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Arsène Wenger remains Arsenal’s most successful manager ever

By Tony Attwood

Each summer an update is done on the Manager by Manager file on this site, taking into account the latest activities of the current manager.  And then we look again to judge who is the most successful and least successful of managers in Arsenal’s history.

Taken at its simplest our most successful manager of all time was Pat Rice – aided undoubtedly because he only managed four games, while waiting for Arsène Wenger to come to England from Japan.  He had a 75% success rate in terms of number of wins.

Second is Joe Shaw.  He was the long serving player and manager who after hanging up his boots took over the reserve side at Arsenal.  When Herbert Chapman died midway through the season, Joe Shaw took over as manager and under him the club played 23 games.   He had a 60.87% win rate, and Arsenal went on to win the league – the second of our three successive victories.  At the end of the season he handed over to George Allison.

Third in the list but top of the list of managers who have managed one complete season or more is Arsène Wenger with a success rate of 56.92% in terms of matches won.  He has managed 954 games, had 16 top four finishes and won seven major trophies (excluding the Community Shield).

If we compare some of these figures we get the following:

Arsène Wenger has managed 954 games – next on that list is Bertie Mee with 539 games, but a win rate of of only 44.71%.

Arsène Wenger’s win rate was, as noted, 56.92%.   If we look at the next highest percentage win rates they are mostly of managers who only managed a smaller number of seasons:

Pos Manager Started Ended Games Win % Top 4s Trophies
4 Thomas Mitchell March 1897 March 1898 26 53.85
5 William Elcoat April 1898 20 Feb 1899 43 53.49
6 Harry Bradshaw August 1899 May 1904 189 50.79 3*
7 James Punch McEwen April 1915 April 1919 2 50.00
8 Herbert Chapman June 1925 Jan 1934 403 49.88 4 2 League
1 FA Cup

So if we are looking for managers for a long period only Harry Bradshaw in the Woolwich Arsenal days and Herbert Chapman come close – and Mr Chapman’s win rate was only 49.88%.

Comparing managers by number of games is interesting as it is a table we don’t often see…

Pos. Name From To P Win% Top 4 Honours
1 Arsène Wenger October 1996 954 56.92 16 3 League
4 FA Cup
2 Bertie Mee June 1966 May 1976 539 44.71 3 1 League
1 FA Cup
1 Fairs C.
3 George Graham May 1986 Feb 1995 460 48.91 6 2 League
1 FA Cup
2 Lg Cup
1 CWCup
4 Tom Whittaker June 1947 October  1956 429 47.09 3 2 League
1 FA Cup
5 Terry Neill July 1976 Dec 1983 416 44.95 2 1 FA Cup
6 Herbert Chapman June 1925 Jan 1934 403 49.88 4 2 League
1 FA Cup

And just to make the picture complete, here is our list of top 10 managers who have managed over 100 games.

Pos. Name From To P Win% Top 4 Honours
1. Arsène Wenger October 1996 954 56.92 16 3 League
4 FA Cup
2. Harry Bradshaw August 1899 May 1904 189 50.79 3*
3. Herbert Chapman June 1925 Jan 1934 403 49.88 4 2 League
1 FA Cup
4 George Graham May 1986 Feb 1995 460 48.91 6 2 League
1 FA Cup
2 Lg Cup
1 CWC
5. Tom Whittaker June 1947 October  1956 429 47.09 3 2 League
1 FA Cup
6 George Allison May 1934 May 1947 279 46.24 3 2 League
1 FA Cup
7 Don Howe Dec 1983 Mar  1986 117 46.15
8 Terry Neill July 1976 Dec 1983 416 44.95 2 1 FA Cup
9 The Committee August 1893 May 1897 118 44.92
10 Bertie Mee June 1966 May 1976 539 44.71 3 1 League
1 FA Cup1 Fairs C.

So, who were our worst managers?

The worst manager that we had who was not in the club for a short while was Leslie Knighton – the man who sought to excuse his awful record by writing an autobiography in which he blamed everyone else.

He managed for 268 games and and got a 34.33% win rate.  In his last two seasons Arsenal just escaped relegation.  When he was sacked Herbert Chapman came in and immediately took virtually the same squad to second in the league.

In more modern times the worst managers who have managed over 100 games were Billy Wright and George Swindin.

The full record is shown on the Arsenal Managers index page and if you would like something a little odd, take a look at Arsenal’s first manager – “The Committee” – an era when a committee of men picked the side and arranged the transfers.  They did remarkably well in their 118 games – full details on the Arsenal Managers’ page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 comments to Arsène Wenger remains Arsenal’s most successful manager ever

  • Goonerbeall

    Tony, its alright. We know that Wenger is the most successful manager. You dont have to tell the “bleeding obvious” complete with a spreadsheet table of games won cups etc. We know that already. This Article or is it institution has a tendency to write long and tedious articles some ghood and others not so good but I credit you for getting on with it.

  • Shakabula Gooner

    It is interesting that despite not having “won anything in xx years”, Wenger still tops all former coaches of the club in win/loss record. This piece is useful in enabling us to maintain both perspective and balance in sundry campaigns to relieve Wenger of his duty at Arsenal when he still obviously as good as we have ever had and he still has more to give.

  • Goonerbeall thanks for your comment. As I look back on old articles I am happy with some and I blush to think I wrote some of the others. But the site progresses by putting the articles up and asking others to bring in their commentaries.

    Think of the blog as a kick about from which little gems are occasionally discovered.

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