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Published on Aug 12, 2012
Arsène Wenger, OBE (French pronunciation: [aʁsɛn vɛŋ(ɡ)ɛʁ]; born 22 October 1949) is the manager of English Premier League side Arsenal. He is the club's longest serving manager and most successful, winning 11 individual honours since 1996. Wenger is given credit for revolutionising football in England in the late 1990s, primarily by introducing changes in training methods and player diets and implementing a philosophy of organising his teams to play entertaining football.
Born in Strasbourg and subsequently raised in Duttlenheim, Wenger was introduced to football by his father, an entrepreneur. His career was modest, playing in different positions[a] for various amateur clubs; while studying at the University of Strasbourg, he completed an economics degree in 1974. Wenger obtained his manager's diploma in 1981 and subsequently began his managerial career, where he achieved greater triumph and recognition than during his playing career. Following an unsuccessful period at Nancy which culminated in his dismissal in 1987, Wenger won the league championship with Monaco in 1988. In 1991, he guided the club to victory in the Coupe de France, but failure to regain the domestic championship in later seasons led to Wenger departing Monaco by mutual consent in September 1994. He briefly coached Japanese J. League side Nagoya Grampus Eight, winning the Emperor's Cup and the Japanese Super Cup.
Wenger was named manager of Arsenal in 1996, and two years later, in 1998, became the first manager born outside Britain to win the league and FA Cup double. He led the club to appearances in the 2000 UEFA Cup Final and 2001 FA Cup Final, before replicating the double achievement in 2002. Arsenal retained the FA Cup in 2003 and a year later regained the league, becoming the first club since Preston North End, 115 years previously, to go through an entire league season undefeated. The team later eclipsed Nottingham Forest's sequence of 42 league matches unbeaten and went seven more matches before defeat in October 2004. Arsenal made their first appearance in a Champions League final in 2006, having gone 10 consecutive games without conceding a goal. In 2012, the club qualified for a fifteenth successive season of Champions League football, after making their worst start to a season for 58 years. During his tenure, Arsenal moved to a new training centre and after 93 years at Highbury, in August 2006 relocated to the Emirates Stadium.
The nickname "Le Professeur" is used by fans and the British media today, to reflect his studious demeanour. Wenger's approach to the game emphasises an attacking mentality. His Arsenal teams are often criticised for their indiscipline, receiving 80 red cards between September 1996 and October 2010, though they have also won awards for sporting fair play. At Monaco, Wenger earned a reputation for spotting young talent and has retained a focus on developing a youth system, where his clubs develop young players instead of buying expensive, experienced ones. He has faced criticism for sticking closely to his principles, with some commentators questioning his ambition to win trophies.