Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is arrogant and a bad loser who tries to influence referees through the media, the Frenchman’s newly appointed Sunderland counterpart Sam Allardyce has said.
Allardyce, who makes the comments in his new autobiography, serialised in The Sun, reveals the depth of loathing between himself and Wenger, who have been at odds ever since the Englishman was in charge of Bolton Wanderers.
“I enjoyed beating Arsenal more than anyone when I was in charge at Bolton,” Allardyce said.
“We’d really got to them and Arsene Wenger hated us.
“There was one time he wouldn’t shake hands with me at Highbury because we got a draw there. I saw him ripping his tie off and throwing it on the floor in anger.
“He takes it all very personally and has an air of arrogance. He’s not one for inviting you into his office for a drink after the game.
“The more I wound him up, the more I liked it. He tried to influence refs through the media and create a perception that we were bullies committing all the fouls, while his team just wanted to play.
“It seemed he wanted a rule where they should be allowed to do what they wanted with the ball, without us being allowed to tackle them.
“It was a skill finding their weaknesses and how to exploit them. But when we succeeded the press were usually on about Arsenal having an off-day and the ref being soft.”
Allardyce also takes a dig at Rafa Benitez, formerly of Liverpool and now at Real Madrid, saying the Spaniard deserves no credit for winning the Champions League with the Merseyside club in 2005.
“Of course he (Benitez) can say he won the Champions League with Liverpool, which is something I never did. But it was nowt to do with him.
“Steven Gerrard took that final by the scruff of the neck and dragged Liverpool back from 3-0 down against AC Milan to eventually win on penalties,” Allardyce said.
“I don’t blame Benitez for claiming credit — but as managers we know the truth.
“It’s like when you make a substitution in desperation and it comes off. You get all the credit for your tactical brilliance when it’s often just luck.”