By Walter Broeckx
It is known by every Arsenal supporter in the world by now I guess. Arsène Wenger has been Arsenal manager for 20 years manager. An amazing long time in the current football climate.
People expect us to write an article to celebrate this milestone in his and Arsenal’s history.
But to be honest… after having written so many articles about Wenger in the past, after standing up for this great man in our history on many occasions, after celebrating our wins with him (‘with’ in a virtual way of course as I have never had a meeting with the man himself…. Could that be on my absolute wish list?), after suffering the defeats with him, after being half happy/half unhappy when we draw a match… After all that, what could I write?
Tony started this website in 2008 because he was sick of the then relentless attacks on this great man. I absolutely adore Mr. Wenger for what he has done to Arsenal over the years. So I found this first my spiritual home as I agreed with most of what Tony wrote. And then got involved in writing myself. And I have dedicated a big part of my own life in the last 8 years or so on writing on this website and defending Wenger.
One could say that for the moment I am running out of words a bit.
And I feel a bit strange. Suddenly a big part of the media seems to embrace Wenger. Only last week they were doing all they can to bring him down. And now I see article after article telling us what a great person Wenger is.
In football terms we sometimes say: if you are not with us in times of defeat, you should not celebrate with us when we win. And that is how I feel about how the media treats him now. The word “snakes” comes to my mind.
We are no snakes. No, from the start this site has been set up to give a voice of support for Wenger. This has been our main inspiration all those years. Along came other ideas and themes. But if it hadn’t been for Wenger….Untold wouldn’t have been the same I think.
Sometimes we stood (together with Arsenal – virtual) with our backs against the wall. Not only Arsène had thrown in his direction all the abuse and filth possible. We suffered the same fate. But looking back at it… I don’t think Tony will feel sorry for one moment for having started Untold with the main idea of defending our manager, players and club all the time.
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When I write this I just checked it and I saw that we have published 6,588 articles on Untold since Tony started it in January 2008. So you could say that we have stood up for Wenger some 6,588 times.
So what more can I say about Wenger?
The only thing I can come up with for now are these 3 words:
THANK YOU Arsène!
THANK YOU! And I hope you will remain with us for many more years!
And as our Untold banner in the stadium shows one of your quotes: “Football should be an art” I think we have the right to say that Untold Arsenal has been there since the start to stand up for this.
We could say that Untold Arsenal is the place where defending Wenger and his art has become an art in itself.
I do hope that Wenger stays in good health and that he can stay at our club for many many years. And that Untold Arsenal will stay what it always has been: a safe place where we can enjoy wins, bemoan our defeats but always do it with respect for the club, players and the manager.
As one of the chants I really love to hear during matches goes: “There’s only one Arsène Wenger” I can say there surely is only one.
If I were the guy from Borussia Mönchengladbach who starts the chant : give me a B…. and you all would be waiting for my next shout I just would sing this right now
WE LOVE YOU Arsène, WE DO!
WE LOVE YOU ARSENAL, WE DO!
And if I wee to write a text to put on a banner I would write this:
Arsène Wenger, THANK YOU FOR THE MEMORIES, TIME TO WRITE MORE HISTORY!
It has been an honour and a privilege to have been an Arsenal supporter in the Wenger years. Thank you for that Arsène!
10 early Arsène Wenger anniversaries you might have missed
22 October 1949: Arsène Wenger born.
2 January 1989: Arsène Wenger made his first visit to Highbury, dropping in to watch a match while returning to Monaco from watching a game in Turkey in preparation for a European tie. Arsenal beat Tottenham 2-0. It launched his friendship with David Dein.
14 August 1996. Before any announcement that he was to be the new manager, the first Arsène Wenger signings, Remi Garde (on a free transfer) and Patrick Vieira (£3.5m) joined Arsenal following instructions from Mr Wenger while he was still in Japan ending his contract.
12 September 1996: Pat Rice took over from Stewart Houston as manager, after it became clear to Houston that he was not in line to take over from Bruce Rioch. Pat managed three games, winning all three, scoring eight conceding one, before Arsène Wenger arrived and made Pat his deputy.
16 September 1996: Arsenal announced that their new manager would be Arsène Wenger. The Evening Standard ran the headline “Arsène Who?” Tony Adams is quoted as saying, “He’s French, what does he know about English football?” The media had made former Johan Cruyff the favourite to take over, and were caught out by Arsène – not for the first time.
17 September 1996: The Guardian announced, “Arsenal get Wenger on £2m deal”. The media had made former Johan Cruyff the favourite to take over, and were caught out by Arsène – not for the first time.
30 September 1996: Arsène Wenger formally appointed as Arsenal manager (although some sources quote 28th and others 29th).
1 October 1996: Arsène Wenger officially took up duties, as Arsenal’s first non-UK manager, and immediately confronted and defeated hordes of journalists who gathered on the steps of Highbury shouting “what about the rumours Mr Wenger?” Outwitting them from the start he replied “what rumours?” – a question they could not answer without being sued for slander. Eventually they drifted away defeated.
12 October 1996: Arsène Wenger’s first match, 0-2 victory at Blackburn. Ian Wright scored the first Wenger goal.
24 November 1996: Arsenal 3 Tottenham 1. Arsène Wenger’s first derby. Arsenal had not beaten Tottenham in over 3 years and Tottenham were unbeaten at Highbury since Sept 1991. When Lukic threw the ball out after an injury Tottenham failed to return it and scored as Arsenal looked on. Wright, Adams and Bergkamp set things right.