Arsene Wenger: A Tribute to the Legend

Sabarish SContributor ISeptember 25, 2008

It's not every day you hear of legends, though the term "great" is being used as frequently as we use the word "sorry."

It's not every day you see a man who maintains the passion and dignity and commands the same amount of respect the way he used to more than a decade back.

It's not commonplace to see a no-nonsense economics graduate transforming "business" knowledge into a profitable venture, at the same time not letting go of club values and football traditions (Mr. Platini, hope you got the drift).

Arsene Wenger belongs to that exclusive club of elite people who fall into all the above mentioned statements and much more also.

In today's scenario, even coaches like Hughes and Mourinho will be referred to as great, irrespective of what they have actually brought into the club or to football as such.

It is not an easy task to spot the talent of young fledglings or rather young saplings, nurture them with love and care, provide them with the warmth, and give them the energy to fight any storms and make them really strong trees.

I tend to be a little poetic, but yes, we can proudly say that the young guns of the present are the saplings that Wenger planted years ago or the ones he knew would flourish in the gardens of the Gunners.

On Sept. 28, "The Professor" completes 12 glorious years at Arsenal. He has, in every sense, turned out to be the best thing to have happened to us since the day the club was born.

The great man that he is has stuck to his principles of promoting youth and allowing them to flourish in spite of all the brickbats that has been thrown at him. With the influx of huge amounts of money in English football today, it is not that easy to stick unwaveringly to one club and also not letting go of his stand and his morals.

Wenger belongs to the league of legends like Ferguson (though I hate him), Maldini, and their likes.

How many coaches today can proudly look back and say, "I made these boys become men"?

How many coaches can look back and become reminiscent about fielding a very young team and beating the giants of Milan at the San Siro comprehensively?

How many coaches actually have the guts to rely purely on the confidence, the talents, and the exuberance of youngsters to demolish an established side like the way we took apart Sheffield United last week?

How many coaches can attribute themselves to spotting and nourishing talents like Fabregas, Henry, Wilshire, etc.?

And there's not a single coach in this world today who can lay claim to having set the way of redefining the term "total football" which is more beautiful than the grace and panache of a Russian ballerina.

In today's footballing scenario, it takes a lot to get the love of your players, and Wenger has that aplenty.

The greatest example is that scene when Fabregas ran towards "father" Wenger after scoring that stunner in Milan. Another one was when Kolo Toure ran to shake his hand and got a pat on his shoulder after equalizing at Chelsea moments after he came on in one of his first matches at Arsenal.

Wenger's undying faith in Adams reaped rich rewards and who can forget the famous "back four" who claim to still swear by Wenger. Or more recently, Vela giving that smile and a wink to the professor on completing his hat-trick.

Trophies may not have graced the cupboards at the Emirates, but they will come sooner or later. When they do, the whole world will stand, take a bow, and applaud the man who commands respect; the legend according to me, Sir Arsene Wenger, the man who will go down in history as the one who changed the face of football.

God bless Wenger!