A tale I heard
Former Arsenal player Ray Parlour on what made Arsene Wenger such a good manager and a good person:
"The good thing about Wenger is he always laughed at himself. That is the beauty of him.
Kolo Toure, a fantastic player, was absolutely brilliant when he first come in. He was always one of those guys who was always on edge. You know, chasing everything…
Anyway, he came into training one day and what we used to do for triallists is set up a game…this one day they had Kolo Toure and Martin Keown in defence – so Kolo’s first training session – and against them was Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp…
So they roll the ball into Thierry Henry and, Kolo Toure, from nowhere, has smashed him! Right from behind! Two-footed tackle! Terrible tackle. Seriously, would’ve been a red card in a normal game. Our best player’s gone down on the floor rolling around. Arsene Wenger’s all: “Kolo! What are you doing?! Don’t tackle! Don’t tackle!”
Next minute, ball goes into Dennis Bergkamp. Kolo Toure, exactly the same, two-foots Dennis Bergkamp! We’re all thinking: ‘Oh my, this is unbelievable! Our two best players, how can we win the league if our two best players, by the triallist, are taken out?! He must be working for someone else!’
So Wenger goes: “That’s it! No more tackling!” Kolo’s going: “Sorry. Sorry boss. Sorry. Sorry!”
Anyway, next ball comes in, he makes a great tackle Kolo Toure, he reads it and the ball’s flipped up in the air. Arsene Wenger used to stand right in the middle of the midfield and the forwards and try and look at all the movements, and the ball’s gone up in the air and Kolo Toure has got his eye on the ball. He’s chasing the ball, and where did it land? Right at Arsene Wenger’s feet. Kolo’s gone and two-footed Arsene Wenger! Proper tackle. All you heard was: “EEEEEERRRUUUUGGH!”
The lads are like: 'Oh my, this is unbelievable! The triallist has took out Bergkamp, Henry and Wenger!’ Now Wenger’s had to limp off, he’s gone back to the medical room and Kolo’s all: “Oh no, oh no, oh no” and he’s nearly crying, he can’t believe it. It’s his big day at Arsenal and he’s took out two of our best players and the manager!
So that afternoon I always remember going to the medical room… Arsene Wenger’s sitting there with a big ice pack on his ankle. I felt sorry for Kolo Toure and I said: “Boss I don’t think he meant to kick you like that.” And he went: “What? Look at my ankle!” And he had a big lump on his ankle. And I went: “Well he didn’t mean it boss.” And he went: “I know he didn’t mean it. I like his desire. We sign him tomorrow!” And that was it. He signed him! Because he liked his desire."