On This Day, The Professor Officially Signs With Arsenal

On 1 October 2021, Wenger celebrated his 25th year as Arsenal manager. Wenger has handled Arsenal since 1996. Actually Wenger’s appointment was confirmed on 28 September 1996. However, according to arsenal.com, the French manager’s first day as Arsenal manager was on 1 October 1996.

The appointment of Wenger as Arsenal’s new manager at that time was actually quite the attention of England. Because unlike now whose name is so well known to the world, at that time not many people knew about Wenger’s actions. Even the Evening Standard newspaper even gave the title “Arsene Who?” when Arsenal officially introduced Wenger as their new manager.

The motive behind Wenger’s appointment as Arsenal’s new coach at the time was not that he resembled the Arsenal coach he replaced, Bruce Rioch. Allegedly, the election of Wenger who eliminated rumors that Johan Cruyff was Rioch’s replacement was due to Wenger’s close relationship with Arsenal’s vice-chairman, David Dein, whom the two met when Arsenal faced Queen Park Rangers in 1988.

Prior to managing Arsenal, Wenger had just won the J-League Super Cup with Nagoya Grampus. It was Wenger’s second season as a coach in Japan. But with the addition of the 1995 J-League best coach, it was enough for Dein to appoint him as Arsenal’s new coach.

The captain of the Arsenal team at that time, Tony Adams, had doubts about Wenger’s capabilities. Despite having the achievement of having brought AS Monaco to win Ligue 1 in 1987-1988 and the Coup de France in 1990-1991, Wenger is really less familiar with European football, especially England.

“Initially, I thought, does this Frenchman know football? He wears glasses like a schoolteacher,” Adams said. “Then, can he clearly speak English?” But at that time Adams should not have worried about Wenger’s language skills. Because in fact, this Strasbourg-born manager is fluent in five European languages, and can also speak Japanese.

Even so, it even became a mockery of Sir Alex Ferguson, who at that time was still in charge of Manchester United. “They say he [Wenger] is smart, right? He speaks five languages. I have a 15-year-old boy from Ivory Coast who also speaks five languages.” Doubts on Wenger at that time did come from all directions. At that time there was still an assumption that the English Premier League could only be won by a manager from Britinia. This assumption arises because foreigners do not really understand British football culture.

Wenger is certainly getting a lot of pressure on this assumption. Moreover, Arsenal, who at that time had only won the Premier League 10 times, was always led by a British manager. He is also predicted not to be as successful as George Graham, the Scottish manager who led Arsenal to seven trophies, including the UEFA Cup Winners Cup. “Arsenal maybe a little crazy to appoint me who has no name, a foreigner and no good history. But they have to be like that, maybe not crazy, but brave,” said Wenger in 2009.

The gamble paid off. In his second season, Arsenal won the English Premier League, or Arsenal’s 11th league champion. In 2002 and 2004, Wenger then added two other Premier League trophies, with a record that until now has not been broken: unbeaten throughout the 2003-2004 season. Wenger’s success is arguably a new era for the English Premier League. Due to the existence of successful ‘foreign managers’ in England, many English teams have also brought in foreign managers. Even now starting to strewn foreign managers in the English Premier League.

Now, although Wenger only gave three Premier League trophies, six FA Cup trophies and six Charity Shields trophies, Wenger is still a figure who stands on the sidelines when Arsenal undergo the game. Yes, when MU supporters began to get to know the figures of David Moyes and Louis van Gaal after Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsenal supporters still had high hopes for this coach nicknamed Le Professeur.

No matter how good or bad the results are for Arsenal, who has been with Wenger for more than 1000 games, never dare to hope that Arsenal’s longest-serving and most successful manager will be dismissed (his contract expires at the end of the 2016/2017 season).


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *