Arsenal - What Wenger really said about tackling
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What Wenger really said about tackling

As the TV commentators for yesterday's game glibly sniggered at Arsenal having a player sent off for two relatively minor infringements and equated that with this weeks attempts to consider the nature of tackling in the modern game as simply seeking greater protection for Arsenal players I thought, in the unlikely event that they would like to know what was really said, it would help to publish the full transcript of that part of Wengers press conference. It's worth noting that his cynicism about pundits and journalists was predictably justified.

You were talking before about liking the physical nature of English football?

I'm a bit cautious because... I love the English game, I've said that many times. But every time I come out, people are more interested in controversy than protecting the players. If it is to create another story and the tackling will go nowhere, it will end up being the same. Why should I create another story? You asked me how the tackle was, and it was bad. If you want to write it was a good tackle you can do it. But for me it was bad.'

Do you have any confidence that your comments are taken seriously when you speak out?

I don't know if my views are taken seriously. I like commitment in football. What I hate the most is a player who is not committed and jumps out of the tackle. But to have a committed game you need to know that the intention of players is right, that they go for the ball. For example, you can say Cahill's red card was harsh, but he had no intention at all to play the ball. Tackles from behind with two feet off the ground are a red card. If you have technically a good tackle on a sliding pitch where the player takes the ball I say: 'it's fantastic.' It's as good to see as a player scoring a goal. But when a guy closes his eyes and jumps in with anger it's not right.'

But nothing changes. We go over this time and again and these questions must be boring for you?

The beauty of the game is down to the fact that you play with commitment, passion, but the right intention. I've been a football player. If I'm injured by a guy who goes for the ball, I'm too late and twist my ankle I say it's an accident. If I go for the ball and am tackled at the level of my knee then I feel it's not football. It's like if there's a player in your box, you take his hands, and somebody takes his feet and his head. It's not respecting the rules. I'm surprised that you're surprised.

If I pay £50 to go to a football game, what do you want to see? Do you want to see Fabregas who plays football or the guy who kicks you from behind?'

I agree with you, but what should they do to change it?

I've told you many times, respect the rules. The only thing I regret if I speak about it - it is only controversial and it is: 'Wenger, Wenger, Wenger, Wenger, Wenger, Wenger, Wenger...'.'

Should other managers support you? You seem the lone voice?

I would like you to support me, not the managers. Instead of making a story, write the truth. You have a responsibility as well don't worry. It is like the pundits on television, the journalists - we all have responsibility. It's not only me.'

Do you not think we do that? Do you think we're unfair?

I do not say I get an unfair press, its not about me this story, its about the players who play football with the right intention. Don't take me wrong we make as well sometimes bad fouls and I have the same responsibility than you. What I mean, me alone, I've not enough power. It is the referees, the people who watch the games, the people who write about it have the same responsibility as I have.'

What do you do if one of your players does a bad foul?

I have never encouraged one of my players to kick somebody, if you find a player who tells you I have told them to kick somebody on purpose I would like to see him. That is what I can do about. I do not want to create another story that goes nowhere, I just say on my side: look at the number of fouls we make in the league and the number of people we injure in the league and you will see how many players we got injured.

Of course managers have a responsibility, journalists have a responsibility and pundits have a responsibility. We have all a responsibility. I speak about it now, I just think that if it is to read tomorrow that Wenger cries because his players are injured and so why should I talk about it? Diaby has been injured: it is from an unfair tackle. We can speak until tomorrow: I will still maintain - I watched this tackle ten times and it is an unfair tackle. Where did you read it? I didn't read it anywhere. So why should I talk about it?

If it is just to see tomorrow that I cry about an unfair tackle. It's not me who has to say that, it is you. I am less credit in saying than you. Why? Because people say: 'OK, it's his team and he wants to protect his players and there is an interest there'. No, I speak about football, when you love football, you can defend the players who go in a fair way, you cannot agree with the players who don't play in a fair way.'

