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Arsène Wenger OBE (born 22 October 1949 in Strasbourg) is a French football manager in charge of Arsenal Football Club since 1996. He is the most successful manager in the history of Arsenal in terms of trophies and is the club`s longest-serving manager in terms of matches played (681 as of the start of the 2008-09 season). Wenger is the only non-British manager to win the Double in England, having done so in 1998 and 2002. In 2004, he became the only manager in FA Premier League history to go through the entire season without defeat. Wenger is widely regarded as one of the world`s best managers after the success he has enjoyed at AS Monaco and Arsenal. Wenger has a degree in engineering and a Master`s degree in economics from Strasbourg University and is fluent in French, German and English; he also speaks some Italian, Spanish and Japanese.
Wenger grew up in nearby village Duttlenheim as the son of Alphonse Wenger and wife Louise with an older sister and brother. The parents owned an automobile spare-parts business in Strasbourg, but also a bistro in Duttlenheim called La Croix d`Or. He spent much of his youth playing football and organizing matches at the village team, FC Duttlenheim, where he made the first team at 16 and was later recruited to nearby club AS Mutzig. Wenger has a wife and a daughter and lives in Totteridge, London. Wenger`s playing career was relatively inauspicious. He began as a defender for various amateur clubs while studying at the Institut Européen d`Etudes Commerciales Supérieures de Strasbourg of Robert Schuman University, where he completed a Master`s degree in 1971. Wenger turned professional in 1978, making his debut for RC Strasbourg against Monaco. He only made twelve appearances for the team, including two as they won the Ligue 1 title in 1978-79, and played once in the UEFA Cup in the same season. In 1981, he obtained a manager`s diploma and was appointed the coach of the club`s youth team.
Wenger`s first senior job was at Nancy, which he joined in 1984, but he enjoyed little success there: during his third and final season in charge, Nancy finished 19th and were relegated to the Ligue 2. His managerial career took off when he became the manager of AS Monaco in 1987. He won the league in 1988 (his first season in charge) and the French Cup in 1991, and signed high-calibre players such as Glenn Hoddle, George Weah and Jürgen Klinsmann. He also signed 23-year old Youri Djorkaeff from Strasbourg; the future World Cup winner finished joint top goalscorer in Ligue 1 (with 20 goals) during Wenger`s final season in France. Wenger turned down approaches by Bayern Munich and the France national team out of loyalty for Monaco, only to be fired after a poor start to the 1994-95 season.
He moved on to a successful 18-month stint with the Japanese J. League team Nagoya Grampus Eight, with whom he won the Emperor`s Cup, the national cup competition. He also took the club from the bottom three to runners-up position in the league. At Grampus, he hired former Valenciennes manager Boro Primorac, whom he had met during the 1993 match-fixing scandal involving Olympique de Marseille, as his assistant; he would remain Wenger`s "right-hand man" for years to come.
Wenger had in the meantime become a friend of the then Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein, after the two had met when Wenger attended a match between Arsenal and Queens Park Rangers in 1988. After Bruce Rioch was sacked in August 1996, Gérard Houllier, the then technical director of the French Football Federation, recommended Wenger to David Dein in the summer of 1996. Arsenal confirmed his appointment on 28 September 1996, and he officially took up the reins on 1 October. Wenger was Arsenal`s first manager from outside the UK. Though he had previously been touted as a potential technical director of the Football Association, at the time Wenger was a relative unknown in England.
Even before he formally took control of the team, Wenger had started to shape the Arsenal squad, having requested that the club sign French midfielders Patrick Vieira and Rémi Garde a month before he took charge. His first match in charge was a 2-0 away victory over Blackburn Rovers on 12 October 1996. Arsenal finished third in Wenger`s first season, missing out on second place (occupied by Newcastle United), and hence Champions League qualification, on goal difference.
In his second season in charge (1997-98), Arsenal won both the Premiership and FA Cup, the second Double in the club`s history; it came after Arsenal made up a twelve point deficit on Manchester United to win the League title with two games to spare. Key to the success was the inherited defence of Tony Adams, Steve Bould, Nigel Winterburn, Lee Dixon and Martin Keown, along with striker Dennis Bergkamp as well as a blend of Wenger`s new signings: Emmanuel Petit as a partner for Patrick Vieira, winger Marc Overmars, and teenage striker Nicolas Anelka.
The following few seasons were comparatively barren with a series of near misses. In 1998-99, they lost the Premiership title to Manchester United by a single point on the final day of the season, and United also eliminated Arsenal in extra time in an FA Cup semi-final. This was followed the next season by losing the UEFA Cup Final to Galatasaray on penalties and the 2001 FA Cup Final to Liverpool 2-1. Wenger resolved to bring new players to the squad, with the controversial signing of Tottenham`s Sol Campbell as well as first-team players such as Fredrik Ljungberg, Thierry Henry and Robert Pirès.
