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The greatest’ – Fans  hail Wenger and Ferguson as latest inductees into the Premier League Hall of Fame



The greatest’ – Fans  hail Wenger and Ferguson as latest inductees into the Premier League Hall of Fame

Wenger and Ferguson are the first managers to be inducted into the Premier League hall of fame.

And rightly so, I think. But there will be dissenters. Not with Fergie, but with Wenger, mainly because Wenger’s resume is only a shadow of Fergie’s during both of their tenures. And yes, they are right about that period. This is how the relative resumes reading.


13 major leagues

5 FA Cups

4 League Cups

2 European Cups

1 European Cup Winners’ Cup


3 major leagues

7 FA Cups

But it feels very unfair to Wenger to take their respective careers at Arsenal and Man Utd as a whole. The only way to put their relative performances into perspective is to divide Wenger’s tenure at Arsenal into two distinct halves. Pre-emirates and post-emirates. Due to the financial constraints associated with the construction of the Emirates Stadium, Wenger’s net spending on players was a massive ZERO for the next 10 years.

As such, I believe the only way to truly compare the two great managers is to compare them before the Emirates. In other words on Wenger’s first nine seasons, from the ’96/’97 season to the ’04/’05 season. Here’s how they compare in those nine seasons:


3 major leagues

4 FA Cups

1st place in the Champions League

That’s seven national trophies.


5 major leagues

2 FA Cups

1 Champions Cup

They are also seven national trophies.
With Fergie’s five titles versus Wenger’s three and the CL win versus Wenger’s ‘oh so close’, Fergie is clearly on the edge, but they’re not a million miles away, and nothing beats the gap that it developed over the next 10 years of Wenger’s rigidity.
But if we compare those first nine seasons, even then there was a huge discrepancy in player spending. Wenger’s net expenditure on players over those nine seasons was just £47m. Compare that to Fergie’s £140million and you start to appreciate how big of a lead Fergie had when it came to player recruitment. And to put that level of spending into perspective, Pep’s net spend over his seven-year stay at Manchester City is currently £550m.

Aside from finances, there are other factors to consider when making these comparisons between the two. To begin with, Fergie was well established at Old Trafford and had been building for 10 years before Wenger’s arrival. And indeed, let’s not forget that it took Fergie a whopping eight years to win her first title. Wenger only needed two. In terms of trophies, especially when finances are considered, Wenger’s loot compares very well to Fergie’s. But of course trophies aren’t the only reason for Wenger’s induction into the Premier League Hall of Fame.
Wenger was a revolutionary. He completely changed the face of English football and arguably football far beyond our borders. Here are a few ways Wenger changed the game beyond recognition. (As ESPN pointed out).

In fact, the ESPN article lists as many as 17 different factors Arsène Wenger focused on. He changed the way players trained, got rid of the drinking culture, changed what was on the menu, created Invincibles and made Arsenal Champions League regulars (which are actually paid for the new stadium ) so much so that only Real Madrid surpassed Arsenal’s 18 consecutive years in the top flight.
Also, he brought in players we’ve never seen before. Thierry Henry was an unknown when he arrived, Patrick Vieira was frozen in Italy, no one had heard of Freddie Ljungberg before he showed up…of course the media kept telling us who was going to buy Arsenal…and they were wrong every time. But it wasn’t all slash and burn.

Wenger inherited the famous back four, embraced them, and then built defenses around their style. And in doing so he became the first non-British manager to win the league. Indeed, before Wenger, the media truly believed that English players and British coaches were the best in the world. Suddenly we saw that this was not the case. Meanwhile, Wenger gave chances to the kids: Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey, Wojciech Szczesny, Kieran Gibbs and Theo Walcott – they all got their chance as the former ‘Boring Boring Arsenal’ media line was hailed by fans of Arsenal as a mockery against the media which had propagated this lineage during the Graham years. Instead of the old defend-defend-defend approach, we had ‘Wengerball’ – a style of play that now continues under Mikel Arteta.
And there’s more, as Wenger took on the referees and the media. When, on his Arsenal debut, the media stood outside Highbury shouting: ‘What about the rumours?’

He also took charge of the arbitration. When he was accused earlier in his time at Highbury of assaulting a referee late in the game, he submitted a written defense saying it was all nonsense and there were no witnesses . The PGMO gleefully rubbed their hands and banned him for 10 games. Acknowledging exactly what PGMOs were, Wenger appealed, took the case personally, and sent the PGMOs away with their tails between their legs. Of course PGMO never condoned that humiliation, and Arsenal suffered afterwards, but they had made their point and the referees were more cautious afterwards.
Yes, Arsene Wenger took over at Arsenal and took over English football, transforming both into something much better. We will all be forever indebted to him.