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Arsène Wenger, OBE (born 22 October 1949 in Strasbourgmarker) is a Frenchmarker football manager who has managed English Premier League side Arsenal since 1996. He is the most successful manager in the history of Arsenal in terms of trophies and is also the club's longest-serving manager.Wenger is the only non-British manager to win the Double in England, having done so in 1998 and 2002. In 2004, he became the only manager in FA Premier League history to go through the entire season without defeat. Wenger is widely regarded as one of the world's best managers after the success he has enjoyed at AS Monaco and Arsenal.Wenger has a degree in Electrical Engineering and a master's degree in Economics from Strasbourg University and is fluent in French, German, Spanish and English; he also speaks some Italian and Japanese.

Early life and ventures

The son of Alphonse and wife Louise, Arsène Wenger was born in Strasbourg and grew up in the nearby village of Duttlenheimmarker with an older sister and brother. His parents owned an automobile spare-parts business in Strasbourg, as well as a bistro in Duttlenheim called La Croix d'Or. Speaking of his upbringing above La Croix d'Or, he stated in an address to the League Managers Association:

Wenger is married to former basketball player Annie Brosterhous, with whom he has one daughter, and currently lives in Totteridgemarker, Londonmarker. He is also a world brand ambassador for FIFA World Cup sponsor Castrol, and as part of his arrangement has conducted several training camps for international youth teams worldwide, as well as advising and providing input to the Castrol Performance Index, FIFA's official ratings system, used for gauging player ratings at official FIFA tournaments, ever since the system's inception. He has also authored a book on football management exclusively for the Japanesemarker market, , published by Japan Broadcast Publishing (a subsidiary of NHKmarker) in September 1997, in which he highlights his managerial philosophy, ideals and values, as well as his thoughts on Japanese football and the game as a whole.

Early career

Wenger spent much of his youth playing football and organizing matches at the village team, FC Duttlenheim, where he made the first team at 16 and was subsequently recruited to nearby third division club AS Mutzigmarker by the team's manager Max Hild, who would go on to become his mentor, advising Wenger on managerial decisions later in career, and whose team had been noted for playing the "best amateur football" in France. Wenger's playing career was modest. He played as a defender for various amateur clubs while studying at the Institut Européen d'Etudes Commerciales Supérieures de Strasbourg of Robert Schuman University, where he completed a master's degree in 1971.Wenger turned professional in 1978, making his debut for RC Strasbourg against Monaco. He only made twelve appearances for the team, including two as they won the Ligue 1 title in 1978-79, and played once in the UEFA Cup in the same season. In 1981, he obtained a manager's diploma and was appointed the coach of the club's youth team. After his stint at Strasbourg, Wenger joined AS Cannes as assistant manager in 1983.

Managerial career

Wenger thanking the crowd after the final home game of 2006–07 season on 1 May 2007.
Wenger's first senior job was at Nancy, which he joined in 1984, but he enjoyed little success there: during his third and final season in charge, Nancy finished 19th and were relegated to the second tier of French football (now Ligue 2). His managerial career took off when he became the manager of AS Monaco in 1987. He won the league in 1988 (his first season in charge) and the French Cup in 1991, and signed high-calibre players such as Glenn Hoddle, George Weah and Jürgen Klinsmann. He also signed 23-year old Youri Djorkaeff from Strasbourg; the future World Cup winner finished joint top goalscorer in Ligue 1 (with 20 goals) during Wenger's final season in France. Wenger was shortlisted for the managerial role at Bayern Munich, but could not take the job due to Monaco's board refusing to allow them to talk with Wenger, only to release Wenger several weeks later after the post was filled.

He moved on to a successful 18-month stint with the Japanesemarker J. League team Nagoya Grampus Eight, with whom he won the Emperor's Cup, the national cup competition. He also took the club from the bottom three to runners-up position in the league. His success at the club led to him winning the J. League Manager of the Year award in 1995, the first foreign manager to do so. At Grampus, he hired former Valenciennes manager Boro Primorac, whom he had met during the 1993 match-fixing scandal involving Olympique de Marseille, as his assistant. Wenger, who'd long held the view that Marseille was acting improperly, fully supported the Yugoslavian coach when he attempted (ultimately with success) to clear himself from any wrongdoing. Primorac would remain Wenger's "right-hand man" for years to come, and still holds this position.

