Merci Arsène

Discussion in 'Arsenal History' started by kraphtous, Apr 20, 2018.

  1. kash2

    kash2 Obsessed With Jury

    and the academy. Hale End. The style, the values and the spirit.

    Bellerin, AMN, Nketiah, Saka, Nelson, Martinez, Willock .. all played a vital part in the last few months.
    Makingtrax and hydrofluoric acid like this.
  2. kash2

    kash2 Obsessed With Jury

    liverpool spent twenty years watching Arsène clock top4 and finish above Sp**s and more often than not, above them.

    and dont forget the ****ty fans and the ****ty referees that Arsène had to deal with unlike liverpool.
    American_Gooner likes this.
  3. kash2

    kash2 Obsessed With Jury

    its not the thread, its you, old man.
    Makingtrax likes this.
  4. Jury

    Jury Mission Accomplished

    You’re like a ****ing Jehovah’s Witness :lol:
  5. Makingtrax

    Makingtrax Arséne Wenger once said "I will miss you"

    Your the Jehova's witness, belief in a narrative without any reasoning.

    There was no decline in Arsenal's overall performances between 2005 and 2015/16. In that period the investment in the squad by the club never peaked above 5th but Arsène always appeared in the top 4. He over performed and that's a fact.

    And with the exception of only one year the winning club always came from a team spending in the top 3. Expecting Wenger to beat clubs spending 10 or 11 times the amount he had over that period was insane.
    BigPoppaPump, GoonerJeeves and kash2 like this.
  6. Jury

    Jury Mission Accomplished

    There is no narrative. There is only facts. Nobody needs to create a narrative. Couldn’t give a **** about Wenger right now. I’m more interested in the club and I current manager. Funny how the Wenger crusade has gone into overdrive lately... He went to ****, it happens, we move on.
  7. Makingtrax

    Makingtrax Arséne Wenger once said "I will miss you"

    :lol: So why are you in this thread slagging him off.

    And he didn't go to ****, as the facts show. Personally I think you know now that you just got caught up in the hysteria like so many other fans who just wanted something different.
    BigPoppaPump likes this.
  8. Jury

    Jury Mission Accomplished

    Who’s slagging him off? I’ll tell you what, I’m slagging him off if you’re sucking him off... The truth is usually somewhere in the middle—your problem is you’re not willing to venture there.

    The fact is he was underperforming and was sacked. Everybody is grateful for what he did and that’s it. We wanted something different, we got something different, and we are delighted with the outcome. Stop being so pissed off about people being content.
  9. Makingtrax

    Makingtrax Arséne Wenger once said "I will miss you"

    Well, if you're delighted at being 8th, how come you gave yourself an anger hernia when we came 2nd. It's all a ****ing mystery to a simple bloke like me who just sees things as they really are.
    BigPoppaPump likes this.
  10. El Duderino

    El Duderino 99 Problems But A Mitch Ain't One Trusted

  11. Tosker

    Tosker Does Not Hate Foreigners

    from the Guardian

    In conversation with Arsène Wenger
    Wednesday 14 October 2020, 7pm–8pm BST
    £6 plus £0.88 booking fee
    Former Arsenal football manager Arsène Wenger speaks to Guardian sports writer Donald McRae about his remarkable life and career.

    As one of the most successful football managers of a generation, Wenger changed the face of the sport with his rigorous attitudes towards nutrition, fitness, coaching and spotting young talent. While the manager of one of the world’s largest football clubs, he won multiple Premier League titles and a record number of FA Cups, and he masterminded Arsenal’s historic 49-match undefeated run of 2004.

    In a new memoir, My Life in Red and White, he takes us on a journey through his remarkable life and career, recalling spectacular memories of guiding Arsenal to surprise success while also revealing his leadership principles for success on and off the field.

    This career-spanning interview presents a rare opportunity to hear from the man nicknamed “Le Professeur” of football. In this livestreamed event, you will have the chance to put your questions to Wenger in real time.

    Running time: 60 minutes

    If you live in the UK, you can purchase a ticket with a copy of My Life in Red and White at checkout for the special combined price of £24 including postage and packing (RRP £25)*.

