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Arsène Wenger Stadium – Why The Emirates Should Be Renamed

Doesn’t it seem strange that there is no Arsène Wenger statue outside of the Emirates Stadium? Despite all of the sacrifices, hard work and achievements at Arsenal, Arsène Wenger has never been properly rewarded or acknowledged for his 22 years at the club. His Arsenal legacy has not been appropriately respected.

Arsène Wenger is Arsenal’s greatest ever manager. The Frenchman spent 22 years at Arsenal, winning a great deal of silverware, guiding the club through the difficult transition period of moving into and paying off the new Emirates Stadium whilst rejecting approaches from Real Madrid and other top clubs along the way.

If you look at how other clubs have treated their legends, Sir Alex Ferguson has a stand named after him at Manchester United, Real Madrid have named their stadium, the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium after the influential Santiago Bernabéu and Ajax have named their stadium the Johan Cruyff Arena to honour Johan Cruyff.

A common criticism of the Emirates Stadium is the corporate nature of the stadium’s name. It’s not directly related to Arsenal, in fact it’s not Arsenal at all. The Emirates Stadium as a name is as soulless as Stoke City’s renamed bet365 Stadium. What happens in 2028 when the Emirates naming rights expire?

Two decades of dedication should be rewarded with some form of tribute.

Do Arsenal sell their name out to the highest bidder? It would be much more suitable and practical to instead honour and acknowledge Arsène Wenger’s loyalty, commitment and sacrifices involved whilst paying off the new stadium.

Forced to sell some of his best players along the way, Arsène Wenger promised to the banks that he would stay. In the very words of Wenger himself: “When we built the stadium the banks demanded that I signed for five years. Do you want me to say how many clubs I turned down during that period?”

The many footballing sides over the years that were built by Wenger, consistent Champions League football, trophies and the memories he has left Arsenal fans deserve be honoured. At the very least a statue should be built. Along with much needed statues for George Graham and Ian Wright.

Alan Pardew who shared some bad blood with Wenger in the past, had this to say in 2014, “The stadium should be named after Arsène,” “The job he did with that move across from Highbury, when he had all that debt and had to be very careful with his transfer budget, was incredible. It was a miracle that he kept them in the Champions League.”

Prior to the naming rights being paid for by the Emirates, the stadium was known as Ashburton Grove, meaning there are currently three names for the stadium, “The Emirates”, Ashburton Grove and Arsenal Stadium (which is used for UEFA Competitions).

Re-naming the stadium would install a unanimous name and resolve any issues over what the “real” name of the stadium is or should be and guarantee continuity.

Having the stadium’s name linked to a significant person in Arsenal’s history, would connect more with the supporters rather than that of a sponsor or a location. A step closer to regaining the soul Arsenal has lost since the move from Highbury to the Emirates.

Other managers, coaches, key figures in football and fans can see the impact Wenger has had on Arsenal. Yet for some reason, at Arsenal itself, those who run the club have deemed issuing Wenger a suitable tribute for everything he has done for the club, not important.

Emirates

Arsenal were Arsène’s everything – the least the club could do is properly honour him.

If you glance back to 2013, Arsène Wenger stated in a press conference that “You will miss me when I’m gone”. The passion, frustrations, the good times and the bad will be missed. The love he had for Arsenal. Even in his final years when things were going wrong, Wenger still believed he could turn the sinking ship around.

Once the current deal for the stadium’s naming rights expire, the stadium’s name should be changed to that of Arsenal’s most successful and longest serving manager. Arsène Wenger gave his all for the club, he was totally dedicated and the best way to honour his time at the club is to rename the Emirates Stadium after him.

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11 Responses to Arsène Wenger Stadium – Why The Emirates Should Be Renamed

  1. Silentstan November 15, 2020 at 12:49 pm #

    No bloody way!!!! If it were any manager it should be Chapman

    • Raphael dF November 15, 2020 at 11:50 pm #

      The only real issue with the Emirates being re-named after Herbert Chapman, is that Wenger had more of an influence on the stadium itself as he was part of the plans on it’s development and of course guided Arsenal through the years where they paid off the majority of the stadium. I personally think Wenger is more deserving of the stadium being named after him, however I would be more than happy if it was changed to that of Herbert Chapman.

  2. Crispen November 15, 2020 at 1:00 pm #

    The article is stating th obvious.. In Arsene we believe.

  3. jjgsol November 15, 2020 at 2:50 pm #

    They will sell the name to highest bidder again.

