Meeting my idols at the Premiere of Arsene Wenger: Invincible

Dan Smith attends the Premiere of Arsene Wenger: Invincible

There’s a certain irony that the week it was ensured for another year that no team will match Arsenal’s unbeaten season, that I would be invited to attend a film premiere of ‘Arsene Wenger: Invincible’

I was very proud to represent Justarsenal at the event, but was apprehensive that I was travelling from the Capital of Wales to England, essentially to go to the cinema and come back.

Pat owes me the National express costs and a refund for my brand-new shirt I had to buy after I spilt my gingerbread latte on the other one so had to jump into a store in Kensington and purchase a new one.

Like that scene off Notting Hill, a girl walked straight into me.

Hundreds were outside for autographs and selfies. The security gave me that look of ‘he is so not on the list’ until he scanned that yes in fact my name was there.

Once inside the building it was like The Wizard of Oz, going from dark to light.

Stood right in front of me is Mo Farah, and I am being offered free wine and champagne while Lee Dixon and David Seaman walk past.

4 rows in front of me Ian Wright needs help finding his seat.

You’re surrounded by familiar faces from ITV, Sky Sports and BBC.

I go get a drink and find Arteta texting on his phone, and then at the end of the evening I chat with Mr Wenger as he walks out.

It quickly became apparent that the room seemed to think I was a journalist who was used to being around celebrities and not one who aspires to be a writer.

This became clear when I was leaving and a member of staff asked did I need a car called for me to which I replied, ‘Mate I took the tube!’.

Although the penny might have dropped that I don’t get out much when I needed help with my seat number 015. “I can see the number but not the letter” I go back and tell the usher. “That’s the letter O sir not the number 0′

…….

The documentary was followed by a Q and A with Mr Wenger and those who put the piece together – including Gabriel Clarke from ITV.

Arsene Wenger, I grew up with, I was 9 when he was announced as Arsenal manager. So, when I read autobiographies or watch documentaries, I struggle to find out anything new.

Take the sentiment of meeting him away and that’s what I would normally base my opinion on.

Did I learn anything fresh?

The answer is yes ……….

For the first time publicly, it is admitted that the Frenchman wanted to leave in 2007 and that to this day he regrets not moving elsewhere and only associating himself with the one club.

The irony being he wanted to go in support of David Dein who disagreed with the board’s objection not to have a sole beneficiary like an Usmanov. Yet it was Dein who encouraged his friend to stay, knowing that part of the loan repayment plans were that the Gunners every season needed the revenue of the Champions League.

Here rises a constant conflict we see in this story, Arsenal are in Wenger’s heart, he can’t let go even when it would have meant more trophies and money elsewhere.

That’s where the regret comes from. He’s too classy to really pour out his heart, but how can it be fair that out of loyalty he doesn’t leave a sinking ship, only to then be pushed out years later by those he protected?

This from a man who lived and breathed the badge.

He constantly apologises to his own family that he feels he let down, how he’s trying to make up lost time with his daughter and how his passion made him selfish in certain relationships.

This is the closest the Frenchman has ever let a camera get to his personal life and even then, you sense there’s a sadness lurking.

He doesn’t talk about watching countless hours of football as a good thing, it’s his sickness.

The only family to speak was his sister-in-law, who describes the family set up as not being one where members said how they feel.

His brother never moved from the village of their birth, the opposite to a sibling who’s seen the world.

Mr Wenger relates that his dad never said ‘well done’ but always ‘do better‘, the closest the mask comes to slipping and the subject composes himself.

He always said that one day he would list the jobs that he was offered. He claims they include England, France, Juventus, Real Madrid and even Man United.  He said ‘no’ because his heart said his true love needed him.

While he has too much respect to point blank stress his grievance, others do that for him.

Sir Alex has no dog in the fight but points to the fact that his old rival kept Arsenal in Europe every year (at that moment I’m sure I saw Arteta squirm in his seat) and that some fans should be ‘ashamed’ at how they treated the Frenchman.

Genuinely, rows in front of me were nodding at this.

It’s one thing for Vieira to tell you off, but something altogether on a different level when the most successful boss in British history is questioning the common sense of a fanbase.

Can’t accuse Sir Alex of having an agenda.

Wenger’s legacy will always come down to how much you believe he was hampered by the debt caused by the building of the Emirates.

A brilliant line was ‘Highbury was my soul, the Emirates my suffering’.

He actually feels the Emirates saw his best piece of work, maintaining the top 4 despite every season selling off his best talent.

Financially it was vital to the club but having not got the pat on the back he felt he earnt; the juice wasn’t worth the squeeze.

I personally always maintained it wouldn’t be until he left that we realised just how hard it was under this regime to finish top 4.

