Wenger breaks record
Frenchman becomes longest-serving Arsenal boss
By Graeme Bailey. Last Updated: 01/10/09 1:45pm
Wenger: Longest-serving Gunners boss
Arsene Wenger is now the longest-serving manager in Arsenal history, and the man behind his appointment has hailed his era in charge.
David Dein, former vice-chairman of the Gunners, instigated the move to bring the Frenchman to Highbury in 1996 and many questioned it.
Wenger was a relative unknown in English football, despite having a fine coaching pedigree, as he arrived at Arsenal from Japanese football.
But he soon won over what few critics there were, and he is now a legendary figure at the club and has surpassed the reign of George Allison - who had served as club boss for exactly 13 years up to 1947.
"His legacy will be that he has transformed Arsenal Football Club," Dein told Sky Sports News.
"He has taken it to a completely new level but the style of football has been so entertaining."
The former Arsenal director thinks Wenger could easily become a board member at Emirates Stadium.
"I've always thought and always wanted to see him in a position on the board
because he is so valuable to the club," Dein said.
"He will be 60 in a few weeks' time and if he ever thought it was too strenuous - who knows what happens when we get older - then he may decide to do something else."
Dein admits that despite the uncertainty in England at the time of Wenger's appointment, the Gunners held off strong interest from elsewhere to lure him to North London.
"He was sought after. Bayern Munich wanted him as manager and I am very pleased [to get him], there was a chemistry between us," Dein said.
Dein also admits that Wenger was quick to stamp his authority on the club.
"He changed their diet, training habits - he changed their lives," he explains.
"When you consider in his first full season he won the double, that is a remarkable achievement.
"He can talk about a dozen things apart from football. He has studied medicine, which is why he knows about the anatomy of the body, which is why he knows about injuries, he studied economics - he can read a balance sheet, which is unusual."
And Arsenal managing director Ken Friar insists that the club will always be Wenger's debt.
"He is so special in so many ways," Friar told Sky Sports News.
"He is even-tempered and probably the best man-manager I have come across. He is a thinker - he doesn't get excited when we get a bad defeat, everything about him has got success written all over him. He is a man that instils confidence in everyone.
"There is a place here for him always and we will be very sad when he decides to hang up his boots."