LB presents the Full Story of a Football Manager who is best known by the Nickname; ‘Le Professeur‘.
Our version of Arsene Wenger’s Biography, including his Childhood Story brings to you a full account of notable events from his childhood time till date.
The analysis of the Ex-Arsenal manager involves his life story before fame, family life and many OFF and ON-Pitch little known facts about him.
Without a doubt, many fans still consider him one of the best managers in the world because of his management style and longevity at the Emirates. Now let’s begin what you’ve been waiting for.
Arsene Wenger Childhood Story – Early Life and Family Background:
Arsène Wenger was born in Strasbourg, in northeastern France on the 22nd October 1949 to his father, Mr Alphonse Wenger, a Football Manager and Car Spare Part dealer and mother, Louise Wenger, a Restaurant owner.
Arsene at an early age was far away from his dad due to his tedious job commitments. He was an amateur football manager for a local team far away from home. As the only child, distance from his father affected his social well being.
In a bid to keep distance close, Mr Alphonse Wenger decided to relocate Arsene and his mum Louise from Strasbourg (Arsene’s birth place) to his work place (Duttlenheim) which is just 20km away and very close to the German border.
Arsene Wenger was fully raised in Duttlenheim, a community with a total population of six thousand people.
Duttlenheim as at then was widely known for having plenty of dogs, horses. The town was also known for breeding amateur footballers.
Arsene was introduced to football at the age of 5 by his father who took his time to raise him up in the game. Playing for his local village team with his precious dad as his coach meant a lot for him.
At that time, Duttlenheim’s amateur football clubs were known for playing the best amateur football in northeastern France.
Even he was an important member of his father’s squad, Wenger had to wait a bit longer before turning to a professional footballer.
This was based on his dad’s request which he obeyed and respected. He spent a whooping 15 years playing amateur football with his dad as manager before being picked up by a professional football club by the name AS Mutzig.
Arsene Wenger Biography – Professional Football Career:
When Arsene Wenger started his football career at the amateur level back in 1954 (aged 5), not everything was about the money.
It was truly about the love for the game. While playing football he had a part-time job as a cigarette salesman. Wenger’s first professional club as a player was AS Mutzig in 1969.
This came when his dad released him from the team he managed. AS Mutzig then was in the third division of French football.
Arsene Wenger mostly played as a sweeper-defender for the club. He developed a special relationship with Max Hild, the club’s manager.
His good football plays got him a transfer to RC Strasbourg. His former coach Hild after the transfer still maintained a good relationship with him. It was Max Hild who laid the foundation of Wenger becoming a football manager after his early retirement from the game.
Arsene Wenger Depression Story:
Arsene Wenger was among notable footballers who got their team promoted to division 1 of French football.
He won his first league trophy (Ligue 1 title ) in 1978, that is 9 years after playing for the club. It took him 9 years of pains before achieving his dream of winning a title.
The agony of defeat was felt in his first nine years of his professional career. Though one very important attribute of him was his ability to handling losing situations.
Arsene Wenger experienced a broad range of emotions for every time he lost during his playing days. He has always applied self-compassion. He once formed the habit of sitting on the football pitch after heavy losses.
This was usually the time he reflects on his mistakes and failures with kindness and understanding. When the agony of defeat gets over, his stress lets up. He would always relax and recharge for the next game.
Winning his first league trophy (Ligue 1 title ) in 1978, after 9 years of professional football meant a lot to him.
His French League 1 title was not only an accomplishment for him. it signified a reason for his retirement from professional football. Arsene Wenger retired very soon after winning the league, at the age of 32.
Arsene Wenger Biography – Managerial Career:
Just three years after ending his professional career, Wenger was ready for new challenges, only this time as an assistant manager.
He joined Ligue 2 side Cannes as an assistant manager in 1983. He helped first-team boss Jean-Marc Guillou, who later became the manager of Cote d’Ivoire.
