Arsenal Football Club have announced that a statue of their former manager Arsène Wenger has been unveiled at Emirates Stadium to commemorate Arsène’s truly remarkable contribution to the football club.
Arsène was Arsenal’s manager between October 1996 and May 2018, in which time he led the club to three Premier League titles, including an entire season unbeaten, seven FA Cup wins and 20 successive years in the UEFA Champions League.
During Arsène’s 22 years at the club, he was manager of our men’s first team for an incredible 1,235 matches and led them through the most successful period in the history, transforming the identity with his vision for how the game was played, and has been identified to have created the ‘modern Arsenal’.
After his appointment as the manager in October 1996, it didn’t take long for success to follow. In 1997/98, his first full season in charge, Arsène became the first ever non-British manager to win the league title. He followed that by leading Arsenal to the FA Cup in the same season.
Arsenal won three league championships in all under Arsène, following the 1998 success with further triumphs in 2001/02 and 2003/04 – a season in which Arsène led us to perhaps his greatest achievement in going the whole campaign unbeaten. In total, they went 49 league matches without defeat – a top-flight record. He is also the FA Cup’s most successful manager, having won the competition seven times (1998, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2014, 2015 and 2017).
But Arsène’s impact with Arsenal goes far beyond the pitch. He was instrumental in the design and building of London Colney training centre, which opened its doors in October 1999, and also played a key role in many of the design elements in the move from Highbury to Emirates Stadium in 2006.
The statue of Arsène is already in place at Emirates Stadium, where it was carefully fixed into position outside the North Bank stand on Friday morning. It is now easily accessible for all to view.
The bronze statue, which was created by award-winning sculptor Jim Guy, is 3.5 metres high and weighs approximately half a tonne, and depicts the former French manager lifting the Premier League trophy.
Tim Lewis, who is Arsenal’s Executive Vice Chair, said: “We’re delighted to recognise and celebrate Arsène Wenger’s outstanding leadership and career at Arsenal Football Club. Arsène’s contribution to, and achievements with, the club mark him out as the club’s greatest manager. He treated the club and its supporters to many trophies and fantastic memories and brought a revolution in the running of the club, an unbeaten season and the move to Emirates Stadium.
“It is fitting, therefore, that as a mark of the club’s enduring respect and gratitude a magnificent statue of Arsène now stands outside Emirates Stadium. It is a place where our supporters and all who visit Emirates Stadium can be reminded of Arsène’s contribution and his legacy.”
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta added: “It’s such a great tribute that the club has done something special for Arsène that he fully deserves and merits. With a statue now at the stadium, Arsène can have that recognition and be here at our club forever.
“I’m so grateful to have played for Arsène at this club in my career. He chose me to be one of his players and selected me to be the captain of the club and that’s something I will never forget.” – hear more from Mikel
Arsène will be a guest of honour for the Emirates Cup match against AS Monaco on Wednesday, August 2, and will also be taking time to visit his statue in the forthcoming days.
The commemoration of Arsène joins five other statues currently on the podium around the Emirates Stadium: Tony Adams, Dennis Bergkamp, Herbert Chapman, Ken Friar and Thierry Henry which have been unveiled in recent years to mark the contributions of key figures in the club’s history.