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Exclusive: We spoke to Amy Lawrence, author of ‘The Wenger Revolution’



Following her excellent debut book, ‘Invincible’, an in-depth narrative documenting the highs and lows of the Arsenal’s enthralling unbeaten 2003/04 campaign, award winning journalist Amy Lawrence returns with ‘The Wenger Revolution – Twenty Years of Arsenal’, another must-buy for avid supporters of the Gunners.

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Amy’s latest offering combines anecdotes from Arsene Wenger himself, alongside beautiful imagery documented by Stuart MacFarlane throughout the Frenchman’s twenty year spell in charge of the North London outfit, during which he as experienced three Premier League title successes and six FA Cup triumphs.

As stated in the book’s pre-text:

“This fascinating era is chronicled from the very beginning with distinctive photographs taken from inside the inner sanctum of the club. This captivating coaction of images is captioned with personal anecdotes from Arsene Wenger himself as he reminisces about the significant moments and people that have defined his time at the club over the last 20 years.”

The real art of this publication is in the way the excellent photographs have been pulled together, providing a visual history of the last two decades at Arsenal. For any supporter of the Gunners, or even of the Premier League, this truly is a time capsule contained between two hard covers.

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Wenger’s voice adds a new level to the book, with snippets of his insight contained throughout. His thoughts and opinions are captured expertly by Amy, who has shown her devotion for the club she supports in bringing together this fantastic tribute to the Premier League’s current longest-serving manager.

We were lucky enough to sit down with Amy, following the release of her new book…

TBR: ‘The Wenger Revolution’ is slightly different to the work you have done in the past. What inspired you to put together a pictorial-based piece?

Amy: Stuart, the Arsenal photographer who I have known for a while, very kindly offered to help me out with some images for a previous book – Invincible, about Arsenal’s 2003-04 unbeaten Premier League campaign. When I saw the quality and variety of work he had about just that season, we discussed the potential for a book using more of his collection. It all evolved from there. With the anniversary approaching of 20 years of Wenger’s era at the club, it felt like a good time to put together a kind of retrospective. 

TBR: What was it like working alongside Stuart MacFarlane? Is he someone you have worked alongside prior to ‘The Wenger Revolution’?

Amy: As I mentioned, we had worked together before. Luckily we get on very well and the creative side of putting the book together was a very positive experience. 

TBR: Can you tell us a bit about your methods when pulling the book together? How did you choose the best moments from Wenger’s tenure, and what drove your choice of imagery?

Amy: Arsenal’s archive is huge. There are millions of pictures from the club’s history so it was quite a painstaking process for Stuart to go through a lot of images trying to narrow it down to a manageable number. Once we had established the structure of the book, and what each chapter would try to portray, he pulled together a selection. We laid them all out on the floor and tried to pick the best ones. There were some fantastic pictures that unfortunately never made the final cut but we had to be ruthless! 

TBR: If you had to pick your most memorable moment from Arsene Wenger’s twenty years at the club, what would it be?

Amy: That’s a tough question. Not sure I can even pick the most memorable moment from one season… 

TBR: When it comes to your work as a journalist, which Arsenal player (past or present) has given you the most memorable interview, and why?

Amy: Dennis Bergkamp. Absolutely enlightening and an original thinker.  

TBR: We presume you spent a fair bit of time with Arsene Wenger, himself, throughout the production of the book. What is he like away from the eye of the wider media?

Amy: Funny, relaxed, interested in a wide spectrum of things and people, a superb communicator. 

TBR: Can you tell us a little about The Arsenal Foundation and some of the charitable work they do? 

Amy: They fundraise on an annual basis to help multiple projects close to home and far overseas, with a particular focus on the disadvantaged and displaced. Using the power of football to inspire people and help those in trouble to get back on their feet, it’s reassuring to think that an institution as rich and powerful as a Premier League football club can maintain a strong focus on helping people. 

TBR: What is your outlook for the Gunners this season? Can you see them maintaining their current form and mounting a genuine title challenge come May?

Amy: Having followed football for roughly 40 years I have seen way too much to see any value in predicting anything with any certainty after a handful of games! Obviously they have had a promising run, but the challenge to keep that going is an unpredictable one. Any potential champion needs great reserves of character as well as technical quality, and some luck on top of that. Keeping key players fit is essential. 

The Wenger Revolution: Twenty Years of Arsenal  by Amy Lawrence and Stuart MacFarlane is out now (Bloomsbury, £20 / £17.99 eBook)

Chris is the founder of The Boot Room. He is a Swindon Town supporter, having lived in Wiltshire for most of his years. His work has also featured on Squawka, Bleacher Report and Eurosport.


