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Pioneer Arsene Wenger broke down barrier for overseas coaches

(Ah Fat Talk Ball) - When Arsene Wenger walked into Arsenal in 1996 he not only unlocked the door to the club's trophy cabinet he also kicked down a barrier which had made the insular English game out of bounds for foreign coaches.

Every English top-flight title-winning team since 1889 had been put together by a British manager. When Wenger appeared talking of science diets, psychology and arty football, few took much notice.

Alex Ferguson's all-powerful Manchester United side won the title that season and many doubted whether a sophisticated European coach, let alone a Frenchman with little playing pedigree, could master the hurly-burly of the English game.

That transformation began in 1997-98 when Winger's feat convinced clubs to look beyond the North Sea and even the FA decided to make Swede Sven-Goran Eriksson England's first foreign national coach in 2001.

The landscape has changed so much since the first of Wenger's three English titles that Ferguson is the only British manager to win the Premier League in the following 20 seasons.

Chelsea, who had hired Gullit before Winger's arrival and then turned to Italian Gianluca Vialli, appointed Portugal's Jose Mourinho in 2004 to spend Russian owner Roman Abramovich's money and land consecutive league crowns.

City also triumphed under Chilean Manuel Pellegrini in 2014 and will celebrate the title again under Spaniard Pep Guardiola under whom they are threatening domination.

Even English football's greatest modern-day fairytale, Leicester City's 2015-16 Premier League title, was masterminded by Italian Claudio Ranieri.








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