Podcast: Heroes & Humans of Football
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Belish / Shutterstock.com
Belish / Shutterstock.com

Episode 6: Arsène Wenger: The fall

From his humble beginnings in an Alsatian village to his revolutionary tenure at Arsenal from 1996 to 2004, Wenger's journey is a testament

May 1, 2024
Heroes & Humans of Football (Podcast)
April 25, 2024

Episode 6: Arsène Wenger: The fall

From innovator to "specialist in failure," this riveting episode charts Arsène Wenger's steep fall at Arsenal. His pioneering vision had remade English football, introducing new tactics, diets, and a cosmopolitan ethos that redefined excellence. The unbeaten "Invincibles" season cemented his legend, but also marked the start of a tragic decline.

As richer clubs co-opted Wenger's methods, his stubborn penny-pinching while Arsenal's debt piled up from their new Emirates stadium ended up creating fan toxicity. The famous (and hilarious) battle of "Pizzagate" at Old Trafford in 2004 signalled the start of the unravelling. With raw insight on Wenger himself, the episode explores the personal costs of his uncompromising obsession, which alienated even die-hard fans.

From glorious highs battling Sir Alex Ferguson to humiliating lows like a 6-0 loss on his 1000th game, it traces Wenger's descent from manager to "specialist in failure" caricature. And yet all through it, he loved his job at Arsenal. This unsparing portrait captures the complexity of a man who remade the modern game yet stubbornly clung to his principles amid changing circumstances. The biggest victim was Wenger himself. His rise, fall, and self-reckoning are the story of a man who ended up feeling he had devoted too much of his life to football.