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And so the world moves on….

By Tony Attwood

The simplest way to measure a manager’s success or failure is by the number of trophies won – Arsène Wenger won 10.   More than anyone else at Arsenal.  But then of course he many many more years to do that in than other managers.  So maybe we should measure his win percentage – how many of the 1228 league games did he win.   The answer is 57.38%.   Only those who managed for less than a season (Pat Rice and Joe Shaw) did better.  Pat Rice because he only managed for four matches and Joe Shaw because he took over from Herbert Chapman when Chapman died, and managed 23 games to win Arsenal the title.

So speaking of the greatly revered Chapman, how did Arsène Wenger compare?   Chapman’s win rate was 49.88%.  To maintain a win rate higher than that across 21 years is something very special, and probably won’t ever be seen again at Arsenal.

But what did he give us?

Given the current debate it seems only right to say a continuously full stadium virtually all the way through – something we never had under any other manager, where much of the time the average attendance was in the 30,000’s, not knocking around the 60,000 mark.

And through this he provided the finance for the new stadium that has allowed some of those who now complain about Arsenal, to have the chance to have tickets for games.  At Highbury with its 38,000 capacity once the seating was put in, there never was such a chance.

He gave us players the clubs could never have afforded to buy once they were established.  Vieira and Henry are the greatest examples but there were many others whose value shot up after Mr Wenger discovered them.

People like Robin van Persie, Cesc Fabregas… the players who would then leave having made their name, in order to get higher salaries than Arsenal could afford either with the smaller stadium, or the repayment of the loans on the Ems.

And he gave us trophies – on average just about one every other year.  But such was the hatred engineered against him that this staggering achievement was denigrated by deciding to say the FA Cup was not a trophy.  Of course it was always a lesser trophy, but it was still a trophy.  It still needed to be fought for and won – otherwise Manchester City, Tottenham and Chelsea would hardly have bothered so much to try and win it last season and been so frustrated that Arsenal, the underdogs came through once again.

And that left Mr Wenger as the man who (I suspect forever) has won the FA Cup more than anyone else in history.

And looking back, what I suppose some people do forget is just where Arsenal were before Mr Wenger.  Maybe this table might remind those people a little.  We won the double in 1970/1.  Then in the next 25 years we won the League twice and the FA Cup twice

Season League FA Cup
1970–71 1st W
1971–72 5th RU
1972–73 2nd SF
1973–74 10th R4
1974–75 16th QF
1975–76 17th R3
1976–77 8th R5
1977–78 5th RU
1978–79 7th W
1979–80 4th RU
1980–81 3rd R3
1981–82 4th R3
1982–83 10th SF
1983–84 6th R3
1984–85 7th R4
1985–86 7th R5
1986–87 4th QF
1987–88 6th QF
1988–89 1st R3
1989–90 4th R4
1990–91 1st SF
1991–92 4th R3
1992–93 10th W
1993–94 4th R4
1994–95 12th R3
1995–96 5th R3

25 years to win four trophies.  OK if you want to include the League Cup lets add two of them and the Cup Winners Cup.  That is seven trophies in 25 years.  Mr Wenger outdid that with 3 League titles (as opposed to the two in the previous 25 years), and seven FA Cups (as opposed to two FA Cups, two League Cups and one CWC – which makes five).  And he took fewer years to do it too.

And at the same time he provided entertainment enough to fill the stadium most of the time.  Indeed although not all the season ticket holders turn up now, the seats are still paid for, and there is still a long waiting list for season tickets, despite all the people who have written in to this site saying they have thrown their season ticket away.

And as a result of his efforts the stadium was paid for by the club.  Not by the state as with Manchester City and West Ham.  Nor by an oil billionaire as will be the case of Chelsea, but by the club.  Maybe Tottenham will be able to pay for their stadium, and win trophies, if so they will deserve credit for that.  But no club has been able even to maintain their position in the top league while building a new stadium in the modern era – let alone win trophies – apart from Arsenal.

And Mr Wenger did it while maintaining a place in the top four – something that Arsenal had never done under any other manager in its entire history.  So there again, just like the FA Cup not being a trophy, coming in the top four was suddenly of no significance even though it was a greater achievement than the club had ever seen before.

Of course I want the new manager to do well and to win us trophies.  Obviously I shall continue to hold my season ticket and do the crazy 175 mile round trip for each home game – although I do know that some season ticket holders travel even further.  But I am sad, not just that Mr Wenger’s time is up, but because of the way he has been treated by a small number of fans, and their allies with the blogs and in the media.

And in passing I wonder about our banner that is displayed at the Clock End.  I do hope they allow us to retain it in the ground as a memory to the most glorious period in the club’s history – because that is what it has been.  True, between 1930 and 1939 Arsenal won seven trophies in 10 seasons; Mr Wenger won five trophies in his first five seasons.  But the club in the 1930s was funded as were all clubs – by income from the turnstiles.  Everyone was equal in those days.

