English Premiership

Ex-Arsenal striker recalls 2 occasions Wenger 'went mental'

Former Arsenal striker Jeremie Aliadiere says he recalls only two occasions in which Arsene Wenger got out the hairdryer during his time at the club.

Wenger wasn’t known for his outbursts like his rival at Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson, who had a reputation for giving his players the ‘hairdryer treatment’.

However, Wenger did lose it at Arsenal on a couple of occasions, with Aliadiere - who was in the senior squad for six years - recalling two incidents in particular.

The first was when they found themselves trailing 5-1 to Manchester United at half-time at Old Trafford in February 2001, with the Gunners needing a win to keep their slim title hopes alive.

“Arsene went absolutely mental,” Aliadiere told Goal.

“We got smashed in that first half when Igor Stepanovs was playing at the back. It was a joke. Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke were absolutely killing us.

“I wasn’t even in the squad, I was just there as 19th man or something. And when I saw him losing it like that I was like: ‘Wow!’. I’d never seen him going that crazy before.

“He was throwing bottles across the room, they were going everywhere. He was shouting and swearing - and Wenger never usually swore. He was just going absolutely mental.

“He wasn’t doing it at anyone in particular because he didn’t want to start point fingers, but he was just going crazy for about five minutes before he started to calm down a bit.”

On the second occasion Wenger lost his cool his anger was directed at one Arsenal player during a confrontation at the club’s London Colney training ground.

“It was Sylvain Wiltord,” Aliadiere revealed.

“We’d been told not to use our mobile phones in the dressing room. Arsene always said you had two choices with your phone, leave it in your car, or if you bring it into the dressing room you put it on silent and leave it in your locker.

“So one day he comes into the dressing room and starts having a meeting, chatting with all the players and then suddenly Sylvain’s phone starts to ring so loud and he answered the phone as well.

“Arsene just totally lost it. He went crazy and screamed: ’Sylvain are you taking the piss?!’ He started properly shouting at him and fined him 10 or 12 grand there and then.

“But it was at the time when there was a bit of tension with Sylvain and Wenger and Sylvain absolutely didn’t care, he just carried on his conversation on the phone. It was crazy.”

Aliadiere continued: “Those are the only two times I really saw Arsene lose his temper.

“Normally, even when we’d had bad games, he would take time to not react in the wrong way. He always tried to give himself time to cool down and think more clearly before chatting to the players.”

- TEAMtalk media

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