Arsène Wenger says he finds it “absolutely unbelievable” that he’s only one game away from matching Sir Alex Ferguson’s record for most Premier League matches as a manager.
Wenger will equal the record in Arsenal’s game against Crystal Palace on Thursday night. Then, before the end of the week, he can beat it in the match against West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.
The Gunners’ boss told reporters in his pre-match press conference that he never expected to last this long. “I would have said, ‘You’re absolutely mad, no chance’, if you told me I would be in charge for 810 games after that (first) game against Blackburn,” he said.
“I remember when I was 33, 34, I thought, ‘I’ll never get to 60’. It’s Russian roulette, every game. So you think, at some stage, the trigger will hit you. So that’s absolutely unbelievable. You can never predict that.”
Wenger hasn’t just lasted a long time, however. He’s also been extremely successful over that period. His win percentage is better than any Arsenal manager in history, excluding caretaker managers.
Then he’s won the FA Cup a record number (7) of times, the Premier League three times and the Community Shield seven times as well. The 68-year-old has had his fair share of disappointments as Arsenal boss, however – the Champions League final and perpetual title slip-ups since 2004 spring to mind.
But overall he’s always done enough to stay in charge. Hopefully this milestone match goes a bit better than his 1,000th Arsenal game. Either way, congratulations to Wenger on making it this far.
To have lasted this long at one club is a very impressive achievement, and hopefully he will get the reception he deserves from the supporters this evening.