It’s a different game now.  As David Dein so memorably said, “The Russians have parked their tanks on their lawn and are firing £50 notes at us.”  They are still there, joined by the Abu Dhabians, or whatever the collective noun is for people from that Emirate.

Whether Arsenal can get back to challenging repeatedly for the league title while money is no object elsewhere and Uefa are halfhearted about FFP, we shall see.

Those of us who support the club, rather than comparing it to a restaurant, will carry on of course.  And if we win lots more trophies that will be great.  The only certainty however is that I’ll keep going and supporting, until the advance of the years stops me.

In case you are interested, here’s the list of Arsenal managers in the order of their win percentages.

Pos. Manager From To Played Win% Honours
1 Pat Rice Sep 1996 Sep1996 4 75.00
2 Joe Shaw January 1934 May 1934 23 60.87 1 League
3 Arsène Wenger October 1996 June 2018 1228 57.38 3 League
7 FA Cup
4 Thomas Mitchell March 1897 March 1898 26 53.85
5 William Elcoat April 1898 20 Feb 1899 43 53.49
6 Harry Bradshaw August 1899 May 1904 189 50.79
7 James Punch McEwen April 1915 April 1919 2 50.00
8 Herbert Chapman June 1925 Jan 1934 403 49.88 2 League
1 FA Cup
9 George Graham May 1986 Feb 1995 460 48.91 2 League
1 FA Cup
2 Lg Cup
1 CWCup
10 Tom Whittaker June 1947 October  1956 429 47.09 2 League
1 FA Cup
11 Bruce Rioch June 1995 August 1996 47 46.81
12 George Allison May 1934 May 1947 279 46.24 2 League
1 FA Cup
13 Don Howe Dec 1983 March 1986[ 117 46.15
14 Arthur Kennedy 21 Feb 1899 August 1899 11 45.45
15 Terry Neill July 1976 Dec 1983 416 44.95 1 FA Cup
16 The Committee August 1983 May 1897 118 44.92
17 Bertie Mee June 1966 May 1976 539 44.71 1 League
1 FA Cup
1 Fairs C.
18 Jack Crayston October 1956 May 1958 77 42.86
19 Phil Kelso July 1904 Feb 1908[ 152 41.45
20 George Swindin June 1958 1 May 1962 179 39.11
21 Billy Wright May 1962 June 1966 182 38.46
22 Stewart Houston Feb 1995 June 1995 19 36.84
23 George Morrell Feb  1908 April 1915 292 35.27
24 Leslie Knighton April 1919 May 1925 268 34.33
25 Stewart Houston August 1996 Sep 1996 6 33.33
26 Steve Burtenshaw March 1986 May 1986 11 27.27

35 comments to And so the world moves on….

  • shame the great man was hung out by the likes of Morgan and the hideous and badly named “arsenal fan tv”. my choice as incoming would be Enrique or Benitez. and change the stadium name to appreciate the “prof”

  • blacksheep

    Great post Tony, thank you. I’m sad but happy for Arsene if it is his decision. He deserves a rest and a break from all the haters. The man is owed a massive debt of thanks, not only by Arsenal fans but by English football. I have a feeling we are going to get a lot of people saying nice things about him now, including those who have been calling for his head for weeks, months or years. Careful what you wish for will also be a mantra for this club I fear.

    Onwards and upwards we go without whoever the club have identified as the next incumbent. I imagine the ground will now be full and singing for the rest of the season – I’ve already had requests for tickets for the last game. No reason to boycott games now he’s said he’s leaving is there folks? The man in the Row 9 will be very happy if he bothers to turn up again. I can’t wait to have all the WOBs back supporting the club they profess to love.

    In Arsene we trust

  • James

    The stadium should be renamed

    Emirates Wengerpark

  • boyo

    Going to be very different to support the Gunners now. Arsene has been there as long as I remember watching football and I am thirty. I am glad the fans have 6 games to try and give him the send off he deserves. I want the stadium rocking to the sounds of there is only one arsene wenger!! I will do my part from South Africa by writing him a letter of gratitude. I doubt he will read it but I will feel that I have done my part to say thank you for all he has done.

  • boyo

    James Wengerpark has a nice ring to it.

  • perfect cut and paste quite from Polo on last thread

    “One day I’ll go up to heaven & he will ask ‘What have you done with your life?’

    The only answer I have is ‘I tried to win football games’.”

    – Arsene Wenger

    A real gentleman, an innovator and Arsenal Man

  • Kobie Fourie

    Thank you Arsene.

  • omgarsenal

    James….this could be a fun competition: renaming the Emirates in Arsene’s honour.

