Who is Arsene Wenger Dad? Well my son there is no easy answer………..

Who is Arsene Wenger Dad?

Who is Arsene Wenger Dad?

If you want a straight answer, he was the man who made me believe that football could be complete.

Let me explain: pundits, fans and some managers like to separate nice football from winning football, imposing the results-win-it-all philosophy at the top of the football pyramid.

Often used as an argument to defend their own unspectacular and often dirty approach to football, that mindset somehow grew roots in Europe and became a viable way of thinking football. Suddenly managers and teams were divided in two categories – those who play beautiful football and those who win trophies, as if playing good football would somehow prevent you from winning trophies!

Arsène Wenger landed the position vacated by Bruce Rioch and revolutionised that reasoning: taking over a team of proven winners, who built their reputation on strict discipline, unrivalled resilience and unbelievable organization. He quickly transformed them into a thrilling team, capable of playing high-speed football with an amazing degree of technical ability.

He proved so many people wrong by playing arguably the best football in Europe and also winning trophies; on the top of that, he gave us an unbeaten season and changed the face of the whole Premier League.

Who would have imagined Steve Bould chipping the ball past the opponents’ defensive line and Tony Adams smashing it past the goalkeeper? Only a visionary could have implemented that.

He built a fluid system that enables his players to express themselves, find the best position within the formation and be an integral part of the overall balance of the team. It’s fantastic when it works and the Invincibles were the quintessence of this beautiful approach.

That’s what I call complete football.

Yet, one could say that he should have won more: three Premier League titles, six FA Cups and as many Community Shields, plus a handful of lost finals – including the heart-breaking Champions League final loss against Barcelona in Paris.

That’s the problem with Arsène Wenger, son: you would always think that he and the Club could have achieved more.

Was it a lack of desire? Was it a lack of ambition? Was it an excess of condescension? We’ll never know.

That’s often the problem and perhaps to most infuriating thing about Arsène Wenger: his apparent reluctance to change. I say apparent because he transformed the team a few times but he seems so attached to his ideas that one might feel he could stand alone and face the worst storm ever, if he’s convinced that his boots are solid enough.

Arsène Wenger is a man of principles, son.

It’s noble, it’s elevating, it’s wonderful but it’s also damn difficult to understand, from the outside. I tell you, sticking to your principles against everyone and everything is perhaps the most difficult task you will face in your life. Pressure might be very high on you and you might be tempted to surrender and follow the stream but be careful with your choices, son, because one single decision might come back and haunt you forever.

At the same time, however, being completely impermeable to advices and suggestions could prove to be costly too and some might say that Arsène Wenger is pushing this concept to the very extreme. It looks like he’s playing the one-against-the-whole-world role but that is far from being a fault: as an ardent believer, Arsène Wenger cannot afford to be half-hearted in what he does or he would fail. You either believe in what you do and go all the way or do not even bother starting.

“If you don’t believe you can do it then you don’t have a chance at all” he used to say.

I wish you’ll have the same mental strength, growing up.

Stuck with such players

Stuck with such players

I admire this attitude but wouldn’t have had the endless patience he had with several players and I wouldn’t have kept the faith in the likes of Almunia, Djourou, Senderos, Denilson and many other unfinished products, like he did. I would like to say he shouldn’t have done that either and be more ruthless at times. Because things might have turned out differently in recent years, but I really like his approach to man-management and I can’t hide the fact that I always believe in happy endings – which perhaps explains the numerous disappointments I experienced because  the Arsenal.

Should the manager of a top football Club be so unreasonably nice to his players? Perhaps not.

That’s the other “problem” with him: Arsène Wenger is a loyal man, son.

He’s loyal to his players, his loyal to his principles and his loyal to the Arsenal, the Club of a lifetime.

He arrived as a perfect stranger and proved many people wrong, received a lot of plaudits and imposed his style to the Club and the league – building a legacy that will last forever.

He reached heights that only Herbert Chapman was able to climb and perhaps surpassed him – time will tell – but had the very bad idea to stay long enough to somehow tarnish it. He’s been too loyal, if I can say that.

He decided to stay on board and go through the most delicate period of the Arsenal’s recent history, the moment Highbury was sentenced to death and the Emirates Stadium was built to replace it; suddenly we needed a bigger home to compete with the élite Clubs in England and in Europe and that translated into huge debts, big financial restrictions and virtually zero chances to complete for silverware against the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City – let alone Barcelona, Real Madrid, PSG and Bayern Munich.