Wenger, after spending few years as an assistant later became the coach of Nancy-Lorraine in 1984. His appointment owed thanks to recommendations from notable figures like Aldo Platini (father of Michel Platini) who found fun watching his amazing defending skills back then when he was still a player.
He made his friend Boro Primorac, the ex-Valenciennes his assistant in his spell at Nancy-Lorraine in 1984. Thou this went well for the first two years.
However, Later on, it wasn’t so good for the Frenchman as the club he managed got relegated. This was followed by a sacked in 1987.
Arsene Wenger in the same year (1987) got another appointment to manage AS Monaco. During his stint with Monaco from 1987 to 1994, he won Ligue 1 and the French Cup.
Arsene Wenger showed so much loyalty for Monaco by declining the job of managing the France National Team. Unfortunately, the same club disappointed him. He was sacked the very next year (1994).
Arsene Wenger Japan Career:
In January 1995, following a disappointing sack from Monaco, Wenger signed a contract with a Japanese club Nagoya Grampus Eight.
He still appointed his best friend Boro Primorac, the ex-Valenciennes manager to become his assistant for the second time.
Arsene Wenger hard work in Japan led his team to win the Japan Emperor’s Cup in 1995.
While there, he fell in love with the Japanese diet. He was known to eat only rice, boiled vegetables and fish with no sugar and oil.
In a recent interview about his eating habit in Japan, Wenger replied ”that’s why you won’t see fat people there.”
Arsène Wenger authored the book ‘The Spirit of Conquest’ during his stint as coach of Japanese club Nagoya Grampus Eight, Arsène Wenger authored a book titled ‘The Spirit of Conquest’ in 1997.
This book was written exclusively in honour of Japanese football. In it, Wenger shared his footballing and managerial philosophy. He gave several insights as regards his thoughts on Japanese football.
Following his ideals and values in his book, Wenger went on to receive the Japanese League Manager of the Year award. This award came just a few months before leaving the club for mighty Arsenal.
Arsene Wenger Biography – Arsenal Appointment:
Arsenal vice-president, David Dein. Reports indicates that Arsene Wenger got the Arsenal job thanks to a mid-summer night dream by Arsenal vice-president David Dein.
Arsene Wenger Biography – Revolutionizing the Arsenal Diet:
Arsene Wenger arrival at Arsenal became a turning point to the club’s eating habits. He made strict regulations on players diet.
He banned several supplements and introduced his own kind. He improved was what the players ate and what supplements they took.
Apart from Creatine, he mandated every player to take multivitamins, caffeine boosters and proteins.
The Arsenal Diet prescribed by Arsene WengerBack in the early nineties under George Graham, players would regularly eat burger and chips on a Friday night before a game and nobody had even heard of creatine before.
Arsene Wenger Biography – The Professor:
He speaks six languages – French, German, English, Spanish, Italian and some Japanese. What shocked many is the fact that he couldn’t speak fluent French until the age of seven.
He came to England at the age of 29 to learn English at Cambridge University. His ability to speak these many languages points to reasons why he is referred to as ‘Le Professor’.
Arsene Wenger Biography – He never Drinks after matches:
While Sir Alex Ferguson was almost famous for his post-match glass of wine ritual, Wenger is actually not. He never honours invitations from his fellow managers for post-match drinks.
Alex Ferguson has once claimed that: “Arsene never comes for a drink with me after our matches”. He’s the only manager in the Premiership not to do so.
Arsene Wenger Never Drinks after MatchesThis non-drinking tradition makes up for reasons why people love him.
Arsene Wenger smoked a Cigarette at Monaco – The Story:
Arsène Wenger has revealed how he used to smoke in the dugout as a young manager. As a nervous person by nature, smoking once helped him to combat stress and calm his nerves.
Arsene Wenger has once said in his own words: ‘I used to smoke in the dugout as a manager. My smoking habit was born from my part-time work as a cigarette salesman back in my early youth’.
Arsene Wenger Asteroid:
‘Arsènewenger 33179’ is an asteroid named after the Arsenal manager by an astronomer who is also a loyal Arsenal fan.
