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Arsène Wenger, OBE (b. October 22, 1949 in Strasbourg) is a French football manager. He is currently the manager of English Premiership club Arsenal.

Biography

Wenger's playing career was relatively inauspicious. He began playing amateur football as a defender or sweeper for various minor French clubs, while at the same time studying at the University of Strasbourg, where he completed a master's degree in Economics in 1974. Wenger turned professional in 1978, signing for RC Strasbourg, and making his debut against Monaco. Although Strasbourg won the French league in 1979, Wenger did not feature prominently in the team, playing only three times. In 1981, he obtained a manager's diploma and was appointed the coach of the Strasbourg youth team.

After an unsuccessful spell at Nancy, where the club were relegated, Wenger's managerial career took off when he became the manager of AS Monaco in 1987. He was initially successful with the club, winning the league in 1988 and the French Cup in 1991, and signing high-calibre players such as Glenn Hoddle and Jürgen Klinsmann. However, he was sacked in 1994 after Monaco finished ninth in the league. Wenger moved on to a successful 18-month stint with the Japanese J. League team Nagoya Grampus Eight.

On September 28, 1996, Wenger joined Arsenal, succeeding the sacked Bruce Rioch. Wenger was a relative unknown in England (though he had been previously been touted as a potential Technical Director of the Football Association), but quickly led the club to success. Under his guidance, he led Arsenal to 3 championship titles (including two doubles) in the space of 8 years in charge. Renowned as a great thinker, occasionally being nicknamed 'professor', he is highly respected as a coach throughout Europe, although Arsenal have yet to be called a truly great side without winning the Champions League.

After several years without a major trophy, Wenger's Arsenal have become a major contender for the Premiership, and he has been responsible for bringing such world class players like Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira and Robert Pires to the club. In his 8 years as Arsenal manager, Wenger has spent less than £40 million net on players, which compares favourably with other clubs' spending, most notably the £260 million that Roman Abramovich has spent in two years as chairman of Chelsea. This has earned him a reputation as a shrewd talent scout and developer of young players' skills.

As well as bringing in new players and tactics, Wenger has also reformed the training and dietary regimes, ridding the club of its drinking culture, and has had a direct input to the design of the Gunners' new Emirates Stadium and its move to a new training ground at London Colney. David Dein, the vice-chairman of Arsenal, has described Wenger as the most important manager in the club's history; without the increased TV revenue and prize money (especially from the Champions League) that Arsenal have accrued thanks to Wenger's successes, it is unlikely that spending on the new stadium would have been possible.

Controversies

Wenger's demeanour is normally mild and unaggressive, which has brought him the nickname 'The Professor'. However, occasionally his temper has got the better of him. On October 10, 2000, he received a fine and a 12-match touchline ban from the FA for "threatening behaviour and physical intimidation" to a match official during Arsenal's defeat at Sunderland earlier that year; the ban was later overturned on appeal. He is also well known for his rivalry with Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson.

During October and November 2005, Wenger became embroiled in a war of words with Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho. Mourinho accused Wenger of having an unprofessional obsession with Chelsea; he went as far as labelling Wenger a "voyeur", and was quoted as saying "He's worried about us, he's always talking about us - it's Chelsea, Chelsea, Chelsea, Chelsea". Wenger responded by pointing out he was only answering journalists' questions about Chelsea, and described Mourinho's attitude as "disrespectful". Wenger additionally mooted the idea of formally complaining to FIFA, or even resorting to legal action, although neither is particularly likely.

Awards

Wenger was awarded an honorary OBE for services to British football in the Queen's Birthday Honours List of 2003. In October 2004, he signed a contract extension that will keep him at Arsenal through the 2007/2008 season.

Clubs

  • Arsenal F.C. September 1996 -
  • Nagoya Grampus Eight 1995 - September 1996
  • AS Monaco FC 1987-1994
  • Nancy 1984-1987
  • Cannes 1983

Honours

As a player

  • Strasbourg
    • French league champions: 1979

As a manager

  • Arsenal F.C.
    • FA Premier league champions: 1998 2002 2004
    • FA Cup: 1998 2002 2003 2005
    • Two league and cup "Doubles"
    • Undefeated in league for 2003/04 (first club to do so in England's top division in 115 years)
  • Nagoya Grampus Eight
    • J-League Cup: 1996
    • Emperor's Cup: 1995
    • J-League Manager of the Year: 1995
  • AS Monaco FC
    • French Cup: 1991
    • French league champions: 1988
    • French Manager of the Year: 1988
     

    The Professor: Arsene Wenger at Arsenal by Myles Palmer. Idealistic, passionate and scientific, Arsene Wenger led the modernisation of English football. He opened the door for Houllier, Eriksson, Ranieri and Mourinho.
    Wenger also taught Arsenal how to win with style. He is a star-maker who identifies talent and nurtures it. By combining so many athletic footballers, and playing without a centre forward, he re-invented the beautiful game and lit up the Premiership, claiming seven trophies in nine seasons.With a fraction of Manchester United's budget, Wenger took titles off Sir Alex Ferguson in 1998, 2002 and 2004. But his teams have struggled in the Champions League and those European failures are analysed in detail here.Domestically, Arsenal raised the bar with 49 games unbeaten in 2004, but found themselves facing a new rival. Chelsea, suddenly the richest club in the world, romped away with the title in 2005.
    The Professor tells us who Arsene Wenger is and what he believes in. With Arsenal's new Emirates Stadium not opening until 2006, the French maestro now faces two fascinating challenges. How will he compete with the billionaire's Chelsea? And can Arsenal improve in the Champions League ?

 

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