December 9 2013 Latest news:
By James Cunliffe
Saturday, September 28, 2013
Arsene Wenger insists his love for Arsenal and consistency from the boardroom are the reasons he has been in the same managerial hotseat for 17 years.
The Frenchman was a relative unknown when he took over from Bruce Rioch in 1996, with one newspaper leading with the headline “Arsene who?”
He is now English football’s longest serving manager and his reign has delivered three Premier League titles and four FA Cups.
However, the last eight years have been barren as far as silverware is concerned, and he describes, certainly the last five of those, as difficult after a succession of his best players were sold each year.
Today marks the 63-year-old’s latest anniversary and the outlook is somewhat rosier with his current Arsenal side sitting pretty at the top of the Premier League, while they held on to their star players and added record signing Mesut Ozil for £43million.
The German playmaker’s recruitment has given a lift to all concerned with the north London club, who last week celebrated their 100th year in Islington.
This week has seen Crystal Palace manager Ian Holloway hail Wenger a “genius” while Gunners owner Stan Kroenke lavished the coach with praise and gave him his blessing to remain at the club.
Wenger too has hinted that he would like to stay beyond the expiration of his contraction this summer.
But however long the French coach remains in charge, he insists his main drive will always be on whether he can achieve the best possible output from the squad.
“I’m a manager who loves passionately what he does and tries to do his job well,” he said. “I think the fact that I’m here for 17 years is just that we’ve had a consistency and [because] I love this club.”
He continued: “What is a good manager theoretically? It is a manager who takes the maximum out of the players he has. How can you measure that? Nobody has been able to do that. It is common sense and the assessment of you with your honest performance at the end of the season.”
But Wenger insists he will always be his own harshest critic, saying: “I am very hard on myself.
“There are three types of people. Those that are always happy with what they do and never assess well what they have done; those that know no matter what they do, they will say ‘I am crap, I am rubbish’, they are never happy with what they do anyway, no matter how good it is; then you have those who have a fair assessment of their performance, but are a bit harsh with themselves.
“We just want to do as well as we can and win something this year.”