Arsene Wenger's influence still echoes in Japan

When Wenger returned to Nagoya for the first time this week with Arsenal, a largely red-clad crowd of 43,000 turned out to greet him, waving banners such as "Welcome home, Bengeru (Wenger)".

updated: July 25, 2013 09:15 IST
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Tokyo: Nearly 20 years after his brief stay in Japan Arsene Wenger's influence still echoes, following its rise from a backwater of world football to one of its emerging powers.

The serious Frenchman left a lasting impression not only on his colleagues at Nagoya Grampus, where he was manager for 18 months in 1995 and 1996, but also on the Japanese game as a whole.

"Pass the ball to the future. The side pass is present and the back pass is past," Wenger was fond of saying at the time, according to former Nagoya midfielder Tetsuo Nakanishi, 43, who doubled as his interpreter.

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