30 September 1996 – Arsene Wenger is appointed Arsenal manager
1 October 1996- 10 December 2012 – some stuff happened
11 December 2012 – Arsene Wenger’s full strength Arsenal team loses on penalties to Bradford City of League Two in the League Cup quarter final
Arsene Wenger has been through trials and tribulations. He will probably go down in history as Arsenal’s greatest ever manager. His stock with Arsenal fans is at an all time low today and while I understand their frustration it is at times like these you need to look back at the past.
Here are some great quotes from over the years underlining his philosophy, personality and beliefs:
“I started at 33 as a manager and sometimes I felt I wouldn’t survive. Physically I was sick.”
“At some clubs success is accidental. At Arsenal it is compulsory.”
“We try to go a different way that, for me, is respectable. Briefly, these are the basics. I thought: We are building a stadium, so I will get young players in early so I do not find myself exposed on the transfer market without the money to compete with the others. I build a team, and we compensate by creating a style of play, by creating a culture at the club because the boy comes in at 16 or 17 and when they go out they have a supplement of soul, of love for the club, because they have been educated together. The people you meet at college from 16 to 20, often those are the relationships in life that keep going. That, I think, will give us strength that other clubs will not have.”
“We do not buy superstars. We make them.”
“Gerard [Houllier] is an open-minded and passionate man. I am the opposite: stubborn and stupid. But sometimes stupid behaviour makes you win.”
“I do not like to make a fuss, it’ll just be another day. I want to stay 59.”
[During the unbeaten Invincibles run in 2003-04] “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.”
“Politically, I am for efficiency. Economically first. Until the 1980s the world was divided into two, people were either communist or capitalist. The communist model does not work economically, we all realised that, but the capitalist model in the modern world also looks to be unsustainable. You cannot ignore individual interests, but I believe the world evolves slowly. The last 30 years have brought a minimum amount of money for everybody in the west, the next step, politically, would be a maximum amount of money earned by everybody.”
“A football team is like a beautiful woman. When you do not tell her, she forgets she is beautiful.”
“[Sir Alex] Ferguson’s out of order. He has lost all sense of reality. He is going out looking for a confrontation, then asking the person he is confronting to apologise. He’s pushed the cork in a bit far this time.”
[On Jose Mourinho after the then Chelsea boss accused him of being a voyeur] “He’s out of order, disconnected with reality and disrespectful. When you give success to stupid people, it makes them more stupid sometimes and not more intelligent.”
“If I asked you who was the best team in the world you would say Brazil. And do they play good football? Yes. Which club won everything last year? Barcelona. Good football. I am not against being pragmatic, because it is pragmatic to make a good pass, not a bad one. If I have the ball, what do I do with it? Could anybody argue that a bad solution like just kicking it away is pragmatic just because, sometimes, it works by accident?”
“I am in a job where you always look in front of you. Unfortunately, the older you get, the less distance there is in front of you.”
And perhaps the most pertinent given the current situation…
“If I go into a season and I say, ‘For fu*k’s sake, if we don’t win anything, they will all leave,’ I have already lost. The problem of the media is always to imagine the worst. The problem of the manager is always to imagine the best.”
Quotes courtesy of http://www.football365.co.uk/news/8750/5643990
I feel that Wenger has failed to evolve his philosophy over the years but, even so, considering the resources he has to work with he has had unbelievable success. He should be given a task of integrating new ways of thinking and trying new methods as Sir Alex Ferguson has done over the years with great success.
However, HE deserves to choose when he should leave. He has earned it.