December 29th, 2010
12:12 PM ET

Will Wenger's genius finally bring success back to Arsenal?

Arsene Wenger has won three English league titles with Arsenal, but none since 2004. (Getty Images)
Arsene Wenger has won three English league titles with Arsenal, but none since 2004. (Getty Images)

Let me clear up one thing before I get started: I am not an Arsenal supporter. Never have been, never will be … but, and please keep this on the down-low, I am a bit of a fan!

The English club's manager Arsene Wenger can be a bit of a moaner from time to time, but he is also a genius, and like very few in football these days, puts his club before himself.

Plenty of people have questioned why the Frenchman hasn’t bought bigger stars and broken the bank to bring in a reliable goalkeeper. Plenty have said that Arsenal have plenty of style but no substance. Plenty have said a five-year trophyless run should have meant the end of Wenger’s long and storied Arsenal career. They are all wrong.

What I would give to see my team Liverpool play beautiful football like the Gunners. What I would give for my team to have long-term stability in the boardroom. What I would give for my team to consistently challenge for trophies and do it with the minimum of fuss.

Wenger has bought and sold brilliantly. He can spot young talent a mile away, and because of him Arsenal can bring players in on the cheap. He sees their potential, their ability to fit into his system, and to him that’s much better than spending millions on a so-called big name - who might not conform, and worse, might take Arsenal to the cleaners.

The players now have the power (see Wayne Rooney) and Wenger does not want Arsenal to be held to ransom. Cesc Fabregas came close to testing him, but despite declaring his love for Barcelona the Spaniard realised it would be worth his while to sit tight and soak up more of his manager’s wisdom.

The decision will serve him well. He would have been warming the bench quite a bit at the Camp Nou (see Javier Mascherano.) At the Emirates he’s the captain and the heart-beat of the team. Wenger is the brains and the heart-beat of the club.

He’s a manager who is fiscally responsible. If the money is not there, he won’t try to spend it. If the money is there, he might not spend it either. This technique may frustrate some fans and not pay off in the short term, but the 61-year-old is a long-term thinker and fortunately Arsenal have the wisdom to believe in his philosophy.

The future is incredibly bright at the Emirates – it’s only a matter of time until the trophy cabinet gets fuller. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if his young guns win the Premier League this season.

When Wenger eventually steps down, Arsenal fans will remember him fondly. They’ll remember his teams’ passing and movement - the beautiful game as it should be played.

I can only hope I will someday see my Liverpool play half as well.

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soundoff (66 Responses)
  1. anothermoses

    imagine she isnt even an arsenal fan but she can express his love and feelings about the arsenal verssion of soccer.my salute to the professor Wenger and his crop of talents .real soccer on earth will be witnessed when the gunners in full form face the catalans

    December 29, 2010 at 5:03 pm | Reply
  2. yonarsenal

    Yes. Man is a genius.

    December 29, 2010 at 5:08 pm | Reply
  3. Daniel

    You dont win anything with kids. They wont win anything for the next 5 years.

    December 29, 2010 at 5:23 pm | Reply
  4. Nigel

    Totally agree with this viewpoint. Not an Arsenal fan either but you have to hand it to Wenger and to the Board for not chucking him out for not winning trophies. They play football on their own terms and when FIFA's financial regulations come in to play, they will be in a better position to compete for the league than some of their competitors.

    December 29, 2010 at 5:38 pm | Reply
  5. Vincent

    If the sentiments expressed are not as a result of the bad blood between Manchester United and Liverpool (and by extension between the fans of both clubs) then as a die hard Gunner, I'd take my hat off to the writer of this piece. It's makes for an absolutely divine read; a write-up made in heaven!!!

    December 29, 2010 at 5:46 pm | Reply
  6. footballer2

    We may believe in his philosophy but loosening the purse strings to win a few would be great too.

    December 29, 2010 at 5:55 pm | Reply
  7. Arsenalfan

    Plus the club's earning healthy profits and paying debts responsibly.. In Wenger we trust...

