Arsene Wenger became the first managerial inductee alongside his long-time rival Sir Alex Ferguson to be inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame. Arsenal’s greatest and most successful manager has become the fifth Arsenal representative to be presented the highest individual honour by the league after Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Patrick Vieira and Ian Wright.
Wenger combined longevity with success as he led Arsenal to three Premier League titles and a record seven FA Cup triumphs, while overseeing a move from Highbury to Emirates Stadium, which he described as the biggest challenge of his life. Turning down a host of other top clubs along the way, he spent 22 years with the Gunners between 1996 and 2018 – The most of any manager in the club’s history. Arriving as one of the first foreign managers in English football in 1996, Wenger made an instant impact and helped raise standards through a revolutionary football philosophy while dedicating his teams to play attacking and attractive football. Wenger also transformed many players into world class stars such as Patrick Vieira, Robert Pires, Emmanuel Petit, Nicolas Anelka, Ashley Cole, Marc Overmars, Freddie Ljungberg, Cesc Fabregas, Robin Van Persie and will always be remembered for turning Thierry Henry from a talented winger into a superstar striker.
Wenger managed to win the Premier League title in his first full campaign as Arsenal manager in 1997/98, his second title four years later in 2001/02 and made history in 2003/04 as ‘The Invincibles’ remained unbeaten throughout the entire campaign. He became the Premier League’s longest serving manager when Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013 and surpassed his record of games managed in the Premier League in December 2017. Wenger managed a record 828 Premier League matches, including 476 wins and 199 draws, and was voted Manager of the Season in 1998, 2002 and 2004.
The Frenchman is the only manager to go through a whole Premier League campaign unbeaten, as Arsenal won 26 and drew 12 of their 38 games on the way to winning the title in 2003/04. He holds the record for the longest unbeaten run by a manager in Premier League history, with 49 matches unbeaten between May 2003 and October 2004.
In 2001/02, Wenger’s team scored in every Premier League match on their way to winning the title, as Arsenal remain the only team in the Premier League era to score in every match in a season. Wenger also delivered 19 successive seasons of Champions League football with the Gunners from 1998/99 to 2016/17, which is an English football record and is only surpassed in Europe by Real Madrid.
Despite leaving in controversial circumstances, which he described as ‘unjustified’ and ‘brutal’, Wenger is still very much considered as one of the best managers of all time and remains a beloved figure at Arsenal.