Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is addicted to ‘Russian Roulette’ of management
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The inference could not have been clearer. Arsene Wenger is addicted to management.
The Frenchman who has been at the helm for 22 years at Arsenal, and is only reluctantly walking off into the sunset at the end of a tempestuous season, made his point in a knockabout press conference at London Colney ahead of entertaining Atletico Madrid at the Emirates on Thursday.
While he is deadly serious about preparing for the crucial Europa League semi-final first leg clash, he joked about why the job will not be short of candidates.
He said with irony: “[Arsenal] will not be short of candidates. That shows you as well that the place is a good place. Green outside, nice trees, good grass.
“Fantastic. No pollution. Until the press conference starts!”
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Wenger also joked he has been playing Russian roulette for 35 years comparing football management is an addiction he cannot live without.
“I had no break for 35 years,” he added.
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“In our job, you can look around, that doesn’t exist. I don’t know now how addicted I am.
“I am a bit like a guy who plays Russian Roulette every week and suddenly has no gun any more – so, I will see how much I miss that gun.”
Wenger won three Premier League titles and a record seven FA Cups, including the Double in 1998 and 2002 but lost his way with a succession of sides which promised much but failed to deliver in terms of sustained challenge for the league title over the last 14 years.
By coincidence Wenger was speaking 14 years to the day since arguably his greatest ever achievement, winning the Premier League at White Hart Lane in 2004.
Wenger, who is renowned for not reflecting on the past briefly touched on his career in front of a packed press room at the club’s training ground.
He said, again with a twinkle in his eye at the end: “You do not give 22 years of your life for something and you go away and want things to collapse.
“Not at my age. Maybe when you have a big ego at 40 you think the world cannot live without you.
“At my age you understand that when you go, the world continues and you wish that it continues better. At least I think that the guy can work in a positive environment.
“At the moment I am focused on tomorrow. My job goes to May, then I will go to the World Cup and see England win the World Cup. On penalties!”