Johnny/Al's Football Managers on TV: Wenger

The massive sleeping bag, the professorial benevolence - we've all seen thousands of Arsene Wenger interviews over the years. He neither roisters nor doisters...

Last Updated: 16/08/14 at 12:25 Post Comment

Latest Articles

Van Gaal Ripping The Soul Out Of United

Post comment

Louis van Gaal is ripping the soul out of Manchester United. Also: Brendan Rodgers has lost his bottle, Arsenal are incompetent, and (plenty) more on David De Gea.

Anthony Martial: The French Danny Welbeck

Post comment

Is Anthony Martial any better than Danny Welbeck? We have a massive Mailbox on Manchester United's transfer ridiculousness, and hypocritical Arsene Wenger.

All Articles

In a new series, John Nicholson and Alan Tyers take a look at the Premier League's gaffers and how they come across on the telly. To kick us off, it's Arsenal's very own Professor Yaffle, Monsieur Arsène Wenger...


Philosophy
He has perfected the art of saying little while convincing journalists and interviewers that he's very open. Early on, his greatest media hits were fancy modern 1990s ideas such as being fit, eating pasta and kicking seven shades out of people. Then it became all about skill, artistry and the moral superiority of retaining possession and not getting bruises. But as they couldn't win anything doing that, he signed a couple of big lads and rediscovered the art of crossing, but all the while has given no concession to any interviewer that he has changed his approach.


Interview style
Can do sulky indignation with the best of them, especially when his players have been bullied by some bigger, nastier boys (which is almost every player). Height gives him a looming, vulture-like quality as he looks down at his interviewer with a weary pity.


Suit, tracksuit or other
Used to favour the full sportswear but soon realised it made him look like an over-enthusiastic PE teacher and reverted to the fits-where-it-touches dark suit and inevitable red tie. In recent years has taken to wearing a massive head-to-toe sleeping bag as a coat from about October to May, giving him the look of a man who lives under a bridge or of an especially comprehensively lagged boiler.


Can he talk the English?
No interviewer need fear Arsène descending into glassy-eyed, garbled foreign or come on like an incomprehensible footballing version of Nancy Dell'Olio. He's now so familiar with the language after nearly two decades in English football that you could be forgiven for thinking he's really an Englishman putting on a dodgy French accent for an episode of 'Allo 'Allo.


Cliché counter
His remarkable longevity has meant that we have all seen thousands upon thousands of Wenger interviews, all conducted in that measured, lofty way, beginning sentences with "Well..." Has made the TV persona of the measured, reasonable Prof his own, a real one-off. Any cliché he delivers on TV is his own, such as the legendary, "I did not see ze incident" when Pat or Manu had done something especially heinous to an opponent, possibly with a flick-knife or a firecracker smuggled back on the coach from France.


Proper football man?
TV football people love a PFM but being French automatically excludes any manager from being such. Tendency to drink fine Alsace white wine is also a major disqualification. Everyone knows the Proper Football Man drinks 'a nice bottle of red'. When we say bottle, we mean, petrol tanker driven by Peter Reid, of course. Arsène will not roister nor doister with 'the boys' in the studio. Punching someone on the top of their arm very hard is not his style at all. However, he is the PFM's idea of an intellectual, which is to say he's been told he's clever by Peter Reid.


Sacking ahoy?
Not even if he ran up the Seven Sisters Road singing Chas'n' Dave songs and had a homemade tattoo of Martin Chivers on his face. Has always benefited from the pundit's default 'be careful what you wish for' conservatism even as the years rolled on with any silverware. Will surely die with his boots, and massive sleeping bag coat on, possibly aged 197 during a TV interview, pondering benevolently a question from the Geoff Shreeves-Bot 2000.

John Nicholson and Alan Tyers

Check out John's new series of crime novels about life, death, sex and UEFA Cup football.

Or Alan's illustrated sports books here.

Follow Johnny on Twitter here or Alan here.

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

would cry with laughter if adebayor ended up at united.

_____
The Deadline Day Gossip

R

emember when f365 were applauding this signing and hailed Norwich as the winners of the transfer window in 2013? Good times....

parsy12
Van Wolfswinkel loaned to Betis

I

m pretty sure van Gaal has created his own dialect.

parsy12
LVG: Herrera better at No.10

Latest Photos

Footer 365

Everton have completed the signing of Tottenham winger Aaron Lennon

Everton have completed the signing of Tottenham winger Aaron Lennon on a three-year contract.

United respond to Real Madrid claims over David de Gea

Manchester United have issued a response to claims from Real Madrid over the failed transfer of David de Gea.

Manchester United sign Newport County teenager Regan Poole

Manchester United have signed teenage defender Regan Poole from Sky Bet League 2 club Newport County.

Mail Box

Van Gaal Ripping The Soul Out Of United

Louis van Gaal is ripping the soul out of Manchester United. Also: Brendan Rodgers has lost his bottle, Arsenal are incompetent, and (plenty) more on David De Gea.

Anthony Martial: The French Danny Welbeck

Is Anthony Martial any better than Danny Welbeck? We have a massive Mailbox on Manchester United's transfer ridiculousness, and hypocritical Arsene Wenger.

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company