    December 29, 2010 at 6:09 pm | Reply
  8. Arsenalfan

    The trophies will come.. Don't you worry..

    December 29, 2010 at 6:10 pm | Reply
  9. Morad

    They have not won the championship since 2004?! at Real or Barca he would be long gone. Fact, Arsenal is a feeder team for la Liga and has been for a long time. Arsene has a a gift of being able to spot good players, buy them on the cheap, develop them, and sell them for a profit later (watch what he will do with Nasri and Chamakh) ..which has helped Arsenal to make money and stay profitable. Now... if Arsenal fans start to demand that they want the team to win the premiership at least every other year (like Barca and Real fans do) then Wenger would not have lasted so long...but....they seem to be happy with being number 2 or 3..or.........4..?!! As for the Arsenal board, they are smiling all the way to the bank...the team has been one of the most profitable in the world, thanks to?! Yes, Arsenal fans! for... being content with thier team being number 2, or 3, or....4 in the English league.

    December 29, 2010 at 6:21 pm | Reply
  10. Ezra

    Patience is paying I know that Wenger likes saying that you dont spend more than what you make. It has been hard for Arsenal fans but things look bright for them. One has not to buy the league title, but instead play to win. Carry on.

    December 29, 2010 at 6:31 pm | Reply
  11. wkscott

    Neither Liverpool nor Arsenal has a chance to win the Premiership.

    Glory Glory Man United.

    December 29, 2010 at 6:33 pm | Reply
  12. Brucie

    Some very good points. Arsenal are a joy to watch and on their way back to the top; watch and see.

    December 29, 2010 at 6:54 pm | Reply
  13. eric

    I think Arsenal will do very well indeed.They are lucky to have him on board!

    December 29, 2010 at 6:54 pm | Reply
  14. George

    Hi Candy, what a good piece of script that you have written. It is true about Wenger, being a Gunner supporter since I was little(40 years), I sometimes crunch because of the decisions that Wenger has made.

    Stability in the boardroom plays a BIG part in any successful club or business. He, Wenger has made very wide choices and some low ones aswell, but the Boadroom believes in him and that is the reason why he is still around.

    About Liverpool, I also wish they can play such beautiful football...........How we all wish!!

    December 29, 2010 at 7:09 pm | Reply
  15. Kalios

    Interesting read...the team must learn to sustain the last performance against chelsea in order for their dreams to come true.

    December 29, 2010 at 7:38 pm | Reply
  16. jerry B

    Great blog, but Utd will take the glory again this year! Agree that he is a great manager but the team is still too fragile and they desperately need a new keeper.Think they will come up short in the Premiership but the Carling Cup will get the monkey off Wenger's back for now.

    December 29, 2010 at 7:43 pm | Reply
  17. Yim

    Completely agree

    December 29, 2010 at 8:50 pm | Reply
  18. Mark

    Am a Man U fan but do appreciate what Wenger is doing at Arsenal. I was particularly impressed with his acquisition of Arshavin. I think Arsenal are a strong chance of the premiership this year as Man U have a tough run home, and cannot seem to win away from home.

    December 29, 2010 at 9:38 pm | Reply
  19. Dejan

    Mr. Wenger is everything but genius. I am an Arsenal fan for 10 years now. I support him in making TOP football players out of children, but that is just not going to bring us titles.

    December 29, 2010 at 10:13 pm | Reply
  20. DOYIN

    This repoter is a true love of the beautiful game. As a die hard Arsenal fan, I could not have said it better. This is the way sports should be reported.

    December 29, 2010 at 11:24 pm | Reply
  21. julio

    well said... gunners have the beautiful style of soccer to beat invincible squad Barcelona in champions league and win the most toughest league in the world(Barclay premier league).this season.

    December 30, 2010 at 12:18 am | Reply
  22. stunner

    Nice article well balanced,can they win the league?yes they can because they have the team which has matured a victory in the carling cup in february will be the starting point mark my words

    December 30, 2010 at 12:47 am | Reply
  23. Inocencio Diamantino da Silva

    I agree, but the fact that after the players are becoming good for using in the team he will sell them soon, so it makes Arsenal like the training center, man. Ah what we want are the trophies not money or business poor man.