Wenger had in the meantime become a friend of the then Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein, after the two had met when Wenger attended a match between Arsenal and Queens Park Rangers in 1988. After Bruce Rioch was sacked in August 1996, Gérard Houllier, the then technical director of the French Football Federation, recommended Wenger to David Dein in the summer of 1996. Arsenal confirmed his appointment on 28 September 1996, and he officially took up the reins on 1 October. Wenger was Arsenal's first manager from outside the UKmarker. Though he had previously been touted as a potential technical director of the Football Association, at the time Wenger was a relative unknown in England, where The Evening Standard newspaper greeted his nomination with the headline 'Arsene Who?'.

A month before Wenger formally took charge of the team, Wenger requested that the club sign French midfielders Patrick Vieira and Rémi Garde. His first match was a 2-0 away victory over Blackburn Roversmarker on 12 October 1996. Arsenal finished third in Wenger's first season, missing out on second place (occupied by Newcastle United), and hence the Champions League qualification, on goal difference.

In his second season (1997-98), Arsenal won both the Premier League and FA Cup, the second Double in the club's history. Arsenal had made up a twelve-point deficit on Manchester United and secured the league title with two games left. Key to the success was the inherited defense of Tony Adams, Steve Bould, Nigel Winterburn, Lee Dixon and Martin Keown, along with striker Dennis Bergkamp and a blend of Wenger's new signings, Emmanuel Petit as a partner for Patrick Vieira, winger Marc Overmars, and teenage striker Nicolas Anelka.

The following few seasons were comparatively barren with a series of near misses. In 1998-99, they lost the Premier League title to Manchester United by a single point on the final day of the season, and United also eliminated Arsenal in extra time in an FA Cup semi-final. In 1999-2000, Arsenal lost the UEFA Cup final to Galatasaray on penalties and the 2001 FA Cup Final to Liverpool 2-1. Wenger resolved to bring new players to the squad, with the controversial signing of out-of-contract Tottenham defender and former captain Sol Campbell as well as first-team players such as Fredrik Ljungberg, Thierry Henry and Robert Pirès.

The new signings would help Wenger's Arsenal achieve the Double once more in 2001-02. The crowning moment was the second to last game of the season, against Manchester United. Arsenal won 1-0 in a game which Arsenal were seen to have outplayed Manchester United. Arsenal went the whole season unbeaten away from home and scored in every single Premier League game that season, and completed the Double by beating Chelsea 2-0 in the final of the FA Cup with goals from Ray Parlour and Fredrik Ljungberg.

After a strong start to the 2002-03 season, Arsenal had looked as though they were going to retain the Premier League crown for the first time in their history. Arsenal were leading eventual winners Manchester United by eight points at one point, but their form collapsed late on in the season. Manchester United overhauled the Gunners in the latter stage of the season to win the title, as Arsenal threw away a two-goal lead against Bolton Wanderers to draw 2-2 and then lost at home to Leeds United.

Arsenal were compensated with an FA Cup win in 2003, and the following season, made history by winning the 2003-04 Premier League title in 2004 without a single loss, the first top-flight team to manage this feat since Preston North End in 1888-89, a feat that only AC Milan and Ajax had formerly achieved in elite European football. A year earlier, Wenger had been derided for saying it was possible Arsenal could go unbeaten in an entire season.

Arsenal's run of 49 league games unbeaten under Wenger came to an end with a 2-0 defeat at Manchester United in October 2004. Arsenal enjoyed another relatively strong league campaign, but were beaten to the title by Chelsea. Consolation again came in the FA Cup in 2005, Arsenal defeating Manchester United on penalties after a scoreless final.

Arsenal supporters hold up cards that spell out "IN ARSÈNE WE TRUST" in May 2009
Arsenal endured two comparatively poor seasons in 2005-06 and 2006-07, finishing fourth in the Premier League on both occasions. Arsenal in a resurgent form threatened to take the Premier League by storm in 2007-08, leading the league for much of the season, but were overhauled by both Chelsea and winners Manchester United after a shocking open ankle fracture to their forward Eduardo unsettled Arsenal's relatively young squad for a few weeks.

In all, Arsenal have won three Premier League titles and four FA Cups under Wenger, making him Arsenal's most successful manager in terms of trophies. The UEFA Champions League title still eludes him, however. The closest Arsenal have come was when they reached the final in 2005-06, the first time in club history, which they lost 2-1 to Barcelonamarker.

In October 2004, he signed a contract extension that would keep him at Arsenal through the 2007-08 season. The then Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein stated that Wenger has a "job for life" at Arsenal, and planned to offer Wenger a role on the Arsenal board once he retires as a manager. Wenger's future at Arsenal was thrust into question when David Dein left the Arsenal board on 18 April 2007, and rumours kept circulating that Wenger might leave to become a manager at Real Madrid. However, on 6 September 2007, Wenger agreed to sign a new three-year contract at Arsenal.

