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 By Tom Hamilton

What the world was like when Arsene Wenger became Arsenal manager

The Exploding Heads properly lay to rest Arsene Wenger's most prized Arsenal possession, his trademark long coat.
ESPN's Alison Bender and ArsenalFanTV's Robbie Lyle discuss Arsene Wenger's decision to step away from the club after 22 years as manager.
Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis provides his heartfelt sentiment and tributes to all of Arsene Wenger's achievements at the club.

Arsene Wenger was unveiled as Arsenal manager on Sept. 22, 1996, with Tony Adams suggesting the club had appointed a bloke who looked like a schoolteacher.

He would go on to oversee vast change during his 21½ years in North London but back in 1996, the world was a very different place.

What was in the news?

The U.S. launched Operation Desert Strike -- cruise missile strikes on Iraq.

In South Africa, former President F.W. de Klerk officially apologised for the pain and suffering caused by apartheid.

Princess Diana and Prince Charles confirmed their divorce.

In Russia, Boris Yeltsin was sworn in for a second term as president.

U.S. President Bill Clinton signed the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty at the United Nations.

Who was dominating sport?

Pete Sampras and Steffi Graf won the men's and women's US Open titles, while Greg Norman was at the top of the men's golf rankings.

Damon Hill won the Portuguese F1 Grand Prix the day Wenger was confirmed, and would go on to win the Formula One Drivers' Championship.

The U.S. dominated the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, winning 101 medals.

Rugby Union went professional.

The Green Bay Packers would cap off the 1996 NFL season by winning Super Bowl XXXI, with Brett Favre named MVP.

The technological landscape

There were a total of 36 million internet users worldwide: just 0.9 percent of the global population.

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat and the iPod had not yet been unleashed on the world.

The Nintendo 64 had just been launched in the U.S. when Wenger took charge, with "Pokemon Red and Blue" on the GameBoy the top-selling game that year.

The best-selling mobile phone in 1996 was the Nokia 1610, with an estimated 100 million worldwide sales. To unlock the capability to send text messages, buyers had to seek out the upgraded 1610 plus version.

Tickle Me Elmo and Buzz Lightyear were the in-demand toys that Christmas, with the former causing in-shop fights as customers battled over the sensation.

Wenger was unveiled as Arsenal manager in 1996.

The cost of things

A loaf of white bread would set you back around $0.88, with a gallon of milk priced at $2.73.

A pint of ale in the U.K. clocked in at around £1.75.

On the airwaves and the silver screen

Earlier in the year, popular English "boy band" Take That had split up, but the Spice Girls exploded onto the music scene amid a wave of "Girl Power," while Oasis had just played Knebworth in the U.K. for two nights in front of some 250,000 fans.

Los Del Rio's "Macarena" dominated the USA's Billboard Hot 100.

Diane Keaton, Bette Midler and Goldie Hawn's "The First Wives Club" was the hot movie ticket in the U.S., taking just over $15m in its first week, while Kurt Russell, Steve Buscemi and Stacy Keach's "Escape from L.A." was the top-grossing movie in the U.K.

In the Premier League

Joe Kinnear would be crowned Premiership Manager of the Month just days after Wenger got the job, while Liverpool's Czech forward Patrik Berger would take the players' award. Alan Shearer would finish the season as top scorer while the Middlesbrough revolution would fail as Fabrizio Ravanelli, Emerson and Branco were unable to prevent them from slipping down a division.

Future Arsenal legend Thierry Henry was at Monaco and was named French Young Footballer of the Year.

Manchester City would finish 14th in the second tier of English football, with the signing of Kevin Horlock a rare ray of sunlight in a gloomy season.

Wenger's first match in charge was against Blackburn Rovers, with Ian Wright scoring twice to give him a winning start. Arsenal were third when he got the gig: it's seemingly a league position they can only dream of now.



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