    December 30, 2010 at 12:58 am | Reply
  24. Harry14

    Ok agreed a great manager but for us fans what matters most is winning throphies and titles...and dont see that happening for a few more years as yet..because Arsenal are more commited to their share holder's happiness(Money/profit) rather than to their thousands of fans who actually spend to watch those games and buying Arsenal Merchandise.Thats a big disrespect to the spending fans...Arsenal dont have ambitions like Sir Alex ferguson/Man utd, Man city,Chelsea ..etc...who are constantly investing in their teams(Buying quality players) who in return win Titles/trophies which in turn increases their income(Mercandise....look at how famous Man Utd).
    As an Arsenal fan I feel dejected...attractive football doesnt win you titles ..and 2010 premier league Man Utd are Now going to win it Runaway ( And its NOT gonna be tight and most open title race.. Mr Wenger). Arsenal is/were hollow challengers...Also ran type...they only good for the third/fourth finish. As long as they wont spend they wont win. ( I feel pity for Fabregas...He wont win anything with Arsenal).
    But then like millions of Arsenal fans..we all are helpless...nobody can make it happen/force ( Buy quality world class players...Rather than being an institute). We want substance...Title(s). Can Arsenal deliver that?NOPE!!!

    December 30, 2010 at 1:06 am | Reply
  25. a.mad

    arsenal is the only big club in EPL with so much money and less debt. You can spend 1billion usd for 1 trophy (man utd did that), or man city ; spending million of dollars but still cannot match the big club

    December 30, 2010 at 1:47 am | Reply
  26. yani

    being an arsenal's fan is very frustrated sometimes, but if it wouldn't of arsenal i wouldn't love football.

    December 30, 2010 at 2:14 am | Reply
  27. Smart

    @ Daniel you don't know anything about football and you don't watch either but even if you do, you don't understand it. there is analysis in football. The writer is not an Arsenal fan but he watch football and understand the game.

    December 30, 2010 at 5:45 am | Reply
  28. dale

    in arsene we trust....

    December 30, 2010 at 7:19 am | Reply
  29. randy feboke

    This is an exceptional piece, and i totally agree that wenger is a genious and with the strucure at arsenal, the club will become more stable and yet be able to win trophies in the coming years, even this year maybe, just look at the squad that beat chelsea, the oldest were vanpersie and sagna, both 27, the average age was 23, barring players leaving and serious injuries, arsenal can go the next five years or more without buying players and stl b able to win trophies. I just feel that they are sometimes arsene wenge could just have spent a little and would have won a trophy by now, like this past january when our strikers were injured, a loan deal would have helped,or 07/08 season when we had some injuries and was on top of the table, if he had strengthened a little, we probably would have won the league that year, wenger could be quite stubborn and has ego, and maybe not tactically sound, but as a manager, he has done a great job...

    December 30, 2010 at 8:37 am | Reply
  30. paschal

    I think this is the time for Arsenal
    to get a trophy,the young boys are now
    becoming men,who can challenge for the
    premiereship trophy

    December 30, 2010 at 9:05 am | Reply
  31. tayo03us1

    I agree that Arsenal as a club has a lot going for itself. The club has invested wisely in a new stadium, has decided that investing in young and developing talent is the right way to go. These players have over the years played good and quite entertaining football. However, why are we still referring to these players as youngsters? Is it because of their age? Have we forgotten that Van Persie, Fabregas, Walcott etc have been around for a while in the EPL and with the exposure to the UCL are now experienced players. Have we also forgotten that young players like Rooney, Nani, Messi, Iniesta etc have gone through same development route and have trophies to show. Arsene should please invest in some quality players to further bring out the best in his team and add a bit of consistency, as that's the only way to win. The fans (me inclusive) have not only had to suffer at seeing our team come a lame 3 or 4th, we have seen teams like Barcelona with similar philosophy go on to be named the best team in the world. Professor Wenger, stop being stubborn and add some quality and experience to your squad. Another year without a trophy will be hard on fans like myself....

