New Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce has admitted he enjoys getting a rise out of Arsene Wenger, saying the Arsenal boss has an “air of arrogance”.
Allardyce has only beaten Wenger once in his last 15 attempts – so that might explain some of the antipathy.
The new Sunderland manager was very open about his dislike of the Frenchman in his new Big Sam autobiography, currently being serialised in The Sun.
‘I enjoyed beating Arsenal more than anyone when I was in charge at Bolton. We’d really got to them and Arsene Wenger hated us,’ writes Allardyce, whose Bolton side beat the Gunners four times at the Reebok Stadium in the mid-2000s.
‘There was one time he wouldn’t shake hands with me at Highbury because we got a draw. 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, wihtout 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.’
What do you make of Allardyce’s quotes? Join the debate on the TEAMtalk Your Say forum.