Arsene Wenger has managed Arsenal since 1996, his arrival transformed Arsenal from being known as winning by the “1-0” to playing flamboyant entertaining football and winning the Premier League for the first time in 1998.
From 1996 – 2013 he battled with Sir Alex Ferguson (who managed Manchester United for 26 years) to be number one in England, and they were for a while the only two clubs who were challenging for the title. His arrival brought a shift of power from Manchester United who had dominated English football during the early 90’s.
When Jose Mourinho highlighted the fact that he would not be granted eight years of not winning a cup and keeping his job, the issue of Arsenal’s lack of success came to the attention of everyone.
So let’s look at the facts; in his 20 years in charge at Arsenal he has won three Premier League titles, six FA cups and six Community Shield trophies, but no European success. Arsene Wenger’s most successful period occurred in the 2003-2004 season when the team managed to go unbeaten for the whole season of 38 matches, became known as “the Invincible’s” – they went onto remain unbeaten in the league for a total of 49 games.
From 2005 – 2013, Arsenal failed to win any trophies and Arsene has still managed to keep his job, while other top teams might have been different. However, for every season he has been in charge the team has been in the top 4 of the Premier League and qualified for the Champions League.
Arsenal won the FA Cup in 2014 and 2015, however there has been no Premier League title since 2004. This season the only chance of silverware available to them is the Premier League – which seems remote since they are (at the time of writing) 10 points behind the leaders with seven more games to play.
Maybe Arsenal’s majority shareholder Stan Kroenke measures the club’s success at making money and being stable and not winning trophies, they have always maintained their loyalty to him when questions have been asked. In addition, fans are still more or less happy to be paying more than £60 for a game at the Emirates; the stadium is sold out on most match days.
Whether you think Arsene Wenger is a failure or a success one thing is for certain, Arsenal will find it difficult to replace him. Just look at the trouble Manchester United have faced after Sir Alex Ferguson left. Maybe everybody will realise his worth when he departs.
Images from: arsenal.com