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Thursday, October 22, 2009

60 qoutes from Wenger for his birthday

To commemorate the old boy's 60th birthday...

1) [Upon being asked what he does with his spare time] "I watch football."

2) "I tried to watch the Tottenham match on television in my hotel yesterday, but I fell asleep."

3) "When I first came to Arsenal, I realised the back four were all university graduates in the art of defending. As for Tony Adams, I consider him to be a doctor of defence. He is simply outstanding."

4) [On the qualities of Dennis Bergkamp] "Intelligence and class. Class is of course, most of the time linked to what you can do with the ball, but the intelligence makes you use the technique in an efficient way. It's like somebody who has a big vocabulary but he doesn't say intelligent words, and somebody who has a big vocabulary but he can talk intelligently, and that's what Dennis is all about. What he does, there's always a head and always a brain. And his technique allows him to do what he sees, and what he decides to do."

5) [After the Arsenal fans booed a 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough in November 1998] "If you eat caviar every day it's difficult to return to sausages."

6) "A company works best when everybody does the job he is paid to do."

7) "Sometimes now, when I watch continental games on television, I'm a bit bored. I'm thinking: 'Where is the intensity?'"

8) [In 2003] "It's not impossible. I know it will be difficult for us to go through the season unbeaten. But if we keep the right attitude it's possible we can do it."

9) [On Jose Mourinho after the then Chelsea boss accused him of being a voyeur] "He's out of order, disconnected with reality and disrespectful. When you give success to stupid people, it makes them more stupid sometimes and not more intelligent."

10) "A football team is like a beautiful woman. When you do not tell her, she forgets she is beautiful."

11) [In response to Sepp Blatter's accusation that big clubs were guilty of 'child slavery] "If you have a child who is a good musician, what is your first reaction? It is to put them into a good music school, not in an average one. So why should that not happen in football?"

12) [After the departure of Sol Campbell to Portsmouth] "It is a big surprise to me because he cancelled his contract to go abroad. Have you sold Portsmouth to a foreign country?"

13) "I believe the target of anything in life should be to do it so well that it becomes an art. When you read some books they are fantastic, the writer touches something in you that you know you would not have brought out of yourself. He makes you discover something interesting in your life. If you are living like an animal, what is the point of living? What makes daily life interesting is that we try to transform it to something that is close to art. And football is like that. When I watch Barcelona, it is art."

14) "When you represent a club it's about values and qualities, not about passports."

15) "If I go into a season and I say, 'For fu*k's sake, if we don't win anything, they will all leave,' I have already lost. The problem of the media is always to imagine the worst. The problem of the manager is always to imagine the best."

16) [After the success of the Great Britain team at the Olympics] "I didn't know the English were good at swimming. I have been in this country for 12 years and I haven't seen a swimming pool."

17) "The biggest things in life have been achieved by people who, at the start, we would have judged crazy. And yet if they had not had these crazy ideas the world would have been more stupid."

18) "There is no better psychological education than growing up in a pub when you are five or six because you meet all different people and hear how cruel they can be. You hear the way they talk to each other like saying 'You're a liar.' And from an early age you get a practical psychological education into the minds of people."

19) "I started at 33 as a manager and sometimes I felt I wouldn't survive. Physically I was sick."

20) "Politically, I am for efficiency. Economically first. Until the 1980s the world was divided into two, people were either communist or capitalist. The communist model does not work economically, we all realised that, but the capitalist model in the modern world also looks to be unsustainable. You cannot ignore individual interests, but I believe the world evolves slowly. The last 30 years have brought a minimum amount of money for everybody in the west, the next step, politically, would be a maximum amount of money earned by everybody."

21) "As long as no-one scored, it was always going to be close."

22) "If I asked you who was the best team in the world you would say Brazil. And do they play good football? Yes. Which club won everything last year? Barcelona. Good football. I am not against being pragmatic, because it is pragmatic to make a good pass, not a bad one. If I have the ball, what do I do with it? Could anybody argue that a bad solution like just kicking it away is pragmatic just because, sometimes, it works by accident?"

23) [In response to Sir Alex Ferguson's claim that he possessed the best team in the league despite Arsenal winning the title in 2002] "Everyone thinks they have the prettiest wife at home."

24) "Ferguson should calm down. Maybe it would have been better if he had put us against a wall and shot us."

25) "He [Ferguson] doesn't interest me and doesn't matter to me at all. I will never answer to any provocation from him any more."

26) [To journalists regarding Ferguson] "What I don't understand is that he does what he wants and you are all at his feet."

