'Still my job to pick the wine!' - Sir Alex Ferguson reflects on Arsene Wenger rivalry as Man Utd & Arsenal greats become first managers inducted into Premier League Hall of Fame
- Duo inducted into Hall of Fame
- Sir Alex discusses rivalry
- Says the duo still go out for dinner
WHAT HAPPENED? The two legends of the game have become the first managers to be inducted into the Premier League's Hall of Fame in recognition of their achievements. Sir Alex and Wenger won 16 Premier League titles between them and enjoyed a longstanding rivalry. The former Manchester United boss is thrilled with the honour and opened up on his relationship with Wenger and how the two still meet up today.
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WHAT THEY SAID: "I’m truly delighted to be inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame. It’s an honour when you receive recognition like this. However, it’s not just about me as a person. It’s about the job at Manchester United and the bond we had over many years, so I’m also proud for the club, the staff and my players," he said. "I feel Arsène is a very worthy inductee as he transformed Arsenal Football Club fantastically. They became a tough team to compete with and we both wanted to win, which motivated us further. Through the years since retirement, we’d go for dinner together in a little restaurant he knows well in Switzerland. He is a really interesting man and I enjoy his company, but it is still my job to pick the wine!”
AND WHAT'S MORE: Wenger also had some warm words for Sir Alex when reacting to the Premier League's announcement, as he said: "I am very grateful to have been selected for the Premier League Hall of Fame. We always wanted to give something special to the fans and when you have players capable of remarkable things, the most important thing for me is the obligation of perfection. I’d like to be known as someone who loved Arsenal, who respected the values of the club and left it in a position where it can grow and become even bigger. To share this with Sir Alex is a great honour for me. It’s like two boxers, you fight like mad and go the distance together. At the end of the day, you have respect and it will be a great opportunity to meet with him, share a good bottle of wine and memories of our old battles."
Two legends who helped define the Premier League.— Premier League (@premierleague) March 29, 2023
Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger are the first two inductees of the 2023 #PLHallOfFame pic.twitter.com/fwgwtst5c3
THE BIGGER PICTURE: The rivalry between the two men has certainly mellowed since their days in charge of Manchester United and Arsenal. Wenger's arrival in north London saw the Gunners challenge Manchester United's dominance of the English game, with the Frenchman going to win three titles in his 22 seasons in charge. Tensions boiled over on the pitch on several occasions, peaking in 2004 with the notorious incident at Old Trafford when United ended Arsenal's 49-match unbeaten record and pizza was flung at Sir Alex.
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DID YOU KNOW? Sir Alex won the Premier League title on 13 occasions as Manchester United manager, nine more times than any other manager in Premier League history.
WHAT NEXT? Arsenal have not won the Premier League since their last title under Wenger in 2003-04 but are in a strong position to end that drought this season. The Gunners have an eight-point lead at the top of the table and return to action on Saturday, April 1 against Leeds United.