As Arsene Wenger prepares to take charge of his 1,000th game as Arsenal manager, several of his former-players have sent him messages and sent in stories of their fond memories with the Frenchman.
Below you can read a great selection from players like; Tony Adams, Robert Pires, Nicolas Anelka, Ray Parlour, David Seaman and many, many more.
“We were travelling to Aston Villa. We were in the hotel and Arsene is so obsessed with his football that we watched it every time we had a meal. This time, he went up to get his dessert – he put his apple pie on his plate — and as he has turned away from the table he’s watched the football and carried on walking, but what he didn’t know was that his apple pie had slipped on to the floor.
“We all saw this but he walked back, looking at the TV. He then got to his seat, put his plate down and then, as he’s looked, he’s gone ‘AHHHH’ in shock.”
“After a defeat, we had a meeting at the training ground and some players were late. Arsene was furious. And then he started his meeting, started to talk to us, and then one more player arrived late in the dressing room and he was still furious. He started to speak again about how badly we played.
“And then one more player arrived in the dressing room and he could not be angry any more so he started to laugh. All of the players started to laugh as well and it was a really, really funny situation.”
“We were travelling by train from London and I had a big problem in my personal life.
“My second wife was pregnant and she didn’t want to keep the baby for difficult reasons.
“I was very quiet and Arsene came to me on the train as he’s known me for a long time.
“Then he asked me what was my problem and I told him the truth.
“He said: ‘Life is more important than football so if you have to go and miss the game, I give you the permission to go back to France’.
“I really appreciated that.
“He said: ‘I’ll let you go and take all the days you want. If you want to stay for one week, two weeks, you regroup your problems and you come back with a free mind’.
“I see him as a very intelligent and respectable man, I almost see him as my own father figure.
“I think it’s funny when I see Arsene — who has such a calmness — throw his water bottle when he gets annoyed on Match of the Day.
“I always giggled because it’s not really his personality when you talk to him normally.”
“We drew at Villarreal and I saved a penalty in the last minute.
“We were cheering in the dressing room, and he came out and said: ‘Well, Jens, if you always make saves like that I should take you out the team more often’.
“He was referring to the time one-and-a-half years before when he took me out of goal.”
“I always felt the boss left an indelible mark on people. I was once wearing a stripy shirt and he said to me: ‘You cannot wear that shirt again tomorrow. If you wear a plain shirt you can wear it as many times as you want because no one will recognise it. Keep your life simple, you don’t need lots of jewellery, you don’t need lots of cars or houses. Keep your life simple, take that on to the pitch and you’ll play that way with your football.”
“Arsene called me into the office one day and apologised to me on behalf of Arsenal football club because he’d seen my wages on my contract. Not long after he’d been there, he checked all the players’ contracts and realised that in recent years, me and Nigel (Winterburn), the two full backs, tended to get left out when it came to wage rises. He looked at our wages and said: ‘That’s not right, it’s a team game’, and he improved our contracts.”
“I just want to say congratulations. You made such a big impact on so many players’ careers, especially on mine. I owe you everything.”
“What was quite really impressive with Arsene is that I would go in his office really upset, really frustrated, wanting to make a point. I knew that I was right, so my ideas were clear about what I wanted to tell him. I would go into his office but when I came back out, it was always him who was right! He was really good at trying to change your mind and he did it in a calm, laid-back way.”
“Arsene didn’t have a go at you too often, but when he did he used to get you in the dressing room at the training ground.
“On one occasion, he tried to tell us off and, all of a sudden, three phones went off all at once.
“He was going mad, saying: ‘Whose phone is this? Whose is phone is this? Next phone goes off gets a £10,000 fine’.
“Two days later we were all sitting in a room strecthing ahead of a game and it was always very quiet. All of a sudden, a phone goes off.
“It just kept ringing and everyone was diving into their pockets saying ‘Whose phone is this? They’ve got a £10,000 fine!”
“It kept ringing and ringing, and ringing and ringing. All of a sudden Arsene walked over to his bag, opened it and his phone was going off. He said, ‘£10,000 to me’ and he started laughing.”
“I had a conversation about God with him once over a cup of tea. It was kind of really enlightening and very spiritual and very moving. He was kind to me and people don’t really see that — in a working relationship it’s very rare but he is very open and a lovely man.”
Everyone here at sillyseason would like to congratulate Arsene Wenger on a wonderful achievement and brilliant career at Arsenal Football Club.
Written by Alex Batt – @AlexBatt – @AlexsArticles