18 Years Of Arsene Wenger: By Far The Best We’ve Ever Had.

The Frenchman reaches 18 years in charge at Arsenal - a real milestone in today's modern era.

The Frenchman reaches 18 years in charge at Arsenal – a real milestone in today’s modern era.

The Frenchman reaches 18 years in charge at Arsenal – a real milestone in today’s modern era.

Eighteen years ago on a bright October day, it was announced that Arsenal had signed a new manager in the form of Arsene Wenger. The first response by most fans and the media was one of shock, especially as Johan Cruyff had been linked most with the position. The Express summed up the general opinion when they announced his appointment with the headline: ‘Arsene who?’

Nobody knew anything about this French man who looked more like a professor than a football manager and we all struggled to make sense of the move especially after the loss of Graham and a rough season with Rioch.

Wenger walked into Arsenal and revolutionized the way the team played. He changed everything from diets to fitness to tactics and he made the team more professional on every level. The players missed their chips and Mars bars, of course, but once they adapted to the new visions it was clear to see in the football that these changes were for the best. In fact, Wenger’s healthier food and football philosophy was adopted by many other teams in the Premiership at the time.

He immediately bought Remi Garde and Patrick Vieira and by the end of his first season in charge the fans had fallen in love. That was cemented in his second season when we won the double after overcoming the 12 point lead that Man United had in the last few weeks of the season.

The few years after that weren’t filled with trophies, but the fans saw a team being built and players they had only dreamed of joining their club. They saw effort in bringing in young players and building a good future. They saw the brilliance that Wenger and Dein combined produced; the likes of Overmars, Petit, Wiltord, Henry and Pires joining the team and making the football wonderful to watch. Long gone were those famous, boring 1-0 wins – Wenger had made the football entertaining again.

Winning his second double in the 01/02 season was one of the biggest highlights of Wenger’s career, and it was made sweeter by the fact that his side won it at Old Trafford – Wiltord scoring the only goal of the game. Arsenal won every game away from home that year and that team right there was the best team Arsene ever had. It showed every single game.

They proved it once more in the 03/04 season. When Arsenal went unbeaten for the whole season, the team were nicknamed ‘The Invincibles’ and forever more that would go down in history as Arsenal and Wenger’s greatest achievement ever – and rightly so. It was a dream season for fans. To know that their team were probably the best in the world at the moment was an indescribable feeling.

Wenger has had many a great moment at Arsenal and it doesn’t matter which side of the fence you sit on, you cannot deny the fact the Frecnchman has bought Arsenal history – something the club is built upon. He has given fans moments they could only dream of as children; he has delivered many victories; and above all else, he has given them beautiful football and changed the way Arsenal play forever. He deserves respect for that, at the very least.

However, when you look at that bright history and compare it with the latter stages of his career at Arsenal, you can see the bulb has dimmed somewhat. There are things missing and the once clever professor seems a little lost. Whether it’s stubbornness or a hidden plan of brilliance lurking in the shadows, it’s fair to say the last few years have been tough for Wenger, and that is why a lot of people would like for him to step down.

Those nostalgic years where Arsenal fans walked around happy, smug and with pride are fading. The fans idolised Wenger from that first double onwards and they walked around in a Wenger Wonderland for many great years – but recently the attitude has changed.

Wenger still loves Arsenal, that is clear to see, but some of the recent decisions over the years have caused fans to change their mind. There is a big divide between fans who still believe and fans that no longer trust his philosophy, and it’s the most separated that fans have ever been.

The sad thing is whether you are Wenger in or Wenger out, the fans in the end want the same thing: the Wenger we had 18 years ago. That fresh thinking mindset, that amazing eye for youth. Overall, that ambition and ability to win no matter the cost.

It’s up to Wenger to make us all fall in love with him again, so if – or when – he leaves in 3 years, he goes on a high and to be remembered for what he achieved. He does not deserve to go out on a low, like so many managers have before him.

It just remains to be seen: does he still have that magic tucked away up those Professor’s sleeves?

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    class="comment even thread-even depth-1" id="li-comment-2160">
    Mannix

    Wenger had his best time and bad ones too,but the truth is he deserves every respect and honor. Emirates stadium is achieved because of him,he doesn’t believe in buying trophies just like Mourinho and other managers who only performs after buying stars. But Wenger himself also has his weaknesses and one of them is he is too conservative and never listened to anyone only Dein was able to tame Wenger to dance his tune.

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