    Le Stade Arsene Wenger
    Wenger Stadium
    Le parc Arsene

  • Scuba

    James, you’re overthinking this. All it takes is one letter. Turn Arsenal into Arsenel.

  • Josif

    Weird feeling in my mouth.

    I have suggested before that it was the right thing to do if our season went South regarding the Champions League qualification so I can’t say I’m totally surprised even if we are still only three good results away from CL place AND a European trophy next season.

    One thing, however, should be underlined, written with bold letters and repeated a few times:

    Arsene Wenger could have remained for another season. He’d have got a nice wage – reportedly around 10 million pounds per year – and if the club decided to sack him, he’d still get paid (except he wouldn’t have had the obligation to witness perennial robberies from the referees, to listen abuses from DT and other clowns that are nicking for living via Arsenal Fan TV or showing up at work…he would have been obliged to go to the bank and collect a nice hefty wage without doing anything for Arsenal).

    Instead of that, Arsene decided to make one more decision driven with his concern about Arsenal’s sake and called it a day.

    As usual, Hunter13 made a comment that made me laugh on this awful day when he wrote that Arsene “turned Albania to Switzerland”. (He could have written Bosnia or any other country of ex-Yugoslavia and I wouldn’t mind because he’d still be right.) Arsene turned the club from a big English club to one of the biggest European club. Arsene gave Arsenal that spark of European giants such as AC Milan, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern (with a note that Arsene’s Arsenal have better H2H with Milan, Juventus, Ajax and Real, all four clubs significantly bigger than Arsenal), an illusion that Arsenal are entitled to a place among the football giants which is laughable, all that while building a new stadium from the scratches.

    Thank you Arsene.

  • king

    AW was a great man and a great servant of our club, I wish he takes up the PSG job and proves to all if he’s still got it.
    I find it a stretch of the imagination to attribute the stadium capacity and funds for building the new stadium to Wenger, you might as well said Wenger carried the blocks used in building the stadium on his head.
    Also saying haters contrived to denigrate Wenger by belittling the FA cup is a bit rich coming from the man who wrote articles claiming the FA cup was a dead tournament a few months before arsenal was able to start winning the trophy after a long drought

  • Hunter13

    Yes Josif and i stand by that comment 100%

    Exactly that!

    he gave these drunk uneducated muppets here the illusion that Arsenal was soem Real Madrid where failure to win the title or the champions league constituted a sackable offence

    The muppets who would glorify toothless drunk gamblers and alcoholics….they found Wenger was beneath them…

    Incredible Hybris.

  • Preetam

    Thanxx Arsene. You will alwaz b an ideal mentor. Wll alwazz miss u

  • David Stewart

    Feel sad but not at all surprised.

    Arsene Wenger has given us so much in the last 22 years. For any Arsenal fan under the age of, say, 35 they will have known little other than Arsene as our manager.

    Whoever replaces Arsene, I hope they can match his:

    1) Loyalty to the club.
    2) Brilliance of football.
    3) Style (not conduct themselves like Mourinho)
    4) Success
    5) Ability to not just ‘buy success’.
    6) Development of our youth players.
    7) Consistency.

    I would also hope it is not a short-term appointment. All in all, not too much to ask for in a successor?

  • Hunter13

    Lee Dixon
    Six years of the most enjoyable successful football of my career. Thank you Arsene. A club legend.

    Fucking leech….

  • Hunter13

    The hypocircy… Adams talking as well… fucking bastards all of them, where were they when it got tough? Slagging him off for sky wages thats where they were.

    go write your fucking books and sell them in the name of Wenger… pathetic scum

  • Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

    Incredibly sad… This man was the smartest, classiest, and most ethical person in football ever.
    I really wished he had honored his contract, as he himself always made a point about doing that.
    It is a shame that a few ex Gunners have only come out with platitudes instead of real tributes.
    Of course, you will always expect the worst from these media prostitutes/ c*cks*cking sycophants.

    There is a huge contrast with the farewells from current players like Per, Ramsey, and Bellerin.

  • Menace

    I love you Hunter 13 – you certainly know your football genius. Wenger is a truly one of.

    A gentleman dedicated to a game that he loved as much as life itself.

  • Pat

    Too sad to comment.

  • rondejonge

    o my all the crocodile tears, good that you re calling it out Hunter 13!
    these hypocrites are making this world an ugly place,
    Arsene those idiots will beg for your return in 2 years
    Enjoy a life without the haters,
    I always appreciated your class and always will

  • Menace

    Amazing that Neville is coming out with how the Man U players had to play against Arsenal on & off the ball. The bastards got the blind eye from PGMOL then and still get away with their cheating & diving.

    Wenger is and will always be the greatest manager that graced the football field.

  • James

    Goobye Mr Wenger, and good riddance.

