Former Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood has led the tributes to Arsene Wenger on the eve of his 1000th game in charge of the Gunners.
Taking time to pinpoint the Frenchman’s attention to detail across all aspects of club life, the long-standing board member hailed the 64-year-old’s long-term vision for the club while confidently asserting that his managerial appointment will stick around at the Emirates for some time.
“He has transformed the place,” Hill-Wood told The Telegraph.
“Most importantly really, I think he changed the way football was played in this country. The first thing he did was to be absolutely horrified by our training facilities. We built new facilities to his design.
“I went round the clubs of Europe with him and an architect and surveyor. He was asking all manner of questions and making all sorts of notes.
“I particularly remember him commenting on the height of the bench in the training room at one. He said, ‘That would be all right for Tony Adams but it wouldn’t be right for Anders Limpar’. That was the level of detail.
“Without him and the success he brought to us, we would never have been able to finance the new stadium.”
Out of contract in the summer, and yet to put pen-to-paper on an offered extension, speculation has circled that Wenger could draw a line under his 17-year tenure in May.
Dismissing such suggestions, Hill-Wood intimated that conversations with Ivan Gazidis suggest a positive outcome.
“He [Wenger] doesn’t think his job is finished yet. I don’t think his enthusiasm has diminished at all. I don’t see him suddenly deserting and starting again at some other club.
“When I have spoken to Ivan Gazidis [the chief executive] he is very confident that there isn’t a problem. Arsène doesn’t like to do these things in the middle of the season. It’s not a question of somebody dangling great riches in front of him that actually don’t interest him.”
Lovely stuff from PHW and great to hear he’s been in fine enough fettle recently to make a few appearances at the Emirates since his quintuple (quintuple…that’s just showing off!) bypass.
Jeremy Wilson’s full interview with Peter Hill-Wood here; it’s well worth a read.