    December 30, 2010 at 10:24 am | Reply
  32. carlos, London

    As arsenal supporter I want to believe winning the premiership is possible but to be honest, about 4 teams can possible win it, arsenal, chelsea, man. u and man.c.

    December 30, 2010 at 11:46 am | Reply
  33. Al

    I think Wenger has a great eye for talent – this is evidenced by the wealth of young talent at Arsenal – however I don't think he is a great man manager. Arsenal always impress but they never seem to have that killer edge and the strength to win 'dirty'.
    I don't support Arsenal but I do like the way they play and hope for the game, that their type of football leads to success, as as Spain and Barcelona have shown, pass and move football is the best way to play

    December 30, 2010 at 12:36 pm | Reply
  34. Martin from Slovakia

    Arsenal´s crowd-pleasing style of football is a real joy to watch but I don´t believe Wenger will win something in the coming years.
    The team needs more squad depth. There are 2-3 teams with better squads (Chelsea, ManUtd, ManCity) which will take the crown. Maybe even Tottenham are a real competition. Gunners will be grateful for the Champions League spot.

    December 30, 2010 at 1:03 pm | Reply
  35. abhulimen oseremen

    Gunners till eternity,a big thanks to u candy.

    December 30, 2010 at 1:23 pm | Reply
  36. Louis

    As a businessman I think Wenger is successful.

    Being a manager of a football club, regardless the book is on the black or red, winning is the only measurement of success, period.

    This team has been near the top for the last few years and had never able to get to the top when the championship is over. Beautiful football is only part of the game but not all as the brief is to win the championship not just an also run.

    Louis

    December 30, 2010 at 2:00 pm | Reply
  37. kuto

    Arsene Wenger has been in for a lot of unfair criticism. Time now to show the sceptics what Wenger's boys can do. Arsenal has matured, Arsenal is ready. Critics can say what they want.... Arsene Wenger is a Genius.

    December 30, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Reply
  38. Kojo

    An ardent arsenal supporter. I think Candy has it spot on. She's made several points that are attractive to strategists: stability, consistent performance in the league, cups and champions league. Acquisition of a goalkeeper remains vital to realization of Arsene's search to end the drought.

    December 30, 2010 at 5:07 pm | Reply
  39. alehandro

    Arsene Wenger is great for the business that is Arsenal Football Club, but he's not a manager who produces winning teams. Sure they will look pretty for much of the season, but his teams always lack the true grit needed when it comes down to grinding out points when the football is not flowing. I suspect Candy Reid's article was written soon after the Gunners destroyed a demoralized, extremely out of form and exceptionally careless Chelsea side. That victory had many suggesting that this could be Arsenal's year. But for me, when it comes to Arsenal, all that glitters is not gold. Maybe if she'd waited to see them drop 2 points against the very workmanlike Wigan she wouldn't have been so quick to hand them the title. They won't win it this year, and, with Manchester City growing in strength and experience, United being United, Chelsea sure to spend big in the summer transfer window, and Spurs also on the march, I don't expect them to win it any time soon. But that doesn't matter much at the Emirates, as long as the books are balanced and the team looks good, that seems to be o.k, which is why Wenger is so secure in his job.

    December 30, 2010 at 8:57 pm | Reply
  40. stanley

    Arsene wenger is a genius and a professor of football as well as lucky that all his philosophy, policies is being ambrace in arsenal. i pray they will do well this time ,

    December 30, 2010 at 10:37 pm | Reply
  41. Barca fan

    Nice sentiments but DO NOT agree at all. There is no chance of Arsenal winning a worthy cup such as Champions league. The comments on Cesc and Mascherano show a lack of understanding of the situation at hand. Wegner promissed Cesc he could leave and then changed his mind. It was a question of money as Arsenal wanted more money. Summer 2011 will be when Cesc goes back to Barca. As for Mascherano, he now plays on a more talented team but has less pitch time, but now has a real chance of winning some worthy titles ...

