Since leaving Arsenal back in 2018, Arsene Wenger has spoken regularly about life with the Gunners, revealing plenty of great stories from his time at the helm.
His latest trip down memory lane came on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, during which he reminisced about his 22-year spell with Arsenal, from their first trip to Wembley to Something is involved and his reaction when he first joined the club was involved.
Here are some of the best bits.
On this day: In 1998, Arsenal completed the double by beating Newcastle 2-0 in the FA Cup final. pic.twitter.com/3qabl4XrUa
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) May 16, 2014
Wenger lifted his first FA Cup in 1998, winning 2–0 against Kenny Dalglish’s Newcastle United.
“It was because when I was a child, in my village, we didn’t have a television. We had the first television in our house when I was 14. So we had to go to school to watch a football game. And had to watch in black and white. Bring in £1, and we can watch a football game… one a year. Can you believe it today?
“It was the FA Cup final, so I was a little kid, seven, eight or nine. Now imagine this little boy walking out of Wembley and taking his team to play in the FA Cup final. So it was something unusual for me. And, something I’ll never forget.”
Wenger is enjoying a different perspective on football / IAN KINGTON/Getty Images
“I relax watching other managers suffer. And think ‘it’s your turn my friend’. But also watching football, you know, I like it a lot. And it’s easier for me when I’m different. I watch the games from a distance. Why does this player make this decision? What are the biggest mistakes they make? And I enjoy it because football is always unpredictable.
“It’s not like the theater – you go to the theater every night – it starts the same and ends the same. Going to a football game every night – it’s always different.”
Wenger believes the mental side of football is just as important / Adrian Dennis / Getty Images
“I realized that the mental side of a young player is very important, and I thought I could help them. U [used to hire a psychiatrist because I] A young man wanted to better understand what was going on in the boy’s mind.
“And I had them say every day, ‘How did you feel today? Physically? How was your concentration? How did you feel we did tactically? How did you feel you did?’ What? So even today when I meet him, he tells me. I helped him a lot in his life to think about what he did and if I did well or not.
Wenger’s move to Arsenal sparks confusion / Sean Bottrell / Getty Images
Wenger was largely unknown outside of France when he moved to Arsenal in 1996. He spent ten unimpressive years in France and was actually signed by Japan from the Nagoya Grampus Eight.
“I think the club was crazy enough to appoint a guy like me, because it was one of the traditional clubs in England. And to take a complete unknown, I think they were crazy, these guys. But I had the advantage of taking advantage of it.
Arsenal went unbeaten in 2003/04/Clive Mason/Getty Images
Between May 2003 and October 2004, Arsenal did not lose a single one of their 49 league games, setting a Premier League record and going unbeaten throughout the season.
“I thought my career highlight would be one year of not losing a game. Playing 49 games was an extraordinary experience, imagine a year and a half, without losing a game? Sometimes I thought: ‘Why am I paid well to do this job, it’s so easy, so much fun?’ You know, after you lose your first game, you know why you get paid well!”
Wenger found it difficult to leave Arsenal / Chris Brunskill Limited / Getty Images
“It was difficult because when you’re 69, you don’t imagine going anywhere else as a manager. I wanted to go to the end of my contract, to the end of my mission with this club. Surpassed all the best clubs.
“So it was difficult, because your car that drove automatically to the training center had to stay at home, and you with it. And it was very difficult to cut that link, but on the other hand, I completely But decided to change. And I’m very happy about it.”
For more from Tom Gott, follow him on Twitter!