By Tony Attwood
I have mentioned a number of times before that the idea of statues around the Emirates Stadium was set out in a meeting between three committee members of Arsenal Independent Supporters Association and Ivan Gazidis.
At a meeting held on 23 July 2010 the plan for the statues was sketched out and an initial set of proposals was put forward. One of those statues that we proposed was Arsene Wenger, but although the club accepted the idea of the statues, and indeed had a Herbert Chapman statue designed exactly to our specification, the Wenger statue was rejected, on the grounds that he was still at the club at the time.
However on the 13th anniversary of the meeting it became clear that a Wenger statue was in production, and it seems that the statue is being erected even as I write this.
I am hoping we will shortly have some pictures of the statue.
In the meanwhile you can read more about the original proposals for the statues here.
As we have noted before the idea for the statues was not only to commemorate people involved in the club, but also to relieve some of the congestion around the ground before the game. The idea was that people would stop saying “I will meet you at entrance 21” or whatever but would say “I’ll meet you at Tony Adams” etc, and indeed this is what subsequently happened. The number of people milling around the entrances declined considerably making the queuing to get into the ground a lot easier.
Wenger was Arsenal’s mosst successful manager by far. While Chapman is remembered with much affection as he gave Arsenal the club’s first trophies, his trophy count was modest: two league titles in the old first division and one FA Cup.
Wenger of course was at the club longer than Chapman, but his haul was extraordinary. Seven FA Cups and three league titles. He remains the most successful manager ever in the entire history of the FA Cup.
He was also of course the only manager in the history of the League since its first season to take a club all the way through a campaign, undefeated. And indeed his record continued, taking the undefeated run to 49 games.
Wenger’s run was all the more remarkable because it was undertaken at a time of very restricted expenditure by Arsenal, because of the cost of building and moving into the new stadium.
Nevertheless he also created the record for the longest continuous run in the Champions League by any English club, and in fact it was a run only exceeded by Real Madrid.