    Money is all that he owners and the beurocrats they have installed in Wenger’s place are interested in.

    Hence the Ozil embarrassment and the current playing problems.

    Maybe, in the end, they will bring hm back in some role in order to steady the rocky ship.

    However, that would be too intelligent.

  4. Naz November 15, 2020 at 2:59 pm #

    Sell it to the highest bidder, we need the money. Name two stands after Arsene and Herbert. I’d also suggest the other two to be formally recognised as North Bank Highbury and Clock End Highbury. Would love a Highbury touch.

  5. Joy November 15, 2020 at 3:58 pm #

    This is a lunatic suggestion, obviously from someone who didn’t experience the matchdays during the last 5 years of Wengers reign, which polarised the fans.

    • Raphael dF November 16, 2020 at 12:18 am #

      I would be interested to hear what exactly is the lunatic suggestion. Naming the stadium after Wenger? If you disagree on that, I would think you would at least agree he deserves a stand or a statue, which I did mention in the article. Alongside George Graham and Ian Wright who should receive statues. Do you disagree that Wenger deserves any form of tribute and thanks?

      Would love to hear back from you,
      Raphael

  6. Tony Lane November 15, 2020 at 4:06 pm #

    No thanks.

    Yes. Early Wenger won domestic titles for a while.

    Late Wenger was implicitly part of Arsenal’s sickening decline by working with Kroenke to underfund or misspend investment in the squad, buying most of the deadwood we can’t now shift.

    He also earned over £100 million during his time at Arsenal, handed Ozil the ridiculous contract he’s currently on, and never accepted responsibility for anything that went wrong. ‘Why are you looking at me?’ Um, because you’re the manager!

    And all this while never winning a European trophy. Nb. being eight minutes away does not count.

    Wenger is not this wronged salt-of-the-Earth charity, victim figure you’re trying to paint. He was handsomely rewarded for his efforts, and is still earning coin through his association with Arsenal with his new book, which should have been called ‘I Nearly Signed (insert name here)’..

    Let’s stop calling him the Messiah.

    He was a very good manager…

    For a while.

    But no one is bigger than the club.

    No one.

    • Raphael dF November 16, 2020 at 12:12 am #

      Hi, and thanks for the comment! Yes, Wenger was given a paid contract, he didn’t work for free. The club were happy to pay him, so I don’t see any problems over how much money he made while Arsenal manager. I thought Ivan Gazidis was in charge of the Ozil contract situation? Winning a European trophy is something we never achieved under Wenger, you could argue that is a great under performance.

      Yes, Wenger was paid for his efforts. And I have no issues with him making money from a book about his time at Arsenal, and also at other clubs such as Monaco. I never said Wenger was bigger than the club or “wronged”. Rather that he and others such as Ian Wright and George Graham deserve tribute for what they have given Arsenal.

  7. allezkev November 17, 2020 at 12:55 pm #

    I hate the fact that the Arsenal Stadium is sponsored, for a long time I wouldn’t refer to it as the Emirates but as Ashburton Grove as you mentioned, but that’s a mouthful and eventually you get groomed into using the sponsored title.

    I’ve visited many stadiums named after club Presidents or other club luminaries but I was always pleased that we had a stadium called Highbury, with an East Stand, a West Stand, a Clock End and a North Bank (previously called the Laundry End), it was traditional and had a touch of class.

    This new stadium is still evolving its traditions, I like the honours that are shown around the stands, that’s a touch of class. Some of the ‘Arsenalisation’ of the stadium has been thoughtful but up till now no stands have been named after anyone, because when you do it once where do you stop?
    The Stan Kroenke End perhaps?

    Arsene needs a statue, that’s what I’d like to see, a sign of respect for all the hard work he did for us, but naming the stadium? I think that train has left the station, it’s all about the dough…

    • Raphael dF November 18, 2020 at 1:22 am #

      I like the honours shown around the stands too, very classy. Imagine the supporters reactions if Stan Kroenke named a stand after himself! To put it lightly, they would be less than pleased. One problem with the stadium’s name being sponsored is that once the current deal expires, the stadium would have been known as the Emirates for twenty plus years.

      Even if the Emirates stop being a sponsor, people will still be calling the stadium the Emirates! As it’s been known by that name for so long. I agree that Wenger needs a statue and I fully agree with your points. It would be a nice touch if the stadium was named after him, but it’s not the most likely scenario to occur. Thanks for stopping by!

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