Wenger wary of press encounters

Wenger wary of press encounters

Arsene Wenger admits that he looks to politicians for inspiration when dealing with the media in his weekly press conferences and paid lip service to the ‘tension’ of such occasions.

Like all top flight managers the Frenchman is contractually obliged to answer questions from both broadcast and print press before each Premier League game while also required to face the cameras after matches.

Having arrived in England 17-years ago the boss is well-versed in the (dark) art of spin but despite hundreds of encounters with the media he admits he’s still very much on guard every time he speaks in public.

“I look at politicians when they are interviewed because it’s a game,” he told Arsenal’s official magazine.

“It’s similar to then managers are interviewed by the press. It’s a game where you are caught between two things: Deliver a message, but also don’t get caught out.

“You know that every sentence, could be dangerous for you, your club and your team. There is always a little tension there.”

As anyone who has watched Wenger’s press conferences can testify, hardly a week goes by when he’s not visibly pissed off by the media’s obsession with transfer speculation when the focus should be on the upcoming match. Indeed, the occasions have become increasingly theatrical, the boss determinedly coy on many topics but occasionally indulgent of his audience’s need for a headline.

Often it makes for entertaining viewing but it is very odd how managers, and this goes across the board, are now asked for their opinions on matters which really have nothing to do with them or their team. In the last few weeks alone Wenger has answered questions on the death of Nelson Mandela and Michael Schumacher’s accident. Naturally he answered with good grace, but should he even be facing such questions in the first place?

36 COMMENTS

  1. I didn’t know where to leave an appreciative note but doing it here ..

    Tim Stillman and Anam Hassan are producing stunning pieces these days .. marked improvement and now hugely insightful and entertaining .. along with Blogs’ consistent (tho nowadays a little less cunty) writing ..

    hats off guys!

    Here’s to you – the best stable of fan sports writers on the internet!!

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      • You’re doing a fucking good job ‘Blogs. I almost always look here first for news, and then trawl the other less cunty sites. Much love.

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    • I too have been wondering how to show my appreciation.

      Only complaint especially in the case of Tim Stillman and Blogs is that I get so fucking jealous at their ability to put words together. Great content but wonderful writing as well

      Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

      • Stillman in particular, is a fucking wordsmith. I read his articles just for the pleasure of reading some beautiful prose.

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  2. I don’t care if they ask him about Schumacher or Mandela as long as it’s only a couple of questions. Arsene is one of the most intelligent people in the world. I would love to have conversations with him on topics other than football.

    However, it is very annoying when he’s constantly asked stupid questions on transfers. The media know that he won’t give them any clue yet they insist. It is ridiculous how much they don’t focus on the next game.

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    • The reason they ask him is because very occasionally that rye smile comes across his face and then we all know he is bursting with excitement at what’s about to be announced. We don’t know what but we know it is about to be something great.

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    • Blogs asked a good question at the end there, and I agree with your answer, Aamir.

      I actually enjoy hearing Wenger’s thoughts on non-footballing matters, because too often the football related questions and answers are anodyne (in a manager’s case, purposefully so, since he is all too aware how his words could be twisted by the hit-mongers of the Mail and its ilk). Apart from updates on who is in the squad, who is fit, etc., there is very little of use in a press conference devoted solely to football, especially since they tend to be either wind-ups (“Jose Mourinho said x about you, do you think x is true?”) or banal (“how important is a win to you?”).

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  3. He’s certainly seemed as weary of it all in recent seasons as he has wary! I think most politicians would be advised to look to him for his brilliantly articulate dealings with the press.

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  4. His best interview has to be before the Ozil signing. “Maybe we have a good surprise for you” with that cheeky little smile :)

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  5. Next ludacris question by the media:

    “Arsene, it is said that Justin bieber may be ‘retiring’ from the music business. Do you know Justin bieber? Are you friends? Have you had lunch together? Are you signing a new contract at arsenal? Are you and justin plannin on retiring together? Please Arsene answer we beg you!!?!”

    The media is a load of hogwash.

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  6. Stupid question asked by the media

    “do you think arsenal can win the league mr wenger?”

    Arsene: no mr. journalist we are shit we couldn’t possibly do that.

    “And lastly do you think my home cat is feeling hungry right now?”

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  7. He is one smart cookie. Wenger knows how to play the media. He knows what to say, how to say it and when. Other managers fly off the handle and make a pigs ear of it all. Glad we have such an astute person at the helm.

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  8. Journalism in many of its forms is not what it once was – how many times does the BBC interview its own correspondent for their opinion instead of finding an ‘impartial’ expert on the subject? They all have an agenda and the paucity of sports-related interviews is more often about the quality and intelligence of the questions than the interviewee.

    I always think Mr Wenger handles the media extremely well, showing humour, dignity, class and an understanding, as you say, of their need for a headline. I also think most intelligent readers/listeners understand the reality of the situation, although, as with the transfer window or a few minutes of Arsenal play without a goal, some take a different view, deliberately or for other reasons.

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  9. I’ve always loved Arsene because of his beliefs. A philosophical, wise and informed chap.

    And he keeps things positive, rarely having to flex his inner cunt.

    I’d probably flex it more often, but it’s not a surprise that he doesn’t, being in the mainstream media with a responsibility to act according to all ages.

