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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 June, 2003, 12:50 GMT 13:50 UK
Profile: Arsene Wenger
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger
Wenger has led Arsenal to two double triumphs
Arsene Wenger has been rewarded for his magnificent seven-year spell in English football with an honourary OBE.

The master manager has just led Arsenal to their fifth trophy during his time at Highbury, although the Gunners' FA Cup triumph was overshadowed by seeing Manchester United reclaim their league title.

Losing the championship after leading at one stage by eight points was a disappointment for Wenger but no-one would bet against Arsenal taking back their crown next term.

Wenger has boosted the club's ambitions by continually dismissing reports linking him with Real Madrid, and seems set to stay at Highbury for at least one more year.

The 53-year old became Arsenal boss in September 1996 following Bruce Rioch's departure.

He arrived at Highbury after dragging relegation-threatened Nagoya Grampus Eight into second place in the Japanese League.

Back then, few in this country had heard of the highly intelligent Frenchman, who has a degree in Economics from Strasbourg University and now an Honorary degree (DSc) from the University of Hertfordshire.

But he soon made a big impression in north London and beyond with signings like Patrick Vieira, Emmanuel Petit, Nicolas Anelka and Marc Overmars.

The latter three would later leave for big-figure transfer fees as Wenger showed his ability to work wonders in the transfer market.

In Wenger's first season, Arsenal mounted a serious title challenge for the first time since 1991.

The following year the Gunners claimed both the Premiership crown and FA Cup.

Arsenal then developed a reputation for finishing second - three times in a row in the Premiership, as well as losing in the Uefa and FA Cup finals.

Thierry Henry signing for Arsenal with Arsene Wenger
Wenger welcomes Thierry Henry to Highbury in 1999

But, after Petit, Anelka and Overmars departed, Wenger again looked to France as he rebuilt his team.

Thierry Henry proved a sensational purchase and Sylvain Wiltord and Robert Pires arrived to add to the French connection.

Born in Strasbourg, Wenger started his amateur playing career with Mutzig in the French Third Division as a defender.

He turned professional with Strasbourg in 1978 and won the French title a year after his debut.

In 1981, he obtained the manager's diploma in Paris and was made youth team coach at Strasbourg.

After a brief spell as assistant coach with Cannes, he was appointed coach of Nancy two years later, but suffered relegation in his opening season.

However, his reputation took off after being made manager at Monaco in 1987.

Wenger's success at the club began with the French Championship in 1988 and he was offered jobs with the French national team and Bayern Munich in 1994.

He was sacked just weeks after committing his future to the club, before his move to Japan in 1995 and then on to London 18 months later.

A hugely respected figure within the game, European success is clearly his unfulfilled ambition after Arsenal failed to get past the second group stage of the Champions League last term.

Gunners fans will be hoping that the meticulous approach and tactical acumen that have served them so well domestically in recent years can bring success on the European stage this season.


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