Factually we have regressed since the day he left, with some gooners now claiming 6th would be progress.

It’s strange to see Ian Wright (hilarious throughout) bemoan the ‘4th is a trophy’ theory.

Gooners in 2021 seem to think top 6 is a trophy.

I asked Mr Wenger myself does he ever feel that the worst League position in 25 years vindicates the job he did?

He replied he knew how hard it was to, for example, lose Fabregas at 25 and still finish in the top 4. What he doesn’t know is if it was worth the stress and sacrifice he put on himself and his family?

Thierry Henry ponders the mental strain his boss must have gone through during the Invincible campaign, every few days a match with huge stakes.

In the Q and A, Clarke reveals Sir Alex Ferguson had long wanted to take part in a production like this, because he knew how rare it is for his former foe to open up.

I would have liked more on the French scandal that saw Marseille relegated, known to have deeply unsettled the then Monaco coach.

Credit to him for acknowledging horrible rumours in his personal life when he first moved to England, including fake leaks that he quit or was sacked. Our PR department have always done well to keep archive footage locked away so it’s fascinating to watch.

It wasn’t untill Ian Wright said it that it dawned on me that this treatment could be a reflection of racism in the UK in 1996/ 97.

Back when a foreigner managing in Britain was not the norm, what do people do when someone different to them is doing well?

They try to break them.

Wenger himself sees his first Double-winning team as a reflection of a culture change that was happening in London, the city becoming more diverse.

I often wondered how a Vieira, Pires and Henry fell in love with a club they were not affiliated with.

It’s perfectly explained here, Wenger brought players from various parts of the world but insisted they adopt the British culture.

In the Q and A, Mr Wenger says this was the first time he saw the completion of all the filming.

Like a lot of these films, recording isn’t done in order, it might be convenient for an hour of interviews in France before he has to attend a meeting.

Scenes range from London to France and he was sat in an armchair having to relive the highs and lows of certain matches.

It’s genius how Clarke shoots the 72-year-old walking in solitude in his home village, waking through a London Cul de sac on his own and in isolation near his London home, doing the same exercise routine he’s done for over two decades.

The same route, the same trees, the same lake.

It’s the stories beginning, middle and end.

Yet whether it was as a child with nothing, having success, or now without a club, he still is a loner, stuck in his own head seeking perfection.

Whether that’s a gift or a curse is a question mark.

Where you admire his outlook and envy his work ethic, there’s a vulnerability that he’s never let us see before.

Sir Alex relates from his working-class roots in Scotland. He believes that work ethic is instilled in him and Mr Wenger no matter how much wealth or fame you get.

Mr Wenger explains ‘the best forget the wins, but remember the losses.’

It wouldn’t shock me if his one and only Champions League Final is not included because it hurts too much.

It’s a paradox – the obsession to do something special in this sport gave him his life in Football – but little else.

Yet to be the father he regrets not being, he possibly wouldn’t have had his success. If he didn’t love Arsenal he simply ends up with more medals.

But he couldn’t have become a legend at Arsenal without that love, every ounce of sweat and energy.

Quite simply, so many readers would benefit from watching this in select cinemas from Friday or on Amazon/DVD from November 20th.

Youngsters, to see what true success looks like.

Older fans to understand how far we have fallen.

In a month where we ‘rejoice’ over beating Watford, Leicester and Villa, listen to Henry, almost in tears, tell you about his hat trick on Easter Friday against Liverpool and how Highbury felt.

When draws with Brighton are now considered ‘decent’ and the mentality is to jump in the crowd if you draw with Palace at home, listen to the togetherness regarding the Battle of Old Trafford and how subsequent bans united the squad.

Forget pumping out your chest and boasting about the top 5, these were men who had the character to get results at the Bridge, the Lane, Anfield, Old Trafford, all the while playing the best football in the land.

The saddest part is you will never see another Arsenal like that one.

Like most things you don’t appreciate what you have ’til it’s gone, you think it lasts forever.

In his own words, in sport … in life, be as ambitious as you want. Work hard, give it everything and don’t listen to those who doubt you.

Arsene Wenger – Invincible is out this Friday in Cinemas and from the 20th of November on Blue Ray, DVD and Amazon

Tags Arsene Wenger: Invincible

59 Comments

  1. Highbury Hero says:

    This is one of the best articles I have read in JA. For fans who disrespect the great Arsene, it may be understandable at that time because emotions might have gotten the better of them not winning the trophy for many years.

    But to those still disrespecting the great man to this day, shame on you. I wouldn’t share a table with you even if my life depended on it.

    He kept us in Europe while playing the most spectacular football the world has ever seen. Even our fiercest rivals conceded Arsenal of then was a joy to watch.