    El Granit-Coq and Makingtrax like this.
  12. Gegen Pressing

    Gegen Pressing Well-Known Member

    The beloved king wasn't humiliated .
    He was decapitated.
    King Arsène is dead .
    Long live King Arteta.
  13. Macho

    Macho Well-Known Member Trusted

    From The Athletic -Panic, dirty games, skipped medicals - inside the last week of the transfer window.
  14. al-Ustaadh

    al-Ustaadh Professor of Twitter

    Wenger to be on Graham Norton on Oct 16.
  15. lamby22

    lamby22 It's Not Lupus

  16. American_Gooner

    American_Gooner Not actually American. Unless Di Marzio says so. Moderator

    When we meet at a café on Rue Faidherbe in Paris, Arsène Wenger tells me that he played football in a charity match the day before. Oh yeah, were you any good? “I was very good,” he says in that deadpan manner that became so familiar even to casual fans during his 22-year tenure (1996-2018) as manager of Arsenal.

    “I can say that because you didn’t see me play,” he adds, undercutting the boast. Even so, tall and trim, he cannot hide the pride he takes in his enduring physical fitness. “I’m 70. I can still play football, so that’s not too bad.” Especially when the other players included Laurent Blanc, Christian Karembeu and Bixente Lizarazu, all a generation younger and sharing almost 250 French caps between them. Did his team win? “Of course. 4-1.” Did he score? “No, I played centre back.”

    As a pro himself, way back, Wenger was a midfielder. He had a decent career in the French lower leagues but played just a handful of games in Ligue 1 for Strasbourg, the club he supported as a boy growing up in Alsace. Later, required to juggle a football during the photoshoot, Wenger demonstrates his technical ability. Even in his pristine smart casuals, his control in a tight space is way above average. Many of the best coaches – Wenger, Sir Alex Ferguson, Jürgen Klopp – had good but not great playing careers. Pep Guardiola, who was world class on the pitch, is an exception. In a different way so is José Mourinho, who never played professionally.

    By the age of 30, while still playing, Wenger had already started coaching. After spells at smaller clubs he made his name at Monaco, winning the title there before going to work in Japan. When he arrived at his near-namesake club in north London, the headlines asked variations on the question: “Arsène who?”

    Nobody was asking that just two years later, when his club won the Premier League and FA Cup double. Wenger repeated the feat in 2002 and in 2004 won the title again, this time without losing a single game. Despite continued cup success in later years and an impressive 19 consecutive qualifications for the Champions League, reaching the final in 2006, Wenger lost the support of many fans and finally left his beloved club two years ago. It was, as he admits in his new autobiography, a “very lonely, very painful” separation. He has not been back to the Emirates, Arsenal’s stadium. Not yet anyway.

    “I will go one day,” he says, sipping his mineral water. Has he been invited? “Yes. But I thought it was better to cut completely. It was difficult at the start, of course, after leading my club as long as I did. But I thought it’s better to follow from a distance.”

    Which he does, avidly watching every game. I ask if he’d seen the recent England v Iceland international, an unconvincing 1-0 victory. Of course he saw it. This is a man who once told reporters he would celebrate a title by watching a recording of a game in the German second division, who writes in his book that, “A day without a football match seems empty to me.” His analysis of that England game? “It was bad. I’ve seen so many good players not doing well for England. They’re scared to play. Phil Foden is a guy with big quality, but at the moment he has not made it. He hasn’t played enough at Manchester City. You need about 100 games to know your job in the Premier League.”

    An his playing days at Strasbourg, around 1980

    Going back to his departure from Arsenal, he now has “no connection at all with the club”. I mention Sir Alex Ferguson who, after 26 years at Man Utd, was given a seat on the board. Why wasn’t he made a similar offer? “I don’t know. I always said I would still play a part in the club, but I could understand that at the start it’s better that we take a complete distance.” If asked, would he have accepted? “I would have done that, yes.”

    The severance seems particularly ungrateful on Arsenal’s part, given Wenger became a lot more than a mere manager during his tenure. He was so careful with the club’s money that around the time of the move from Highbury to the Emirates, the bank insisted on his agreeing a new five-year contract before signing off on a loan, as if his presence was the best guarantor for the investment. The normal reward might well have been a directorship. “Yes, but I don’t expect anything,” he says. “I’m just doing my job. As long as I’m somewhere, I give my best. I’m happy having served the club and leaving them in good hands and in good shape. Overall,” he continues, “I did the job at three levels. To play with style and to win. To develop players. And to develop the club worldwide. The third level today is impossible. It’s not in your hands any more.”

