What were you doing in 1996? Not managing Arsenal, that’s for sure.
It is hard to grasp that the Arsene Wenger of today is the same man as the Wenger who arrived back in 1996.
Things were a little different back then.
1 Euro 96 had just finished
Wenger has been around for so long that, on his first day when he was awkwardly trying to sort a security pass for the office, the terraces were still swaying to the sound of Three Lions.
A lifetime ago for you and me. Just another day in the office for Arsene.
In fact, when England beat Spain in Euro 96, Hector Bellerin had just celebrated his first birthday.
This picture of the England team is not a misty memory for Arsene – but another reminder of when he started his job.
2 These were some of the other Premiership managers
Harry Redknapp at West Ham, Gerry Francis at Spurs and Bryan Robson at Middlesborough in an inexplicable half-and-half suit.
3 And these were some of the players who played in Wenger’s first game, away to Blackburn in 1996
4 This was the match report for that game, a 2-0 win
Bear in mind that this was decades before Arsenal Fan TV and Piers Morgan on Twitter.
This was how millions of people heard about the game… and if that doesn’t date Wenger’s time at Arsenal then nothing will.
5 This was where Arsenal played
Arsenal fans may now grudgingly file in to a corporate football spaceship each week but back in 1996 when Wenger took over their stadium disguised itself as a terraced house.
6 Back then, players had a strict 35-pints-before-breakfast regime
The infamous Tuesday Club was officially sanctioned by former manager George Graham.
It was a kind of depraved after-school gathering in which old pros Tony Adams and Paul Merson encouraged the youngsters to drink their body weight in lager. Every day.
7 This wasn’t a retro kit
It was just a kit. Wenger has been there so long he has seen the issuing, and reissuing, of countless Arsenal shirts.
8 An Arsenal ticket cost just £17
9 And fans would have heard about Arsene’s appointment through Club Call
Back then, you’d phone a premium rate phone number (after asking the bill payer’s permission) and then wade through a recorded message until hearing the news.
We’ll miss you, Arsene.
You may have not changed that much… but football certainly has. Thanks for everything.