points. Since then he’s gone on to win much more with Arsenal, including a League campaign that will go down in history as possibly the greatest achievement ever in the English League.
The Invincible season: Played 38 – Won 26 – Drawn 12 – Lost 0. Wenger had masterminded the unthinkable. He had emulated the success of Preston North End’s 1888–89 season.
The difference being, Arsenal had played 16 games more. Just a season before, Wenger was quoted as saying: “It’s not impossible. I know it will be difficult for us to go through the season unbeaten. But if we keep the right attitude it’s possible we can do it.” He was right, we did do it. The greatest team to ever play football- the Arsenal’s 2003/2004 squad. Forget your Barcelona‘s, The Invincibles are the undisputed champions of the world.
I had the pleasure of watching The Invincibles on many occasions when I was younger. Players such as Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Robert Pirès- these players were artists. Every movement and touch was a stroke of paint, another drawing.
And yes, some players painted more pictures than the others, but each and every picture was as important as the next. They all created the beautiful collage of history we all stand and admire today in the Arsenal gallery. It was football and its artistry at its very, very best. Le Professeur was the ultimate artist, and he produced the masterpiece. Whether he has or hasn’t lost it, that is something you cannot understimate.
I was born in 1995 so I’ve had the pleasure of growing up and watching Arsenal play the Wenger way all my life. It’s been a joy to watch, one pass to the next, on goal after the other, win after win, trophy after…Yeah, about that, Arsenal have enjoyed success for as long as they’ve been going, some great moments.
The past 7 years, to me anyway, can only be described as a blip. It’s seems a long time, 7 years. But in comparison to the 125 Arsenal have been an established club for, 7 does come across as pretty minute. Success and class is ingrained the club. “At some clubs success is accidental. At Arsenal it is compulsory.” -
A quote from the man himself. And we will win something soon, I can feel it. All it will take is one trophy and we’ll go on to win more. The winning mentally will have been installed in the players heads, success breeds success, that’s the truth.
The man is an absolute hero to me and many others. I understand he’s made his mistakes but he deserves so much more than abuse. Season after season he has stuck with us. He loves Arsenal as much as we do. He has remained loyal, he epotomises class and has kept his dignity throughout this turbulent season.
Furthermore, he is an intelligent man, a man who likes to make the odd quip here and there. Below are 10 of my favourite quotes of his. There are many, many more for you all to enjoy but I’m trying to keep the word count on this minimal. And I’ve said enough as it is.
•“We do not buy superstars. We make them.” – spot on. Arsène Wenger has signed and made many players. My top 5: Thierry Henry. Patrick Vieira. Robert Pirès. Gilberto Silva. Jens Lehmann.
•[Talking about Emmanuel Adebayor's stamp on Robin van Persie] “I watched it when I got home and it looked very bad. You ask 100 people, 99 will say it’s very bad and the hundredth will be Mark Hughes.” – A great quote, simply for it’s pure comedy value and the truth behind it.
•“I tried to watch the Tottenham match on television in my hotel yesterday, but I fell asleep.” – Nothing like a bit of rival bashing. Arsène echoing the thoughts of Gooners all around the world.
•[On Dennis Bergkamp's qualities] “Intelligence and class. Class is of course, most of the time linked to what you can do with the ball, but the intelligence makes you use the technique in an efficient way. It’s like somebody who has a big vocabulary but he doesn’t say intelligent words, and somebody who has a big vocabulary but he can talk intelligently, and that’s what Dennis is all about. What he does, there’s always a head and always a brain. And his technique allows him to do what he sees, and what he decides to do.” – A great representation of one of Arsenal’s greatest players.
•“A football team is like a beautiful woman. When you do not tell her, she forgets she is beautiful.” – A few words on team morale, I think.
• [After Sol Campbell left for Portsmouth] “It is a big surprise to me because he cancelled his contract to go abroad. Have you sold Portsmouth to a foreign country?” – Nothing much I can say on this, a hilarious witty remark on the sale of star player, Sol Campbell.
•[On Sir Alex Ferguson's claim that Manchester United had been the best team in the league that season] “Everyone thinks they have the prettiest wife at home.” – Very true.
•“When you represent a club it’s about values and qualities, not about passports.” – This was said after some fellow managers, including Alan Pardew (the man who now manages the multicultural world at Newcastle), had said Arsenal had too many foreign players.
•“One of the things I discovered in Japan was from watching sumo wrestling. At the end you can never tell who has won the fight, and who has lost, because they do not show their emotion because it could embarrass the loser. It is unbelievable. That is why I try to teach my team politeness. It is only here in England that everybody pokes their tongue out when they win.” – A brilliant quote about sportsmanship in England, and a completely true one at that too.
•“When I first came to Arsenal, I realised the back four were all university graduates in the art of defending. As for Tony Adams, I consider him to be a doctor of defence. He is simply outstanding.” – I can’t say any more than that. A great review of the defence he inherited.
I think those quotes speak volumes about his intelligence, his knowledge and his overall personality within football.
For me, I don’t believe I can praise him enough, my words do him no justice. He has made mistakes and he has done the wrong thing from time to time, but in my opinion, no man who loves Arsenal can be hated, unless that man is Piers Morgan, obviously. This season has seen many asking for him to be sacked. I don’t believe he should be. It’s hard for me to see another manager managing Arsenal as Wenger is the only man
I’ve seen manage the team I love (I know one day It’ll happen and I know it may be for the best). There’s more than just ‘bad management’ going on, in my honest opinion. I refuse to accept a man who loves the club as much as Arsène would allow the club to somewhat decline.
I won’t go into all that though as 1) I don’t know much about board level, the way it works and the ins and outs and 2) This is to praise the man, not to discuss Arsenal’s current predicament.
I sense he’ll be in charge until 2014 when his current contract expires. After that? Who knows. But when he does leave, with everything he’s done for the club I say he should leave on a high. There should be a celebration of his career here. Whichever way you look at his position at the club now, there’s no denying he’s an Arsenal legend and should be treated like one.
He produced the football we expect to be played on a weekly basis, he made Arsenal, Arsenal. And I’m happy he did. Thank you for reading.
Written by Ryan Goodenough
Follow me on Twitter @RealYoungGunner
Published with permission from O-Posts.