Arsène Wenger, OBE born 22 October 1949 in Strasbourg
Arsène Part I
Joined Arsenal on the 1st October 1996 having previously managed Monaco and Nagoya Grampus Eight.
1996/97 Season – 3rd in the Premier League. Qualified for the Champions League
1997/98 Season – won the Premier League and FA cup double making up an 8 point deficit on Man United. Qualified for the Champions League..
1998/99 Season – came second in the Premier League losing out by 1 point to Man Utd on the last game of the season. Qualified for the Champions League.
1999/2000 Season – came second in the Premier League, reached the UEFA Cup final losing to Galatasary on penalties and the FA cup final losing 2:1 to Liverpoool. Qualified for the Champions League.
2000/01 Season – came second in the Premier League. Qualified for the Champions League.
2001/02 Season – won the League and FA cup double for a second time under his management. Qualified for the Champions League.
2002/03 Season – 2nd in the Premier League and won the FA cup. Qualified for the Champions League.
2003/04 Season – won the Premier League and made history going the whole season unbeaten. Qualified for the Champions League.
2004/05 – 2nd in the Premier League, won the FA cup beating United in the final on penalties. Qualified for the Champions League.
Significant signings: Vieira, Anelka, Petite, Ljunberg, Kanu, Overmars, Henry, Pires, Wiltord, Edu, Gilberto, Van Bronckhorst, Fàbregas,
Touré, Campbell, Reyes, Van Persie, Flamini
Achievements off the pitch: sold Anelka for £23m and built a ‘state of the art’ training facility admired the world over.
Arsène Part II
February 2004 – construction work started on the construction of The Emirates Sadium
2005/06 Season – 4th in the Premier League, reached the final of the Champions league. Qualified for the Champions League.
July 2006 – moved into The Emirates Stadium
2006/07 Season – 4th in the Premier League. Qualified for the Champions League.
David Dein leaves Arsenal
2007/08 Season – 3rd in the Premier League. Qualified for the Champions League.
2008/09 Season – 4th in the Premier League. Qualified for the Champions League.
2009/10 Season – ????
Significant signings: Hleb, Eboue, Diaby, Adebayor, Walcott, Rosicky, Nasri, Arshavin, Vermaelen
Achievements off the pitch: presided over and had major influence on all aspects of the building of the magnificent Emirates Stadium.
So there you have it:
Part I – 9 seasons of scintillating football, winning the Premiership 3 times (the double twice) and the FA Cup 4 times.
Part II – 5 seasons (if you include the present one) in the footballing doldrums.
The only characteristic that both eras share is qualification for the Champions League every year.
I have included the building of the Emirates Stadium, David Dein’s departure and the new players signed in the timeline because they are often cited as factors in our change of fortunes.
Is it fair or even accurate to evaluate Arsène’s tenure in these terms?
Has HE changed or just reacted to changes in our financial position and the insane economics of world football?
Is he obsessed with a mission that appears to have failed and is losing support from even his most ardent admirers?
Is he stubborn or just willing to be a fall guy for the Board?
Has he lost the plot, or can he really be that brilliant that sometime soon it will all come together as he predicts and ‘project youth’ ultimately succeeds?
Or is he just a business man who has consistently produced a healthy profit for his employers?
Your answer to these questions will define what side you are on in the ever widening divide that separates Arsenal fans. It is undeniable that the ‘it’s time he went’ lobby is growing and as a result the ‘trust him, he knows what he’s doing’ believers are becoming marginalized and more aggressive in their defence of his actions.
I can’t bring myself to want Arsene gone, but I do feel he needs to prove his point by the end of this season or accept that there is another way and reinforce the squad significantly in the summer (hold on, didn’t I say that about the same time last year!)
I hate to hear our manager who was previously lauded for his footballing ethos and integrity being ridiculed in the press and on the radio. He has been mocked. Fans who support him are labeled as deluded. The team is viewed as ‘not serious competition’.
Today we play the dippers. Make no mistake, this IS a must win if we have any hope of winning the title. With Villa playing Manu and Everton playing Chelsea there are two possible scenarios. If all results go our way, we would be 6 points behind Chelsea and 4 behind Manu and 8 points clear of pool. If they don’t, we could be 12 points behind Chelsea, 10 behind Manu and have pool breathing down our necks only 2 points behind us.
Let’s match pool at their game and beat them with ours. If we defend well, we will win.