It is too soon for Mikel Arteta to be considered for Arsenal job

The 36-year-old has been linked with the Emirates hot seat.

Jake Jackman



Mikel Arteta
Photo: Getty Images

Arsenal have a huge summer awaiting them as they will need to appoint a successor to Arsene Wenger and rebuild a squad that has missed out on Champions League football for the second season in a row.

It won’t be an easy task and the board must act swiftly to make sure the club are prepared for the 2018/19 campaign.

Considering Wenger’s departure was announced weeks ago, Arsenal should have made progress in their search for a replacement.

There will be a number of names under consideration and it is important that they do their due diligence to ensure they can start to move in the right direction again.

BBC Sport report that Manchester City coach Mikel Arteta is one of the options being considered by the hierarchy at the Emirates Stadium.

(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

As a former player, he would be well received by the fanbase, but it would represent a huge gamble by the club.

The 36-year-old was part of the playing staff under Arsene Wenger as recently as 2016.

Although he will know the problems that exist at the club, he may struggle to exert the authority to correct them considering many of the current squad were his peers.

It has only been two years since the Spaniard retired from playing and he wouldn’t have expected to be in the running for a job of this size this soon.

Upon retiring, he took up a coaching role at Manchester City and the experience will stand him in good stead to move into management one day.

After all, he is working with one of the best managers of all-time in Pep Guardiola and Arteta will have played a role in the team’s record-breaking Premier League season.

That coupled with his history with Arsenal makes him an attractive left-field option for the Gunners.

However, the size of the risk attached to an appointment means that the club should look elsewhere this summer.

The club will want stability, but first and foremost, they will want success.

The fact that Arteta has no managerial experience means that he would be learning on the job and the North London side can’t afford to allow that.

(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Arsenal are a huge club and as the man following Arsene Wenger, the next manager will be scrutinised closely.

It would be a job better suited to a manager with experience and know-how at the top level.

The article goes on to mention both Luis Enrique and Massimiliano Allegri. Either of them would be a better appointment for Arsenal at this time, as they have both managed big clubs previously.

For Arteta, the fact that he is being linked to a job like Arsenal shows how highly he is thought of within the game.

If he wants to go into management, he needs to leave Manchester City and gain experience as a number one.

If he does that, whether it be in England or abroad, he could be ready to take the hot-seat at the Emirates Stadium at a later date.

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Exclusive: Havard Nordtveit – Hoffenheim move, Julian Nagelsmann and facing Liverpool

The Norwegian international discussed his time at Hoffenheim and his experience of English clubs.

Mathew Coull



Havard Nordtveit
Photo: Getty Images

This summer West Ham United utility man Havard Nordtveit called time on his career with the Hammers, after just one season.

Signed from Borussia Monchengladbach on a free transfer he suffered from the London outfits’ own struggles, the change of stadium and being asked to play out of position at right-back.

After just 21 games for the Hammers, he headed back to Germany, where he had such success previously.

Now, speaking exclusively to The Boot Room, the Norwegian international has discussed working under an exciting new manager, facing Liverpool in the Champions League and coming through the ranks at Arsenal.

Plenty of teams in Germany would have wanted Nordtveit this summer.

He built a fine reputation in the Bundesliga during his time with Gladbach.

In fact, just hours before his July transfer was announced, he was being linked with Bundesliga rivals Hamburg.

In the end, it was Hoffenheim who snapped up the Norwegian. They had just finished fourth in the Bundesliga and it was a brilliant move for the 27-year-old.

(Photo by Patrik Stollarz/Getty Images)

But, as the former Hammer explained from Germany, it has been a topsy-turvy season:

“It went well in the first couple of months. But then my games weren’t as good as I was hoping for,” he admitted. “Then obviously I was not good enough for the team. I have been training hard and lately, it has been back to normal again.

“It’s good to be back in Germany and also I needed half a season to get to know the new coach and the new system. I am looking forward to the rest of the campaign.”

Nordtveit started the season playing in the Hoffenheim back three, but found himself out of the squad entirely from mid-December until last month.

Despite his problems, he did not sulk and simply worked hard to get back into the first-team:

“I am not that person,” proclaimed the Norwegian international. “I have been in that situation before with West Ham and Gladbach. It’s all about giving everything you can instead of moaning.

“You have to be positive,” he continued. “This is a team sport. You have to give your best for the team. If that means you are playing or not you know that you will get the chance in the end.”

