David O’Leary, Alan Smith and Lee Dixon believe that Arsene Wenger’s record of Premier League games managed will never be surpassed.
Wenger will take charge of his 811th Premier League game on Sunday when Arsenal travel to Bournemouth.
It’s a record that has taken over 20 years of management to build, and one that will take some beating.
In fact, some feel it will never be broken.
David O’Leary, who holds the record for making the most appearances for Arsenal, believes that Arsenal’s board has played a large part in making the achievement possible.
“It’s remarkable, amazing, unbelievable,” O’Leary said, as reported by RTE.
“To do 20-plus (seasons) as a manager: it’ll never happen again at Manchester United, Sir Alex was unique, and it’ll never happen at Arsenal, Arsene’s achievement there is unique.
“He’s had a very understanding board you’d want to be working for. They’re not reactionary people, and that’s played a part in him achieving that success.
“I came back with Leeds to Arsenal, and if somebody said, ‘He’ll still be manager of that club’, I’d have said, ‘No chance’. It’s amazing longevity, and at a big club like that. I thought playing was hard, but when you’re the manager of a big club, the demands that come with it: you don’t realise it until you manage.”
Former Arsenal striker Alan Smith feels similarly, and noted that the increasing lack of patience in the Premier League make managers like Wenger a dying breed.
“I don’t think it’ll ever happen again: the likes of Sir Alex and Arsene are a dying breed, and going to be a thing of the past,” Smith said.
“Managers are getting sacked after four games in the Premier League, so patience has worn more than thin.”
Smith added that Wenger had more pressure to deal with than Sir Alex Ferguson, the man who previously held the record for most games managed.
“To retain that work ethic and desire is amazing. Whatever you say about the rights and wrongs of him still being in the job, you can’t take away from that achievement.
“He’s taken more on his shoulders than Sir Alex did. Sir Alex delegated more, spent time overlooking the training ground rather than being down there. A succession of assistants slowly changed training, different voices, different methods. Whereas Arsene, he’s had Pat Rice and (Steve) Bouldy, but he likes to oversee everything: that’s extra pressure.”
Lee Dixon echoed the sentiment, and has been amazed that Wenger has endured the pressures that come with managing such a big club.
“The fact he’s reached that milestone is incredible. He must be immensely proud,” he said.
“That style of manager, the longevity: it’s different to managing a smaller club. When you’re at a big club you’re under scrutiny every single day, every single game, and sometimes every single training session. The wear and tear on managers in the game that long is immense.”
Whenever Wenger decides to stop, he’s going to leave behind a near insurmountable record of games.