Arsene Wenger

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Arsene Wenger

Post by lbb » Tue Sep 18, 2007 11:39 am

Has anyone in British football 'rebadged' a club the way Arsene Wenger has at Arsenal? By that, I mean not only has he brought great success to Arsenal but he has transformed the public perception of them. Even the successful Arsenal teams under George Graham were not noted for great football and this seems to have been the common perception of Arsenal right back to the 1980's, 1970's and 1960's. They sometimes had good players but their overall style was not attractive to the neutral.

I don't think Wenger's achievement can be confused with someone bringing trophies to a club that's gone without for a period like, for example, Alex Ferguson at Man Utd. It's a different kind of achievement. Man Utd were Man Utd with all their history and reputation even before Ferguson went there.

The closest I can think of is the way Shankly and Clough brought Liverpool and Nottingham Forest from the lower leagues to unprecedented heights. Shankly established the Liverpool empire that lasted years and I think this is the closest to Wenger's particular type of achievement.

Wenger has transformed Arsenal to the extent that people now openly speak of an 'Arsenal way' of playing football. An intricate goal is an 'Arsenal-style goal'. When Paul Le Guen was appointed at Rangers, Rangers fans spoke of becoming a 'Scottish Arsenal'. What an achievement to have taken a club not only to trophies but to enter their name into the lexicon of the modern game.

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Post by Scottish » Wed Sep 19, 2007 4:46 pm

You could say George Graham himself did the same. It was during his tenure that '1-0 to the Arsenal' became a commonplace chant. The gag in 'The Full Monty' about raising the arm like the Arsenal back four wouldn't have worked with any other team. This image of Arsenal as the English masters of catenaccio didn't exist before Graham.

Going further back Herbert Chapman undoubtedly established Arsenal as one of England's great clubs. Prior to Chapman they had won nothing of note and their image was distinctly dodgy - having decamped from Woolwich controversially and been elevated to the 1st Division after finishing 5th in Division Two.

Chapman made them the first club to really dominate the English game for a lengthy period. Five titles in the 1930s, regularly breaking the transfer record and best supported club for nine years running, the Arsenal he built occupied the same place of adoration by their own fans and loathing by others occupied in more recent times by Liverpool, Man Utd & Chelsea.

Matt Busby also transformed Man Utd from second club in Manchester into the top club in Britain. Though it is fair to add that the enormous outpouring of public sympathy after Munich played a part. But the 'Busby Babes' wasn't just a retrospective tribute. Before Munich Busby had created a 'brand' for the club and it was one which lasted through the lean years until the arrival of Alex Ferguson.

I'd add Stan Cullis at Wolves and Don Revie at Leeds to Shankly & Clough in that they took hitherto obscure or middling clubs to success and made their names synonymous with the club and style of football played.

They also created a burden for their successors that only Liverpool with their 'boot room promotion' policy were able to cope with.

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Post by exile » Wed Dec 26, 2007 8:23 am

Actually "1-0 to the Arsenal" is a quote from the film "The Arsenal Stadium Mystery" of 1938 - said by George Allison, as himself, in the movie. Arsenal had a reputation at the time for soaking up attacks for most of the match and then going upfield and scoring from a single chance - "lucky Arsenal" was a common cry from terraces up and down the country. Actually they were just playing the sort of breakaway tactics that we are familiar with today.

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