    1. Highbury Hero says:

      The fact that the great Alex Ferguson saw the need to address it says everything.

      1. Kenny says:

        Don’t forget that Alex Ferguson gave Arsene a big Farewell! Arsene – Walked the Talk!

    2. Dan kit says:

      Got to agree HH
      Probably the single best article I’ve read on here ,very well written Dan ,and must have been an honour to be in such company for the night .

  2. gotanidea says:

    Real Madrid or Barcelona should’ve hired him after Zidane and Koeman left. I’m sure he’s got some new ideas

    About top six, I don’t think anybody consider it as a trophy. It’s just a rebuilding evidence after our disastrous seasons

  3. Ric Ionta says:

    Mr Wenger was, and always will be, an absolute legend who devoted the best years of his life to our club and ensured that we survived the next 100 years. Highbury was truly magical, however we needed the Emirates to take us to the next level and guarantee our future in a world where football became less of a sport, but a business first.

    When he said we could go a season undefeated, the press laughed and mocked him. The very next season, we went undefeated.

    When he said Top 4 was a trophy in itself, the footballing world said he was mad. Show me a club now that doesn’t talk about a Top 4 finish now?

    Mr Wenger was a visionary beyond his years. He made magic happen, both on and off the pitch.

    Loyal to a fault, he became the face of Arsenal and for that, sections of our fanbase decided it was all his fault, without ever realising the real issues to our problems.

    These are the same fans who believe running a billion pound club is as easy as it is for them when playing football manager on their consoles. There’s no idea of the how the economics behind player transfer fees, contracts, wages can potentially impact a players sell on fee if they don’t work out as intended.

    Arsene Wenger changed English football single handedly and it was incredibly painful to watch those final years play out in the way they did, and some fans should be ashamed of how they acted to this gentleman.

    As Arsenal fans, we should all be eternally grateful for Mr Wenger for what he did for us. There wont be too many like him again.

    1. RaKe says:

      Ric – your reply to this article is very well written and thought out. You’re right, Wenger was ridiculed by many throughout his entire tenure, from the day he signed until the day he left. He is a true gent of the game and like you, i agree that us Gooners are/were lucky to have him.

  4. Declan says:

    I first went to Highbury in 1960 and Wenger is by far the best manager with teams playing the best football to date. His style will never be replicated and neither will be the achievements.
    I stood on the North Bank and later had a season ticket in the Upper Tier West Stand and often have a wander around the old ground and look up to where my seat was, on match days at the Emirates. To me, Highbury was a living breathing church where I worshipped my team and the best manager we ever had.

    1. jon fox says:

      Declan, “Ever” , as in “best ever”, is a very, very long time my friend, and a friend who does so easily FORGET the mere 1930’s!

      Herbert Chapman , our TRUE “best ever”, built our club from scratch and nonentities into being the most famous club and best club team in the world by the time of his death and in less than 9 full years.

      I can agree AW’s glory years style was memorable but over the whole 22 years, given that he took over a world renowned club that had already been so for over half a century, his mere three titles in 22 years compares unfavourable to Chapmans many honours AND the fact he transformed our whole club from also rans and nobodys into what we became by his untimely death only 9 years later

      WENGER , OUR SECOND BEST EVER, needed to have won several CL’s, as well as a mere three Prems in his 22 years, to be anywhere near rivalling the great Chapman. But he could not do it.

      Some true context for you, my friend!

  5. Kenny says:

    People say TLDR (too long don’t read) but this Dan’s article is TLMR — Too long must read. What’s an interesting article by Dan that you continue to read until you have finished reading every sentences of this article.

  6. jon fox says:

    I think this rivetting piece is possibly, even probably, the single best ever article I have read on JA in all my years on here.

    It is well known that I do not agree with Dan in his disdain of our current Prem position and I firmly think our current side is a much improved one since the summer just gone.

    I feel he has been spoilt by being only 9 when Wenger became manager and thus grew to his adulthood during Wengers glory years.

    Thus his expectations have been very distorted by those glory years and he has a fundamentally different take to me and some older others as to how success is measured.

    However, as an example of excellent writing, this piece is almost unparalleled on JA and he in no way “aspires to be a writer”.
    My friends, he IS a writer and A DARNED GOOD ONE TOO.

  7. Matthew says:

    I was looking to see what negative statements fans like loose cannon(who personally i think is “deranged”),tmjw,goonster&old phil will make concerning this article&how they think Arsene is still the reason we underperform most times.