    December 31, 2010 at 7:37 am | Reply
  42. Joe

    Football is my favorite sport for relaxation and I love the way Arsenal and Barca play the beautiful game. But I think Arsenal have a lot to learn from Barca. They need to have that "showtime" spirit and lift their game to fit the occasion all the time, like they did when they played Chelsea last Monday. But now and again they let their game slide a notch lower than the level champions are expected to play at. Quality business decision and the spirit to play like champions can co-exist all the time. Candi, you're spot on.

    December 31, 2010 at 9:50 am | Reply
  43. Joe

    Football is my favorite sport for relaxation and I love the way Arsenal and Barca play the beautiful game. But I think Arsenal have a lot to learn from Barca. They need to have that "showtime" spirit and lift their game to fit the occasion all the time, like they did when they played Chelsea last Monday. But now and again they let their game slide a notch lower than the level champions are expected to play at. Quality business decision and the spirit to play like champions can co-exist all the time. Candy, you're spot on.

    December 31, 2010 at 10:27 am | Reply
  44. toosman

    Wenger,is a good coach and a good gambler the title this year is not for both but for a wise coach

    December 31, 2010 at 9:26 pm | Reply
  45. Oleg_S

    Candy, great article! Given the state of affairs at Liverpool, why torture yourself? Get yourself a Gunners shirt. You won't be disappointed.

    December 31, 2010 at 9:59 pm | Reply
  46. Dr. Desmond G Quincy-Jones

    Hi,
    Mac, Don, Pedron and Terry, I do love you guys but please do me a great favour and change that awful THEME song for the world sports. happy Holidays guys, you are awesome and I can not stay away from your programmes;

    Continue the good work,
    Q

    January 1, 2011 at 8:31 am | Reply
  47. azhar swati

    i used to like that arsenal team of early 2000sthat had a real substance about it and had a lot of champions in it..nw what they have is just minnows trying to emulate them which is damn hard given the quality of league..

    January 1, 2011 at 8:41 pm | Reply
  48. Galvani

    Everybody knows that Arsenal can play, but, can they, stay focus, stay strong in they challenge for the top in England and maybe for the European Crown? They got skills and Arséne Wenger is great Manager but somehow the can't make is young "Gunns" click when it mathers and bring some "shine", ill wait and see because they are vey good and they have make that goodness be rewarded.

    January 1, 2011 at 9:31 pm | Reply
  49. Samrin

    Hi Candy,

    I see you during my daily world sport news and I enjoy the way you put your views out. And besides all that, I happen to be an Arsenal and Bayern Munchen fan and it's really great to see you write some great stuff about our beloved Le Prof....I don't ever want to see the back of him. I would rather see my favourite players leave the club than see Wenger leave.

    January 2, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Reply
  50. Chris

    Everything we do in life can be classed as a project. Projects can be short term, mid-term or long term. What Arsene is doing at Arsenal could be classed as a long term project – where he is building a team with young players (some from the academy others from far and wide). It is only a matter of time before this team starts to bring in silver wares. Check out Barcelona. For a few years – late 1990s and early 2000, they didn't win much but look at them now. Patience is the key.

    January 2, 2011 at 8:56 pm | Reply
  51. frank

    come on arsenal..

    January 3, 2011 at 8:14 am | Reply
  52. Moses kazimoto

    Actually we know Wenger is a gud coach thats why arsenal win

    January 3, 2011 at 8:37 am | Reply
  53. kasonde

    the epl this season will go to Manchester united, simply because they have mental fortitude to win games unlike arsenal or Liverpool or man city.

    man utd have been bad this season, but for some reason they still top of the leagued and anyone who watches the epl will tell you that Manchester united generally get stronger in January and beyond.

    i think if arsene wenger gives his team the mental fortitude then arsenal may reach 2nd in the league.

    as for winning trophies i think arsenal will win the Carling cup or fa cup or both

    January 3, 2011 at 10:50 am | Reply
  54. tuffymacca

    Big up to Professor Wenger & the Gunners football philosophy.Gunners like Barca play football the way it is suppose to be played.Unfortunately the Gunners are going to be handed a football masterclass by mighty Barcelona in the champions league.

