How sure are we that there's only 1 Arsene Wenger? Found 3 ppl online with my name so why not? Wenger should have other Wengers in his staff
— The Hamburgooner (@Hamburgooner) May 8, 2016
Gooners have all, at some stage, sung the immortal chant “There’s Only One Arséne Wenger” – but is it actually true? Is there only ONE Arséne Wenger? Is he unique? And, if so, is that a good thing? And if it’s false – if there is more than one Arséne Wenger – what would that mean, exactly?! (Apart from singing a blatant lie and belittling the existence of any other possible Arséne Wengers out there…)
I did a quick People Search, and to my great surprise found that there are 5 other Arséne Wengers in Europe alone! That’s right. FIVE! So, when Michael Jackson was singing “You Are Not Alone” to Arséne Wenger, he was spot on.
And here’s the curious thing: our Arséne is not even the original. There is an octogenarian Arséne Wenger who predates our beloved manager by 21 years and 17 days.
I decided to track down and interview the other five Arséne Wengers, and see if perhaps one of them might be a fit replacement for our current Arséne Wenger, who (judging by the baying of the bloodthirsty hordes) may be nearing his sell-by date. I know it’s a long shot – but with the lack of top-top managers available in the transfer market, I thought the Universe might grampusate us a perfect namesake replacement.
Think of the benefits! We could keep all our banners and stuff. And we wouldn’t have to learn new songs.
So – without further ado, let me introduce you to the other five Arséne Wengers:
A NURSING HOME JUST NORTH OF LIPPSTADT, GERMANY
GT: Good day, Mr. Wenger. Thanks for taking the time to do this interview with me.
AW: Yes, you are very welcome.
GT: Let’s talk football… you a fan?
AW: Ooh, no thank-you. A draught would not be good for my chest.
GT: Huh..? Oh. Right. Have you heard of Arsenal?
AW: I’ve hurt many things – but never that. How does one even hurt one’s… (He shudders.) No, thank-you. I don’t go for that sort of thing.
GT: It’s the North London Derby. It’s 2-all with 5 minutes of extra time to play. You’re down to ten men with one sub remaining. Spurs have a corner –
AW: Sperms?! Sperms don’t have a corner. They are mostly round. With tails.
GT: … Yes. You are correct. My apologies.
AW: I must go now. The nurse is here to change my diaper.
GT: Very well. I was finished anyway. Thanks for taking the time –
AW: The time? It’s quarter to five. I must go. Now. Good-bye.
BENEATH AN AUTOBAHN OVERPASS, NEAR STEGLITZ, BERLIN
GT: Good afternoon, Mr. Wenger. I appreciate you taking the time to talk to me.
AW: Sure thing. Call me Kurt.
GT: OK. Tell me, Kurt, are you a football fan?
AW: I could be. Depends who’s asking.
GT: I’m asking.
AW: OK. Then no. I’m not. But I could be – if the price was right.
GT: Do you know anything about football?
AW: I know footballers don’t buy my product. But their buddies do.
GT: And what product would that be?
AW: Depends who’s asking.
GT: I am.
AW: Weed. Pills. You name it.
AW: Sure. I’ve got Blue Dolphins. Smileys. Diamonds.
GT: How much for three Smileys?
GT: Got change for a hundred?
GT: Here you go. Cheers.
EUROPEAN COLLEGE OF SPORTS SCIENCE - COLOGNE
GT: Hey. Thanks for chatting with me.
AW: Cool. No probs.
GT: Are you a football fan?
AW: I am. Is this about the other Wenger? Arsenal?
GT: I guess so – yes. Why?
AW: It’s just annoying, you know. Having the same name as someone famous…
GT: Annoying? How?
AW: Well – it’s like you don’t really have your own identity. The stupid jokes. And I got my nickname because of him.
GT: What is it? “Prof “?
AW: Nope. “Handbrake”.
GT: Ouch. That’s harsh.
AW: Yup. Also sucks ‘cos I’m doing my Masters in Sports Psychology.
GT: You are?! What’s your thesis on?
AW: Really want to know? “The Transference Of Responsibility and its Contribution to Successphobia – a Case Study in the Psychopathology of Immoderate Expectation.”
GT: Holy crap. (Excuse my French!) That’s a bit of a mouthful. Who is the case study on? Or need I ask..?
AW: Hah! Who else.
GT: Care to summarise it for me?
AW: Sure. In a nutshell – I theorise that Wenger’s much-flaunted desire to give players a certain amount of autonomy on the pitch is a double-edged sword. On the one hand it is extremely flattering for these footballers – selected for their extraordinary technical expertise and football ‘intuitiveness’ perhaps, more than their emotional, physical or intellectual maturity – to be given such responsibility by such a well-respected parent-figure. On the other hand – the transference of the responsibility for success from manager to team, especially in such a results-driven environment, can be crippling to the individual athlete, especially when under the kind of physical and emotional pressures that the modern game – and the modern fan – exert.