    1. Phil says:

      Exactly how good were we when he left? Was it a squad capable of challenging for the top 4 position he insists was a trophy? Was a EL place all he could achieve ?
      I can imagine his book publishers are not too happy with him. He had the opportunity to put it all out there in print but didn’t. Funny that don’t you think? He was taking the club backwards and everyone knew it. It was why he was sacked. You don’t normally get sacked if your doing a decent job.
      Just remember the squad he left us and then tell me he was harshly treated.

      1. Daniel Smith says:

        Because it was better then two 8,th place finishes

        1. Phil says:

          That reply answers nothing

      2. Matthew says:

        By your comments most times phil,i feel you know so little about the game of football.you just seat at your home&condemn manager after manager not even minding the resources at their disposal compared to other clubs that they compete against.and the worst of it all is that you never admit it when you are wrong

        1. Phil says:

          @Matthew- sit at home watching?
          After 42 years as a home season ticket holder and 18 years on the away scheme, I can assure you I don’t sit at home watching. I’ve had 3 seasons of watching EVERY match, including Europe so that’s something I can say. And you?
          I believe I have earned the right to state my opinion, but you feel a comment like that actually what…. Makes you feel big? Pathetic PAL

  8. Matthew says:

    I have nothing but utmost respect for mr.wenger for the job he did at arsenal,i think the board didn’t sack him because they saw the massive job he was doing but the disrespectful fans thought they know best&their regular protest made the board to let him go.

    1. jon fox says:

      Matthew, The board “letting him go” and him being sacked are two ways of saying the precise SAME thing with the precise SAME meaning. Just letting you know how the English language works !
      You don’t let someone go who does NOT WISH to go. You sack them instead, as actually happened.

      1. Matthew says:

        As i said mr.fox,the board let him go against their wish because that was what some of the all knowing fans wanted&i believe you fully understood what i meant&didn’t need to correct my use english….

        1. Phil says:

          @Matthew- the board sacked him. You know it, everyone knows it. You can sugar cost it as much as you like PAL, but if the board felt he was doing a good job, as you believe, why would they not have kept him?

          1. ken1945 says:

            But they did keep him Phil, for another six months while they arranged his final game celebrations and Arsene stayed on to help them find a successor.
            Unlike, say, UE… here today gone tomorrow.
            They knew how difficult it would be to replace him and, even after that, have still failed to equal his last season in the PL.
            They did, of course, win the fa cup with his dross players, I’ll give you that!!

            As a very successful businessman Phil, when you actually SACK someone, do you do it in the way UE was treated or the way AW was treated?
            Do you give them a gold trophy for leaving your business in a mess, or do you tell them to clear their desk that same day?

            IF he was doing such a terrible job, why let him stay on?
            Please don’t say it was to recognise his past success, because you say he had been a failure since 2012… so I guess I’m to believe it took them six years to sack him then?!?!

            But, unless one is trying to make daft points (for and against) does it really matter today?

            Both the club and Arsene have decided that only they will know what happened and that’s the way it should be… meanwhile we wait for another Invincible squad and pray MA becomes THE most successful manager in our history.

            As two realists, surely that is all that matters?!?!

            1. Phil says:

              Or of course Ken, looked at the other way. If AW was doing well, why would the board not have just kept him?
              He was relieved of his duties, and his contract paid up. If he had resigned, he would not have been paid would he?
              Did Wigan not win the FA Cup when being relegated? This point being that any team could win a cup, and it’s the League where the true value of a club is rewarded. Wenger was taking us backwards, and the vast majority of the fanbase turned on him and the board. Are you suggesting this was unwarranted?

              1. ken1945 says:

                Phil, what “vast majority” are you referring to?
                JF’S back up majority that is never quantifiable, just a guess?

                The 60,000 plus who applauded and sang his name at The Emirates, when he was awarded the only gold Invincible trophy in existence perhaps?

                As I say, if it took nearly six years to sack him, that’s yet another record we can associate him with… the list goes on and on and on.

                By the way, what’s your record regarding the length of time any of your employees were allowed to continue working in any of your companies?
                I’m pretty sure it wasn’t six years!!!!

            2. Phil says:

              Ken- my reply has been removed by the Admins. Not sure why as it was not malicious at all

              1. ken1945 says:

                As long as we’re realists and 2021 isn’t 2018, let’s agree to disagree on this subject and I’m glad you read the book!!

                1. Phil says:

                  Ken- I would read a book of knitting patterns before reading THAT book

                  1. ken1945 says:

                    Phil, at 5.34 you mention the book’s content – now I don’t want to “needle” you, or pull the “wool” over your eyes, or even “knit” the “pattern” of your reply by “jumper” ing to conclusions…but, how can you know what’s in the book, if you haven’t read it… are you trying to “stitch” me up?

              2. Admin Pat says:

                Not me Phil! You left an ‘e’ out of your email….

