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'Wenger just understood people’s problems' | Ray Parlour

Former Arsenal midfielder Ray Parlour spoke of the brilliance of Arsène Wenger on OTB's Paddy Po...

Former Arsenal midfielder Ray Parlour spoke of the brilliance of Arsène Wenger on OTB's Paddy Power Special.

Parlour, who holds Arsenal's Premier League appearance record explained why he had a "really good relationship" with the legendary manager.

"I think he knew what I could give to the team," Parlour said.

"It wasn’t about individuals, it was about the team every single week. We had people who could score goals, people who defend and people who win the ball back. We had a really good team ethic.

"I was pretty good around the dressing room as well. I was a bit of fun behind the scenes and the lads loved it, the foreign guys really embraced that. I just had a really good relationship with Arsène Wenger."


Parlour also described how Wenger could be more than just a football manager when his players were in need of advice off the pitch.

"If you had any problems you could go and see Arsène, he was very good like that," he said.

"Especially the French guys because they looked at him as a father figure. Patrick Viera, Robert Pires, people like that at the club at the time, Thierry  [Henry] as well.

"He was a really nice man, as much as a great manager, he was a nice man. He just understood people’s problems and he could give you the best advice to solve them.

"Most players who played for Arsène wouldn’t have a bad word to say about him, even if he didn’t pick them week in, week out."


So what went wrong for Wenger in his later years in North London? Parlour offered a few potential explanations.

"Investment was so important," he said. 

"When I was playing, Arsène knew the market and he picked up some incredible bargains. As time went on though, other clubs got to know that market and all of a sudden Arsenal had to compete for players."

Along with recruitment, Parlour feels that Wenger suffered after he lost a number of strong senior players who could lead the team.

"When we had problems we used to have our own meetings. We’d have a big argument. Criticism is no problem though when it’s structured," he said.

"It was all about winning games. It was our livelihood at stake because we had trophies to win. I don’t think he replaced them sort of characters."

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Arsenal Arsene Wenger Leadership Parlour Patrick Viera Ray Parlour Robert Pires Thierry Henry Wenger