Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger is the most successful manager in Arsenal’s history, and the first foreign manager to win the Premiership. On his arrival at the north London club in 1996, many in football were puzzled as to who this Frenchman was and why such a high profile English club had gone out of their way to secure his services. He had just finished working in Japan’s J-League with Grampus 8, having previously managed Monaco and Strasbourg.

The then Gunners’ captain Tony Adams was not too enamoured at having Wenger as his new manager, but with a careful eye placed on diet, rest and tactics, Arsenal were about to embark on the most successful period in modern times. Wenger won the Premiership and FA Cup double in 1996-97, after only his second season in England, with Adams at the fulcrum of his defence alongside, and Lee Dixon, Steve Bould, Nigel Winterburn and also Martin Keown.

Ability to win with style

That period in the Premiership saw intense rivalry between Wenger and Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, with an at times very public and mutual hostility. Just to show his on field success was no fluke, Wenger went on to achieve a second double in 2001-02, and won rave reviews throughout the world for his teams’ ability to win with style. Under their French manager, Arsenal proceeded to lift another Premiership title in 2003-04, the season that brought the “ invincibles” to the Premier League, just as Wenger had predicted, and to much derision a year earlier. Wenger had stated that his side would go through the whole season unbeaten and they did. It could remain a record that may not be surpassed.

The Henry factor

Wenger’s success centred on a fusion of continental flair and English forces, and the club took on a French and Dutch look about it. To the English bedrock, Wenger had brought influential mid fielders Patrick Vieira, Emmanuel Petit, added Nicolas Anelka, Robert Pires, alongside Dennis Bergkamp and Ian Wright, both of who were already at the club. One of Wenger’s biggest coups was to bring Thierry Henry to London in 1999 after the striker had had a nightmare of a time in Serie A. Henry once settled became arguably the best player to have graced the Premiership and went on to claim the club’s all time goal scoring record from Wright. Under Wenger, Arsenal cemented their place at the top of English football, with further FA Cup success in 2003 and 2005.

His one remaining ambition is to win the Champions League. He once said that even if he won that trophy five times, he would still feel it to be unfinished business. Arsenal were cruelly denied Champions League glory in 2006, when having been reduced to ten men when ‘keeper Jens Lehman was shown a red card, the Gunners were denied by Barcelona in a 2-1 scoreline. Sol Campbell gave Arsenal the lead, but the Catalan side were to rally. The Champions League runners’ up spot adds to Wenger’s other European runners up place, the UEFA Cup loss on penalties to Turkish side Galatasaray in 1999-2000.

Goodbye to Highbury

Realising the increase in fan and revenue potential of a new home away from the ageing Highbury and it’s 38,500 capacity, Wenger was instrumental in the project to build the award winning Emirates Stadium, which opened in 2006 and has a capacity of 60,000. The home matchday revenue is now £3 million.

Wenger’s philosophy of developing young talent has paid dividends in the past, but the current financial might at United, Chelsea and Liverpool combined with the reluctance of Wenger to pay over the odds for players he feels are not worth it, has resulted in the Gunners’ having a very talented young squad, that lack experience. The current crop of players includes Cesc Fabregas, Robin Van Persie and the new arrival Andrei Arshavin in a team that reached the semi-finals of both the Champions League and FA Cup for the 2008-09 season.

Assistant manager Steve Bould

Assistant Manager Steve Bould

A towering defensive leader within the Arsenal rearguard which proved so successful from 1989. Alongside the likes of Tony Adams, Lee Dixon, Nigel Winterburn and Martin Keown, Bould epitomised the Arsenal spirit when he joined the North London side from Stoke City in 1988. Bould won seven major honours ( League 1989, 1991, 1998. FA Cup 1993, 1998. League Cup 1993 and European Cup Winners Cup 1994 ) and also represented England twice.

With the departure of his predecessor Pat Rice, Bould was a natural choice to step up from the Gunners’ Academy where he spent 11 years and presided over a number of successful youth sides, winning the FA Academy Premier League as Champions in 2009 and 2010 as well as an FA Cup Youth win in 2009.

A respected and tactically aware coach, Bould is a winner! He has been a natural fit alongside his former manager Arsene Wenger and has easily stepped in for media duties when the need has arisen.

Former Assistant manager Pat Rice

After more than forty years at Arsenal, Pat Rice continues with the passion and enthusiasm he readily demonstrated as a player. He was part of the famous 1971 double winning side, alongside other famous luminaries such as Bob Wilson, Charlie George and George Graham. Alongside Bob Wilson, Pat holds the distinction of being a part of all three Arsenal double winning sides either as a player or coach, and can always be seen alongside Arsene Wenger on a match day.

Pat joined the club as a 15 year old apprentice and went on to make 528 appearances for the Gunners.He started his coaching career in 1984 with the youth team, who he guided to a FA Youth Cup win four years later and then again in 1994. Having graduated to Wenger’s assistant in 1996, Pat has seen the Gunners lift the Premiership title in 1998,2002 and 2004, with FA Cup success in those same years as well as in 2005.

An international with Northern Ireland, Pat won 49 caps for his country.