Wenger, in the words of others

Arsene Wenger, manager of Arsenal looks on
© Getty Images

Arsene Wenger is set to mark his 1000th game in charge of Arsenal, a period that has included two league and cup doubles, as well an unbeaten season that saw them lift another English Premier League title in 2004.

During his tenure with the club he has sometimes split opinions, but having brought new training methods to England and the Gunners' most successful period in the club's history, he has garnered many an admirer during his 17 years at the club.

To get a little more insight into the man nicknamed 'The Professor', FIFA.com has gathered quotes from friends, former players, colleagues and rivals throughout the Frenchman's journey through football, to reflect how the manager is perceived by those around him.

“When he first arrived, we didn't know too much about him and one or two of the boys were asking 'Who is this French guy?'.”
Ian Wright, former Arsenal striker

“He didn't have any furniture. He had only strictly what he needed. He didn't care about comfort. The only important item of furniture was a good bed. If you have to spend an amount of time looking for nice furniture, that's time you're using up when you could be studying videos of games.”
Former Cannes coach Jean-Marc Guillou, who signed Wenger from Strasbourg as part of his backroom staff

“He has no experience of English football. He has come here from Japan, and now he is telling everyone how to organise our football. Unless you have been in the situation and had the experience then he should keep his mouth shut, firmly shut.”

Sir Alex Ferguson, back in 1997, after Wenger dismissed he arguments for extending the English Premier League season

“What he did do was keep us all amused with a never-ending string of jokes. By the end of that trip, Arsene had almost taken on the role of assistant coach and team joker rolled into one. There was always another prank around the corner.”
Jean-Luc Arribart, friend and team-mate in the Strasbourg University side, on how an injured Wenger entertained the party on a trip to Uruguay in 1976

“A lot of people wouldn't believe you, as looking at him on the side of the pitch you feel he must be a nightmare in training, but on a daily basis he was good fun. He'd come out with jokes, much about in training – at the right moments. Off the pitch he was fantastic.”
Ray Parlour, ex-Arsenal midfielder

“There was no messing about. He said we could not carry on eating what we had been used to stuffing down ourselves, as it was no good for us as professional athletes.”

David Seaman, Arsenal goalkeeper when Wenger joined

“I believe Arsene Wenger is going to be a great success and drag football into the twentieth century. We need to catch up with the continentals and we think Arsene is the man to help us.”
Arsenal's former chairman Peter Hill-Wood on the new methods Wenger was bringing to the club

“I found the tactics so frustrating. They were negative and defensive. I couldn't be expected to battle everywhere and still have the freshness to score goals.”
Jurgen Klinsmann on his time under Wenger at Monaco

“Wenger is a special person. For me, he will be like a second father. I will never be able to thank him enough for all he did for me. He is a great person and I will always be thankful. I have a special relationship with him and we have spoken a lot.”
Cesc Fabregas on leaving Arsenal, much to Wenger's disappointment

“I call Arsene Wenger the miracle worker because he has achieved miracles. He has got a job for life, simple as that.”
David Dein, former Arsenal vice-chairman

"Arsene used a very light touch that season. He provided the platform for us and it was like a well-oiled machine. He was very clever, he didn't try to smother us and he knew when to back off. He knew we were good and he just allowed the team to go."
Sol Campbell on Wenger's approach during Arsenal's unbeaten season in 2003/04

“Arsenal need Arsene Wenger more than he needs Arsenal. Arsene made Arsenal what they are today, and the fans understand it perfectly. [He] wants to die with his ideas. As far as I am concerned, I cannot see him embarking on another boat.”
Robert Pires after Wenger's methods were criticised in 2009


“There was a debate about Wenger, how crazy is that? People are actually getting interviewed saying he shouldn't be doing this. What that man's done for English football is amazing and will be remembered in 25, 50, 100 years' time. Will those on telly yesterday be remembered for what they've achieved? None whatsoever. I wouldn't trust them to walk my dog.”
Roy Keane after seeing a television discussion in 2008 on whether Wenger should remain at Arsenal

“He is a person with a big culture, very open to give his opinion on things. When you are not in the same league, when you are not playing against each other, it is easier to go deeper. It is easy to speak about football, he’s a very nice guy. Now we are in the same league again, but he’s still a nice guy. I respect him a lot and I’ll show my respect always.”
Jose Mourinho on getting to know Wenger after leaving Chelsea

“I always felt I could understand Arsene. I could identify with the sharp change in him when that whistle blew. There was a bit of that in me too. If we shared one characteristic it was an absolute hatred of losing... I could never be anything other than competitive with Arsene, my rival of 17 years.”
Ferguson in his autobiography, from the chapter on competing with Wenger 

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