‘Everybody’s in a struggle to survive now’

Arsene Wenger was in expansive mood this week as he was asked about the values he holds dear – and what the future may hold.
 
The Arsenal manager had just delivered a stirring speech at the club’s AGM, and afterwards he spoke to the media about his current outlook.
 
This is what he said:
 
on being more hungry to succeed now than 20 years ago…
I was always hungry, but I’m more hungry than ever because the demands are higher, because I didn’t win the Premier League for a long time and because I want to do that before you get me out of here!
 
on having something to prove…
I always have something to prove, if I play with you now we go out there and play four against four I will see that I will try to win, we can play one against one if you want.
 
on the hunger dying when you get older…
There’s two ways, you know your age, you live like you live forever and I think I’m born for competition, I don’t know why and what happened, but it’s like that no matter what I do and that’s it.
 
on not needing to carry on…
The need is the desire to compete, that’s my real need. It’s never been financial. If it was only financial I would not be here.
 
on whether he ever reconsiders carrying on…
It reinforces even more my belief, I think the fact that I already stuck to what I said, because I believe that a club is first about values and in the modern game we lose a little bit the perspective of what is important and what is less important. It’s always here and now and forever and the now is permanent, the judgement is permanent and forever, but the society as well. You had the same example with Brexit, it’s just here and now but where do we go from there? Nobody knows. Maybe it’s good, maybe it’s bad I don’t know, but nobody has explained how you will look back if it happens in the future if we do that. So what I think about is a club has been created first about values. I know nobody cares anymore, I remember somebody said 500 years ago the target was to be a saint for people, 50 years ago a hero in war, today a billionaire, or even more a celebrity. That is instant and here and now, but it has to be sustained by something.
 
on whether Brexit has been thought through properly…
I don’t know I don’t know if it is good or bad, but what I mean these kinds of decisions are made here and now, just now.
 
on whether people should take his advice…
I have no wisdom to advise people, I just think what I observe is the moment at the present. In England you always had what I liked when I came to England, is the weight of the past. You could feel it there and it’s importance and what I wanted just to say is that in the evolution of a modern society, the weight of the present has become predominant to the past and the future and no matter if it’s a football club, you need to get that balance right.
 
on what has changed…
You have not changed, I don’t think you have changed, the society has changed us and because of the evolution, the speed of the evolution, everybody tries to survive today. Is it in your job, my job? You look around it’s like that and before a guy came here in a newspaper, he was with the traditions of a newspaper, the values of a newspaper. Today we don’t know if a newspaper will survive or if it will still exist in 10 years. Everybody is in a struggle to survive here and now.

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Michael Freeman

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