arsene wenger

Former Arsenal striker recalls only two occasions he saw Wenger go 'absolutely mental'

Jeremie Aliadiere has recalled the two rare occasions when he saw Arsene Wenger go ‘absolutely mental’ at Arsenal.

Wenger spent over two decades in north London to become the longest-serving manager in Premier League history, winning three league titles and a record seven FA Cups during his time in charge of the Gunners.

The Frenchman was largely known for his relaxed persona during a lengthy career in English football, though Aliadiere has now revealed the two occasions he saw Wenger lose his notorious cool.

The former Gunners forward has recalled a humiliating 6-1 defeat to title rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford in 2001, a fixture which saw Dwight Yorke score a hat-trick within the opening 22 minutes before setting up the fourth for the hosts, and Arsenal heading into the dressing rooms at half-time 5-1 down.

“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.

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“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.”

The second incident Aliadiere recalled was a training ground confrontation involving forward Sylvain Wiltord, the Frenchman incurring the wrath of his compatriot after breaking rules regarding the use of mobile phones.

“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.

“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.”

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