27) "Ferguson's out of order. He has lost all sense of reality. He is going out looking for a confrontation, then asking the person he is confronting to apologise. He's pushed the cork in a bit far this time."

28) [Upon being asked if he had received the apology that Sir Alex had announced he had sent to Wenger] "No. Perhaps he sent it by horse."

29) "I'm ready to take the blame for all the problems of English football if that is what he wants."

30) [After Jose Royes announced he wanted to leave Arsenal] "It's like you wanting to marry Miss World and she doesn't want you. I can try to help you but if she does not want to marry you what can I do?"

31) "Despite the global warming, England is still not warm enough for him."

32) "Gerard Houllier's thoughts on the matter [international football] echo mine. He thinks that what the national coaches are doing is like taking the car from his garage without even asking permission. They will then use the car for ten days and abandon it in a field without any petrol left in the tank. We then have to recover it, but it is broken down. Then a month later they will come to take your car again, and for good measure you're expected to be nice about it."

33) "Gerard is an open-minded and passionate man. I am the opposite: stubborn and stupid. But sometimes stupid behaviour makes you win."

34) "I do not think about the national team too much because footballistically it is not of too much interest."

35) [On losing the lead of the league in November 2004] "It's like a child who is used to having ice cream whenever he wants. When it doesn't come when he asks he tends to get confused and nervous."

36) "Any man who concentrates his energies totally on one passion is, by definition, someone who hurts the people close to him."

37) "We were considering him [Ruud van Nistelrooy] and Francis Jeffers and, in the end, we went for Jeffers."

38) "Maybe people will be surprised that I have signed an Englishman but I looked at his quality and not his passport. Francis is a 'fox in the box'."

39) [On Ruud van Nistelrooy in 2003] "He can only cheat."

40) "I think in England you eat too much sugar and meat and not enough vegetables."

41) "I lived for two years in Japan and it was the best diet I ever had. The whole way of life there is linked to health. Their diet is basically boiled vegetables, fish and rice. No fat, no sugar. You notice when you live there that there are no fat people."

42) "One of the things I discovered in Japan was from watching sumo wrestling. At the end you can never tell who has won the fight, and who has lost, because they do not show their emotion because it could embarrass the loser. It is unbelievable. That is why I try to teach my team politeness. It is only here in England that everybody pokes their tongue out when they win."

43) "What's really dreadful is the diet in Britain. The whole day you drink tea with milk and coffee with milk and cakes. If you had a fantasy world of what you shouldn't eat in sport, it's what you eat here."

44) "If you do not believe you can do it then you have no chance at all."

45) [On Arsenal's recruitment policy] "If I give you a good wine, you will see how it tastes and after you ask where it comes from."

46) "I don't kick dressing room doors or the cat or even football journalists."

47) "At some clubs success is accidental. At Arsenal it is compulsory."

48) "Nobody has enough talent to live on talent alone. Even when you have talent, a life without work goes nowhere."

49) "You have to be a masochist to be an international manager."

50) "For me, when you change more than three players in a team, you always take a technical risk because you change the deep structure of the team and the deep balance of the team, mentally and technically."

51) "We do not buy superstars. We make them."

52) "The real revelation of a player's character is not in his social life but in how he plays. In my social life I can hide my real personality."

53) [After Martin Taylor snapped Eduardo's leg in half] "The guy should never ever play football again."

54) [On how long Tomas Rosicky would be ruled out for at the start of his 18-month recuperation] "Days not weeks."

55) "I am in a job where you always look in front of you. Unfortunately, the older you get, the less distance there is in front of you."

56) "We try to go a different way that, for me, is respectable. Briefly, these are the basics. I thought: "We are building a stadium, so I will get young players in early so I do not find myself exposed on the transfer market without the money to compete with the others. I build a team, and we compensate by creating a style of play, by creating a culture at the club because the boy comes in at 16 or 17 and when they go out they have a supplement of soul, of love for the club, because they have been educated together. The people you meet at college from 16 to 20, often those are the relationships in life that keep going. That, I think, will give us strength that other clubs will not have."

57) "What motivates me is an ideal of thinking about how football should be. And to try to get near this way of playing. And to try to improve all aspects of my personality that can help me get near this ideal way of playing football."

58) [On Emmanuel Adebayor's stamp on Robin van Persie] "I watched it when I got home and it looked very bad. You ask 100 people, 99 will say it's very bad and the hundredth will be Mark Hughes."

59) "I did not see the incident."