The new signings would help Wenger`s Arsenal achieve the double once more in 2001-02. The crowning moment was the second to last game of the season, against Manchester United; Arsenal won 1-0 in a game which Arsenal are seen to have generally outplayed Manchester United. Arsenal went the whole season unbeaten away from home and scored in every single Premier League game that season, and completed the Double by beating Chelsea 2-0 in the final of the FA Cup with goals from Ray Parlour and Fredrik Ljungberg.
After a strong start to the 2002-03 season, Arsenal had looked as though they were going to retain the Premier League crown for the first time in their history. At one point Arsenal had led eventual winners Manchester United by eight points, but their form collapsed late on in the season; Manchester United overhauled the Gunners in the latter stage of the season to win the title, as Arsenal threw away a two-goal lead against Bolton Wanderers to draw 2-2 and then lost the title at home to Leeds United.
Arsenal were compensated with an FA Cup win in 2003, and the following season made history by winning the 2003-04 Premiership title in 2004 without a single loss, the first top-flight team to manage this feat since Preston North End in 1888-89. A year earlier, Wenger had been derided for saying it was possible Arsenal could go unbeaten in an entire season.
With another FA Cup win in 2005, in all, Arsenal have won three Premier League titles and four FA Cups under Wenger, making him Arsenal`s most successful manager in terms of trophies. However, the UEFA Champions League title still eludes him; the closest Arsenal have come was when they reached the final in 2005-06, the first time in club history, which they lost 2-1 to Barcelona.
In October 2004, he signed a contract extension that would keep him at Arsenal through the 2007-08 season. The then Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein stated Wenger has a "job for life" at Arsenal, and had planned to offer Wenger a role on the Arsenal board once he has retired as a manager. Wenger`s future as manager was thrust into question when David Dein left the Arsenal board on 18 April 2007. However on 6 September 2007, Wenger agreed to sign a new three-year contract at Arsenal
Wenger has been described as a coach who "has spent his career building teams that combine the accumulation of silverware with a desire to entertain and attack", and as "a purist, dedicated to individual and collective technical quality". The Times notes that since 2003-04 Wenger`s approach to the game has been an emphasis on attack. His style of play has been contrasted with the pragmatic approach of his rivals, but has also been criticised for lacking a "killer touch". Although Wenger for a number of years employed a 4-4-2 formation, since 2005 he has often relied on 4-5-1 with a lone striker and packed midfield, especially since the move to the wider pitch at Emirates Stadium, and in Champions League games.
Wenger has a strong reputation for unearthing young talent. At Monaco, he brought Liberian George Weah, who later became FIFA World Player of the Year with A.C. Milan, from Cameroonian side Tonnerre Yaoundé and Nigerian Victor Ikpeba, who later became African Player of the Year, from R.F.C. de Liège. In his time at Arsenal, Wenger has signed young, relatively unknown players such as Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, Francesc Fàbregas, Robin Van Persie and Kolo Touré, and helped their transition into becoming world-class players. Notably, the Arsenal defence that set a new record after going ten consecutive games without conceding a goal on route to the UEFA Champions League 2005-06 final against Barcelona, cost Arsenal less than £5m to assemble.
Although Wenger has made some big-money signings for Arsenal his net spending record compares favourably with that of some other leading Premiership clubs; a 2007 survey found he was the only Premier League manager to have made a profit on transfers, and according to Peter Hill-Wood, Arsenal chairman, "Arsène`s basically spent, since he`s been with us, £4m to £5m a year net." A notable example of this ability was the purchase of Nicolas Anelka from Paris St Germain for only £500,000 and his subsequent sale to Real Madrid just two years later for £22.3m. The money was used to buy three players — Thierry Henry, Robert Pirès and Sylvain Wiltord, who all played a significant role in the Double of 2001-02 and the league title win of 2003-04.
As well as bringing in younger and relatively unknown talent to the club, Wenger has also seen a few of his veterans have their careers rejuvenated at Arsenal. Dennis Bergkamp, who had been signed by the north London side a year before Wenger joined, reached his peak under Wenger`s management. Wenger also had a hand in elevating his former protégé at Monaco, Thierry Henry, to a world class player, and saw him become Arsenal`s all-time top scorer and captain.
Wenger has also reformed the training and dietary regimes, ridding the club of its drinking and junk-food culture. Wenger stood by captain Tony Adams after the latter admitted his alcoholism in 1996. Wenger`s support was factored into Adams` rehabilitation and return to form, likely extending his career by several years. Wenger`s training and dietary regime may have also prolonged the careers of the other members of Arsenal`s back four: defenders Nigel Winterburn, Lee Dixon and Martin Keown; Wenger initially was planning to replace them but later realised that he did not need to.
Wenger has also had a direct input into the design of the Gunners` Emirates Stadium, which opened in 2006, and its move to a new training ground at London Colney.
