‘Are you taking the p***!?’ Martin Keown reveals the time he confronted former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger in dressing room

Martin Keown confronted former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger
Martin Keown confronted former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger (Picture: Getty and BT Sport)

Martin Keown has revealed the time he confronted former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger in the dressing room following a match.

Thierry Henry’s brace and a goal from Freddie Ljungberg saw Wenger’s side defeat Charlton Athletic 3-0 at The Valley in April 2002.

The emphatic victory saw Arsenal return to the top of the Premier League, a position where they would remain until the end of the season as they became champions for the second time in four years.

Arsenal were hailed for their superb performance against Charlton but Keown was taken aback by Wenger’s muted reaction in the dressing room and decided to confront the French manager.

Recalling the incident in an interview with the Daily Mail, Keown said: ‘There was another time I had a word with Arsene Wenger, after we beat Charlton away in 2002.

‘I’d just come back from a broken leg and we battered them 3-0. The supporters are singing: “It’s just like watching Brazil.”

‘But we come back into the dressing room and the gaffer is totally quiet. He’s reading the programme. So I say: “Boss, are you taking the p***!?”

‘He says: “What, Martin?” I say: “What about a ‘well done’ or ‘that’s an incredible performance’.” He looks up from his programme and starts laughing.

‘Then he stands up and says: ‘Martin, you are right! Well done everyone!’

Keown, who made more than 400 appearances for Arsenal, also said Wenger would often barely speak in the dressing room after defeats, preferring to talk to the group after he had watched a replay of the match back.

Keown and Wenger during an Arsenal training session in 2002
Keown and Wenger during an Arsenal training session in 2002 (Picture: Getty)

‘He told me about this in the year I was coaching with him,’ Keown added.

‘He thought it could only do damage after a game because you’ll say something you regret.’

Wenger remains Arsenal’s longest-serving and most successful manager in history, having led the club for 22 years.

The 70-year-old left north London in 2018 but still watches the club with interest and hopes current manager Mikel Arteta can bring back the glory days.

‘I worry about the club still a lot and I watch all of the games,’ Wenger said this week.

‘I believe there is a culture in the way to play football at Arsenal that I want to be respected, and I hope Mikel can get that back.’

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