Interview with Arsene Wenger, the new manager at Arsenal Football Club

Evening Standard;
18th October 1996; UK

Press Index

If English football is something of a culture shock to [Arsene Wenger] after Monaco and Japan, I'm sure a few of his ideas are a culture shock to some of the Arsenal players.

Diet for instance. "I think in England you eat too much sugar and meat and not enough vegetables," he said.

"I lived for two years in Japan and it was the best diet I ever had. The whole way of life there is linked to health.

"The people there are known to work harder than anywhere else and they have the highest life expectancy.

"Their diet is basically boiled vegetables, fish and rice. No fat, no sugar. You notice when you live there that there are no fat people.

"Well, no fat people among the middle-aged and elderly."

"But since they introduced McDonald's and Coca-Cola there are now some fat people among the younger generation."

What does this mean to Tony Adams and his team-mates? It means, for instance, that in future all pre-match meals will be either fish or chicken.

The traditional pre-match steak? "No steak," said Wenger.

"Chips," I asked. "No chips," he replied.

"Jam roly poly and custard?" He laughed. "It's silly to work hard the whole week and then spoil it by not preparing properly before the game. As a coach you can influence the diet of your players. You can point out what is wrong. Some are wrong because they are not strong enough to fight temptation and some some are wrong because they do not know. As a coach I can teach the players what they do wrong without knowing it is wrong."

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