Arsene Wenger’s brother Guy has shed light on one of the Premier League’s greatest rivalries and revealed it has been exaggerated. The 17 years of fierce competition between Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson was actually without hatred and hostility, especially in the latter years.
The war between Arsenal and Manchester United managers started in September 1996 when Wenger took charge of the Gunners at Highbury. It went on for 17 years until Ferguson retired in 2013, with many years of that reign spent taunting his Arsenal counterpart.
Though Ferguson handed the baton to David Moyes, Arsene Wenger continues his time in charge at Arsenal marking his 20 years in charge on Saturday.
Guy Wenger recently gave an interview to Telegraph in which he talked about the rivalry between his brother and the former Manchester United boss.
“People thought he and [Sir Alex] Ferguson hated each other,” Guy told the Telegraph. “Rubbish. I was with them. I think it was the last time Ferguson was at Arsenal with Manchester United. We drank two bottles of Bordeaux after the game.”
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The encounters between Arsenal and United in those early years developed the most intense rivalry in all of Premier League history. The two played a total of 36 games against each other, with Wenger winning 14 and losing 14 while eight ended up in a draw. The last time Wenger and Ferguson faced each other, they split a point each from 1-1 draw at the Emirates, the season that Ferguson won his final Premier League title with United.
Wenger then went on to face United under two different managers, David Moyes and Louis Van Gaal both of whom have been unable to continue Sir Alex’s legacy at United. Now the Old Trafford side is being managed by Arsene’s yet another rival, Jose Mourinho with whom his relationship has always been sour both on and off the pitch.
*- That’s not actually Wenger
Arsene and Ferguson had an intense rivalry for the large part but with immense respect for each other especially in the latter years of their careers. No other Premier League rivalry can compete with the level of quality competition the two created when they first used to face each other as the two heavyweights of English football.
That said, it is always interesting to see Mourinho putting his all in attempts to demean Wenger, considering his recent revelation of hatred he has for the Gunners’ boss. The two will go head to head when Arsenal will travel to Old Trafford on 19th November for their Premier League fixture.