Monday 28 May 2018

Meet the man who named his son after Arsene Wenger

Ferdy Widjaja understandably doesn’t want the Arsenal manager to leave.

Ferdy Widjaja with his son, Arsene Wilshere Widjaja (Ferdy Widjaja/PA)
Ferdy Widjaja with his son, Arsene Wilshere Widjaja (Ferdy Widjaja/PA)

By Stephen Jones and Isabel Togoh, Press Association

An Indonesian man who named his toddler after Arsene Wenger has said he wants the departing Arsenal manager to stay on.

Ferdy Widjaja, a photographer who lives in Jakarta, named his two-year-old son Arsene Wilshere hoping the little one would adopt Wenger’s brainpower.

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The dedicated fan, who says football holds a “very special place” in his heart, wanted the longtime Arsenal boss to extend his 21 years at the helm until the end of next season.

He told the Press Association: “Honestly, I don’t want him to leave just yet, if ever. It would be better if he finished his contract until next season and achieved the European trophy.

“But I respect his decision and now I’m hoping that Arsenal will be able to win it for him as a sweet parting gift.”

The unique name is “still quite rare” in Indonesia, Widjaja said, but he has good reason for giving it to his son.

“I adore Arsene Wenger, for his intellect, his language skill (knowing seven different languages is a feat!) and many more reasons,” said the 29-year-old.

“I hope my son can be intellectual like Arsene Wenger, and brave like (Arsenal midfielder) Jack Wilshere,” he added.

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The move may appear overzealous to some, but Widjaja has admired the club since he was a child, and fondly recalled the “glory days” of striker Dennis Bergkamp and record-holding goalscorer, Thierry Henry.

He said of the club: “I love their amazing plays. The attacks are some of the best I’ve ever seen and I love the fact that Wenger gave so many opportunities to young players who all became some of the best players in the world hands down.

“Also, Arsenal is the only English club who owns the Invincibles trophy”.

Widjaja hopes to one day visit the Emirates Stadium and meet his idol.

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The French football manager announced he would step down from the role at the end of the season, after nearly 22 years.

He is the longest-serving and most successful manager of the Premier League club.

Press Association

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