  • rondejonge

    Goodbye Mr Wenger, thanx for the great moments and:
    a swine will never gonna appreciate a pearl

  • Great man Arsène God bless you for your steadfastness in the face of PigMob’s weekly provocations and sloping of the playing field. That ‘Arsène Who’ confounded them and changed the face of football forever got them so green with envy and hatred for your outstanding achievements.

    Trudge on Arsene safe in the knowledge that you have nothing to be ashamed of. They are the ones who have to watch their backs and fear retributive justice anytime soon. Take a break from the scoundrels and their machinations, it will all catch up with them. When they get their just desserts we will all be around to watch them squirm and sweat out their ill-gotten gains.

    We will always retain fond memories of you for the joy brought into our lives. Bon voyage.

  • Menace

    Good riddance indeed Mr Wenger. The likes of James do not deserve your qualities. They have no semblance of your intelligence.

    We on Untold tolerate their stupidity but they will soon learn to hate themselves for what they have said about you.

  • Gooner Murphy

    All I can say is thanks not only to a Great Manager, also to a wonderful person in every way humanely possible ,

  • Gooner Murphy

    Just listen to Bob Wilson Interview on 5 live really lets you what kind of person Arsene Wenger truly is.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    What more can I say of the man than that he made a indelible and great difference . To the club , to the players, to the fans and to football in general. In the future no general football discussion will exclude him from among the giants of the game.

    That in his own unassuming , upright and righteous way made me a better and appreciative person .That he thought me to be a little more patient in the face of adversity , more retrospective ,to be more thoughtful and nuanced , and above all ,to pause and smell the flowers that abounded , but rarely noticed .

    I can proudly say that he is not only one who I admire , but also as a worthy inspiration to all . He is one of my personal heroes, among those who made a difference in inspiring life lessons in my journey in life.

    Long may he live to inspire and reign.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Having said ALL that of the great man , last night I was disgusted and feeling nauseous listening to the comments of Ian Wright , Lee Dixon and Amy Lawrence . U turn ass kissing at its very best , especially as they all had pretended that they knew all about managing the club better than AW .

  • Spectrum

    Pop the champagne corks. It’s time to celebrate ! Change has finally arrived and has been long overdue. This club of ours needs a good shake up from top to bottom. Years of stagnation will take time to rectify. I hope we get a tough minded ruthless manager in who will oversee and implement all this. It’s great to be an Arsenal fan once again. Hope and optimism – what a refreshing prospect to look forward to.

  • Menace

    That’s the fool spectrum, all of it in a nut.

  • Spectrum

    Menace – Anyone who doesn’t want Wenger out of our club is an enemy OF the club. The writer of this article is more keen on Wenger’s achievements of long ago ( fine as they were ) than on the last ten years or so of frustration, stagnation, wasted opportunities and steady decline.

    All that Wenger left for us has long been tarnished by his refusal to leave when he had the chance to do so with his honour intact. It’s his fault that he was sacked. And sacked he was. Anyone who believes he made the choice to go, doesn’t know Wenger. He would have stayed indefinitely had he been allowed. Thank God Gazidis & co. persuaded Kroenke to take the club forward for a change. The only possible way that could happen was to remove the biggest obstacle to that progress.

    How will the A.K.B.’s ( like you ) survive now that their God is no longer here ? After all, they did insist there’s no-one better in the entire football world who could do a better job than Wenger. How laughably pathetic. Time to grow up, Wenger worshipers. The change you’ve dreaded is finally here. Ha-ha, I love it !

    I’m excited a to see what a new manager will bring. The whole club needs a good shake up from the tea lady to the training and fitness methods. We don’t need stability, we’ve had more than enough of that. We need a revolution in ideas.

    Arsenal is BACK ! And boy does it feel good to say that !

  • king

    “But no club has been able to maintain their position in the top league while building a new stadium ”
    Really? What about Bayern Munich? What about juventus? What about athletico Madrid? Those are just off the top of my head. There are English teams who have gone on to gain promotion after building a new stadium

  • king

    1. Sunderland moved to stad of light in 1997 while in div 1. Got promoted to EPL 2yrs later
    2. Middlesbrough moved to Riverside stadium in 1995 their first season back in d EPL, got relegated 2yrs later back to where they were when they built the stadium. Since then has yo-yoed between 1st div and EPL. So, no drop, just occasional promotion.
    3. Derby county opened pride park in 1997 while in div1, got promoted that same year, lasted in the EPL till 2002. No drop, transient rise
    4. Cardiff city Moved to Cardiff city stadium in 2009, in div 1. 3yrs later won d division and got promoted to d EPL for a season, before returning to div 1. So again no drop, just a transient rise.
    I could say the same for Leicester, Wigan and a few others

  • inconvenient fact

    thank you the great arsene!
    hope you leave this shpre and prove to the world how good you are without maliciously created constraints you had at your beloved Arsemal.
    hope Arsenal remain great as you always crave for.
    thanks for everything