‘Le Boss’ celebrates his fifty-seventh birthay today. It is a day when all Arsenal fans should raise a glass and toast the man who has transformed our club, and has also had a major impact on English football generally.
At the time of his arrival a decade ago the headlines read: “Arsene who?” but the genius that is Wenger already stands comparison with Herbert Chapman, whose visionary management in the twenties and thirties gave birth to the modern Arsenal.
Wenger previously had led Monaco to the French championship, then moved on to a spell with Nagoya Grampus Eight in Japan. Since then, however, the deep-thinking Frenchman has made Arsenal a dominant force in England and Europe, having led the Gunners to their first Champions League Final last May, and coming within thirteen minutes of lifting the famous trophy.
Players such as Lee Dixon, Tony Adams and Dennis Bergkamp performing at the highest level well into their 30s were testament to their manager’s dedication to a continental fitness and diet regime.
What has followed is a remarkable series of achievements for manager and club. Premier League success in 1998, 2002, and the ultimate attainment of the unbeaten season in 2004. Four FA Cups and two European finals have also added to the Wenger legend
His unearthing of inexpensive gems sets him apart from most of his peers, and a look at the young talent from across the globe currently developing in the Arsenal academy is a glimpse into a rich future for his adopted club.
We pray for another decade from the great man, and pay him due homage today. Joyeux anniversaire monsieur ‘Le Boss’.
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