  9. ken1945 says:

    Dan, my congratulations – I was sitting next to you, but you didn’t realise it!!!

    I think you and I have the same thoughts refardung Arsene Wenger and tge legacy he has left the club.

    I grew up with The Arsenal from the 1950’s and know what the club was like then.

    What Arsene achieved during his tenure will never be bettered and this article summed it up perfectly.

    Thank you for taking the time to lay it out and Arsene Wenger’s name will be etched in the memories of all true Gooners, as a man who fell in love with the club, just as we all did.

    The words of his peers says it all :

    1. Daniel Smith says:

      Should have said hey

      1. ken1945 says:

        Dan, Reading the article made me feel like I was sitting next to you!!!
        I couldn’t afford to miss in such company 😂😂😂😂
        Guess you missed the compliment?!?!

        1. Daniel Smith says:

          Oh lol
          Long 24 hours

  10. ken1945 says:

    regarding not refardung.

  11. The-Real-Vieira-Lynn-4ever says:

    First and foremost, I actually enjoyed this article, which certainly isn’t a common refrain when it comes to this particular writer, as the subject matter was squarely within his wheelhouse, so it wasn’t the usual wag the dog narrative where the topic at hand was but a mere sideshow that simply afforded him the opportunity of offering up his myriad of Wenger-loving quips and quotes…so kudos to you Dan for both recognizing your lane and leaning into it

    as for my thoughts about Wenger himself, some will be quick to suggest that I have always harboured some sort of ill-will towards the man, but don’t get things twisted…in his formative years I was an avid admirer of our former manager for his innovative approach, his seemingly unyielding drive and the fact that he was self-aware enough to understand that he couldn’t have achieved the things he did without the one true renaissance man in North London, David Dein…this of course isn’t said in an attempt to disparage Wenger’s vitally crucial role in our period of relative dominance, but instead to highlight the fact that things were never the same once Dein had left the building, full-stop

    furthermore my change of heart was neither sudden or as a result of something that changed on my behalf…in fact, quite the contrary, my metamorphosis of sorts took place as a direct result of how he had changed in the years following our move to the Emirates…his increasing aloofness and disrespectful behaviour towards the fanbase, combined with his rather deceptive and irresponsible behaviour when it came to recruitment, asset management and the actual financial wherewithal of our organization, were just some of the reasons why he lost my support…this sentiment only grew with each passing year when he not only continued down the same problematic path, he actually doubled-down on the monopolistic, self-serving path without a care or concern for the input or expertise of others…as such he became increasingly fragile and insular figure, which started to be reflected in the largely toothless/rudderless squads he shoehorned together year after year…this is the real story I so wished he would talk about, but it would require a level of vulnerability that I very much doubt he could ever express in a public forum, written or otherwise

    as I’ve said before, slowly but surely the truth will be squeezed out of this once-revered turned divisive character…once he stops hanging his crooked hat on the whole “too loyal” narrative, the story of a man who sold a little piece of his soul to secure the keys to the kingdom will emerge, then we can finally mend the fanbase rift that still inhibits our ability to move forward as a collective force for the betterment of this club

  12. ken1945 says:

    Talking about selling a little bit if his soul….
    How much did David Dein receive for selling his shares?
    Who introduced kronkie to the club?
    Who wanted to move the club from Highbury to Wembley?
    Who went behind the back of the board?

    All human beings have faults, be it DD, AW, MA or even Silent Stan – one thing is for sure, AW didn’t do any of the above and is now being blamed for moving to The Emirates…. a mere yard or so from Highbury!!!

    Now, how many millions did Saint David make from his shares????

    I’m sure it will all be revealed when your explosive tell it all article appears in all good book shops…. we await with baited breath for the promised book of revelations….. meanwhile I listen to the likes of Alex Ferguson, Pep, Klopp and ex players with regards to what Arsene achieved on and off the pitch.
    The article, if it ever sees the light of day, could change everyone’s opinions… so publish it and be damned.
    Then we won’t have to wait “slowly but surely for the truth to be squeezed out” and the fanbase rift will be mended.
    Talk is cheap, action is required!!!!

