A Grand In The Hand: Arsene Wenger's 1,000th Arsenal Game.

Published: Mar 20, 2014 13:56pm EDT
By Jason Bardwell, Sports Writer for Konsume Sports

Please Note: This article was updated Mar 20, 2014 @ 05:04pm EDT

 

In the past few seasons I do not think anyone thought it would ever happen. Eight years without a trophy, a failed bid for Luis Suarez and an opening day home defeat against Aston Villa had calls from certain quarters for Arsene Wenger to leave Arsenal Football Club.

Born in Strasbourg, France on the 22nd October 1949 Arsene Wenger is preparing to take charge of his 1000th game against Chelsea at the weekend. Certainly he is not the favorite manager of everyone. I personally do not like the guy because he always moans about the opposition, calls for his players to be protected more but then complains when his players are sent off for bad tackles and claims to never see anything which may force him to have a negative opinion on his own players actions.

That said, you cannot argue against his record. In the current 999 games he has been in charge of Arsenal for, he has only lost 192. That means over 80% have been won or drawn, and that is astounding.

On the 1st of October 1996, Wenger was appointed as Arsenal manager. A relative unknown at the time in English football a studious, spectacled, geography teacher looking guy walked onto the Arsenal training pitch. It was the look which led the British press to dub him ‘Le Professor’.

The early days were very good with three League titles, four FA Cups and four Community Shields, coming to the Gunners although there was no European success. The first eight years for Arsenal Football club for Arsene and the fans were very successful, but since 2005, nothing.

You would have thought that this would have tainted his legacy, or even had him removed from the helm of the club. You can see the amount of managers at other ‘big’ clubs who have come and gone in the past few seasons to see the loyalty extended to Wenger by the board. Look at the pressure being put on David Moyes at Manchester United after seven months in charge to see how ridiculous and fickle things can be.

Now 2014 and Arsenal are still in the Premiership title race and one game away from an FA Cup Final. They have a new stadium, paid for, and are in a better financial position than most others.

At 64, I am not sure how much longer he will be at Arsenal, or how many trophies he will win from here on out. What I do know is that most sides would swap their last eighteen years for Arsenals. Champions League football most seasons, attacking football and "The Invincibles" of 2003-04 season when the Gunners won the Premier League without losing a single game.

New York Red Bull and ex Gunner Thierry Henry was there under Wenger and cannot speak highly enough of the man. Several players got new leases of life under him, signed relative unknowns and elevated them to the worlds stage. Kolo Toure, Alex Song, Cesc Fabregas and Patrick Vieira to name but a few.

He was instrumental for changing the players attitude towards diet, nutrition and all around healthy lifestyle. Today it seems blatantly obvious but back in the 1990's there was a large drinking culture in English football.

Like him or loathe him I think you can do nothing but respect what he has done for the English game and hopefully he will continue to be appreciated for the whole career at Arsenal rather than the microscope on the last few seasons.


 

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Jason Bardwell
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