    Maybe Jürgen Klopp has that sort of power at Liverpool. Wenger is dismissive. “No, he is solely focused on the team. He doesn’t negotiate the transfers or build the stadium.” He hasn’t really stayed in touch with his contemporaries. “These people are all very busy. I’m not close enough to them… except [he pauses] Ferguson, yes.”

    Does he have Fergie’s number in his phone? “I have Ferguson’s number, yes.” You’d know it was him calling? “Yeah, yeah.” You’re friends? “We have a lot of respect for each other now.” There was a period when you didn’t… “We had a period when it was very tough, very hot.” Throwing pizzas and all the rest of it? (This refers to an incident in the tunnel at Old Trafford in 2004, when Arsenal’s Cesc Fabregas chucked a pizza from the post-match buffet and it hit the United manager.) Wenger laughs. “After you’re not competing any more, everyone becomes a bit more objective.

    Playing for Vauban against Nice, in the late Seventies

    “He [Ferguson] knows better wine than I do,” admits Wenger, growing nostalgic. “Ah, we had some good battles. He’s an intelligent man. You don’t make a career like this guy if you’re stupid.”

    As for Pep Guardiola, the two are not in touch. But, “When Guardiola was still a player,” Wenger reveals, “he came to my home to ask to play for Arsenal. At the time I had Vieira. I had Gilberto Silva. I couldn’t take him.”

    Living mainly in London, with homes in Paris and Zurich (where he has a role with Fifa as chief of global football development), Wenger remains an avid fan of the Premier League. “I follow every English game on television. It’s my league. We don’t need to come out from a special school to know Bayern Munich will win the championship in Germany, that Juventus will win it in Italy, that Paris St Germain will win it in France. England is still the most unpredictable league in Europe, even if last year was not a good year [with Liverpool winning by such a margin] and English teams didn’t do well in Europe.”

    Mention of PSG prompts him to add, “I was offered that job a few times.” And indeed Bayern, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus, the France national team. How about Man Utd? “Yes,” he says. When? “I don’t tell you that.” He smiles. “But I can tell you Man Utd offered me the job.” Please tell me when. “I don’t tell you that,” he repeats more firmly.

    With Alex Ferguson of Manchester United at Highbury, 2004, and, below, scuffling with Chelsea manager José Mourinho, 2014

    The potential awkwardness is averted by the first of many passing fan requests for a picture. Wenger – or Monsieur Wenger as each supplicant respectfully calls him – is his usual impeccably polite and yet also slightly detached self each time. I feel bad now for calling you “Arsène”, I tell him afterwards. “That’s no problem at all,” he replies.

    We go on to discuss his book. Did he write it himself? “Yes. With help. But it’s me.” It’s the first one he’s done, unusual in an age when players bring out their first memoir around the age of 24. “I’ve been asked to do it for many years. For me it was very difficult. First of all, I don’t like to talk too much about me. And second it was saying somewhere in my head, ‘I don’t manage any more. It’s the end of my experience.’ And I don’t like that. I didn’t want to sound like I’d retired. Then I thought, OK, I do it even if it’s only for my family [he separated from his wife, Annie, in 2015; they have one daughter, Léa, 23] so they would know one day what I did in my life.”

    Does he want to manage a club again? “I’m not sure.” Because when he left Arsenal, he sounded certain that he did. “Yes. For 40 years I did only that every day in my life.” Two years on, he is enjoying having more time for himself. What’s he doing? “Making some sport. Visiting my family and friends. Holidays. Reading a lot. Enjoying life but in a sensible way, because I’m a little bit drilled by 30, 40 years of discipline, you know?”

    I do know, having read in his book how he gets up at 5.30am and does an hour and a half in the gym, with extra cardio if possible. Most successful people, I say, are disciplined, but you’re… “Super-disciplined?” he suggests. I tell him I was going to say “fanatical”. Is that fair? “Fanatical, yes.” Most of us, including the famous, would recoil from the description. But Wenger chuckles, clearly relishing it. His early start comes after just five or six hours’ sleep. His energy is prodigious. During lockdown, which he spent in Totteridge, the north London suburb he calls home, he ran “8-10k a day”.