    1. The-Real-Vieira-Lynn-4ever says:

      as expected, you skipped right over my exceedingly complimentary remarks about Arsene and at no point did I suggest that Dein wasn’t without fault for what ultimately transpired…that said, at least Dein tried his damnedest to do everything within his power to both enable us to retain our preeminent position in the footballing world and to seek a plausible remedy when he realized he had made a potentially disastrous decision when he helped to bring Kroenke onboard…ultimately his tireless efforts failed to achieve the results he had hoped, as Usmanov cared infinitely more about his potential financial windfall than going to bat for Dein

      regardless, nothing that Wenger did during his partnership with Dein justified his continued managerial presence long after it made footballing sense…to suggest otherwise is akin to saying that there’s no Arsenal without Arsene, which was clearly a sentiment that both he and his most ardent supporters zealously believed…the fact that he refused to publicly address the legitimate concerns of those within the fanbase, especially considering the new “pay more for less” false narrative, or properly redress the managerial missteps of his more recent past, simply fueled a fire that only he was in a position to extinguish

      so in many respects his refusal to put the best interests of the club ahead of his own actually exacerbated an already burgeoning volatile dynamic that existed within the fanbase…yet somehow he actually wants us to apologize to him for his actions or lack thereof and likewise, as he would suggest, for holding him back career-wise…that’s rich

      1. ken1945 says:

        So, how much did Dein make from selling his shares?
        Is that what you mean when you say he did his upmost to maintain a pre-eminent position in the footballing world… by selling his shares to a Russian, who also sold, at an enormous profit, to the man DD introduced?

        No one has said there is no Arsenal without Wenger… only YOU have suggested THAT and turned it into a, seemingly, factual statement.

        I have no problem with DD /AW partnership, it was a lethal combination and one man complimented the other… but your incessant browning of DD is completely OTT.

        As I said, produce the article that you promised would show he was the man, while AW was not and we could all see what makes you say these things.

        As you’ve had since 2008 to research and verify these thoughts, I fail to understand why you are loath to publish them and help heal the rift that AW, supposedly, caused by putting his self interest before the club.

        Finally, I have not ignored any of your post, as I read them intently in order to see if they contain any factual points… as we are poles apart in our thinking.
        That’s why I keep asking you to publish the article that you said was nearly complete, what, five months ago, in order to see where you are coming from.
        I am always open to discussing others opinions, especially when they state that they have proof of such facts.
        I just wonder why David Dein and Arsene Wenger have remained such loyal and passionate friends, if said relationship and success therewith was so one sided… perhaps your article will answer that question as well?

        1. The-Real-Vieira-Lynn-4ever says:

          once again, you have chosen to cherry-pick only that which best fits your particular narrative, while likewise making erroneous claims about what I’m implying…I take nothing away from the accolades of our former manager, during his pre-Emirates tenure, and I certainly never suggested that Dein was vastly more important than his managerial counterpart…they worked exceptionally well as a tandem, as Dein attended to all those aspects of organizational life that Wenger was clearly ill-suited for, as was evidenced by what happened once he was no longer there to lean on…you, on the other hand, seem to think that I view Wenger as some sort of afterthought or scrub, which couldn’t be farther from the truth…if that were the case, I would say so in a clear and succinct fashion

          as for my proposed article, it’s clearly still too early, as is evident by your inability to accept seemingly anything that I’m postulating…of course, I wasn’t in the room to collect evidence, so for you to suggest that you’re waiting for some court-like documentation that captures our former manager red-handed, is a you-created ridiculous notion…I’ve never suggested that was the case and it’s clear that you continue to harp on that supposed fact so that you always have a plausible out regardless of whatever I might put forth…for me, it’s quite simple, his actions or lack thereof speaks volumes about what was going on behind the scenes, but since he’s tied his legacy so closely to the notion that he was always an Arsenal-first selfless individual likely means that no real honest discussion will ever be forthcoming, at least not from the horse’s mouth anyways

          this is why I’ve always been such a huge fan of Hitchens, as he had the uncanny ability to bring “factual” context to longstanding and deeply-held narratives by daring to peel back the proverbial onion….to that end, I’m not suggesting whatsoever that by following Hitchen’s methodology Wenger is revealed to be as some sort of nefarious character, far from it, but he certainly doesn’t emerge as the empathetic victim of an outrageous plot by those within the fanbase who are hellbent on besmirching his name without any justification

          1. ken1945 says:

            OK then, let’s agree that, whenever you feel the time is right to produce your article, it will not contain any information that the rest of the fan base have not been privy to – perhaps I misread your original claim – and it will be an opinion based article… let’s go with that and I look forward to seeing your reasoning behind it.

            “Cherry Picking?” No I’m not – I am discussing points that you make that, either I disagree with or don’t understand.
            If you want me to agree with points you make, then I do agree that he was a phenomenon pre Emirates and that he and DD were equal in that wonderful partnership – but is that necessary?

            For instance, the claim that AW wasn’t able to organise, is one that stands out for “cherry picking” as you put it.

            We are told that he, single handedly AND because he was a control freak, actually run the club on his own from 2008 until gazidis and kronkie intervened at the end of the 2016 season.

            As far as I am aware, the club never went into liquidation, never fell foul of any PL regulations, never had points deducted for failing to adhere to said rules and regulations, never played players not registered etc etc.

