He began playing amateur football as a defender for various amateur clubs before making a professional debut for Strasbourg against Monaco in 1978. Although Strasbourg won the French league in 1979, Wenger did not feature prominently in the team. In 1981, he obtained a manager's diploma and was appointed the coach of the Strasbourg youth team.
Wenger's managerial career only took off when he became the manager of AS Monaco FC in 1987. Although he was successful with the club, he was sacked in 1994 when Monaco finished ninth in the league. He moved on to a successful spell with the Japanese J-League team Nagoya Grampus Eight. On September 28 1996, Wenger joined Arsenal F.C.
On October 10 2000, he received a fine and a 12 match touchline ban from the Football Association for "threatening behaviour and physical intimidation" to a match official during Arsenal's defeat at Sunderland on August 23.
He was awarded an honorary OBE for services to British football in the Queen's Birthday Honours List in 2003.