Wenger on ownership, modern media and his legacy


A couple of days ago journalism students at the London College of Communication excitedly tweeted snippets from a Q&A session involving a visiting Arsene Wenger.

Promisingly, these bright young things managed to resist asking him pointless questions about possible transfer targets and instead drew a few intriguing nuggets of wisdom from North London’s most famous Professor.

One of the students, Mike Carre, has done a write-up for the LCC website (and very nice it is too), but for those of you who are too lazy to click through here’s a few of the best bits.

Wenger on Premier League ownership…

“When I first arrived in England, the clubs were owned by people who were supporters of the club, who were successful in life and bought a club as their dream. Today the Premier League is in the hands of people who invest in the Premier League. They buy a big club and it becomes more of a business model.”

Wenger on football’s relationship with modern media…

“We have moved from a society of full support, to a media society and an opinion society. When I arrived here a defeat was not as dramatic as it is today. Why? Because we have moved from a rational society to a much more emotional society.

“When you finish a game it is analysed in a minute and the opinions go through the whole of society in 10 minutes. The emotional side of any reaction today is massive.”

Wenger on the individual’s desire to voice their opinion…

“Our society has changed much deeper than we think it has. Sometimes for good because people are better informed, but as well sometimes for bad because people who really take action, people who have responsibilities are not respected as much as before.

“When you have an opinion you’re tempted to think you are right, because you do not have to prove you’re right. It’s just an opinion. Today everyone has an opinion and people who have real responsibilities are less respected.”

Wenger on the temptations young players must resist to make it at the top…

“A big problem in sport and in the modern game is that you have to learn very early in life to know who is good for you and who is bad for you. If you waste (time) in normal life, you can waste four, five years and still be successful. In football, one year means 10 years in a normal life, because at 30 it’s bye-bye.

“If you do not understand how to behave before 22 it’s bye-bye, no career. So you have to understand very early, between 18 and 22, to lead a life that allows you to be successful. And that’s the main difficulty. People don’t realise how difficult that is because when your friends go out on a Friday night you have to say I stay at home because it’s more important I have a good game tomorrow.”

Wenger on helping his successor…

“What kind of influence do you give to the structure where you work? I leave to the next manager a good team, a strong financial situation and a club in a very good position to be successful, to give him the chance to do better. The continuation is there and I believe that is part of my job.”

It’s great to see Arsene still getting involved in events such as this outside of football; he’s an inspirational figure for many, even if you don’t necessarily feel he’s as good a manager as he once was. It’s also interesting that he seems to have been far more open with a room full of youngsters than one brimming with employees of the mainstream media (as he faces every week).

Ironically – or maybe it’s not ironic – those (current) journalists will no doubt jump on the above quotes having been fed them by the next generation. Arseblog News has presented them without an angle, although we sadly fear that others will find a way to twist them.


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