By Richard Morgan
Arsene Wenger divides opinion among Arsenal fans, with those who want him out and those who support him. The real question should be: what has Wenger done for Arsenal football club? In this piece on Wenger I will outline what Wenger has achieved and put them side by side with those supposed failures at the end I will put my reason and thoughts on who has been the greatest Arsenal manager of all time.
Before outlining Wenger’s successes I will start with what many say are his failures. The biggest and the irrefutable is that he hasn’t won the league in 12 years. His second is no champions league trophy or not getting past the round of 16 for six years. The third and fourth (and probably the most refutable claims) against Wenger is that he won’t spend money on transfers and that he is tactically naive; both these are refutable and have been done in previous articles and I won’t spend space and time refuting those claims here.
Now what has Wenger done for Arsenal? Well, first, he changed the culture at Arsenal football club by bringing in a different type of professionalism. Players stopped drinking and smoking heavily new diets and training regimes were brought in and he improved the technical capabilities of the squad he inherited.
He has brought some outstanding players for the club during his tenure which has led to a style and brand of football that not many teams in the world can better.
Secondly, he took the club and has moved it into a modern new stadium with outstanding facilities and near perfect playing surface. Alongside that he has improved London Colney and the Hales End Academy site transforming them into state of the art training complexes with fantastic medical centres.
He has slowly transformed the Academy into one of the best in the country which will of course benefit the club in the long run either by having non-expensive top class players for the first team or players of a good enough calibrate that can be sold on to generate a profit for the club.
Thirdly, and what has probably got him more than his fair share of critics is that whilst under the financial constraints of moving to the Emirates Wenger managed year on year to attain a top four finish thus ensuring Arsenal being at Europe’s top table year on year. Also actually qualifying year on year, a feat not even Mourinho achieved at Chelsea or Ferguson at Manchester United. Remember this was done when selling the best players we had and replacing them with lesser known talents. Of course, in this period, there were the finals that he made but never won.
Last and probably most importantly it’s the trophies that Wenger has won in his time at Arsenal. Wenger in his twenty years has won three premiership titles and six FA Cups; nine pieces of silverware in twenty years or a trophy every 2.22 recurring years. Of course, there are as well the five charity/community shields; not an official trophy as it is considered a friendly, but a piece of silverware nevertheless and if you added that in to honours won he would have Arsenal achieving honours every 1.42 years. But let’s leave the Charity/Community Shield out of it. One in every 2.2 it is.
However, when it comes to judging whether he is the best ever Arsenal manager that is a difficult thing. Part of me says he is the greatest ever manager that has ever graced our great club; but part of me thinks that award title should go to Herbert Chapman because without his successes and stewardship of the club there may have never been an Arsenal football club left. He is however the most successful manager of Arsenal football club.
I will leave it to you to debate whether he is the greatest of all our managers.
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