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The Journalist

Writer: Amos Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday September 19 2010

Time: 9:23AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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Really not very controversial is it? On the way home we listened to 606, Savage was on and he spoke to a caller that was a Blackburn fan who had phoned in to complain about watching Fat Sam's boring tactics every week; Savage said; "I'm not going to criticise Sam Allardyce as a football manager." Two minutes later, an Arsenal fan called in to make the exact point this article makes, that people like 606 were twisting Wenger's sentiments. Savage went into a tirade about how Arsene was "always whingeing" and that his comments about Shawcross were "bang out of order." Happily, the caller told him, quite rightly, "The only reason you say that is because you've made a whole career out of kicking people yourself and then rolling around like a fanny when someone tickles your chin." Sadly, we all know the luddite mentality will remain in this country and Wenger will be misreported until a Rooney or a Gerrard or a Lampard leaves the stadium in an ambulance, wearing an oxygen mask. That's the day the attitude and the game in England changes and not a second sooner.
Little Dutch
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19/09/2010 09:32:00

My blood is increasingly boiling about this, yet it also makes me laugh. I'm watching Sunday Supplement and they are going to town on criticising Wenger for this. They can't even get their facts right ffs, saying that he's whingeing and just wants more protection for his players. The same pundits who are so determined to keep this part of the English game, and say there's more than one way to play football when commenting on the Blackburns and Stokes of this world, will then big up England's players and chances at any major tournament. No, you morons, it's the foreign players that make your Rooneys, Gerrards, Coles and Lampards look good - not the great English game. Feckin joke.
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19/09/2010 10:09:00

Not only were his words twisted but soccer Saturday showed footage of every good Bolton tackle last week and asked "what's wrong with that?" every time I've listened to anything football related I've had to hear twits like Redknapp harping on about tackling in the 60's? Yeah cheers for those incredible insights Arry. When Aldo Duscher broke Beckhams foot the whole nation went after the argentine, when Eduardo got his leg snapped in half Wenger got criticised for being angry, Nuffield said.
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19/09/2010 10:18:00

Nuffield? Nuff.
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19/09/2010 10:19:00

The worst thing about those ****s on the Sunday supplement is they know EXACTLY what he said word for word but sit around discussing it as if they don't know the real truth.
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19/09/2010 10:20:00

Nuff Nuff's :)
Ozi Gooner
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19/09/2010 12:21:00
Gooner SA
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19/09/2010 13:00:00

I really sometimes wish that Arsene would to a Ferguson and just not give these prats interviews but then of course he'd get slated for that.
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19/09/2010 13:34:00

Does Weng realise that it is also a MINIMUM of 4 minutes so if someone scores, Bent, in 4m 15 seconds that is perfectly legal? He will never admit a team have played well, worst loser in the game and it is such a shame as he really is a world class manager at times. French & manners dont really go though do they?
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19/09/2010 14:36:00

What has that got to do with the article? Why do people do this every day on this site? We get invaders from other clubs who make some random comment that doesn't apply to the article.
Little Dutch
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19/09/2010 14:52:00

They see the Name wenger and get some form of tourettes.
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19/09/2010 15:38:00

GazJohnson, talksport could do with your xenophobic classing together of the french. Dont waste your time here, better things await you.
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19/09/2010 15:40:00

The 4 yellow cards that Cattermole received for his two red cards were complete jokes. His reputation goes before his offence and this is why English footy and referees are pathetic and ruining football. However, love getting one over Sir Whingealot Wenger due to his lack of courtesy for how well we have played the last 4 times at the SoL.
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19/09/2010 15:49:00

Sorry but how many times has Steve Bruce been charged by the FA after whinging about refs? Be happy with your deserved point but don't be a hypocrite.
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19/09/2010 15:54:00

GazJohnson post your vile racist comments somewhere else please.
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19/09/2010 15:54:00

"The 4 yellow cards that Cattermole received for his two red cards were complete jokes. His reputation goes before his offence and this is why English footy and referees are pathetic and ruining football." You then, in the next sentence, accuse someone else of whining? Here, try this link
Little Dutch
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19/09/2010 15:58:00

I'd like to point out this article in today's Guardian: Such a contrast from the behavior of that disgraceful hypocrite whinger Arsene Wenger who, to my knowledge, has yet to lodge an official complaint about the ref's failure to book Robinson, or any other ref for their performance.
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19/09/2010 16:21:00

you know what I find hilarious? How offended and outraged hypocrite dweebs like GZ are that Wenger doesn't praise their little club. They ridicule and hate him but they're so desperate for his good opinion. Strange, I'm never really interested in what the opposition manager says about our performance after any game. It's like GZ and others like him hang on AW's every word, desperately waiting for him to say something nice about them.
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19/09/2010 16:26:00

the more things change the more they remain the same mates....we are what we are
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19/09/2010 23:11:00

