Article

Liverpool top, DVDs just invented and no Harry Potter – The world when Wenger joined Arsenal

20 April 2018 16:38

Arsene Wenger will leave Arsenal at the end of the season, bringing an end to a remarkable spell in charge stretching back to October 1996.

Nicknamed 'Le Professeur' in his early months on British shores, Wenger has certainly taught the Premier League a thing or two in an admirable stint that has given Gunners fans plenty of highs, lows and a long wait for a trophy.

The longest-serving manager in the club's history, and only second in longevity to Alex Ferguson in England's top flight, the 68-year-old has witnessed significant change in both football and the wider world during his time in north London.

Here, Omnisport looks at what things were like when Wenger took over in 1996. How times have changed...

 

IN FOOTBALL...

- Manchester United were the reigning Premier League champions (their 10th top-flight title). 

- Alan Shearer, top scorer in the division with 31 goals the previous season, had just joined Newcastle United from Blackburn Rovers for a world-record £15million fee.

- Arsenal were third in the table on October 1, with 17 points from eight matches, three off the league leaders - Roy Evans' Liverpool. Tottenham were 14th in the top flight.

- Manchester City, champions for 2017-18, were competing in the second tier and had just sacked manager Alan Ball.

- Juventus were kings of Europe, having beaten Ajax on penalties in the Champions League final in Rome. Current Chelsea boss Antonio Conte started the match.

- Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho had just joined Barcelona as Bobby Robson's assistant. Pep Guardiola was in that team. Jurgen Klopp was playing for Mainz.

- Germany had triumphed at Euro 96, beating Czech Republic in the final at Wembley. Gareth Southgate, now England manager, missed the crucial penalty in the host nation's semi-final defeat.

- Joao Havelange was FIFA president, with Sepp Blatter his general secretary. Lennart Johansson ran UEFA.

- Ronaldo was soon to be named the youngest winner of the FIFA World Player of the Year award. The Ballon d'Or would go to Matthias Sammer.

- Major League Soccer was only six months old.

- Arsenal club captain Per Mertesacker was 12. Joe Willock, who made his Premier League debut under Wenger this season, was not yet born.

- Eddie Howe, who will be the Premier League's longest-serving active manager once Wenger leaves, was an 18-year-old fresh from making five appearances for Bournemouth in his debut season in the Second Division.

- David Beckham hadn't met Victoria.

 

IN SPORT...

- Donovan Bailey held the 100 metres world record (9.84 seconds); Michael Johnson held a 200m record of 19.32s. Both were set at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, where Carl Lewis won his fourth and final long jump gold at the age of 35.

- Andre Agassi was the Olympic men's tennis champion, but Pete Sampras was top of the ATP world rankings. Current men's world number one Rafael Nadal was a 10-year-old still considering a career in football.

- Damon Hill became the first son of a Formula One world champion to win his own drivers' title, beating Williams team-mate Jacques Villeneuve into second.

- Frankie Dettori completed the 'Magnificent Seven' as he became the first jockey to win all seven races on his card at Ascot, including the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. The odds on Dettori winning all seven races was 25,051-1.

- Michael Jordan had been named MVP as Chicago Bulls won the 50th NBA Finals, beating Seattle SuperSonics 4-2 in the series.

- Sri Lanka were world cricket champions, having beaten Australia in the final in Pakistan.

- Tiger Woods had been a professional golfer for two months.

 

ELSEWHERE...

- Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales divorced in August.

- Nintendo 64 had recently been released in Japan.

- The New Labour manifesto under leader Tony Blair was launched - it would pave the way for his 1999 election as British Prime Minister.

 

Thank you Arsène Wenger for all you have done for Arsenal and our community in North London, and for the inspiration you...

Posted by Jeremy Corbyn on Friday, 20 April 2018

- Deep Blue Something's Breakfast At Tiffany's was top of the UK singles chart when Wenger took charge. Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill was top of the US billboard chart for the best-selling album of the year.

- The highest-grossing film was Independence Day, which took $817,400,891 worldwide following its September release, beating Twister and Mission: Impossible.

- The first Harry Potter book was still in development.

- It would be another two years until Starbucks opened its first UK store in London.

- Bill Clinton was president of the United States. The US' incumbent head of state Donald Trump was working as an executive producer of the Miss Universe beauty pageant.

- DVDs had just been launched in Japan.

- Dolly the Sheep had become the first mammal to be successfully cloned.

- A pint of beer - if he chose to drink it - would have cost Wenger £1.60 on average; petrol was 38 pence per litre. It's now 119.7p.

- He would also have benefitted from a cheaper property market in the region. The average London house price was £94,000; according to the Office for National Statistics, it's now £472,000.

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