    Part of that stamina comes from a rural upbringing, roaming the fields around the village in Alsace where his parents ran a bar. He grew up speaking the Alsatian dialect and French and learnt German at school. Football dominated the bar and the village. But back then, the French professional game lacking the depth and structure long established in neighbouring countries, Wenger could not even dream of his future career. “I’d never seen a coach until I was 19. It is the surprise of my life to spend it in football.”

    The other great influence on the young Wenger was the church. “I still have religious morality,” he says. “I still like to go to church. It’s a place where you can concentrate. I watch Mass on television sometimes, but I cannot say I am a practising Catholic. God has a huge strength: you cannot prove that he doesn’t exist. On the other hand you cannot prove he exists. Religion has been created from us. It is a way to be happy in life. God forgives you for your sins; in the future we go to paradise. We can focus on the present.”

    When he first arrived in the UK, Wenger cut an unusual figure on the touchline. Dapper, ascetic, erudite, he was nicknamed the Professor by the initially sceptical old hands at Arsenal. Back in the days when neither foreign managers nor foreign players, with their more sophisticated ways, were the norm, Wenger looked suspiciously posh in the context of England’s doggedly proletarian culture. And in a way he was. He relates in his book, for instance, how when he first met Arsenal’s vice-chairman at the time, David Dein, he ended up acting out A Midsummer Night’s Dream in a game of charades at Dein’s house. Hard to imagine Big Sam Allardyce in a similar role.

    Arsène Wenger with his ex-wife, Annie, and daughter, Léa, 2005

    Back in 1996, Wenger’s insistence on the importance of concepts such as correct nutrition, radically reduced alcohol intake, regular sleep, stretching, mental preparation and resilience of character were met with scepticism. “We want our Mars bars,” his squad would sing on the team bus. Then they started winning, and his rivals decided these newfangled notions of “invisible training” might have some merit and promptly copied them.

    Ironically, all the time Wenger was trying to persuade Tony Adams, Paul Merson and co to swap booze for broccoli, he was hiding an unhealthy habit of his own: he smoked.

    “Yes, for a long time I smoked. My father smoked 40 a day. I grew up in a bar full of smoke. In France, smoking is normal.” Even so, he didn’t start until he was 34. “A friend of mine was a heavy smoker. We’d sit up at night talking and I’d take one, you know? I still smoked when I came to England, one or two after dinner, no more.” Did the players know? “I don’t think so. I never smoked with the team. Nobody has ever seen me smoking.” He has long since stopped – “My daughter complaining, you know?” – but still enjoys a drink. “Good red wine, not much.”

    We move on to politics, in which he takes a keen interest. Rather confusingly, he says, “I am new liberal right. I’m for freedom but certain things – health, defence – have to be controlled by the government. I like Macron. He is centre. It’s very difficult to satisfy people in France. It’s difficult to govern.”

    Yes, I say. Every time the government tries to change anything there’s a strike or a riot. Wenger shrugs. “I feel sorry for Macron, because he tries very hard.” He thinks the French commitment to short hours, long lunches, generous welfare, heavily subsidised agriculture and quite staggering bureaucracy is unsustainable. “It’s like in a family,” he says, presumably unconsciously channelling Margaret Thatcher. “It’s OK as long as you can balance your budget. Until you have to pay. Then it’s not OK. With the debt we have now, we cannot continue like that. Because the next generations will have to pay back. It’s not a fair way.” He thinks the German commitment to balanced budgets is the example to follow. “We behave like we want more and more no matter whether we balance our budget or not. Similarly in football.”

    And what of his adopted country? “I love England. I feel sorry for England [he says that rather than Britain] because I am scared that they will suffer now [after Brexit]. You’re in a very weak position to negotiate. England has made the choice for passion and the desire for sovereignty. I can understand that, but unfortunately it was not a rational decision. I’m scared that they pay for that. Europe will have to make it hard for them or everybody will want to leave. They have no choice. I know [Michel] Barnier. He said from the first day they will be tough on England.” The irony of Brexit as regards football is, he says, “You want sovereignty, but all the English clubs are run by people who are not English.”

    Arsenal fans call for a change of manager, March 2017 and, below, his final game, against Burnley at the Emirates, May 2018

    There’s a sense Wenger is getting over the pain of enforced separation from the club where he “knitted my soul in red and white”, as he puts it in his book. He likes his role with Fifa. “I can share what I’ve learnt in my life and hopefully be efficient in what I share,” he says. The first year was tough for other reasons too. “I lost my brother and my sister in six months. My sister had Alzheimer’s. She was not well for ten years. My brother died quite quickly.” Their loss has made him value time spent with his daughter all the more, visiting her frequently in Cambridge, where she is a research student in neuroscience.