What he has said doesn’t need to be explained, it’s perfectly clear and everyone (and I mean EVERYONE, including Robbie Savage) agrees with it. But people will always have a go at Arsene Wenger because he’s French and he doesn’t play football the English way. It is almost a national pastime that football fans from around England bond together in the face of a common enemy that is Arsenal football club and all their Johnny-foreigner players. Don’t insult the English and their football because, after all, they are the best in the world.
Sir Henry
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20/09/2010 14:05:00

The problem is...and I do agree with Wengers opinion...he has spent too long convieniently not seeing any wrong doings by his own players when questionsed in post match interviews but is then overly vocal (sometimes with good reason but not always) when the shoes on the other foot. I'm not saying this as a Spurs fan but Wenger is moaner and the way at times the way he gets his point across distracts from the fact that he may well have a valid point.
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20/09/2010 14:09:00

....anyway more importantly who's gonna win tomorrow? Your Youth team or our Reserves!?
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20/09/2010 14:10:00

You're just relaying the popular media portrayal of Wenger. Of course he sees the wrong in his players and from a team which on average wasn't any worse in terms of disciplinary league than mid table in his early years despite the media myth he has over recent seasons turned the team into one those at the top of the fair play league. Wenger isn't moaning he's simply one of the few people that will answer a question openly and honestly. Moaning is when someone points out that you have a reputation as something of a wheeler-dealer and you tell them to feck orf.
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20/09/2010 14:51:00

Very tit for tat Amos. I thought this was a Wenger article? Why the need to have a pop at harry? I think my comments were fair. I'm not relying on any media portrayal as I know you cant trust what they say. I'm going by live interviews I've watched after games. So unless there's a bigger conspiracy here and even his Live comments are some how edited I think they can be taken on face value. And for the record Harry copped, and rightly so. Moaning is a completely different thing. To call him a wheeler dealer implies the Del Boy image which in turns suggests he's a loveable rogue/dodgy dealer and of course he's going to take offence. The fact that we all know he's as bent as a 3 pound note is neither here nore there! ;-)
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20/09/2010 15:22:00

Harry copped? Really? Here's a Spurs club statement: "The interviewer has apologised to Harry and we now consider the matter closed."
Little Dutch
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20/09/2010 15:26:00

I'm suprised they even bothered to make an official statement. I think he still gave the interview at the time after they talked him round.
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20/09/2010 15:40:00

Sure the debate is about the way Wenger is portrayed, or more pertinently misquoted and misrepresented. I simply added a relevant comparative example by way of contrast to define 'moaning'. You haven't quoted anything specific from the live interviews but if it's the 'i didn't see it' fable then how many times do you really think he has said that in the 14 years - what is it? - somewhere around 800 games or so he has been in charge of the club? If you're relying on post matches interviews after points have been dropped I doubt that there isn't a manager anywhere that won't be portrayed as something of a moaner. But I would accept that Wenger is a bad loser - and I'm happy that he is.
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20/09/2010 15:51:00

What's also nteresting is that Steve Bruce and David Moyes were repeatedly dragged up in front of the F.A. last season for misconduct towards match officials (Moyes is pending a charge after last week) and Sam Allardyce yesterday said he planned to make an official complaint about the official for the Blackburn v Fulham game. Nobody calls these these battered stalwarts "whingers" and "moaners."
Little Dutch
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20/09/2010 16:06:00

I some how doubt Harry would have been brought up had I been anything other than a Spurs fan. It was simply a pop back because I was slightly negative about Wenger. As I said I have seen enough interviews with Wenger to make up my own opinion of him and it is in no way blinded by the fact that he's the Arsenal manager. In fact I'll openly admit that in the past I have had negative opinions of players like Fabrigas based on little more than their club but have openly changed that opinion after seeing how well they come accross in interviews. The media twist and exagerate things but there is rarely smoke without fire. Wenger never sees things both ways and that is why he gets a hard time. I agree with your last comment and I'd take a bad loser as a manager any day because real winners are normally bad losers. Its the passion and desire that they have to win. Thing is you can't have it both ways and those sorts of managers are often disliked by all but their own fans.
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20/09/2010 16:08:00

