Good morning everyone.
On September 22nd, 1996 Arsene Wenger was unveiled as the new Arsenal manger. He officially took over the club nine days later on October 1st and has remained in the post since.
Love him or not, Wenger has had a profound effect on English football. He changed the way that the game was managed, the way players were scouted, the way the English teams looked at foreign players, and the way the game was played. He didn’t go out and teach every team in England about nutrition or about how to find exceptional value in the foreign transfer market but rather through his work and his success showed English football an alternative path. A path which the game has embraced with fervor.
And love him or not, Wenger has radically changed Arsenal football club. He ushered in the modern era at Arsenal, winning trophies, and perhaps his most lasting legacy — moving Arsenal from Highbury to the Grove.
I happen to love Arsene Wenger. I have never made any secret about that. I know he has flaws and I’m not afraid to talk about them when they drive me crazy. But it’s true what Elie Wiesel once said that the opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. And it’s also true what my friend Chris Foutz once said that the root of anger and frustration is always unmet expectations. And finally, it’s true what I always say that when we criticize others we are really projecting out our own insecurities.*
So, over the next nine days I’m thinking about three pieces. The first covers Wenger in his own words. I already have a huge database of Wenger quotes and what I will do is put together a “Footballistically Speaking” post that I think best reflects his career. If you would like to contribute a quote below, please do. I only ask that you source the quote because I always need the context in order to make the quote work.
The second is going to be a post about “matches which changed Arsenal under Wenger.” I have several off the top of my head, ones that are meaningful to me. But if you would like to contribute some thoughts on that topic, please do in the comments below. Pick any match from the last 20 years.
And finally, I have a huge database of stats from Wenger’s career. If I have time, I might make a post about that. Honestly the remarkable thing about Wenger has been his stability. It’s kind of boring but he’s been very stable throughout his career as Arsenal manager and I might write something about that. I don’t know, if I have time. If not, then maybe some other time!
That’s what’s going on this week.
*I’m not suggesting that Chris and I are of the intellectual level of Elie Wiesel but rather that these are just three facets of love, hate, anger, frustration, and criticism that I tend to agree with.