    Very proud of who we have at the helm.

    He’s sculpted the club in a way I too would’ve been proud.

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  10. The fact that he seems to address every question no matter how mundane or inane is overlooked by the British media.

    How many times was he asked over r the previous seasons if he was going to resign – the one that sticks out is some cnut asking him if he was going to resign after the 8 – 2 could have been the school grass Shreeves?

    I’m not suggesting he’s a paragon of managerial virtue but you can contrast his conduct with old Red Nose’s storming off/huffing/banning, with Tx dodger bung mechant ‘arry always got something to say about how he first saw players in their mothers’ wombs, or the pantomime clown cnut moroniho who is good for the English game as Oscar is to Olympic high diving.

    Just for once I’d like le boss to tell a journo their questions are bloody stupid or simply tell somebody to eff off.

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  11. Love Arsene but 90% of the time you know exactly what he is going to say and who can blame him. One bit of emotion and the press have a field day on him ‘losing it’. Johnny Giles says player and manager interviews are generally a waste of time, find it hard to argue with him.

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  12. I enjoy Wenger’s press conferences as much as I hate Murinho’s.

    Media handling skills:
    Wenger – 10/10
    Murinho – a flop stand up comedian/10

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  13. Very much agree with this piece. I think it was Rafa Benitez,when he was in a press conference for Napoli, he was asked some questions, and he noted that he was asked more about tactics in that conference alone, than his entire time in England.

    This English media is obsessed with a “juicy” story to sell, it’s why they love Mourinho so much. Maureen, fair play to him, uses the media’s idiocy to deflect attention away from his team. And they all lap it up.

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  14. One thing that I think about a lot is that Wenger’s only real communication with the fans is through his media press conferences. What a recipe for disaster that is.

    We fans sometimes get very exasperated by his answers to questions but we forget that what he says to the media and what he is actually thinking are often very different things especially in relation to transfers. He likes to hold his cards very close to his chest, Arsene. Other times, he’s protecting his players.

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    • I think more fans need to understand he’s playing the game. He takes us fans for a ride during his interviews sometimes but I trust the man. It’s like being the family member of a poker player at a pro tournament. I don’t expect him to turn around and tell me why he’s going all in or folding in the middle of each hand, I just expect he’ll do what needs to be done to win.

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  15. Did they ask him about Zelalem?

    Did they ask him about changing formation to suit Podolski/Walcott as a CF?

    Did they ask him about possible XI that will start so we can play pre-game match on FIFA14?

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  16. The press :

    1) City are in ominous form even if they leaked two goals against a struggling Swansea and managed to edge the game by one where Arsenal kept another clean sheet and finished off with two goals.

    2) Chelsea have gears to crank but of course Arsenal only have a neutral gear or reverse left.

    3) Liverpool are punching above their weight now for a (re-adjusted) top 4 finish, since no one could expect them to be where they are at the moment where Arsenal are not even if they are top for half the season. The Brendan Rodgers revolution marches on trumpeted by (as Mourinho rightly says) the mainly EX- Liverool Press.

    4) United score late goals and are stuff of champions (even if they benefit from penalty decisions) where Arsenal are struggling when they leave it so late.

    5) Spurs. None of the Arsenal team can walk into the current Spurs team and their spending showed ambition. Arsenal of course bought one player and got some ex player for free. how could they possibly think they could compete what with Andros Townsend the new Walcott…oh wait a minute.

    Then again, AVB is the most innovative coach in generations and Arsenal would have done well to have dumped the legacy Wenger who was dragging the club backwards…or maybe not.

    6) Newcastle, a team that celebrates (as if it were folklore) coming back once to draw 4-4 (against cough, ten men and with Arsenal in Cback crisis without even Djourou) where Arsenal shold be ashamed to be celebrating a 4th spot finish even if they came back from a deep position.

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  17. The American “soccernet” is about one of the poorest but for the fact they have Andrew on their blogs.

    Listening to their latest panel of ‘experts’ in Shaka Hislop, Craig Burley and some unknown Venezuelan geezer prattle about how Arsenal haven’t got a hope because City are so deep is a right laugh week in week out.

    We’re still up there.

    And if you add just one striker (say for argument sake a Pato) to the line up, we are competitive in depth.

    Strikers
    City – Aguero, Negredo, Dzekko, (Adebayor loaned and paid for by City to Spurs)
    Arsenal – (Pato or equivalent), Giroud, Bendtner, (and Park parked on our bench to keep it toasty)

    Midfield

    City – Jovetic, Nasri, Navas, Silva, Milner, Rodwell, Fernandinho
    Arsenal – Podolski, Walcott, ozil, Santi, Ramsey, Jack, Rosicky

    DM

    City – Toure, Javi Garcia
    Arsenal – Arteta, Flamini (Diaby)

    Fullbacks

    City – Zabaleta, Richards, Kolorov, Clichy
    Arsenal – Sagna, Jenkinson, Gibbs, Monreal

    CB

    City – Kompany, Nastisic, Lescott, Demechilis
    Arsenal – Per, Koscielny, Vermaelen.

    Short fall is in attack (one player) and in Cback but on account Sagna can play there, our over load in (admitedly …Diaby) means Flamini can cover RB.

    We re not that far off City in depth as the media will have you think despite their lavish spending.

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