            Now, if you can give me ANY example of AW failures that DD was responsible for, before he was sacked (you know here today gone tomorrow – that kind of sacked) then I would certainly like to see the examples and discuss it with you and other interested Gooners.
            In that way, proper debate can take place and facts discussed.

            By the way, I have no idea what / who Hitchin is, sorry.

            Your last statement that he comes across as a “victim” is, I would suggest, perfectly reasonable.
            Whether one thinks his latter years were a success or not, the personal abuse, both physical, verbal and mentally, certainly were bordering on sickening – one person who is active on JA, actually wished him physical harm… so he was a “victim”… unless you disagree with what he went through as acceptable?

            1. The-Real-Vieira-Lynn-4ever says:

              you don’t know who Christopher Hitchens was??? if not, I think you should do a bit of a deep dive, as I think you would really appreciate what he had to offer the world in a variety of capacities, as he was truly one of the great thinkers of the modern era

              as for your comments regarding Wenger being victimized, you obviously know I would never condone any acts of violence being perpetrated against him or any other former or present manager, regardless of my feelings about their respective managerial abilities…that said, you referencing one “nut-job’s” nonsensical wishes like this was a common occurrence is both ludicrous and incredibly disingenuous, don’t you think?

              finally, your insanely low standards when discussing the potential merits of Wenger’s second term in office is quite laughable, especially considering it was he, along with Dein, who had established the high bar by which all future club activities should have been measured…the fact that he couldn’t meet the very standards he helped to create suggests failure on his part…unfortunately there was no one who could have logically remedied that situation except himself and he was totally unwilling to even contemplate make any changes which might have negatively affected his total autonomy over all things club-related

              1. The-Real-Vieira-Lynn-4ever says:

                making NOT make any changes

                1. ken1945 says:

                  Hitchens – lived my 76 years without having to reference him and plan to follow my club, again, without the need for his “deep thinking”, for the rest of it…. each to his own.

                  You see what I mean, not one example of AW not being able to organise, just the continuation of unfounded waffle.

                  I have no idea what you condone as “violence” but, once again, you try to dismiss it as “one nut job”…. whereas previously it was the “majority” who were protesting.

                  The bar that I set as success for the club, is biased, not on ANY manager, but the end of season positions.
                  For two decades, we were a top 1,2,3,4 club, despite the ever changing picture of money rolling in and the ownership of kronkie.
                  No sane person would/could compare the first of AW’s decade to the second, but to dismiss his second decade simply because of the success of his first is utter nonsense.
                  The bar I felt was a true measure, was CL and/or a trophy season… this was achieved in all but his last season and I believe AW himself has said that was not acceptable and why he left the club.

                  Three years plus later, we have lost European football, we have finished 5,8,8, and won one fa cup with the “dross” squad of players that he and UE left behind.

                  That low bar, as you call it, saw us reach the last eight of the elite clubs in europe during his second decade, winning three fa cups and three CS trophies….without DD and, according to you, being unable to have any organisational skills whatsoever!!!
                  Give it a break and try to understand exactly what AW did achieve…. three managers later and we’re still nowhere near that level of stability.

                  1. The-Real-Vieira-Lynn-4ever says:

                    surely you can see that the manner by which Wenger constructed the squad and oversaw club-related matters, in his latter years, was vastly different from it’s earlier incarnations, with Dein in the fold…the lack of a spine, the papering over of cracks, the square pegs in round holes, like with the DM position, the glaring lack of charismatic leaders being cultivated and/or recruited due to either Wenger’s growing managerial fragility and/or his unwillingness to share the locker room, the shoehorning of players from a positional perspective, the never-ending excuse mill, the armband carousel, the late and/or inexcusable transfer windows, the tactical rigidity and the abject asset mismanagement…should I go on? how can these things not register on your managerial misstep radar? or was it solely about the table, at the end of the day, regardless of the overriding particulars??? please stop ignore the nuanced nature of this discussion

                    1. ken1945 says:

                      But you still haven’t produced one single piece of fact that shows the work DD did before he was sacked, deteriorated under AW, as you claimed?
                      DD wasn’t in charge of any of the situations you mention above, as they were all down to AW in the first place.
                      So you are wrong to state that aren’t you?

                      Now, if you had said that AW made many mistakes on the field, compared to the time DD was his right hand man off the field then we would find some common ground and discuss why that happened – kronkie, abramovitch, sheiks, Emirates and his style of playing attacking football at the expense of defensive duties, poor signings and pegs, could have been discussed.
                      To my knowledge, David has never selected any Arsenal PL squad, the captain, the style of play, tactics and /or transfer targets – perhaps you have said knowledge?

