And then a heron-like Frenchman with horrendous spectacles came along and transformed the Gunners into one of the most exciting and attractive teams in European club football.
Like many of the best managers, Wenger's playing days were decidedly average. The same cannot be said for his coaching career.
After spells at Nancy, Monaco and in Japan, Wenger arrived in England in 1996 to take over the successful but dour Arsenal side epitomised by their skipper Tony Adams.
'Arsene Who?' asked the papers. They found out soon enough. Since taking the helm at Highbury (and then The Emirates) Wenger has bagged three league titles and four FA Cups, enjoyed years of bitching with Sir Alex Ferguson, managed to 'not see' countless contentious incidents involving his players and earned the respect and admiration of nearly everybody for his brand of fast, fluent and attacking football.
Only one question remains – will Wenger ever win The Champions League? It would round off a truly exceptional footballing career.
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