Arsene Wenger is about 69 today, and we look back over some of his greatest achievements to celebrate the great man’s birthday.
Arsene Wenger played club football in Strasbourg in France (or Switzerland) and was best known for being a defender in the mould of Alberto Mendez.
He moved into management as it became apparent that he wasn’t very good at playing, but incredibly it transpired that he wasn’t half bad at the management of the players he wasn’t quite as good as.
He then moved to France, where he already lived, and managed some girl called Nancy, then moved into management and won some stuff with Monaco (I expect). His adopted son George Weah, Lilian Thuram and Thierry Henry were just three of the soon to become big names that weren’t as big as they wouldn’t have been without Arsene Wenger.
He then moved to Japan, where he learned yet another language, taking his tally to 14, and also won the league and some cups (probably) with Japanish side Nagasaki Grumpish Eight.
It was 1997 when the great man moved to his dream club and Arsene’s Arsenal Army was born.
Journalists had no idea who he was and ‘Arsene Who?’ was one back page headline as he took over from Bruce Rioch, the same journalists ended up with more than oeuf dans le visage as Wenger started winning stuff on a more than regular basis.
In Wenger’s first full season at the club he won the double, Arsenal’s first double since 1971, and before the end of the season had also invented pasta. He also told everyone in England that eating healthy food made you healthy and drinking alcohol was actually bad for you, and smoking cigarettes did you no favours either.
It was a topsy turvy season, we managed to claw back a 13 point deficit in February, kickstarted by an incredible win at Old Trafford, with Arsenal’s Irish superstar Marc O’Vermars grabbing the only goal of the game.
Even though he was busy winning the FA Cup and the Premier League title, he also managed to convert ‘lad’ footballers Tony Adams and Ray Parlour into piano playing, corduroy wearing, glasses sporting poshos. He also transformed Steve Bould from one of the lads to one of his assistant managers overnight by shaving his hair off while he slept after a night on the sauce with Vic Akers.
In 2002 Wenger won his second double, doubling the amount of doubles Spurs had won, and in 2004, he managed an Arsenal side that didn’t lose a single league game. Something never done before or since, apart from the time Preston did it in the 1800s due to no other teams being invented yet and something Celtic have done a few times now, mainly due to Scottish football being mostly rubbish.
The game which bought the incredible 49 match run to an end, was won by Manchester United at Old Trafford under controversial circumstances. Wayne Rooney dived to win a penalty, and Man United fan Mike Riley ensured the day was all about him as usual.
In 2006, Arsene Wenger steered The Gunners to a Champions League final, where we were just 13 minutes away from winning the trophy. Sol Campbell had put us 1-0 up but we had to endure most of the game with only 10 men after Jens Lehmann was sent off. Robert Pires was the makeweight for the substitution of Manuel Almunia, and Thierry Henry was so upset that his French mate went off he missed about 12 1-on-1’s on purpose and joined Barcelona to celebrate.
In the summer of 2006, as he had no football to worry about he set about building The Emirates Stadium for Arsenal, and he even had time to turn Highbury into flats before the season began again.
The move to The Emirates meant we had no money for players, and we had to sell any decent players we had to be able to pay Wenger’s Wickes and B&Q store cards off.
Players such as Cesc Fabregas, Robin van Persie, Samir Nasri and Emmanuel Adebayor were all players Wenger had to sell to boost the budget buffer. I think you’ll agree that it’s no coincidence that they all turned out to be massive bellends, during and after their moves away from Arsenal forgetting who it was that made them the players they had now become.
These financial restrictions led to a barren spell of success, where we only managed to win 5 FA Cups more than Spurs and we even managed to lose a League Cup final in the last minute to Birmingham at one of Spurs many grounds.
Over his Arsenal career, which spanned over 22 years and 18 Tottenham Managers, he had plenty of ups and downs, mainly falling out with Alex Ferguson, Jose Mourinho, Wojciech Szczęsny and his wife.
He also wore some smart, weird clothes in one of them posh, expensive men’s magazines and used to smoke fags before discovering they weren’t very healthy for you and giving up. He also sacked Wojciech Szczęsny from being our goalie after he was caught sucking on a Camel after letting in two clangers at Southampton during a humiliating defeat.
During his star-spangled and trophy riddled career at Arsenal, he was also awarded an OBE by Arsenal fan, The Queen, and was also awarded a gold Premier League trophy to celebrate the unbeaten season in 2006.
So, a big thank you to Arsene Wenger and happy birthday to our most successful manager, inventor of pasta, lad convertor and discoverer of the harm drinking and smoking can do to a human person.