'I learned it all in the pub'

It’s often said, usually through romantic soft-focus tales of noble savage northerners in pit villages, that you’ll hear wisdom in the pub that you wouldn’t anywhere else. If that wisdom turns out to be something other than ‘don’t look at my bird or I’ll glass you, you ****’, so much the better. In essence, it’s a load of whimsical old bobbins designed to divert your attention from the fact that most pub philosophers are just racist old drunks with too much time on their hands.

Arsene Wenger however, subscribes to this myth, and even suggests that growing up above a pub gave him the essential qualities it took to be a top manager, citing the ‘psychological education’ of watching the hard-drinking football fans of La Croix d’Or in the tiny village of Duttienheim.

‘There is no better psychological education than growing up in a pub,’ said Wenger, ‘because when you are five or six years old, you meet all different people and hear how cruel they can be to each other. From an early age you get a practical, psychological education to get into the minds of people.

‘It is not often that a boy of five or six is always living with adults in a little village. I learned about tactics and selection from the people talking about football in the pub.’

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