So somehow GC and Keenos got into a debate on twitter which spilled over onto whatsapp and will spill over into the pub next season on just if Wenger is one of the all-time greatest managers in world football. With the restriction of 140 characters, neither could exactly get their point across fully, so a blog was born.
Wenger is not one of the greatest – by GC
Well my point initially was quite simple, no manager can be classed as one of the greatest ever unless they have won all the big domestic (title + FA Cup) and European trophies.
It’s very easy in this debate to try and distract from Wenger and start comparing to others from different era’s who may or may not be considered one of the greatest, so I’m going to stick to a bit of opinion and the facts on Wenger.
Let’s clarify the difference between great and greatest.
Firstly Wenger is a great manager, well his 1st 10 years at ours were great, FA cups, League titles, doubles and unbeaten season the blot being one thing, the European cup.
Just over 10years ago 100,000 (est) Arsenal fans took over Paris in probably the greatest ever away travelling support from any club in any country, that was the only Euro cup final Wenger has got us into and it ended with heartbreak. Since then its been a long run of getting knocked out at the last 16 stage.
There is also no denying Wenger built one of the greatest ever Arsenal sides, he added Vieira, Henry, Pires, Freddie (all world class in there prime) to George Graham’s famous back 5 who were the greatest ever defensive unit in English maybe European football ever, only rival there is the famous Milan back 4. But even with Bergkamp, one of the greatest ever forwards, Wenger hasn’t win the big ear’d one in 18 attempts.
So is Wenger one of the greats in the English game?
Despite never winning the league cup (losing 2 finals), no-one has finished in the top 4 for so many years running, no-one has won as many FA Cups and of course no modern day side has gone unbeaten in the league for a season or gone 49 games unbeaten. But too often when Wenger was in his prime and before ‘he built a new ground’ we finished 2nd in a 2 horse race to Man United who at the time were not only beating Wenger for trophies domesticity they also won the European cup.
Wenger also has the record of finishing 2nd in the league more times than any other Arsenal manager and has the longest run of not winning any trophies of any manager of The Arsenal.
Is Arsene Wenger great ? YES
Is he one of Arsenals greatest ? YES
Is he one of the greatest managers in world football? NO
The greatest of any era not only win the big prizes domesticity but then go on to win the biggest prize in Europe and then World Club Cup, and sadly Wenger has not done this.
Wenger is one of the greatest – by Keenos
Arsene Wenger is one of the greatest of all time.
When he came to England in October 1996, he transformed the English game in a way that changed coaching, fitness, training, scouting and diet methods forever. He led, the rest of England followed.
Yes, he might have now fallen behind others, but what he did in those first 10 years in English football has shaped how clubs now run now.
And look at his achievements.
- An unbeaten season – something which no other modern day manager has done in the English game.
- Doubles – Only Sir Alex Ferguson has won more league & cup doubles
- FA Cup – No manager has won more FA Cups
Of course, some will point to his failure to win the European Cup as a reason why he is not one of the greatest. Bill Shankly also never won the European Cup. Does that also mean he isn’t one of the greatest?
If you use the pinnacle of achievement to define who is one of the greatest, it would mean the likes of Lionel Messi, Johan Cruyff, George Best & Cristiano Ronaldo can not be considered amongst the greatest. They have never won the World Cup.
In music, the likes of Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, The Kinks, The Who, The Clash, Jimi Hendrix & James Brown have never had a US Billboard Number One. Does that mean that they can not be considered amongst the greatest? Of course not.
To value (or devalue) ones greatest on a single achievement (or lack of) is short sighted. It include people’s who clearly are not amongst the greatest (Benitez, Di Matteo, Zidane, One Direction) and excludes people who clearly are great (Shankly, Messi, Wenger, Bob Marley).
Outside of this country is where you see Arsene Wenger’s true greatness. He is still upheld on the continent as one of the best managers in world football. Outside of the fishbowl of the English media and Arsenal fans, an unbiased opinion of him from abroad would be that he is one of the games greatest.
The impact Arsene Wenger has had, not just on Arsenal but on English football, on world football, is the reason he is one of the greatest.
Who do you agree with?