Arsene Wenger was named coach of the decade as part of annual polling by the IFFHS (La Fédération Internationale de l'Histoire du Football et des Statistiques). And while all Gooners would all agree that Arsene really does Know, does his final position above Sir Alex and Mourinho mean he is better than two coaches who have won the European Cup twice? For me I would have to say yes, simply because of the legacy already enshrined at the Emirates.
While the media constantly trot out just how long it’s been since we won a trophy (btw is this getting as annoying as how many red cards have been shown during his reign, or is that just me?), Arsene has had the complete and total support of the club’s board. That stability has proved crucial in nurturing the careers of the likes of Cesc Fabregas and more recently Jack Wilshire.
During the last decade Arsenal moved from Highbury, moved training grounds, moved into the next level financially, welcomed new signings and waved goodbye to old faces – but there has always been a constant, that of Arsene Wenger. Would he have had the time anywhere else to build a club, maybe Man Utd but certainly not at the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City.
While Fergie and Mourinho have won trophies, they have spent a lot of money and not built the foundations as Wenger did. You only have to look back to 1996 when this unknown professor walked into Highbury – once people realised he wasn’t looking for Islington College and wanted to talk football then we all listened and the revolution truly began. The clouds over Highbury created by the George Graham controversy and Bruce Rioch’s tenure lifted and trophies littered the place.
But while he spent money in the early days it was always in areas needed, if there was a player talented enough in one position he would let them flourish, think Ashley Cole, Ray Parlour and latterly Kieran Gibbs. While many dismiss him as frugal now, Arsene knows that around the corner is a bountiful harvest for the Arsenal, a club with no debt and a huge income which will mean it can compete for some of the world’s best – of course only if needed.
So compared to 1996, Arsene has earned the accolade because since then he has been physio, life coach, architect, soothsayer and even a fortune teller. Oh and he has also been a football manager who maybe just maybe will end the trophy drought this year. Arsene will be presented with his award at the World Football Gala 2011 to be held in May, let’s hope that’s not the only silverware he is picking up