This season Hoffenheim and Nordtveit were challenging for the Europa League.

However, at the start of the campaign, the Bundesliga outfit were in Champions League action for the first time in their history.

They took on Premier League side Liverpool in the qualifying rounds, with Nordtveit playing in both games.

Liverpool were not yet working under Mohamed Salah power but still proved far too strong for their German opponents over two legs:

“We knew they were strong. With their attacking forwards they are brutal. We had a very good home game. But in the end, it is a little better a feeling to know we went out of the play-offs against a team that reached the finals,” Nordtveit explained, with a sense of vindication for his club’s exit.

“What Klopp has done with the club is massive and also Salah, at this time, maybe is Europe’s best player.”

(Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

Hoffenheim’s entrance to the Champions League was masterminded by their brilliant young coach Julian Nagelsmann. The 30-year-old is just a few years older than the Norwegian but has proven himself a top manager:

“He is fantastic,” said an excited Nordtveit. “He has great experience and his own style of play. It is a lot of tactics for every new player. Also when I came in then there was a lot of new things I had to learn quite quick.

“I am now starting to see that I learn something in myself to get into the rhythm that he wants. He is like a young, bright, football professor.”

He then gave him high praise, by comparing him to his former Gladbach boss Lucien Favre:

“He reminds me a little bit of Lucien Favre. He thinks about football 24/7. Small details, always, which can mean we take the three points.

“If I could compare him with someone it would be Lucien Favre, which is not a bad comparison.”

Nagelsmann’s clear ability has seen him linked with taking over from Arsene Wenger at Arsenal.

The Norwegian came through the ranks at Arsenal, but made it clear that he spent most of his time working with the current Arsenal assistant Steve Bould:

“I spoke with him of course but he was more observing the training. I was more with the reserve team.

“I was more with Steve Bould, the legend. He was quite important for me, a really good guy. I think he was one of the more important guys in Arsenal when I was there.”

Working under the Arsenal legend as a young defender must have been a big learning experience for the Hoffenheim player, who speaks highly of his time at Arsenal:

“I went quite early, about 16,17,” remembered the talented utility man. “It was perhaps the most important choice I did in my career because there I learnt how to do the basics in football.

“I did not play much with the first-team but the experience of training with the first-team and getting to know English football and a really high standard was really important to me.

(Photo by Nikolay Doychinov/Getty Images)

“From there, when I moved to Germany, I had the perfect base to have an OK career.

“Jack Wilshere was there before he finally broke through to the first-team. We had Wojciech Szczesny now second goalkeeper for Juventus. Many of the players are having big careers.  

“For me and a lot of the players we were quite lucky to have this opportunity.”

But Nordtveit still remembers his time fondly. He still follows the club, where good friend Granit Xhaka is also playing.

The Gunners have been unable to put a smile on the face of Nordtveit by picking up the Europa League trophy in Arsene Wenger’s final year.

However, with London outfit set to compete in the competition again next season, under a new manager, the two could well come face-to-face. 

That would be an opportunity Hoffenheim’s intrepid Norwegian would relish.

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Arsenal hero Patrick Viera would be an underwhelming appointment for Everton



Photo: Getty Images.

The managerial merry-go-round is warming up ready for another summer of action and it looks increasingly likely that Everton could be involved as fans grow more and more unhappy with the management of Sam Allardyce. What may come as a greater surprise is that the club could turn to Arsenal hero Patrick Viera to replace him.

According to Metro, Viera is admired by Everton owner Farhad Moshiri and fits the profile that the Toffees are looking for of a young and dynamic coach to take over at Goodison Park.

Viera has also been linked with the opportunity to replace his former coach Arsene Wenger at Arsenal, where he remains a legend, but is currently under contact with New York City, part of the Manchester City group.

(during the UEFA Youth League Quarter Final match between AS Roma and Manchester City on March 17, 2015 in Latina, Italy.

The Citizens would reportedly not stand in his way of a Premier League move and Everton would be happy to offer more than the £2 million that he currently earns per year, but it would be a hugely underwhelming appointment for the blue half of Merseyside.

Whilst Viera has done well in Major League Soccer in New York, he has not achieved enough to have caught the eye of such a high profile club were it not for his playing career.

Given the finances reportedly available to the next Everton manager and the huge pressure to get an underperforming squad up to scratch and matching expectations, it would be a big gamble if the club were to put their faith in Viera.

He may well have potential, but it would be a surprise to see a club of the size and resources of Everton being the ones to give Viera his first opportunity as a Premier League coach.

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