The last few seasons of Arsene Wenger’s reign as Arsenal manager was probably one of the most divisive in the clubs history with fans split down the middle over whether he should stay or go. In the end, as we all know, he went, and with him went a legacy that is sometimes forgotten and one that is set to stand the test of time.
Time is always a great healer and the legacy of what Wenger created is starting to be acknowledged, even by his most ardent critics.
Who can forgot those damning words from the one time Wenger nemesis Jose Mourinho, when called the Frenchman “a specialist in failure” but even he has now come around and admitted that Wenger was a one of a kind.
During an interview with beIN SPORTS, when speaking about what Wenger achieved, Mourinho said the following.
“I think a very easy way to remember is to say he is the last one of that type,” he said.
“I think nowadays it’s impossible to stay in a club for 15 years, 20 years, 25 years.
“So he is the last one. I don’t believe at all that one will be able to stay even for ten years.
“Now the players they come, the players they go, it’s huge pressure for the managers.”
“You have a good season now and then you have not a very good season next, there’s huge pressure and the tendency to change,”
“Also at the leadership level I think it’s much more demanding from the manager, and the tendency is that managers in the same club do not last for a long time.
“More specifically [how Wenger should be remembered] he is the manager of the Invincibles. If you look at Ranieri, he’s the manager of what I call ‘the miracle’, with Leicester as champion.
“Wenger had the team who won the Premier League without one single defeat and this is the kind of thing that stays forever.”
Mourinho is, of course, right, that is the sort of record that stays forever, it may one day be emulated, but Wenger was the first and that can never be erased.
The reason we are all so demanding now of Unai Emery is because of the success that Wenger brought to the club, in fact, it was that very success that destroyed him in the end.
The fans grew used to success at the highest level and when that came to a halt we demanded a change, and that is how Wenger’s legacy should best be summed up, a manager that brought so much success that it became expected, a standard that is now a minimum, and Emery and every future manager of Arsenal football club must live up to that standard or go the same way that the man that created that expectation ended up going.
And that is out of the door.