    “I would have respected my contract,” he says, looking back on his Emirates exit. “The club thought it was better I stopped. I’d always lived with the idea that could happen. The supporters were not happy any more. Some of them. You can understand that, at some stage, 22 years, people want a change.” I tell him I’d interviewed Tony Blair shortly before he stepped down in 2007, how he’d said that after ten years, people are sick of your face. “Ah, so I punished them for 12 years?” he jokes.

    Does he now think he might have stayed too long? He pauses for quite a while. “Listening to that question,” he replies, “makes me think, ‘Yes.’ ” Well, that’s the consensus, isn’t it? “Maybe I stayed too long,” he admits. “I don’t know. But I was committed like on the first day. I think I guided the club through the most difficult period in a very successful way. At some stage people say you’re too old, but they don’t really look at what you do. I served the club as much as I could.”

    And served it to the exclusion of pretty much everything else. “I rejected those around me,” he writes. “I did not see beauty or pleasure or relaxation.” Infamously, he did not see any on-field skulduggery by his players either. When issuing his mantra in post-match interviews that he didn’t see the sending off or penalty appeal, he now admits, “Sometimes it wasn’t true. I’m a bad loser, yes. If you’re a good loser, you don’t last a long time in this job. That’s something I had from birth. I’m still like it. If I play cards, I want to win. You know what they say,” he adds, tapping me on the arm (he is surprisingly tactile). “Women can kill for love and men because they hate to lose.”

    Maybe I stayed too long. But I was committed like on the first day

    His obsession was the reason he didn’t become a father until he was 48. “I think basically this is a job for single people. I always cherish freedom. I had girlfriends, but my priority was always football. I liked the idea to take my luggage and go anywhere in the world tomorrow. At Cannes I lived over the Bay of Villefranche; when I was in Japan [in Nagoya, not a natural beauty spot] I had a view of a wall, but I always say if I won the game it was a great view and I was happy. If happiness is liking the life one lives, I can say I have been happy, and still am.”

    Wrapping up our conversation, we deal with a few miscellaneous topics. He thinks Arsenal’s latest manager, his former player and Guardiola protégé Mikel Arteta, has “got the grip back on the team. They finished well, though they had a bad Premier League. Fifty-six points!” He thinks England’s national team are looking good for the Euros next year, bestowing the ultimate seal of approval on the manager in saying, “Southgate analyses well.” He thinks the pandemic will have no long-term deflationary effect on transfer fees, wages or the relentlessly spiralling hype around the game. “As soon as it is over, football will become mad again.” He worries, however, that, “The lower leagues will die unless the elite clubs help out.”

    And he also thinks that without fans, football “loses its charm. We can take the fans for granted, but they are the only thing that hasn’t changed. The players, the game, the clubs, the stadiums all change. The fans don’t. When you arrived at Highbury, on Avenell Road, you got out of the bus, you shared it with the fans. At the Emirates, you are inside, all the security, it’s not the same.”

    The grand old stadium was redeveloped as flats after the club moved. Wenger seriously considered buying one. As it is, he volunteers just before we part, “I drive sometimes through Highbury. The entrance is still there, the gates are listed…”

    And what does he feel? “I feel nostalgia,” he replies. “We had good times there.”
    ICYMI @Makingtrax
  17. Riou

    Riou Non-Stop Nostalgia

    "I drive sometimes through Highbury. The entrance is still there, the gates are listed" …and what does he feel? “I feel nostalgia,” he replies. “We had good times there.”

  18. GDeep™

    GDeep™ Dissociating

    Why would Wenger have a connection with the club? The club as we knew it is dead, Wenger was the constant and now he’s gone.

    It’s just a business now, the owner doesn’t really care and the rest of the staff are trying to keep their heads above the water.

    Arteta is now the face, but he’ll be gone soon.
  19. Moah

    Moah Well-Known Member

    Thank you @American_Gooner, it was a great read. I needed that tonight, it has completely detached me from this transfer saga. I don't even care about it anymore :lol:
    celestis and American_Gooner like this.
  20. Riou

    Riou Non-Stop Nostalgia

    American_Gooner likes this.

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