Son of a Gun!

Musings on Arsenal Football Club by a Singaporean Gooner (Gooner since 1988)

Wenger sets record October 19, 2009

Filed under: Arsene Wenger — Son of a Gunner @ 9:10 pm

I’m finally back!!!

Yes, my internet connections have finally been fixed and I feel like I have so many things to write about as I couldn’t do the match reports for the games the past 2 weeks due to my internet problems.

The biggest thing to have happened, to me as a Gooner, is not the wins and the perfect record we have at the Emirates. But rather, Wenger becoming the longest-serving manager of Arsenal in its long illustrious history.

I know I haven’t mentioned about Arsene Wenger often enough in my blog and neither have I given him the credit he deserves but I’m definitely belonging to the group of Gooners who defends our French master.

When he first arrived at Arsenal, I remember reading the news of his appointment in our local tabloid The New Paper, the first thing that came to my head wasn’t the fact he was a relatively unknown in Europe nor the fact he was from a J-League club. The first thing that struck me was how close his first name is to the club. Arsene. Arsenal. Arsene’s Arsenal. It was a match made in heaven.

The revolution he brought to Arsenal was first initiated by the manager before him – Bruch Rioch. I remember Rioch fondly because he signed my all-time favorite player Dennis Bergkamp. He also made Arsenal into a passing outfit, something that was totally out of character for Arsenal since the George Graham days. As you can see from the title of my blog, I have been a fan since those days and trust me, “boring boring Arsenal” was certainly not an understatement. What brought me to them is the fact despite the long balls, they have a never-say-die spirit that I can relate to. If you’re not talented in something, you have to make up for it with grit and hard work. But if you have both, then the sky’s the limit.

Rioch brought a passing culture to Arsenal and although he was not as successful as Graham, he started the beautiful play at Arsenal which Wenger tuned to perfection, culmulating in that invincible season, which I thought if we had better luck, we would have swept all 4 titles in sight.

Wenger has brought more success to Arsenal on and off the pitch than any other manager. Not only did he initiated the move from Highbury to Emirates, but he helped designed a large part of the facilities of the stadium. Emirates stadium may not have the history and ambience of Highbury, but it is a stadium that all Gooners ought to be proud of. Its state-of-the-art design, high capacity (2nd largest if I’m not mistaken, the first being Old Trafford), and world-class facilities (even the grouchy Fergie mentioned Emirates have the best away dressing room in the Premier League) is something everyone else envies. Definitely our hated neighbours Spurs as their new stadium design is disturbingly similar to Emirates.

The football he brought, of course cannot be ignored. Before the arrival of Mourinho, only Wenger can take on Fergie in mind games and in tactical wars and win convincingly. The number of world-beaters he groomed is beyond any other great manager, perhaps other than Fergie, and still he was being criticised so harshly at the end of last season.

Yes, I hear some of you saying that he has lost the plot. That he is committing the same mistake he did at Monaco (according to the great Myles Palmer from ANR) by slling all his big stars and standing by his youngsters. But the fact is, look at the table now – top scorers in the Premier League after 8 games. More than teams who have played more games and above us. Best goal difference. Perfect home record (we’re certainly creating a formidable fortress at the Emirates). Youngest average age of the top 5. Least investment of the top 5. Can one name any other manager who can do the same with the same resources as Arsene Wenger? None, not even Fergie. Not even Mourinho. Certainly not Rafa Benitez who couldn’t stop complaining about lack of funds despite spending more than any of their title rivals.

I have mentioned before that Wenger is a victim of his own success. But I have firm belief that this will be a good season for us. That does not mean I don’t think we should get another ball-winner especially Alex Song, who has been hugely impressive this season, goes off to the ACN. I just cannot trust Diaby to do the job although I’m afraid Wenger might just have that thought.

What I can say is, Wenger deserves all the praise he has received and more. And we as Gooners should mark his record longevity with the strongest support we can give to him, then see where we end up. This is Arsene’s Arsenal, and we should trust Arsene and get behind Arsenal.

Arsene, here’s to another 9 trophies!

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