In line with Arsenal facing Arsene Wenger’s former club Monaco, Wenger has revealed an experience he had that is close to his heart while managing the French club in 1989. This experience may touch home with Arsenal fans though, rather than Monaco fans.
In 1989 Wenger was on a scouting trip in Turkey watching Galatasaray. At the time, Monaco was on their winter break, but the English Premier League, at the time it was the First Division as the Premier League wasn’t formed until the 1990’s, was not as there is no winter break. On his return trip from Turkey to France, Wenger decided to stop off in London to catch a holiday game. Wenger decided to go watch Arsenal at Highbury.
At this match Wenger fell in love with the English game and Highbury due to the pace of the game and the incredible atmosphere he experience at Highbury.
Wenger was quick to state that that visit was not an avenue for him joining Arsenal, nor was that something that he imagined himself doing while visiting Highbury. He did, however, meet David Dein, a former Arsenal Director who was a key figure in appointing Wenger as Arsenal manager, a key figure in Arsenal’s move to the Emirates and a key figure in acquiring future stars such as Thierry Henry, Robert Pires, Sol Campbell, Patrick Vieria, etc.
A friendship between the two men was struck at the game and the rest is history.
“I immediately thought that football in England was great. There was a fantastic atmosphere at Highbury and I just wondered ‘is everywhere like this? Even at that time I thought it would be great to be part of that.
“Obviously on that day I could never imagine that I would come back one day as manager, it was not even in my head. It was just a coincidence because on that day I first met [former vice-chairman] David Dein and from then on we developed a friendship.”