I had the pleasure of meeting David Hillier last night… a man who was part of the first Arsenal team I can really remember following… and what a top bloke. He was from an era where a player would take £800 a week as a good salary. Crazy to think how the money has exploded since. I’ll leave the link at the end of the post, needless to say it’s an interesting listen to get his take on the current situation and his frank assessment of some of the playing staff.
The segue into today’s main story comes as David Hillier left, Arsene made his way into the lime light. He enforced strict diet, a new brand of stylish football and he added flair to a set up well drilled in discipline.
1000 league games on and he’s still here… an incredible achievement in any line of work, let alone one of the harshest, most ruthless industries on this planet.
I have my differences with the manager, but deep down, nothing but respect for his bloody minded visions that’s delivered himself iconic status amongst the Arsenal faithful.
Arsene was the first English football hipster. He was about beautiful football and going well and truly against the grain. Buy low, sell high. Develop unknowns and turn them into superstars. ‘Arsene Knows’… imagine a group of grown ups being so in awe they don’t even question he’s peculiar signings that always looked awful for the first 4 months. Quite unbelievable to go from total unknown to demigod in under 2 years.
My dad used to tell me I was spoilt when I was watching Arsenal rack up trophies under George Graham. Little did I know what Arsene Wenger was about to do to the club. His fluent football combined with his ownership of the French market led to a spectacular influx of talent as well as genuine assaults on the league. 1998 was incredibly special watching us take the league at home to Everton, followed by the sight of Nik Anelka landing the FA Cup final against the Geordies.
Winning the league at Old Trafford was probably my favourite Arsene moment. I took the call for the ticket from my cousins the night before as I was unpacking shoes in First Sport. The next day I bailed on college and went on my first away day outside a Cup Final (unescorted). I drank, like, maybe 2 beers… total powerhouse. Arrived at the ground and United turned the music up so loud it made you feel sick. The game was eventually sealed with a Sylvain Wiltord bundled goal. An amazing feeling. I remember being told on the walk back to the car…
‘Don’t smile, unless you want your head caved in by United fans’
Anyway, point is, I have Arsene to thank for so many incredible memories growing up. All my key moments with my family have been geared around Arsenal with my dad and my extended family. Funerals, weddings and birthdays are merely stealthy cover ups for deep conversations about the club. The manager has had a massive part to play in that. Jeez, the manager defined this blog as well, helped us build an amazing community and gave an excuse to write a thousand words of nonsense everyday for nearly 7 years.
His thousandth game should be celebrated, hopefully with a win.
Nice one Arsene, thanks for all the amazing memories. Hopefully, you can add some this season and nail is a trophy!
Right, I’ll end on a high today! Have a great day and remember to share your favourite Arsene memory, and obviously your all time Arsene 11.
Sagna Adams Sol Cole
Petit Paddy Cesc
Overmars Thierry Pires
Jeez, that line up has me in a right mess… imagine.
See you in the comments!