BY STEVE NJUGUNA
To some he is an enigma in the world of soccer, to others he is an unsuccessful coach who relies on past glory to justify his position as coach of Arsenal football club. Love him or hate him, he has still played a big part to the welfare of the club in general in his 19 year tenure in charge. But who really is Wenger?
He was born in 1949 in Alsace-Lorraine, France. His father, who was the village football coach, encouraged him repeatedly from an early age. He was a great fan of German football and he developed his knowledge of tactics from what he saw. He had stints at several youth teams and settled at German side Mutzig where he started as a deep lying midfielder before moving to Strasbourg later on where his leadership instinct came out more than his actual soccer. He eventually started coaching their reserve side as he completed his coaching badges.
He burst onto the coaching seen with Nancy but it was at French powerhouse Monaco where he made his mark winning the league before leading his team to the final of the European cup where they lost to German side Werder Bremen in 1992.After a short stint at Japanese side Nagoya Grampus, signed for Arsenal in 1995 after the sacking of George Graham.
At Arsenal he bought almost instant success and most importantly started modelling the club’s future. He championed for construction of the club’s training ground at London Colney and he also spotted bright young talents who would later turnout to be some of the best of their time such as Thierry Henry, Nickolas Anelka, Emmanuel Petit just to name a few. The period between 1995 and 2004 saw Wenger lead Arsenal to six major trophies including the famous 2003-2004 season where Arsenal went unbeaten. However from 2005 onwards he did not muster any major trophy until the FA cup triumph 9 years later in 2014.
Due to the 9 year wait for a trophy, many fans lost confidence in him. The fact that some of Arsenal’s best players were sold to their close rivals added more insult to injury as Arsenal seemed content to settle for fourth spot every year. There has been a #wengerout hashtag on twitter which keeps on being used day by day and even some prominent personalities like Piers Morgan voice their discontent for the Frenchman.
In 2014 Wenger signed an extension of his contract keeping him at Arsenal until 2017.There has been a recent upturn in terms of fortunes as the team looks to be galvanizing into a formidable squad and a second consecutive FA cup final appearance has given those baying for his blood something to chew on. However, it remains to be seen if the Frenchman will lead Arsenal back to the glory days.