Tony Gillan: Au revoir to ‘saint’ Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger
Arsene Wenger
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It’s unlikely that you avoided all of the absurdly extensive coverage of Arsène Wenger’s resignation, but just in case ...

Arsenal legend ... changed football ... gentleman ... professor ... remember when he first arrived ... “Arsène who?” ... unbeaten one season ... should have left years ago ... seven FA Cups ... ended drinking culture ... who can replace him? ... forever grateful ... zzzzzzz.

That was about it, except that it was repeated incessantly throughout Friday in a reshuffling of news broadcasting usually reserved for an assassination.

Indeed, with BBC 5 Live in particular, so reverential was the tone that it took listeners some time to realise that Wenger had not actually died. He’s off to the golf course, not the afterlife.

Instead of giving us some actual news, the hagiography went on ... and on ... and on ... regardless of the announcement being of no more than passing interest to non-Arsenal fans.

I have my own memories of the Frenchman; such as the huffs he would take whenever teams like Sunderland took points from his side, which was surprisingly often.

When Sunderland beat Arsenal on the opening day of the 2000-01 season, he took great exception when Patrick Viera was shown a red card (one of 13 in his career).

Wenger claimed this was due to an overreaction by Darren Williams who had been elbowed by Viera.

Viera had in fact broken the nose of Williams, who to this day awaits an apology from Wenger. But less palatable anecdotes such as this one about a living saint have simply not been allowed.

Perhaps I should read the small print in the blasphemy laws.