A victory for Arsenal in Saturday’s FA Cup final would make Arsene Wenger the most successful manager in the history of the competition. But don’t expect to find any of his previous six winner’s medals on display at home.
Wenger revealed ahead of the Wembley showdown against Chelsea that he never hangs on to trophies or other memorabilia — instead opting to give them away to Arsenal staff members.
“I have no medal at home,” Wenger said. “From anything. If you’d come to my home you’d be surprised. There’s no trophies, no medals, nothing. I give them out. There’s always a guy at the club who didn’t get a medal, a member of staff. So I’ve given it to him. You’re always a medal short, and you always find somebody who takes it.”
For Wenger, that’s a way of staying focused on what’s ahead of him, rather than what’s in the past.
“I’m not a back-looker. I’m always [looking] forward,” the Frenchman said.
“You wouldn’t even guess that I’m a football manager [if visiting his home]. Apart from the fact that a football game is on.”
It is, perhaps, a much-needed mindset for a manger who is often accused of having his best days behind him, and who is under intense pressure to deliver new successes. That pressure on Wenger from fans reached unprecedented levels this season after the Gunners suffered a series of demoralising defeats that derailed their title challenges in the Premier League and Champions League.
Arsenal enter the game as big underdogs because of a defensive injury crisis, but Wenger said the team can draw inspiration from the 2005 final, when they beat Manchester United despite being without the injured Thierry Henry.
“I expect us of course to win. But it’s true that Chelsea in the neutrals’ opinions might be the favourites,” he said. “But we have gone into finals like that as well. I remember 2005 we had no players anymore available. I played with Dennis Bergkamp up front against Manchester United who had Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs and all those, Paul Scholes. And we won. Maybe without deserving it, but we won.”
A third FA Cup trophy in four years would certainly help the entire club put their recent struggles behind them and look ahead to next season. And whether fans like it or not, Wenger remains likely to still be in charge after this summer, with his future set to be ironed out at a board meeting next week.
Wenger has steadfastly refused to announce whether he intends to sign a new two-year contract amid growing calls from fans for him to step down. That’s despite having initially said he would make the decision by April, and even telling reporters in March that an announcement would come “very soon.”
It has led to speculation that the club was simply waiting for the fan mood to turn around before making an announcement — and Wenger hinted that he was frustrated with that kind of thinking.
Asked what the general mood around the club was going into the final, after missing out on Champions League football for the first time in 20 years, Wenger responded: “I don’t know. One of the big problems in modern society is that the big companies [don’t] make the decision that is good for the company, but [worry about] is that popular or not popular?
“I don’t care about that. I just want to always make a decision, is it right or wrong, is it good or not? And all the rest is for me artificial debate.”
Source: Mattias Karen,ESPN