He has done an amazing job in keeping us in the Champions League despite Almunia, Djourou, Denilson, Chamakh, Clichy and many, many other average players. He did wonderfully well in spotting young players for relatively small amounts of money and sell them for a huge plus value but fans wanted to win and things started to turn sour.

After all, no one really forced him to stick to Almunia for eight years or Denilson for five years, there were better options out there who could have maybe improved our chances to win.

Too Loyal

Too Loyal

At some point, the minimum target at the beginning of the season turned into the maximum aim and fans started to drift apart from one of the most unifying managers ever.

Should he have left after the FA Cup win against Hull City? He could, he would have left as a winner and somehow closed a circle, going back to winning days after a long march through the desert.

He could have walked away earlier and join one of the European giants that kept offering him a prestigious dugout; he would have conserved his status and left someone else to deal with the restrictions and difficulties of the Emirates Stadium payoff period – Sir Alex Ferguson style – but he’s a man of principles and he stayed.

Another manager would have walked away, perhaps rightly so – but not Arsène Wenger.

Tarnished Reputation

Tarnished Reputation

It surely ruined his reputation and I personally find it painful to see how fans are turning against one of the finest managers in world football history but he knew what he was going to happen: trophies are the only thing that count at the end of the day and there’s no place for gratitude in football, these days less than ever.

Despite that, he will always be the man who changed the Arsenal forever and took the Club to another level.

That’s who Arsène Wenger is, son.

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12 Responses to Who is Arsene Wenger Dad? Well my son there is no easy answer………..

  1. Anu March 15, 2016 at 4:18 pm #

    This is beautiful and sad and emotional. I’ll always be in Arsene Wenger’s camp, nobody can replace him or what he has done for the club, and I’ll always remain loyal to him – he and the Invincibles Arsenal were the reason my love affair with the beautiful game and the club was cemented and continued. But something’s got to change (the players are also at fault for this, not just him, but he is the manager and should be having a better impact) and I think, for the first time in all these years, that maybe his time is almost up,that maybe he has given all that he can. It causes me physical pain to admit that as someone who has always defended him (and rightly so, on many occasions; he’s not appreciated enough) and someone who will always love and respect him. But there it is. (I realise I’ve overused “always” but this is a difficult topic so bear with me).

    • AndreaR March 16, 2016 at 10:50 am #

      Thank you Anu,
      your feedback is really appreciated.

      I tried to imagine myself looking back at the AW era and explain who he was, glad you liked the result.

      There’s one thing I do not agree with your comment, though: I am still convinced AW can pull a last trick and win us the league – why not this year? – despite Guardiola arriving at City and other Clubs getting stronger.

      I see him as motivated as ever, if only his players could be as resilient…

      • Anu March 16, 2016 at 12:35 pm #

        I still believe we can win the league this year if we can go back to playing like we were at the start of the season. And he certainly deserves to win the league and see his current project (which has been a long time coming thanks to so many issues) to its successful conclusion, like with the FA Cups over the last 2 years. I would love nothing more 🙂

        But I’m not as convinced about next season onwards if we keep making the same mistakes under different guises. Yeah the players are also at fault and have let him down, but if he, as the man at the helm, can’t get them to perform (think Fergie with that last title – that group of players was nowhere near the talent and depth at our disposal currently, even with those unlucky injuries), then after a point, you have to wonder what exactly is going wrong, you know? Maybe, like you pointed out, he is too nice and too patient with his players and expects them to all understand his way of doing things at a level that they cannot without being specifically told – if that makes sense?

        • AndreaR March 16, 2016 at 4:14 pm #

          I fear it’s too late for the title this year but I’d love to be proved wrong. On the top of the 8 points gap and Leicester/Spurs not showing any signs of nerves or fatigue, we’re far from playing acceptable football and we lack a lot of ingredients to stay in the mix: we’re not defending well, we struggle to create clear-cut chances and we’re very wasteful in front of goal – so I’m not very confident about our title charge this season.
          On the top of that, we’re missing Cazorla vision in the middle and none seems to be able to dictate the play from midfield, which complicates things even more…

          Back to Wenger’s future, I’m quite sure he’d be capable of turning things around – like he did in 2012 – but I clearly see your point

  2. Brian March 16, 2016 at 6:44 am #

    A good summary but very poor conclusion. The end is nowhere near. Who are you to decide when the end should or could be? Wenger creates & moulds a whole system & deserves the right to see the whole into fruition. There is yet a series of wonderful movements in his symphony.