60) "I do not like to make a fuss, it'll just be another day. I want to stay 59."

Pete Gill

Birthday Boy Wenger

Happy birthday, Arsene Wenger.

On this, his 60th birthday, he planned to leave the Champagne on ice. Nothing to celebrate, no parties. Just another quiet, diligent day of total immersion in football affairs, a club Annual General Meeting, plenty of football talk, study, intensity and reflection in the life of the sport's most Buddha-like, private and enigmatic man.

And maybe an evening at home in Totteridge watching television - football again, of course, but this time from the new Europa League.

He will not speak of bus passes or retirement. He rarely speaks of anything else but football. He is a man dedicated to his one undying occupational love affair.

For him, football is not only a job. It is the food of his life and it gives him romance, the source of his flights of fancy, his dreams and his ambitions.

He has been manager of Arsenal for 13 years and more - a record - but little is known about him in any real depth. He has managed to keep private his private life.

Although we think we know him well, from what everyone can see in the stadium, at the training ground and in front of the media, we hardly know him at all.

We know he is always late - up to an hour or more sometimes - for many of his appointments and keeps people waiting. We know his football beliefs.

We know his delight in the purity of perfect geometric passing moves, attacks that crackle with the electric fusion he learned of and studied for his degree at Strasbourg University, where he also gained a master's in economics.

We know of his passion and his temper when he is enflamed by football matters, bad results, poor performances, disagreeable decisions by referees and violent tackles.

We know of his dry humour when he is in a playful mood, toying with news conferences and group interviews.

We know he follows world affairs and watches the news, applies his intelligence to understand the money markets, patterns of footballer migration across continents and that he studies the sciences of physical well-being that underpin his teams' athleticism, pace, strength and durability.

We know his first Arsenal players thought he was a geography teacher who had taken a wrong turn to end up at Highbury - and ended up teaching them stretching exercises and giving them diets that extended their careers while he prepared his spending plans for the French revolution that was to transform Arsenal from a football club as English as suet pudding into a cosmopolitan collection of men who delivered Afro-European football with a suave style that has bewitched London's chattering classes. What would Wenger have done with Charlie George?

A man for all seasons | But who will follow Arsene?

He has said he will carry on working for as long as he can, certainly beyond 2011 when his current contract expires. He is sure to be asked about this at the AGM where the atmosphere is likely to be very different to that last May, when a few disgruntled shareholders dared to ask questions loaded with personal prejudice and some with spite.

This week, he said: "From now on, I have to assess (myself) every two years because, the way I work, it's hands-on - it's not to delegate a lot - so it is hard work. As you get older, everybody will tell you there is a massive contrast between how you look and how you feel.

"I would want to work as long as I lived but adapted to my potential. It doesn't always need to be physical work. Sometimes, it can be more intellectual... you cannot be 75 on the pitch."

Age, he has said, is a state of mind: "People at 40 can be young physically, but old mentally and, in this job, it helps that you never have any certainty. You always question and you always have to question yourself. I believe that's the basis of staying young in your head."

These are the words of a scientist, a thinker. He comes from Strasbourg and he is an Alsatian, one of those Europeans whose origins and history blend Teutonic strength with French flair, and sometimes a touch of Swiss solitude.

Think of the charm, humour and singularity of Roger Federer, from nearby Basel, and there is a kindred spirit.

Both are capable of tantrums, now mostly controlled - though Wenger does still have his Basil Fawlty moments in extreme anxiety on the touchline, and both are devoted to fulfilling their talents in a way that satisfies their craving for perfection: in style as well as substance.

Wenger may have studied as a scientist, but he has used science to serve his art. And though that combination may have made him Arsenal's most successful and greatest manager, it has yet to propel him beyond football.

He remains enigmatic, a reclusive student of his football, a brilliant coach and exceptional manager, but not a man whose wit or wisdom has expanded beyond sport.

And what will Arsenal do when he is gone? He has built a club around him in his style and, to some extent, his image.

Surely, it would be impossible to find an Englishman to follow him. Is there a Wenger protégé, perhaps Thierry Henry, as he has suggested, who has the attributes to carry on the project?

On his 60th birthday, it is the big question: who follows Arsene? And it would be his best present to himself if he found the answer...

Tim Collings, Goal.com UK

Monday, October 19, 2009

Why Wenger Rejected Joining Read Madrid

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has conceded that Real Madrid were a big attraction when they tried to lure him away in the summer.

Wenger admits he has a soft spot for the Spanish champions, but in the end says he could not leave The Emirates.

