Arsene Wenger has compared football management to a drug and admits his life would be ‘very empty’ if he was no longer in charge of Arsenal.
And despite heading into his 22nd year as Arsenal boss after arriving in north London back in 1996, Wenger insists he remains addicted to the job.
Arsene Wenger took charge of his 811th match as Arsenal boss against West Brom on Sunday
‘It’s a drug that gives you highs and – naturally – brings you back down again, but you want to come back into it all the same,’ he told SFR Sport.
‘Even if the pressure weighs heavily on you sometimes… the worst pressure is not to have any at all. Life can seem very empty.
‘I have a load of friends who say, ‘I’m stopping, I’m stopping, I’m stopping,’ but they all come back.
‘Even those who said, “Believe me, I won’t come back” like [Fabio] Capello and [Marcello] Lippi, they have all gone off to China to coach again despite having been comfortable on their yachts by the sea. It’s a real addiction, a real drug, you can’t do without it.’
Wenger was left fuming with referee Mike Dean after he awarded West Brom a late penalty
Wenger’s record-breaking 811th league match in charge of the Gunners ended in controversy after referee Mike Dean awarded West Brom a late penalty for Calum Chambers’ handball.
The Arsenal manager was left fuming after the match, saying referees were ‘untouchable’ and suggesting Dean hadn’t seen the incident.
But Wenger says the emotions you experience on the job, both good and bad, is what makes football management so special.
‘There’s something magic in our job, which is to bring together energies for a common cause,’ he added.
Wenger said there was ‘something magical’ about football management that keeps you hooked
‘It’s a sharing of emotions, and takes you to places that practically nothing else in life can, even if at times it can also seem extremely discouraging, that sometimes you feel you’re climbing Mont Blanc and that you’ll never get to the top it’s that difficult. But there are those magical moments that bring you back.’
Wenger has been under pressure from Arsenal supporters over the last couple of seasons but penned a new two-year contract back in May after winning the FA Cup.
The 68-year-old has won the league three times during his spell as Arsenal manager but his last title came 14 years ago back in the 2003-04 season.