‘Arsènewenger 33179’ is the only asteroid named after a football manager. The asteroid was discovered on March 29, 1998, by Ian P. Griffin, a die-hard Arsenal fan.
Arsene Wenger Love Life:
Wenger was married to former basketball player Annie Brosterhous who was previously married to French basketball star George Brosterhous with whom she had two children prior to her long relationship with Wenger.
The Wengers had been in a long-term relationship since the mid-1990s and married each other in 2010 before divorcing in 2015.
The Gunners chief and long term lover Annie, 59, are said to have agreed on a financial package and divided up their assets. Court papers were filed in Wenger’s hometown of Strasbourg, France.
He has previously admitted that his high pressured job with the London club had put pressure and have led to the end of his relationship.
Wenger had admitted that while joining Arsenal, he promised his wife that he would retire within five years.
Wenger and his long-term partner Annie had a ‘separation of bodies’ judgment issued by a judge in Paris, meaning that they are free to see other people.
Both parties have a daughter named Lea Wenger. As a young kid, Arsene Wenger was very much fond of her as they were always pictured with him while doing his football duties.
She would always follow daddy to conferences and pre-match interviews. Standing aside while daddy does the job. Both Wenger and his ex-wife endured each other until Lea was 18 before both parties initiated their breakup.
Arsene Wenger – A master in Economics:
Arsene Wenger Vs Mourinho (Similarities and Fights):
Similarity: Wenger, just like his bitter rival Jose Mourinho, speaks six different languages – French, German, English, Spanish, Italian and a spattering of Japanese.
However, Jose Mourinho believes he is a victim of his own success after reacting to recent criticism of his struggles by claiming he is not given the respect he deserves or treated with the same reverence as Arsène Wenger.
The war of words between Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger is not new.
While Jose Mourinho has generally had the upper hand on the pitch over the years, both managers have had stern words for each other.
Mourinho Vs Wenger (Part 1):
“I don’t see especially that Chelsea play more English players than we do. Who have they produced, homegrown? Just one, John Terry.” – Wenger in 2005 when quizzed on Arsenal’s all-foreign line-up.
At the beginning of the following season in August 2005, Wenger also expressed concerns over Chelsea’s tactics: “I know we live in a world where we have only winners and losers, but once a sport encourages teams who refuse to take the initiative, the sport is in danger.”
Mourinho was unimpressed. “Wenger has a real problem with us and I think he is what you call in England a voyeur. He is someone who likes to watch other people.
There are some guys who, when they are at home, have a big telescope to see what happens in other families. Wenger must be one of them – it is a sickness. He speaks, speaks, speaks about Chelsea.”
Wenger responded with a put-down of his own. “He’s out of order, disconnected with reality and disrespectful. When you give success to stupid people, it makes them more stupid sometimes and not more intelligent.”
Mourinho Vs Wenger (Part 2):
This happened when Mourinho was in charge at Real Madrid and Xabi Alonso and Sergio Ramos got booked for tactical reasons against Galatasaray in order to serve suspensions for a comfortable second leg rather than risk missing important games later in the tournament, Wenger had plenty to say
Wenger stated; “When you see how it looks on television, it is the best demonstration to think: ‘Never do that again’. It looks, frankly, horrible. It’s a pity to see that from a big club.”
Again, it only succeeded in sparking a fiery response from Mourinho… “Instead of speaking about Real Madrid, Mr Wenger should speak about Arsenal and explain how he lost 2-0 against a team in the Champions League for the first time.
The history about the young kids is getting old now. Sagna, Clichy, Walcott, Fabregas, Song, Nasri, Van Persie, Arshavin are not kids. They are all top players.”
Mourinho Vs Wenger (The Killer Move):
In February 2014, just a few weeks later, Wenger was asked why some of Arsenal’s fellow title hopefuls were so keen to downplay their ambitions. “It is fear to fail,” he said.
Mourinho delivered a memorable monologue in reply. “Am I afraid of failure? He is a specialist in failure. I’m not. So if one supposes he’s right and I’m afraid of failure, it’s because I don’t fail many times.
