As a child, I had no knowledge of Arsenal Football Club. Spoiled for choice, the allocation of my sporting heart was split between my favorite collegiate and professional baseball, basketball, football, and hockey teams. Playing Fifa in my mid-teens provided the initial exposure, but almost non-existent Premier League media coverage meant I could not become meaningfully engrossed even if I tried. The rise of social media’s popularity and increased media coverage in the mid-00’s served as the catalyst of my affection for Arsenal. Who was located at the epicenter of said affection? Arsene Wenger.
A remarkable career always produces remarkable words that evenually become classics: Caviar to sausages. Prettiest wife. Success to stupid people. Marrying Miss World. Old Traffordish. We don’t buy superstars. A child with ice cream.
His words are well documented, flood our conscious on social media, and will forever live in infamy.
I’ve set out to do something different to honor the man I’ve admired for so long. I did some digging for the best quotes stated about Arsene Wenger. Below are five quotes that I feel start to summarize his remarkable career and overall footballing ideology. After all, it’s the capacity to inspire others and revolutionize entities that cements your place in history.
5. Ozil on his Greeting Style:
“He’s the most gentlemanly coach I’ve ever played under. When he comes into the dressing room in the morning he shakes everybody’s hand. A firm handshake and he’ll look you in the eye. If he happens to miss a player and see him for the first time on the ground, the personal greeting will take place there. In winter he even takes off his gloves before shaking hands. I actually think that every club should have a morning routine like this. I like it when people show respect for each other.”
– Mesut Ozil, 2017
Glowing words from Ozil in his autobiogaphy, Gunning For Glory, in regards to how Arsene Wenger greeted staff and players each and every day. This is the type of gesture that proves his high levels of respect and attention to detail to everything Arsenal.
4. Ferguson Just After His Retirement:
“Over the years we enjoyed some fantastic battles and you could say we had survived together and respected each other’s efforts to play good football. I always enjoy watching Arsène’s sides – Arsenal play the right way. Playing against them always presented special challenges that I burned many hours over the years thinking about. He has always been a conscientious member of our trade who makes it his business to help other managers. Perhaps the biggest compliment I could give Arsène is that I could never be anything other than competitive with my rival for 17 years.”
– Alex Ferguson, 2014
The only manager in the English game that can be realistically compared to Wenger is Sir Alex. These words of praise for Arsene’s most bitter rival speak volumes. “Arsenal play the right way” is especially powerful.
3. Paul Merson on the Impact Arsene Had on Him:
“I played under him for just under a year, it was the fittest I ever was. It was like clockwork. It was a machine. He was so far ahead of his time, it was unbelievable.”
– Paul Merson, 2018
His first words about Arsene after the announcement speak about how he advanced fitness and nutrition in English Football. “Diet” is one of the first pieces of evidence people point to in Arsene’s profound impact on the English game.
2. Statement From a Rare Alexis Interview:
“Arsene Wenger is different, he’s a purist. He’s a professor of football. A professor.”
– Alexis Sanchez, 2017
These words are perfectly imperfect in every way. Alexis’ struggle with English and to clearly communicate his thoughts but at the same time getting right to the crux of the matter. Arsene as a “football purist” registers deeply with me because of his belief in players developing an organic understanding of themselves as well as partnerships on the pitch.
1. Rare Praise From “The Chosen One”:
“Look at the way teams play against Arsenal. They don’t believe they can win. They don’t believe.”
– Jose Mourinho, 2004
These words are dated and from well over a decade ago. That said, Mourinho’s words as well as the near obsessive criticism that followed subsequently speak volumes to the overall respect he has for Arsene. This speaks to the utter dominance Wenger’s Arsenal sides, at just more than seven years into his reign, dominated the football landscape.
Even his most ardent critics will admit that Arsene was a visionary. Visonionaries conjure from others words and turns of phrase that captivate, inspire, and live long in the memory.
I didn’t know George Graham, Stewart Houston, or Bruce Rioch and personally, I love it. It means my favorite sports memories, all stem from the figurehead of team that now owns the vast majority of sporting heart. They all come from Arsene Wenger. Merci Arsene, and I hope the words above play some small part in honoring what will be an incredible legacy.
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