ARSENAL manager Arsene Wenger says that he used to smoke on the bench due to stress and has revealed that he used to sell cigarettes at his family pub.Wenger has previously been forced to speak on the subject after midfielder Jack Wilshere was pictured smoking while on holiday and this week the club fined Wojciech Szczesny +25,500 for lighting up in the showers following the 2-0 defeat at Southampton.
A video of the Frenchman smoking in the dugout during his time with Monaco re-emerged in the wake of Szczesny’s misdemeanour and the Gunners boss has explained that cigarettes were a big part of his early life.
“I grew up in a pub. You could not see to the window because of the smoke and I spent my youth selling cigarettes,” he told reporters.
“I have grown up in a period when I had to accomplish military service. At the end of the month, we got paid by cigarettes. It incited us to smoke. When I was a young boy I grew up surrounded by smokers and I smoked myself when I became a young coach.
“The other day, on French television, they showed me on the bench smoking a cigarette. I didn’t even think it was me. At that time, I remember Marcelo Lippi at Juventus smoked a cigar during the whole game in every game.”
Wenger was asked if he did so because of stress and replied: “Yes, of course.”
He was also pushed for an answer on whether it is a good idea for footballers to smoke. “I’m sure there are some top athletes who smoke,” he noted, “but it is not a good example.
“It depends how much. The best is you don’t smoke. It’s an eternal subject whether you are a role model but, at the end of the day, if you make a good pass on the football pitch that is what people want to see.