The Arsenal coach’s genial cooperation with this documentary still leaves what went into his success something of a mystery

Here is the latest in the always-interesting series of documentaries from pitchside-reporting maestro Gabriel Clarke, following excellent profiles of Bobby Robson and Jack Charlton: the subject is Arsenal’s long-serving manager whose initial burst of success was soured by years of fan rancour before he decided to step down in 2018 after 22 years in the job. Completing this loose trilogy about outstanding managerial careers, this time Clarke shares directing duties with French TV commentator Christian Jeanpierre – but while Wenger proves a genial and sage-like interviewee, it’s fair to say that he still remains almost as much a mystery as before.

Wenger isn’t a sphinx, exactly: he has plenty to say and says it with considerable emotional articulacy. But the material essentially engages with his player management, stressing what he doesn’t do, rather than what he does – and in that sense there’s not a huge amount here indicating what he actually brought to the game, in England or elsewhere. His former players, from Dennis Bergkamp to Patrick Vieira, show him a fierce loyalty, and we hear a lot about Wenger’s confidence-instilling fatherliness and connoisseurial appreciation for a balanced team, but there’s little actual detail on what “Wengerball” is, or was, and how he achieved it.

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