                    2. The-Real-Vieira-Lynn-4ever says:

                      really? you don’t think Dein’s tireless efforts when it came to the actual securing of talent, didn’t have anything to do with the tactics being deployed and/or Wenger’s ultimate selection options…as we’ve seen, the on and off field organizational practices are intimately tied, so when one isn’t pulling it’s weight, the other invariably suffers…when Wenger was left to his own devices, he failed to strike the requisite balance between these two interconnected aspects of our club….without those checks and balances that were present under Dein, Wenger chose the path of least resistance far too often, thus enabling him to make a myriad of selfishly-motivated decisions…furthermore, Dein was an innovative force, in his own right, as he was the one that took the course less travelled by pursuing the relative unknown Wenger, in an attempt to reinvent the Arsenal wheel…he likewise was a paramount figure in the creation of a more “family-like” environment at the club through the cultivation of strong relationships with the players…now many of these above contributions were wrongly attributed to Wenger and him alone and that’s simply not the case

                    3. ken1945 says:

                      But did he select the team, the captain the tactics, the transfers during his partnership with AW?
                      Of course he didn’t…in fact DD has stated on many occasions that AW told him the players he wanted and it was his task to go and get them… remember Patrick Vieria?
                      David was doing Arsene’s bidding before Le Prof had even arrived!!!

                    4. ken1945 says:

                      I also suggest you read an article by “angry from Islington” titled “Dein splashes the cash – on himself.”
                      It details the £75 million David received from the sale of his shares, his failed business, his new £7 million plus house and how much money he made from his time supporting The Arsenal.

                      Love the man myself, but we need to be aware of the facts, when painting him as the good guy (and Wenger as his prop who couldn’t organise anything) when the board sacked him for going behind their and kronkie’s back.

                    5. The-Real-Vieira-Lynn-4ever says:

                      that wag the dog monetary narrative you’re trying to peddle has nothing whatsoever to do with anything football-related…if you have some sort of axe to grind with Dein over his financial trials or tribulations that’s fine but that has no place in our discussions…you’re acting as if Wenger is hanging out in breadlines and hasn’t amassed a fairly equivalent fortune…it’s fairly simple, Dein moved mountains for this club, both before and during Arsene’s time here, and this isn’t a chicken or the egg argument, in that if Dein didn’t exist the Wenger you hold in such high esteem wouldn’t even have existed

                    6. ken1945 says:

                      Just go and read some factual things about DD and stop trying to insert your agenda into my words.
                      I haven’t said that DD wasn’t important in the history of our club, in fact the opposite.
                      During an article I wrote about DD for JA, I said that he was as important as AW during their relationship.

                      It is you who wants to twist the relationship, by claiming DD was the senior partner and AW failed once he left.

                      DD did make THE ultimate mistake, by bringing kronkie to The Arsenal and AW, along with the fans have seen what that mistake cost the club.

                      Anyway, I’m bored now, so let’s call it a day and I will wait until you think the fanbase is ready to read your article.

                    7. The-Real-Vieira-Lynn-4ever says:

                      fortunately for me, it’s considerably less boring when one is clearly winning the argument…for you, I guess there’s always next time…Cheers

                    8. ken1945 says:

                      Yawn Yawn Yawn Yawn YawnKeep kidding yourself and you’ll get along just fine – now I’ll go and have some grown up conversations and wait for that article.

  13. Kay says:

    A fantastic piece of writing! Enjoyed reading from start to finish. I have learned a lot through this article. As others have said, you are not aspiring to be a writer – you ARE one.

  14. Terry M. says:

    The real culprits of Arsenal are the AFTV fans. All true fans know that and they even chant ‘ AFTV get out of our club’ at games, both home and away

    1. Daniel Smith says:

      Yeah
      Didn’t see the crew

  15. Samuel E Banks says:

    This is an exceptional article, I felt like I was there!

  16. Angus says:

    Very happy for you Dan and an enjoyable read. Hope you heed his back Arteta comments too. Hardly surprising given he made Arteta captain to regular cries of “not captain material” and offered him a 1st team coaching role (that he turned down for City) something even Henry was not ever offered. Something about Arteta maybe? Anyway glad you got to experience that and well deserved. You’ve put in a lot of effort for this site and like myself a firm Wenger proponent so couldn’t be more fitting.

  17. Mike Anison Emmanuel says:

    It was a pleasure having you Mr Wenger in our lives. Ur truly an idol to me it was because of you I started supporting arsenal since 2007 till date I remain a Gunner!

  18. Mike says:

    So sorry I forget to mention this De funny thing that made me like arsenal at that time was all my friends were supporting man u, Chelsea, & so on both I chased arsenal because of Wenger & his faceshell look’s

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