Approach and philosophy

Wenger in 2008.
Wenger has been described as a coach who "has spent his career building teams that combine the accumulation of silverware with a desire to entertain and attack", and as "a purist, dedicated to individual and collective technical quality". The Times notes that since 2003-04 Wenger's approach to the game has been an emphasis on attack. His style of play has been contrasted with the pragmatic approach of his rivals, but has also been criticised for lacking a "killer touch". Although Wenger for a number of years employed a 4-4-2 formation, since 2005 he has often relied on 4-5-1 with a lone striker and packed midfield, especially since the move to the wider pitch at Emirates Stadium, and in Champions League games. Beginning with the 2009-10 season, Wenger has instituted a fluid 4-3-3 formation at Arsenal, with the front five attackers changing positions freely during the match.

Wenger has a strong reputation for unearthing young talent. At Monaco, he brought Liberianmarker George Weah, who later became FIFA World Player of the Year with A.C. Milan, Tonnerre Yaoundé from Cameroonianmarker side, and Nigerianmarker Victor Ikpeba, who later became African Player of the Year from R.F.C. de Liège. At Arsenal, Wenger signed young, relatively unknown players such as Patrick Vieira, Francesc Fàbregas, Robin Van Persie and Kolo Touré, and helped their transition to become world-class players. Notably, the defence which set a new record after going 10 consecutive games without conceding a goal on the way to the UEFA Champions League final against Barcelona in 2005-06 cost Arsenal less than £5m to assemble.

Although Wenger has made some big-money signings for Arsenal, his net spending record is far superior to other leading Premier League clubs. A survey in 2007 found he was the only Premier League manager to have made a profit on transfers, and between 2004 and 2009 Wenger made an average profit of £4.4 million per season on transfers, far more than any other club. A notable example was the purchase of Nicolas Anelka from Paris St Germain for only £500,000 and his subsequent sale to Real Madrid just two years later for £22.3m. The enabled Wenger to buy three players, Thierry Henry, Robert Pirès and Sylvain Wiltord, who all played a significant role in the Double in 2001-02 and the league title win in 2003-04.

As well as bringing in younger and relatively unknown talents to the club, Wenger has also seen a few of his veterans rejuvenate their careers at Arsenal. Dennis Bergkamp, who had been signed by Arsenal a year before Wenger joined, reached his peak under Wenger. Wenger also helped his former protégé at Monaco, Thierry Henry, develop into a world class player, and saw him become Arsenal's all-time top scorer and captain.

Wenger also reformed the training and dietary regimes, ridding the club of drinking and junk-food culture. Wenger stood by captain Tony Adams after Adams had admitted to alcoholism in 1996. Wenger supported Adams during rehabilitation, and the player returned to form and likely extended his career by several years. Wenger's training and dietary regime may have also prolonged the careers of the other members of Arsenal's back four, defenders Nigel Winterburn, Lee Dixon and Martin Keown. Wenger initially was planning to replace them, but later realized that he did not need to.

Wenger had a direct input into the design of the new Emirates Stadiummarker, which opened in 2006, and the move to a new training ground at London Colneymarker.

Plaudits and awards

Wenger enjoys a great deal of support from Arsenal's fans, who demonstrated tremendous faith in the manager and his long-term vision. Supporters regularly display banners claiming "Arsène knows" and "In Arsène we trust" at matches at Emirates Stadium. At the Arsenal's valedictory campaign at Highbury in 2005-06, supporters showed appreciation by deciding to have "Wenger Day" as one of various "themed matchdays". The Wenger Day was held on his 56th birthday on 22 October 2005, during a match against Manchester City.

David Dein, former vice-chairman of Arsenal FC, described Wenger as the most important manager in the club's history: "Arsene's a miracle worker. He's revolutionized the club. He's turned players into world-class players. Since he has been here, we have seen football from another planet." On 18 October 2007, A commissioned bronze bust of Arsene Wenger, similar to the earlier version of Herbert Chapman, was unveiled as a tribute to him, by the board of directors of Arsenal FC, at the club's Annual General Meeting.

Wenger was awarded France's highest decoration, the Légion d'Honneur, in 2002. He was awarded an honorary OBE for services to British football in the Queen's Birthday Honours List of 2003, along with fellow Frenchman and then Liverpool manager Gérard Houllier. In 2006, Wenger was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in recognition of his achievements as a manager in the English game. He was the second foreign manager to be inducted to the Hall of Fame, after Italianmarker-born Dario Gradi of Crewe Alexandramarker.

