The Royal Arsenal, for most of its existence, produced weapons destined to kill Frenchmen.
In 1886 its workers formed a football club that would become one of the most powerful in England, but it was a Frenchman who a century later turned Arsenal into one of the most popular teams in France - and the world.
Arsenal – The French Connection is the story of the men behind this transformation, especially Arsene Wenger, whose father cheated death on the Russian front and who himself had to battle corruption and match-fixing in French Football before becoming one of the world’s greatest managers.
This book, which doubles as a potted history of French football, has profiles of every French Arsenal player, including detailed chapters on Emmanuel Petit and the multiple tragedies he endured, the circus that surrounded Nicolas Anelka and the bizarre rage of William Gallas.
Read about the mercenaries, the players who didn’t make it, the unsung heroes like Sylvain Wiltord and above all relive the greatness of Petit, Thierry Henry, Robert Pires and Patrick Vieira.
About the author
Fred Atkins is a journalist who has covered the Tour de France, the Ashes and the Cricket World Cup and a former student of the University of Strasbourg, where Arsene Wenger studied economics.
While Wenger used his degree to become one of the world's top football manager, Fred moved from higher education into the field of unemployment and barely noticed the difference.
Eventually he became an English teacher and he spent three years working in Greece after getting on the wrong plane at Gatwick, before moving to a French school in Hastings, where lessons almost invariably turned into lengthy discussions about the evils of Manchester United.
At some point in the year 2000 he accidentally got a job as a sports reporter on the Maidstone News and he spent three years as the sports editor of the Kent Messenger before going freelance and working for the Associated Press.
Fred has supported Arsenal for over 25 years and once, somewhat naively, wore his replica shirt in a bar full of Paris St Germain fans during the 1994 Cup Winners Cup semi-final.