The negative effect is heightened in a team-sport situation, when faced with seemingly insurmountable adversity, when the crowdmind is unable to provide the solution, and there is a lack of meaningful intervention or guidance from an alpha-type protagonist.
GT: Wow. I’m not going to ask you to repeat that. Although I’m sure you probably could… So what you’re saying is that Wenger (perhaps inadvertently) heaps all of the pressure onto his players – and that they are incapable of dealing with it…
AW: Pretty much. Yes. It worked during Wenger’s early Arsenal career because he inherited a more mature squad: one that contained more natural leaders – players who could intervene and give guidance to a collective that had perhaps lost its way. It’s one thing for a Dad to let his son ‘figure out’ a problem on his own – but if the son is struggling, it is imperative for the Dad to step in and solve it for him. Otherwise, the lesson learned is one of failure, of ‘letting down’ the father, of not being ‘good enough’. These feelings are only heightened when the child fails in front of other people whom he wants to impress…
GT: I’m speechless. That’s pretty astute for a 23-year-old.
GT: Ever think about working for a football club? I know one that could use your services.
AW: I’m a United fan.
A SMALLHOLDING ON THE OUTSKIRTS OF ILLKIRCH, NEAR STRASBOURG
GT: Hi Arsene. Good to meet you. Hey – do you like football?
AW: No not really. I’ve never really played it. My Dad’s too busy watching football all the time. For his job… I like gaming. Minecraft. And GTA.
GT: What about FIFA?
AW: Uh-uh. Bo-ring!
GT: You say your Dad’s job is watching football!? Is he a coach? A journalist?
AW: Nope. He’s a gambler. Calls himself a reluctant gambler: they don’t bet a lot, they win a lot. He just won nearly half a million pounds the other day…
GT: Wow! That’s incredible. Hey – do you know you were born on a special day?
AW: Yeah. My Dad says it’s the day the best football team in the world went a whole season without being beaten.
GT: Yup. It was a very special day. Nobody thought it could ever happen. Except a man with the same name as you.
AW: Nah. My Dad knew too. He won a lot of money on that day as well. My birthday.
GT: “The Invincibles”, they were called…
AW: Yeah. Invincibles. Except they did lose other games, right? So they weren’t really. You know. Invincible?
GT: Yes, but those don’t count. Those were Cup games. We’re just talking about the League.
AW: Hmm. But they didn’t win the Champions League either, right? That’s a League.
GT: No, they didn’t. Hey! Who told you all this negative stuff?
AW: My Mom. She says it’s all about balance.
GT: Where is your Mom?
AW: In hospital.
GT: Oh. I’m sorry – is she sick?
AW: No – she went to fetch my new baby brother from hospital. He was born last Monday.
GT: Oh! Wow! That’s exciting. So you’ll finally have someone to play football with. A brother, you say..? Does he have a name yet?
AW: Yup. Dad already had a name for him ages ago.
GT: He did?
AW: Yup. Lester Claude.
MATERNITY WARD NURSERY, MAASTRICHT HOSPITAL
GT: Sssh… Ssshhh. Don’t cry! I just wanted to ask you a couple of questions…
GT: Do you like foot-
AW: WA WA WA WA WAAAAAHHH!
NURSE: Sir! Who are you? Who let you in here? What are you doing?!
GT: I’m sorry, Nurse – I was just trying to interview the –
NURSE: What?! Interview?! Are you CRAZY?! He’s only 6 days old! I’m going to have to ask you to leave. At once! Before I call security…
GT: Okayokayokay – I’m sorry. I’m going. Bye, Arséne…
In case you hadn’t realised – this post is satire. Any resemblance to anyone is strictly coincidental.
I was eleven-and-a-half. My family had just emigrated from Rhodesia to South Africa. All the kids on my street supported United or Liverpool, because of their Southern African goalkeeper connections: Bailey for United and Grobbelaar for ‘Pool. Problem was: I didn’t like the colour red – so when FA Cup Final day came around in 1979, I supported the team in yellow, even though their name sounded like “Asshole”. At the final whistle, I had bragging rights and a team that had won my heart.
Then I discovered that the Gunners also wore red. Luckily, I remained loyal, and the Arsenal has kicked my heart around ever since… (apart from a few lost years in the ’90s and early ’00s, when I was busy doing grownup things as a composer in Hollywood).
Abandoned invinciblog.com to launch this site with 1 Nil Down 2 One Up blogfather Dave Seager – and we have used this platform to help launch the writing careers of a number of amazing Arsenal bloggers.