In 2007, Arsene Wenger had an asteroid, 33179 Arsènewenger, named after him by the astronomer Ian P. Griffin, who states Arsenal is his favourite football club.

Controversies

Wenger has been embroiled in a number of controversies.
Wenger's sides were often criticised for their indiscipline, receiving 73 red cards between 1996 and 2008. However, in both 2004 and 2005 Wenger's Arsenal won the Premier League's Fair Play League tables for sporting behaviour and almost repeated the feat in 2006, finishing second. Their record as one of the most sporting clubs in the division continued up to 2009 with the club always a feature in top four of the Fair Play table.

In 1999, Wenger offered Sheffield United a replay of their FA Cup 5th round game immediately after the match had finished, due to the controversial circumstances in which it was won. Arsenal's winning goal, scored by Marc Overmars, had resulted from Kanu failing to return the ball to the opposition after it had been kicked into touch to allow a Sheffield United player to receive treatment for an injury. Arsenal went on to win the replayed game 2-1.

He is also well known for his rivalry with Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson. This rivalry reached its culmination in the infamous "Pizzagate" incident at Old Traffordmarker in October 2004 after a controversial penalty resulted in a 2-0 defeat and ended Arsenal's 49 game unbeaten Premier League run. After the match a member of the Arsenal side allegedly threw food at the opposition in the tunnel. Wenger was fined £15,000 for calling United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy "a cheat" in a post-match television interview. He was later fined for again calling van Nistelrooy a cheat, demonstrating that he firmly believed his claim. Both managers have since agreed to tone down their words in an attempt to defuse the rivalry.

During October and November 2005, Wenger became embroiled in a war of words with then Chelsea manager José Mourinho. Mourinho accused Wenger of having an "unprofessional obsession" with Chelsea, labeling Wenger a "rat" and "voyeur". Mourinho was quoted as saying, "He's worried about us, he's always talking about us - it's Chelsea, Chelsea, Chelsea, Chelsea". Wenger responded by pointing out he was only answering journalists' questions about Chelsea, and described Mourinho's attitude as "disrespectful". Mourinho has since been quoted as saying that he regrets the "voyeur" comment, and Wenger has accepted his apology.

Wenger has often been criticised by other Premier League managers for not fielding many English players, particularly in the Champions League. West Ham United's former manager Alan Pardew said that Arsenal's Champions League success was "not necessarily a triumph for British football". Wenger saw the issue of nationality as irrelevant and said, "When you represent a club, it's about values and qualities, not about passports", also implying that there was a racial aspect to what Pardew had said. In response, Pardew said that, "A manager who is married to a Swede and has signed players from all over the world cannot be called racist." Other pundits, including Trevor Brooking, the director of football development at the FA, defended Wenger. Brooking noted that a lack of English players in one of England's most successful clubs was more of a reflection of the talent pool in England rather than Wenger himself. Several English players started their careers at Arsenal under Wenger, including David Bentley, Steve Sidwell, Jermaine Pennant, Matthew Upson, and Ashley Cole, and young English talents such as Theo Walcott, Kieran Gibbs and Jack Wilshere are currently building careers at Arsenal.

Some young British players nonetheless felt that they supposedly have to move elsewhere to get more first team opportunities. Players like Matthew Upson, Steve Sidwell, and David Bentley were established professionals themselves, but failed to earn a regular place at Arsenal. In November 2007, Sir Alex Ferguson also criticized Wenger for fielding few English players.

Wenger made controversial statements on referees after decisions did not go his team's way. Following the Carling Cup final in 2007, he called a linesman 'a liar', leading to an investigation by the FA, a fine of £2500, and a warning. Wenger has often tried to defend his players when involved in controversial incidents on the field by saying that he has not seen the incident; this is an option Wenger says he resorts to when there is no "rational explanation" to defend him, and that he has the player's best interests in mind.

Statistics

Player



Manager



*At the time of Wenger's tenure there, in Japan's J-League in the event of scores being level at the end of 90 minutes, matches would be decided by extra time and penalties.

Honours

Player

Strasbourg



Manager

Monaco

Winner


Runner-up


Nagoya Grampus

Winner


Runner-up


Arsenal

Winner


Runner-up


Individual



References

External links




1978–79
Strasbourg
Division 1
2 0 1 0
1979–80
1 0
1980–81
8 0
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Team
Nat
From
To
Record
G W D L Win %
Nancy
1984
1987

AS Monaco
1987
1995

Nagoya Grampus Eight
1995
1996

Arsenal
30 September 1996
Present

Total


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