LD I think club profile has an effect on that. Thats where the media do have a big impact because you are far more likely to see an interview with Wenger or Ferguson repeated over and over of SSN than one with Bruce or Moyes. Thats not to say they aren't moaners too its just people aren't made quite so aware of it. Saying that I do think Moyes is a miserable moaning Scotsman.
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20/09/2010 16:18:00

I'm not concerned in the slightest whether anyone likes Wenger or not. The more skins he gets under the better he's doing but that is quite different from blatant distortion. This week we've had the false notion that Wenger has demanded protection for HIS players and that he is only moaning about treatment Arsenal get. When you read the transcript of the press conference from which that stance was taken the absurd level of misrepresentation involved is all too apparent. The fact that Wenger could see what would happen makes it all the more galling - and worth taking the trouble to point out what is really happening for the benefit of those open enough to see it.
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20/09/2010 16:44:00

It rather puts me in mind of his one and only quote regarding Shawcross following the Stoke game. He said, "Please spare me about how nice a boy Shawcross is." That was all he said, yet that quote was ignored and we were treated to pages and pages of copy about Wenger whingeing and whining and trying to get Shawcross hung, drawn and quartered and the rest of it when he said no such thing. He just grimly precicted how the press would react and it turned out to be absolutely as he predicted.
Little Dutch
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20/09/2010 16:58:00

MJBSpur, nice to see some reasoned debate though, without the usual spuddie trolling. More of the same sir!
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20/09/2010 17:02:00

It always makes me laugh when supposedly intelligent men start berating or manhandling the fourth official. What's he gonna do, for cripes sake. As for your manager, HE'S A BAD LOSER. How many examples do you need? Try some Kipling Monsieur.
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21/09/2010 13:57:00

He is indeed a bad loser, I don't think you'll find anyone here who disagrees with that here. Unfortunately, it's one of those things that is symbiotic with being a winner too.
Little Dutch
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21/09/2010 14:49:00

Rod Laver......Pete Sampras...Raphael Nadal..... Jack Nicklaus....Tom Watson.... Michael Jordan....Bob Paisley....Sir Matt Busby....Stan Matthews....Pele.....Di Stefano.....Eusabio.....Don Bradman.....Bobby Moore....Bobby Charlton....John Francome.....Gareth Edwards....etc etc
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21/09/2010 15:40:00

I agree with Wenger all the way on this subject, A full on tackle is not the same as a foul, wenger has been in the game long enough to know a tackle from a foul and a foul from an injury attempt. Teams such as stoke are taking the pis.s and it's not good for the game. The speed and comitment of the prem is a massive plus for it but there has to be cut off, there has to be a stand where more than one manager stands up and says enough is enough.
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21/09/2010 16:20:00

The game isn't what it use to be and part of that goes down to Mr Wenger constantly moaning about tough tackling... now the game is going soft and any half hearted tackle is deemed as dangerous... Yes Arsenal have been unlucky with broken legs etc but its just unfortunate... Soon we shall have 'non contact' football just so Le Arse can try and play their beautiful football and pass it in the net...... Why can't the BBC or Sky do a documentary about Wenger or something so he refuses to speak to the media... that would just be perfect.
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21/09/2010 16:48:00

himwhatwhats.... every team 'Foul'...
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21/09/2010 16:50:00

Lord Johnny, I noticed when you were writing a list if winners there wasn't any Spu*s names in it......
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21/09/2010 17:06:00

Ok....Nicholson....Greaves.....Ardiles.....Klinsmann... Mackay....oh, and Ramsey. I did not wish to be so parochial.
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21/09/2010 17:21:00

There is hardly a manager in the PL who hasn't expressed his frustration at a 4th official at some time. Making an issue of it because Wenger does it as well is pitiful. But he is indeed a bad loser - so who cares? Maybe just those determined to misrepresent him for fear of losing the argument.
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21/09/2010 17:33:00

It's reassuring that although you now espouse the beautiful game, you still retain that A**e cynicism. Who cares indeed. I'm happy for M. Vinegar to misrepresent himself.
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21/09/2010 17:52:00

Be as happy or as miserable as you like lj - even fewer people should care what your disposition might be. It isn't ever with the purpose of making any point worth considering.
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21/09/2010 18:01:00


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