So maybe he’s right. I’m not used to failing. But the reality is he’s a specialist because, eight years without a piece of silverware, that’s failure.”
After a decade of verbal insults, the rivalry finally escalated physically in October 2014 when Wenger shoved Mourinho during an argument on the touchline at Stamford Bridge.
“In hindsight, I think I should not have reacted at all,” said Wenger. “It’s not a way to behave on a football field. Did Mourinho provoke me? That is how I felt. I did not enter Chelsea’s technical area.”
And when it was suggested to Mourinho that his Arsenal counterpart could be charged… “Charged? If it was me, it would have been a stadium ban.”
Wenger passed up the opportunity to shake Mourinho’s hand after finally getting the better of his rival in the Community Shield in August 2015 – but it was the Portuguese delivering the next public jibes.
Arsene Wenger Vs Alex Ferguson (Similarities and Fights):
Wenger’s rivalry with Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson is legendary but it all reached a crescendo when Wenger allegedly threw a pizza at Sir Alex in the tunnel post-match. “Pizzagate” happened at Old Trafford in October 2004, where United ended Arsenal’s 49-games unbeaten run.
On camera, after the match, Wenger called Ruud van Nistelrooy a “cheat”, and the 2007 Carling Cup final linesman a “liar” those were on camera. The otherwise calm and solemn-looking coach has confessed that he has a very dark side.
He was reprimanded with a £15,000 fine by the Football Association and in his autobiography, Sir Alex admitted that “Pizzagate” had “scrambled Arsène’s brain” and caused their relationship to break down for almost five years.
”He has a temper” – as Sir Alex Ferguson so brilliantly recalled when telling his side of the infamous Pizzagate story. ‘
‘Ruud van Nistelrooy came into the dressing room and complained that Wenger had been giving him stick as he left the pitch. Right away I rushed out to say to Arsene: ‘You leave my players alone.’ He was incensed at losing the game.
That was the reason for his combative behaviour. ‘You should attend to your own players’, I told him. He was livid. His fists were clenched to punch me. But I was in control, I knew it.’
Arsene Wenger Biography -Managed Arsenal’s Undefeated League Season:
A very inspiring fact about Wenger is that he managed Arsenal to an undefeated league season.
This great landmark was previously accomplished by Preston North End 115 years ago! The club also broke Nottingham Forest’s record of 42 league matches unbeaten and won further seven matches before losing in October 2004. Wow, 49 unbeaten league matches! This shows their ultimate strength.
Celebrated 20 Years at Club:
After two decades at Arsenal, 15 trophies, a new stadium and more than £700m spent on players, Arsene Wenger is known to be the longest-serving and most successful overseas manager this country has known.
But what will Wenger’s legacy be? To some, he is responsible for transforming the English game. To others, his initial success petered out and he will be judged on a run of 12 years without a league title.
Gunners legend Thierry Henry talks to Arsene Wenger about the highs and lows during his 20 years in charge of Arsenal.
He introduced George Weah to European Football:
A lot has been said about how Wenger brought an ignored Thierry Henry from Juventus to Arsenal and made him the great player as we know now.
But few know that in 1988 he signed an unknown striker from Liberia, bringing Weah to Monaco, who would go on to become FIFA World Player of the Year in 1995.
Immunity to Pains:
Pain has been a necessary part of life to both Arsenal fans and Arsene Wenger. Everyone knows Arsene Wenger has never lifted the Champions League, but almost unforgivably considering the number of stabs he’s and the entire Arsenal fans have had at it, the League Cup has eluded them too.
The Gunners have twice reached the final under Wenger, losing to Chelsea in 2007 and Birmingham in 2011.
A Big Fan of Bob Marley:
Wenger is a big fan of Bob Marley.
On his thoughts on Bob Marley, Wenger once said; ‘Yes, I love his music and the man that he was,’ he said. ‘He was not ‘fabricated’. He was real. I love people who do not have conventional paths and who stand out because of their talent.