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Fergie U-turn wouldn't stun Wenger

26 Oct 2013 08:46:55

Fergie U-turn wouldn't stun Wenger

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger would not be surprised to see Sir Alex Ferguson back in the game within six months.

The former Manchester United manager published an updated autobiography earlier this week - and it included a number of stinging rebukes aimed at some of football's biggest names.

Indeed, the Arsenal boss has his own dedicated chapter in the book, entitled 'Competing with Wenger' - much of which is centred around the infamous 'pizzagate' at Old Trafford in October 2004 when United ended the Gunners' 49-match unbeaten Premier League run.

Wenger - a fierce adversary for Ferguson during his early days at Highbury, but whose relationship with the Scot has long since warmed - joked he was "fearing the worst" prior to the release of the book, which the Frenchman maintains he still has not had time to read.

Despite not wanting to overshadow the efforts of new United boss David Moyes, Ferguson remains very much in the English football psyche, which he dominated for more than a quarter of a century.

Wenger, now the longest-serving manager in the Premier League, understands why it might not be so easy to just simply walk away.

"In six months we will know more about that (whether Ferguson will return to football). You cannot rule it completely out," said Wenger, whose side head into this weekend's Premier League matches top of the table, with United eighth.

"It is difficult to take a drug for 30 years and suddenly get rid of it."

Wenger accepts English football may not again see the longevity of managers as it has with himself and Ferguson, such are the pressures for success in the modern Premier League - with Saturday's opponents Crystal Palace having parted company with Ian Holloway following Monday's 4-1 home defeat to Fulham.

"You would be tempted to say yes, because the environment has changed. Pressure through society is much bigger now because patience levels have dropped," Wenger said.

"Expectation levels have increased and 15 years ago you wouldn't think a manager like Ian Holloway would be under stress in October when he has managed to get a team like Crystal Palace up.

"We live in a speedy society and it is as well that some values have gone, others come in, but certainly the expectation levels are much higher. The impatience levels are much higher as well."

Wenger turned 64 on Tuesday and despite having yet to agree a new deal at Arsenal, where he has been manager since 1996, the French coach insists he is as hungry for success as ever.

However, he accepted that philosophy may one day be different.

"You can never rule anything out. I believe a life is made of how you feel about the situation. You listen to your gut feeling," said Wenger.

"It looks like Ferguson had prepared his book while he was managing - I suspect he had written some of it at home at night, remembering things and thinking: 'that goes into my book!'.

Wenger, though, has no intentions of musing over his own memoires just yet.

"We have gone through some years that were a bit more difficult, but honestly, in our job, it is quite simple just to think about tomorrow or the next game, and that is it. After that, people judge," he said.

Wenger added: "We are in a job that is a good teacher of humility, because we have to accept that everybody can judge our job at any moment without completely knowing all the ingredients of our job.

"But it is part of it, with the positive and the negative. Sometimes they give us credit we don't deserve as well, but we have to take both sides."


PA

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