By Nick Harris
13 March 2010
Arsene Wenger is no ordinary football man; we’ve known that since he arrived in England in 1996. And in today’s Independent, in a fascinating interview with Charles Nevin, published in the paper’s magazine, there’s yet more evidence.
“The moral values I’ve learnt in my life I’ve learnt through football,” he says at one stage.
It’s not mentioned in Nevin’s lovely piece, but that Wenger quote echoes closely something that Albert Camus wrote in an essay for France Football magazine in 1957 – the year that Camus, famously a former goalie, won the Nobel prize for literature.
Camus wrote: “What I most surely know in the long run about morality and the obligations of men, I owe to sport: I learnt that at RUA [Algiers University FC].”
Back to modern-day Wenger. In response to a question about whether footballers are too highly paid, he tells Nevin: “That is not for me to decide. That is a society choice. My target is to make the players as rich as possible within the financial constraints of the club. My target is not to give them less money. I’m happy to make them rich.”
He also talks about British attitudes to private lives, the “generosity” and “passion” of the English and many other things. It’s a fine read, and recommended.