 Plaudits and awards
Sister project Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Arsène Wenger
Wenger enjoys a great deal of support from among Arsenal`s fanbase, the club`s fans having demonstrated tremendous faith in the manager and his vision over the long term. Nowhere has this sentiment been characterised more than by the popular saying among Gunners supporters "Arsène Knows" and "In Arsène We Trust", which are seen repeatedly on banners displayed by Emirates Stadium crowds. For Arsenal`s valedictory campaign at Highbury in 2005-06, supporters showed their appreciation for the manager by choosing "Wenger Day" as one of various "Themed Matchdays" proposed by the club in celebration of the team`s move away from their historical ground. Wenger Day was held on his 56th birthday on 22 October 2005, during a match against Manchester City.
David Dein, former vice-chairman of Arsenal FC, has described Wenger as the most important manager in the club`s history: "Arsene`s a miracle worker. He`s revolutionised the club. He`s turned players into world-class players. Since he has been here, we have seen football from another planet." On 18 October 2007, A commissioned bronze bust of Arsene Wenger, similar to the earlier version of Herbert Chapman, was unveiled as a tribute to him, by the board of directors of Arsenal FC, at the club`s Annual General Meeting. 
Wenger was awarded France`s highest decoration, the Légion d`Honneur, in 2002. He was awarded an honorary OBE for services to British football in the Queen`s Birthday Honours List of 2003, along with fellow Frenchman and then Liverpool manager Gérard Houllier. In 2006, Wenger was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in recognition of his achievements as a manager in the English game. He was the second foreign manager to be inducted to the Hall of Fame, after Italian-born Dario Gradi of Crewe Alexandra.
In 2007, Arsene Wenger had an asteroid, 33179 Arsenewenger, named after him by the astronomer Ian P. Griffin, who claims Arsenal are his favourite football club.
Wenger`s sides were often criticised for their indiscipline, receiving 73 red cards between 1996 and 2008. However, in 2004 and 2005 Wenger`s Arsenal won the Premier League`s Fair Play League tables for sporting behaviour. In 2006 Arsenal finished second, behind Charlton Athletic.
In 1999, Wenger offered Sheffield United a replay of their FA Cup 4th round game immediately after the match had finished, due to the controversial circumstances in which it was won. Arsenal`s winning goal, scored by Marc Overmars, had resulted from Kanu failing to return the ball to the opposition after it had been kicked into touch to allow a Sheffield United player to receive treatment for an injury. Arsenal went on to win the replayed game 2-1.
He is also well known for his rivalry with Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, as Arsenal and United were arch-rivals for the Premiership and FA Cup throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s. This rivalry reached its culmination in the infamous "Pizzagate" incident at Old Trafford in October 2004 after a controversial penalty resulted in a 2-0 defeat and ended Arsenal`s 49 game unbeaten premiership run. After the match a member of the Arsenal side allegedly threw food at the opposition in the tunnel. Wenger was fined £15,000 for calling United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy "a cheat" in a post-match television interview. He was later fined for again calling van Nistelrooy a cheat, demonstrating that he firmly believed his claim. Both managers have since agreed to tone down their words in an attempt to defuse the rivalry.
During October and November 2005, Wenger became embroiled in a war of words with then Chelsea manager José Mourinho. Mourinho accused Wenger of having an "unprofessional obsession" with Chelsea; he went as far as labelling Wenger a "rat" and "voyeur", and was quoted as saying, "He`s worried about us, he`s always talking about us - it`s Chelsea, Chelsea, Chelsea, Chelsea". Wenger responded by pointing out he was only answering journalists` questions about Chelsea, and described Mourinho`s attitude as "disrespectful". Mourinho has since been quoted as saying that he regrets the "voyeur" comment, and Wenger has accepted his apology.
Wenger has often been criticised by other Premiership managers for not fielding many English players, particularly in the Champions League. West Ham United`s former manager Alan Pardew said that Arsenal`s Champions League success was "not necessarily a triumph for British football". Wenger saw the issue of nationality as irrelevant: "When you represent a club it`s about values and qualities, not about passports." Other pundits, including Trevor Brooking, the FA`s Director of Football Development, defended Wenger; Brooking noted that a lack of English players in one of England`s most successful clubs was more of a reflection of the talent pool in England rather than Wenger himself. Additionally, several major English Premier League players started their careers at Arsenal under Wenger, including David Bentley, Steve Sidwell, Jermaine Pennant, Matthew Upson and most notably Ashley Cole and there is new young British talent with Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshire amoungst others. More recently, in November 2007, he was again criticised for fielding few English players by his old rival Sir Alex Ferguson.
Wenger has also been involved in controversial statements about referees after matches in which decisions did not go his team`s way. Following the Carling Cup Final 2007, he called a linesman `a liar`, leading to heavy criticism, an FA investigation and a £2500 fine and a warning about his future conduct.
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Institut Européen d`Etudes Commerciales Supérieures de Strasbourg of Robert Schuman University, 1971
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Arsène Wenger, OBE, (born 22 October 1949) is a French football manager and former player. He has been the manager of Arsenal since 1996, where he has since become the club's longest-serving manager and most successful in terms of major titles won. Football pundits give Wenger credit for his contribution to the revolutionising of football in England in the late 1990s through the introduction of changes in the training and diet of players.
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