Having broken up Arsenal’s infamous ‘Tuesday club’ shortly after his arrival, Arsene Wenger maintained discipline using a network of spies.
Taking a page from Sir Alex Ferguson’s play book, former striker Jeremie Aliadiere revealed how he caught Robert Pires and Sylvain Wiltord out the night before a Champions League game against Bayern Munich.
“He had people in different parts of London,” Aliadiere told Arsenal Nation: The Podcast.
“Arsene obviously had someone in the clubs, he was a clever man and I am sure he had something with the owners of each club like if you see one of my players you just call me straight away.”
Those who played under Fergie at Manchester United will now how the French duo felt, with the legendary manager having his own group informers in and around the city, who tipped him off if his players were out gallivanting.
He was well versed in the art of discipline and one famous story saw him turn up at a young Lee Sharpe’s house when he got wind of a party there to be greeted by a beer drinking Ryan Giggs.
“He charged into the house like a bull in a china shop, cuffing people out of the way as he went,” Giggs later recalled.
Fergie’s intervention in his player’s personal lives clearly worked, though, considering Giggs went on to achieve great things at the club – not that he enjoyed his boss’ prying eyes.
“You’d go out on a Saturday night and he’d tell you where you were, what you’d done and who you were with,” he said.
“You’d think: ‘How does he know that?’ He just knew everyone. If I came here for training clean shaven, he’d say I’d been out the night before. He had a go at me too many times to recount.”
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And it appears Wenger’s watchful eye helped, too.
In addition to ending the Tuesday socials, which were heavy drinking sessions, Wenger’s reign brought in a period of domination for Arsenal, which spawned one of the Premier League’s greatest rivalries.
Pires and Wiltord both arrived at the club in 2000 and ended up winning two league titles and two FA Cups in addition to being members of the club’s unbeaten 2003/04 season, which was Wiltord’s last year as an Arsenal player.
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