• Football

18 ways Wenger has revolutionised English football

John Cross | ESPN FC
October 1, 2014
Arsene Wenger has spent 18 years transforming Arsenal as a club © Getty Images

Arsene Wenger celebrates his 18th anniversary of taking charge at Arsenal on Wednesday. With that, here are 18 reasons Wenger has revolutionised, changed and improved both Arsenal and English football.

1. Training - Wenger put a stopwatch around his neck and called time on old-fashioned training methods and stretches to make it all short, sharp and intense sessions. He also helped design the new revolutionary training ground when the old one burnt down. Wenger didn't burn it down. Honest.

2. Bye, bye booze - Wenger completely transformed the drinking culture at Arsenal, even banning booze from the players' bar. Water only with meals, please.

Arsene Wenger's barbs with Jose Mourinho and Alex Ferguson have provided much entertainment © Getty Images

3. Diet - Back in the day, it used to be beans and omelettes for a pre-match meal. Hello boiled chicken and veg. No ketchup.

4. Invincibles - Surely the best ever team in the Premier League. After all, they won the title in 2004, finishing the season unbeaten.

5. Champions League - The consistency of reaching Europe's premier competition 18 years in a row is remarkable. No other English club has done it.

6. Thierry Henry - He brought him to England and changed him from a misfiring winger, and he became an Arsenal legend and all-time Premier League great.

7. Famous four - Wenger was cute. He inherited Dixon, Bould, Adams and Winterburn. He embraced them, built the '98 Double winning team on their foundation and then built his own defence for the Invincibles.

8. Mind games - Oh what fun it's been to see Wenger share barbs, rude remarks and insults with Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho.

9. The Emirates - Well, he didn't quite build it himself, but ... Wenger helped plan the £350 million, 60,000 all-seater stadium, helped budget for it and helped design it down to the fixtures and fittings.

10. At the Double - Arsenal had won the Double in 1971 and it was remembered as an incredible achievement. Then Wenger won two Doubles in the space of four years.

11. I didn't see it - Back in those early days, Wenger's teams were aggressive and powerful - and got into scrapes. Needless to say, Wenger never saw it.

12. Foreign office - Wenger became the first foreign manager to win the Premier League in 1998. He led the revolution which has resulted in more foreign managers in England than British bosses.

Arsene Wenger transformed Thierry Henry from a misfiring winger into a Premier League great © PA Photos

13. Foreign legion - Wenger brought in the likes of Henry, Pires, Ljungberg, Vieira and Petit. It helped improve the Premier League, even though it drove English football managers mad. Wenger fielded the first all non-English XI against Crystal Palace on February 14, 2005, at Highbury. Arsenal won the match 5-1.

14. The saviour of English football - Having often signed foreign stars, Wenger has now done a C change and bought and developed himself a British core with a new homegrown spirit in the Arsenal dressing room.

15. Sound bites - Wenger's little sound bites are very funny. He's helped revolutionise press conferences from groin-strain updates into comedy sideshows. From "everyone thinks they have the prettiest wife at home" to "If you eat caviar every day, it's difficult to return to sausages," they are back page gold. Enhanced the English language with words like "footballistically."

16. Creating his own boyband - Wenger has an unshakeable faith in young players. He is prepared to develop them, give them their chance and stick with them through thick and thin. Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey, Wojciech Szczesny, Kieran Gibbs and Theo Walcott all bear testament to that.

17. Self-appointed chancellor - The fans might not like this one, but Wenger prides himself on ensuring Arsenal stick to their philosophy of being a self-sustaining club. He has only recently spent big on Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil. Before then, he'd rather buy an unknown from the French second division. Wenger gets enjoyment from developing his own talent and sticking to a budget and has blasted the "financial doping" that goes on at other clubs. All very worthy, but does it deliver trophies?

18. Free-flowing football - This surely has to be the biggest thing. Arsenal used to be known as "boring, boring Arsenal." Under Wenger, they became known as the great entertainers. Quick, passing football with spectacular players and spectacular goals. Wenger, with his radical shift in style and philosophy, changed the whole philosophy of a club. A genius.

Arsene Wenger ended a nine-year trophy drought with FA Cup victory last season © Getty Images

This article originally appeared on ESPN FC

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