    January 3, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Reply
  55. Maverick_60

    I am not an Arsenal fan, however if anyone that deserve to win the league other than Man Utd, it would be Arsenal.

    I do agree that Arse Wenger outlook on running a football team where success is necessary without outstripping the club finances.

    Look at Barca, Man Untd, Real Madrid and many more, that have accumulated huge debts for the sake of success.
    And more alarming Liverpool, almost going into administration.

    If the need to spend, it should be spend wisely. The BPL will go bust in a couple of years if clubs carry on like there is no tomorrow in terms of carefree spending and seccumbing to player's audacious demands just like Wayne Rooney

    January 4, 2011 at 3:44 am | Reply
  56. Roryvancouver

    Arsenal have had terrible luck with injuries. Last year the Gunners still managed to challenge with Bendner as their sole striker!

    January 4, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Reply
  57. wale

    I wonder where the word genius comes from. I saw Arsenal play Barca and looked like wanna bees. What is the sense in running around with the ball for 90 minutes only to get beaten. The passes are beautiful around the centre circle. No substance. If there is a genius around, then its, Guardiola and not wenger.

    January 6, 2011 at 11:35 am | Reply
  58. wale

    @ maverick. Man U didn't accumulate debts because they needed to spend. the debt belongs to the Glaziers, really. its a financial device only the banks understand how it works. Arsenal borrowed money to build the Emirates stadium and will repay over 30 years. Now that is a debt.

    January 6, 2011 at 11:38 am | Reply
  59. hussani abdulrahaman

    hello hussani in Nigeria 30 age i love arsenal

    January 6, 2011 at 5:34 pm | Reply
  60. Sarah

    Very nicely put Candy – and gracious. Being a Newcastle supporter, even I agree with you!

    January 7, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Reply
  61. graham mackenzie

    no i don,t agree, i,ve been a arsenal fan all my life, and believe you me we fans are only interested in trophy,s.
    arsene please buy a decent goalkeeper, or get jens lehmann back.
    even before they play against barcelona i know were going to lose.
    i live in germany and every bundesliga club has a decent goalkeeper,
    but not the arsenal. arsene i think it,s time to go.

    January 7, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Reply
  62. Moses kazimoto

    Sir.Arsene Wenger is so genius

    January 9, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Reply
  63. Nyagol Joshua

    Professor Wenger is the best Manager of all time

    January 11, 2011 at 10:04 am | Reply
  64. steven

    thank u very much. As other teams as suffering in the boadroom Arsene is spotting young blood at very cheap prices. Check ManU after selling Ronalda u would think money is no problem but check whats happenig . Big up to the professor.

    January 11, 2011 at 10:28 am | Reply
  65. Dr. Cajetan Coelho

    The Gunners appear to peak at the right time. They look good for some glittering silverware in the ongoing season. Best wishes to Monsieur Wenger, his squad and fans.

    January 21, 2011 at 8:59 am | Reply
  66. dony

    sorry for dissapoint many gunner's lovers, but your club or its football style, does not have anythinbg special , is only the same version of the clockwork dutch, and being mores extreme (all in a single touch) and do you call that beautiful football (are you seriors??, I think the same about Barcelona and Spain), sorry if I dissapoint your eurocentrist feelings, but being a south american, and I have witnessed Santos with Pele, Brazil and Sao Plaulo with Tele Santana, River Plate with Di Stefano or the latest Santos with Diego, your Arsenal , Barcelona or any european teams is far away for at least 50% of that beauty ( why eruopeans can not be good in dribblings , bakc hells and so on), well this is only a proof how the mass-media is washing many brains around the world:((((((

    March 6, 2011 at 6:50 pm | Reply

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