One reason he is so committed to the Gunners is that he made a promise to his current batch of youngsters that he would remain in charge.

He told L'Equipe: "Real is the club of my childhood. When I was a kid, watching those guys in white, winning everything, then of course I am attracted by that club, but I have a pact with the young players of my team, and I want to succeed with that bet.

"I identified what was important in my job: freedom. Here, I have it.

"I could have earned bigger wages at Real, but I earn a good living in London. At my age, money can't play a key role.

"If I left for Real, I would have tried to filter through my philosophy, reorganised everything. I could have given foundations to the club's structure.

"That would not have prevented me from signing Ronaldo or Kaka. But that team is only built on bought players, while Real has a tradition of a beautiful game.

"They have to do what has been achieved at Barcelona through young players: creating a culture."

Wenger also revealed his belief that his current side could win this season's Champions League.

"People say I love a 'romantic' game, which is a kind of searching for beauty. You need such an ambition at the start.

"However, I am not a champion for beauty and only for beauty. Pleasure also comes from winning. I advocate extra soul: a team built patiently, with young players dedicated to remain together for five or 10 years, and that can identify with the culture of the game and the club.

"My team is ready to play a Champions League final. Why not winning it? We have more assets this year than the last one, because we have more certainties and more mental strength.

"Maybe I am more a builder than an investor. Actually I am realistic. When I made them build Emirates Stadium, I told myself: 'How could we stay at the highest level playing with the best players, against the best clubs, respecting the well-balanced finances at the club?' To me, the only solution was creating a team of young players, little by little, to lead them to high level."

He also pointed the finger at teams like Real and Manchester City for spending huge money on their sides.

"That is not idealism," he said.

"We are very close to making it in the Champions League with a very young team, respecting a well-balanced budget, facing clubs that do not necessarily respect that. Playing when you lose €150million, to me it is cheating."

Wenger also revealed why he had not bought either Xabi Alonso or Gareth Barry in the summer.

"I have been criticised for not hiring Xabi Alonso or Gareth Barry. But if I signed them, I would have killed Song, Diaby and Denilson," he insisted.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Nasri Set For Return

Samir Nasri believes he should be back in action for the Premier League clash with West Ham on 25th October.

Nasri has yet to play this season after breaking his leg over the summer but Arsene Wenger recently revealed he was closing in on a comeback.

Nasri is happy with how the recovery is going and hopes to return to the Gunners squad as soon as possible.

He may not be ready to feature in the home game against Birmingham this weekend or make the trip to AZ Alkmaar in the UEFA Champions League.

However, the Frenchman is confident he will play some part at Upton Park later this month and is looking forward to linking up with his team-mates in a new-look formation.

"I'm due to rejoin the Arsenal team this weekend, or at the start of next week," Nasri said in The Sun.

"I think I will be back in action against West Ham on the 25th.

"The new style of play suits us. Cesc Fabregas has a bit more freedom in midfield, and the rest of us link up well with him."

Friday, October 2, 2009

Nicklas Bendtner Car Crash Photo

Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner believes it is a 'miracle' that he walked away almost unscathed from a car crash last week.

The Denmark international was on his way to training on Sunday when his Aston Martin left the road and collided with the hard shoulder fence and a tree.

Bendtner missed the midweek UEFA Champions League victory over Olympiakos after being left badly shaken by the accident.

The only physical injuries he sustained were cuts and bruises to his knees and shoulder and he is hoping to return to action against Blackburn on Sunday.

However, Bendtner admits he is lucky to be alive after the incident and feels a higher power was at work in preventing more serious injuries.

"Someone took care of me out there on the road. I don't know what or who, but in a larger picture, there simply was someone who helped me. I firmly believe that it just wasn't the time for me to leave this life," he told the Daily Mirror.

"The police and everyone else at the scene told me I would have been dead if I hadn't been wearing my seatbelt.

"They also told me I would have been dead if I had been driving a car with a less impressive safety record. They actually called it a miracle that the accident didn't end with me dead, or at least severely injured.

"It was a huge shock. But I do not need a psychologist to find myself after the accident. I went out driving in my other car the day after, and it was no problem.

"I feel fine, although my shoulder is very sore. I have also got a number of cuts and bruises, and my knees were smashed together when a small tree came in through the car door.

"My knees are really bruised, but there is nothing broken or torn inside.

"I have been training alone, have been well examined and have had plenty of massage on my back, which has been hurting a lot. But I am training with my team-mates again, and the plan is I can play on Sunday."