Date:Thursday September 28 2006
Ten years to the day, an unknown manager took control of one of the longest serving teams in English top flight history. A decade later and that same manager is now one of the most highly rated managers in the world.
For all Gooners, the day Arsene Wenger became manager of Arsenal was a day of uncertainty, we wanted a manager who could propel us back back to the sumit of English football, but we were given a weird looking skinny geezer whom nobody had heard of, I reckon I was not alone when I felt a tad disapointed.
I feel no need to discuss what happened from that day onwards, as we all know that Mr Wenger became a hero to us Gooners, and instead lets get right to the tributes.
Arsenal's longest serving player Freddie Ljungberg has a few words to say about Le Boss.
'He`s a great coach, I can`t say more than that and I think that`s the best way to describe him. He`s brought a lot of success to the Club.'
'I wasn`t here when he joined but if I remember rightly, when he arrived Arsenal weren`t doing that great and they were not at the top of the table but in his first full season in charge they won the double. So he turned it around quickly and since then we`ve had great success. He`s done brilliantly.'
'He`s brought a lot of trophies to the Club but maybe, specifically, the way we play under Wenger will be remembered. It`s a very technical way of playing and, from what I`ve heard, the fans enjoy watching it. Even the neutrals enjoy it so maybe that will be one of the biggest things people remember.'
Arsenal Vice-Chairman, David Dein must take some credit for helping bring Wenger into our lives, but DD has nothing but praise for the man himself.
'The board took what at the time was seen as a bold decision to appoint Arsene and it has paid off beyond our wildest dreams.'
'It is not just the success he has brought to the club in terms of trophies, but the style and the quality of the football.'
'He was responsible for the new training ground and without the success we have had, we couldn't have built the new stadium that now allows us to compete with anybody in the world.'
'We have said that if the day comes when he wants to retire, then there must be a seat on the board for him, as we don't want to lose his talent, his expertise, his knowledge and his judgment.'
'The headlines the next day all read 'Arsene who?',' Dein added. 'But I thought 'Arsene for Arsenal' was written in the stars. It could not have worked out better. He is very honest with all the players, he has terrific judgment, he has an encyclopaedic knowledge of football, and we hope he stays as our manager for another 10 years.'
Man City manager and all round good guy Stuart Pearce was never one to shy away from making comment, and this day is no different.
'His track record's been fantastic, where Arsenal were to where they are now has come on leaps and bounds,'
'I think how they are perceived in European and world football has come on leaps and bounds. I remember the Arsenal players meeting up with the England squad when I was involved there and they raved about him.
"The Adams' of this world, the Dixon's, Winterburn's, no-one has had a bad word to say about him or his methods. He's galvanised a team with a good team spirit.
"Passing wise, for me they are probably the best passing side in the Premiership and have been for the last few years. All credit to him, it's a pleasure to have him in England and hopefully for the next ten years.'
Even on this occassion one of Arsenal's oldest and most bitter rivals Roy Keane has nothing but nice things to say.
"He has done a brilliant job at Arsenal. I watched them last week against United and they were outstanding.'
"The way they play the game, the way he leads himself - I have to say, the way he keeps his head or he seems to keep his head, even at the start of the season when people were starting to doubt Arsenal - maybe myself being one of them - I thought United would beat them.'
"A manager at any top club like an Arsenal, a Liverpool, a United, has obviously got special talent.'
"I read something about him the other day and a thing he said about football: he said some people live off football and some people live for football. He clearly lives for the game, I will give him that, and all credit to him. I wish him well."
I believe that the mere fact that Roy Keane has publically made a statement which praises Le Boss so much is testament to what Wenger has achieved in his time with the Gunners.
There are many many more tributes to the great man, but as Mr Stillman proved the other day, there are only so many characters you can use on these articles before you have to stop.
Maybe an 'Arsene Wenger: The Tributes MKII' article will be here before too long.
Date:Thursday September 28 2006
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