#MerciArsene — thank you for the memories Le Prof

#MerciArsene — thank you for the memories Le Prof
May 13
14:05 2018
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BY BIMBOH ADEKOYA

The date was May 26, 1989. It was the proverbial battle between David and Goliath. Arsenal was the metaphoric David while Liverpool symbolised Goliath. Liverpool were the numero uno in England (they dominated the English First Division) and it was the last match of the season and practically almost everyone  (bar George Graham and his Arsenal side) had Liverpool nailed down to clinch the title at Anfield.

However George Graham Arsenal tutored side had other ideas, they were going into proverbial lion’s den to do the unthinkable – win at Anfield by two  goals and clinch the title. It was mission impossible but against all odds, the impossible became possible with Michael Thomas last minute goal — “it up for grabs now” — became a folklore. It was on that Faithful night I became a Gooner. That was the beginning of my love story with The Arsenal.

I guess growing up I have always identified with the underdogs, most of my friends growing up where either Liverpool or Manchester United fans – it was obvious why.

Arsenal was referred as ‘boring boring, Arsenal’ but fast forward to October 1, 1996 an unknown Frenchman (he was known in France and Japan at least) was appointed as the new manager. Most avid football aficionado, Arsenal supporters and Arsenal players all had a  unanimous question, Arsene Who? I was not sure what to expect considering that we had just chopped and change managers thrice within a space of one year after George Graham left.

It did not take long from being a skeptic of Wenger to becoming an admirer of Le Prof. Wenger hit the ground running showing his intellectual rigor, workaholic nature, changing of players diet, human touch and bringing a football philosophy to Arsenal. It simply showed that the Wenger revolution was set to change the club’s history.

Winning the double in his first full season was amazing. Alex Ferguson certainly knew that “scorned” French Man was not joking. The rivalry between Ferguson and Wenger was born.

As Wenger takes final bow managing Arsenal for the last time against Huddersfield, I wish to thank him for making Arsenal a great club.

Merci for changing the face of English football.

Merci for giving us Wengerball.

Merci for the Premier League titles – wining it at Old Trafford and at White Hart Lane will always remain special.

Merci for the FA Cup (the last 3 were special on a personal level).

Merci for the Community Shields.

Merci for giving Kanu another chance after the heart condition thereby making a number of Nigerians Arsenal fans.

Merci for making the impossible possible -THE  INVINCIBLE.

Merci for your loyalty especially when you could have walked away during those years of financial restriction.

Merci for staying and making the Emirates Stadium dream a reality.

Merci for remaining dignified during those trophy drought years.

Merci for always giving young players an opportunity.

Merci for ALWAYS believing the best of people – George Weah, Kolo Toure, Nwankwo Kanu are examples of such legacy.

Merci for making Arsenal a global brand – Global Gunners.

Mercy for being instrumental in increasing Arsenal turnover from £21 million in 1996 to £422.8 million in 2017.

Merci for your work with Arsenal Foundation.

Merci for your integrity.

Merci for your humility.

Merci for the fantastic structure and conditions for the next manager.

Merci for the memories.

#MerciArsene

NB: I will start following the French League now and checking on the result of Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) – got a gut feeling that may be the next stop.

Adekoya is an Arsenal fan and writes from Lagos, Nigeria

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