    • AndreaR March 16, 2016 at 10:55 am #

      Thanks for your feedback Brian, glad you liked the article.

      I’d like to clarify that I do not wish for his tenure to end anytime soon; it will end, eventually, and there will always be this dark spot to tarnish his otherwise wonderful legacy. He’s not solely at fault for this, tho: board, staff, players also contributed to the regular shortcomings in the past years and should take a part of the blame.

      I regret that things turned so sour recently because he doesn’t deserve to be such a dividing figure among Arsenal fans

  3. Walter Broeckx March 16, 2016 at 7:08 am #

    Beautiful written! Thanks for being a sensible voice in a mad internet (Arsenal) world.

    • AndreaR March 16, 2016 at 10:57 am #

      Thank you Walter! I try to count to 1,000,000,000 before saying/writing anything about the Arsenal – it worked this time, apparently

  4. Victor Thompson March 16, 2016 at 11:02 am #

    Well written but sad article Andrea. For me, it is sad that it has come to this that even the likes of you and Alex ( Ths Czar ) are coming to the view that he has to go.

    If he won`t go because of misguided principles then the old adage ( “sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind”) applies. If David Dein was still at Arsenal he could have been the one to put his arm around him and try to stop him from hurting himself. Alas, there does not seem to be anyone of David`s stature at Arsenal now.

    Principles are admirable and Arsenal undoubtedly benefited from Arsene`s, but at the time when Real Madrid etc. came calling, he was at the pinnacle of his career. That time has gone and he has not kept up with other managers. If there was any sign of him recovering his mojo, I for one would gladly support him but sadly, there are no spring buds appearing to indicate that Arsene`s winter is over.

    • AndreaR March 16, 2016 at 1:34 pm #

      Thank you Victor, however my blog doesn’t hint at any sudden exit for Le Prof; his time will end, eventually, and he will always be remembered as the person who changed the face of the Club, regardless of when and how his reign will come to end.

      I personally feel he still has what it takes to lead us to the top, I’d like him to be more ruthless with his players and exige more from himself and people around him.

      I agree that he’s missing a strong ally in the board, someone able both to support and confront him.

      We can only keep supporting the Club and see what happens next….

      • Victor Thompson March 16, 2016 at 6:36 pm #

        Thanks Andrea. I have to respect loyalty and I would not fault you for that. I never get an abusive reply from you.

        I accept that you have a different perspective than me but I cannot share your optimism that Arsene can see us through. He has a fixative personality which prevents him from seeing any alternative to his own approach to the problems of a top flight Football club. The opinions of thousands of fans to dot concern him and he cannot see what so many others do, that his methods in 2016 are wrong and in need of refreshment.

        The situation is further complicated by circumstances which would never have occurred to a young supporter on the cusp of becoming a dyed in the wool supporter of his chosen club. The machinations of big business have taken over.

        That child will develop a passion for the club which perhaps his father and his father before him supported and when he does Stan Kroenke ( on his own admission ) will use that connection as a conduit for profit.

        In the meantime people like you and me can only sit on the sidelines and hope that the welfare of our club is being properly looked after. We see Arsenal as a proud club – an elite club which belongs in the same company as other clubs of similar stature and we want to win the premier League and the Euro Championship.

        The regime we have now will deny us those ambitions because ( again as Kroenke says ) the reason for buying into a football club is not to win trophies but to expand the Brand. Arsene is doing that for him, but the fans for whom it costs a considerable financial contribution and an even greater emotional commitment are dismissed. Our opinions do not matter. Like you, I am a committed Arsenal supporter and I have been for over half a century. I cannot walk away and support another club. I have always supported Arsenal and no other.

        I don`t know what the solution to this is. I do know that unless Arsene cannot be persuaded to resign, the little return which we get from our commitment will never materialise. He is a good man and I respect his principles but If I was the only one who felt the way I do, I could respect his refusal to consider my opinion. That is not the case now. There are thousands of fans like me who share these views and in my respectful submission, they should not be ignored.

      • Victor Thompson March 16, 2016 at 6:44 pm #

        Have you received my reply

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