Wenger said: “I’d never want to go anywhere else. Touch wood, as long as I have my health, I would want to work as long as I live but adapted to my potential.”
I have to tip my hat to the man. He is committed. He is focused. He breathes the club and the game. You simply cannot ask more from a manager. His belief in the team and the system he has put into place is unshakable and unmistakable. There is something very uncynical, a wonkish joy at embarking on a great voyage together.
“But football is exciting because when you have a team like I have now, it is absolutely exciting because you know that there is potential in this team and it’s down to me to get it out.”
In many ways Wenger has given Arsenal to the world. There is a deep respect and admiration for the club that I have encountered from those who love the game and it is due to Wenger’s philosophy. There are clubs like Man Utd, Liverpool, Barca, Milan, and Real who have enjoyed worldwide adulation for many many years but the last ten years or more also belong to Arsenal capturing the public’s imagination with the way they won the EPL and FA Cups. The days of George Graham and his stiflingly dour and defensive teams seem very distant. The Arsenal of today plays an entertaining, stylish, fluid, and attacking brand of football even as it creates critics who measure success through regular silverware. How banal!
But as this article shows, it has not been easy with Wenger entertaining quitting if his health becomes an concern because of a young daughter. Or the disgruntled members in the last shareholders meeting who shocked Wenger with their comments over last season’s performance.
On his 60th birthday, our manager will spend a low key evening with his wife, open a bottle of expensive red wine and watch the Europa Cup.
“My birthday will be very quiet. I have the AGM and we have a big game on Sunday again and Thursday night is the Europa League with the fifth referee system. They (referees) are responsible for my ageing so I have to watch that!”
Typical Wenger. Even on his birthday he will not take a day off from work. But I will take out a bottle of good Cabernet and toast the manager who has provided Arsenal with so many memorable memories. Salud!
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Wenger turns 60 this Thursday, pledges to remain at Arsenal