In a new documentary focused on Arsenal’s undefeated run in the 2003/04 Premier League, but which also explores Arsène Wenger’s overall experience while head manager at London Colney, the Frenchman stated his regret for delaying his departure from the club while wondering whether something ‘was broken’ after their 38 matches without defeats.
During his time at Arsenal, Wenger was praised as a visionary coach who revolutionised training and developed new nutrition methods. Le Professor also became known for his innovative views concerning playing style and game tactics and was Sir Alex Ferguson’s main rival for many years.
The new documentary, titled ‘Arsène Wenger: Invincible’, covers Wenger’s life starting with his upbringing and childhood and ending with the final stages of his managerial career, when he left Arsenal after intense pressure from fans. Although Arsène failed to win the Premier League after 2004, the team qualified for the Champions League every year and in his final four seasons, he won five trophies, three FA Cups and two FA Community Shield trophies. Since then, Arsenal has struggled to find a fitting successor, which has led them to miss the Champion League for three consecutive seasons. Currently, according to outright English Premier League betting odds, the Gunners are priced to finish in the top 4 at odds of 10/3.
Following his 2018 departure from Arsenal, Wenger has integrated FIFA, where he is Chief of Global Football Development and has led a project that aims to restructure the World Cup into a biennial championship.
Loyalty to the Club
“I fully identified with the club. That’s the mistake I made. My fatal flaw was to love too much where I am… where I was. I regret that. I should have gone somewhere else. Sometimes I wonder: did something break after the undefeated season?” Wenger says in the film, according to the Telegraph. “2007 was a decisive point. It was the first time I felt tensions within the board. I was torn between being loyal to the club and being loyal to David (Dein, vice president of Arsenal)”.
“I still wonder if I did the right thing because life was never the same after. I thought: ‘Now I have to finish this project,'” said Wenger, referring to the club’s struggle of having to maintain their competitive levels in the Premier League while on a tight budget. In addition, Arsène also states that one of the great achievements of his career was to continue to qualify for the Champions League during such challenging times.
But could he have joined other, more financially stable, clubs? “I could have gone to the French national team. To the English national team two or three times. I could have gone twice to Real Madrid. I could have gone to Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, even Manchester United,” he said.
Since his 2018 departure, Wenger has never returned to visit the house he helped build. In May last year, he commented he decided to ‘leave Arsenal completely’ and so he never returned to the Emirates to see a game. In the new documentary, he adds that there is no special reason for his absence. “Everything else is purely emotional, and this is less important. It’s the end of your life – at least one life – like a funeral. The end of a love story is always sad,” he concluded.
‘Arsène Wenger: Invincible’ is set to be made available on Amazon Prime in early 2022, and features insights from Wenger himself, and the likes of other notable figures from the football world, such as Sir Alex Ferguson or Thierry Henry.