Arsenal Manager History: List of Arsenal Managers Past & Present

Over the years Arsenal has had many managers – some great, some not so memorable. With these various bosses, the Gunners have managed to win a number of trophies and awards and proved themselves to be one of the finest teams in England when they are at their best.

The full history of Arsenal managers can be seen below, starting from 1894 when we have details of their first gaffer. Whilst the club was founded in 1886, they did not initially name a permanent, official manager. Instead, they had a secretary-manager who looked after both on-field issues and the more general running of the club. They also used a system of management by committee between 1893 and 1897 with directors in charge.

  • Sam Hollis, 1894 to 1897
  • Tom Mitchell, 1897 to 1898
  • George Elcoat, 1898 to 1899
  • Harry Bradshaw, 1899 to 1904
  • Philip Kelso, 1904 to 1908
  • George Morrell, 1908 to 1915
  • James McEwan, 1915 to 1919
  • Leslie Knighton, 1919 to 1925
  • Herbert Chapman, 1925 to 1934
  • George Allison, 1934 to 1947
  • Tom Whittaker, 1947 to 1956
  • Jack Crayston, 1956 to 1958
  • George Swindin, 1958 to 1962
  • Billy Wright, 1962 to 1966
  • Bertie Mee, 1966 to 1976
  • Terry Neill, 1976 to 1983
  • Don Howe, 1983 to 1986
  • Steven Burtenshaw, 1986 to 1986
  • George Graham, 1986 to 1995
  • Stewart Houston, 1995 to 1995
  • Bruce Rioch, 1995 to 1996
  • Stewart Houston, 1996 to 1996
  • Pat Rice, 1996 to 1996
  • Arsène Wenger, 1996 to 2018
  • Unai Emery, 2018 to 2019
  • Mikel Arteta, 2019 to Present

Mikel Arteta, Dec 2019 to Present

Mikel Arteta
Prime Video AU & NZ | – CC BY 3.0

Although Mikel Arteta has been in charge for a relatively short time, he has managed to make his mark in the Premier League and with the fans after a rocky start. So far with Arsenal, former Everton player Arteta has managed to win a total of two trophies, the FA Cup, and the Community Shield.

Although these aren’t the most impressive trophies and Arteta has only won two so far, after Arsenal’s downfall since the end of Arsène Wenger’s time at the club and his departure, it is definitely a step in the right direction. To build on this success Arteta’s men are currently fighting for the 2022-23 Premier League title and are still in the Europa League. Fans are excited to see what their former player can do in the future and hope he can build on his success so far.

Unai Emery, Jul 2018 to Nov 2019

Unai Emery
Aleksandr Osipov | – CC BY-SA 2.0

Unai Emery had a very short spell at the club and only managed to stay for about a year and a half. He didn’t manage to win anything with Arsenal and his most impressive feat with the club is achieving a fifth-place finish in the Premier League and a Europa League final appearance against Chelsea which they lost 4-1. After a poor start to his second season at the club, Emery was sacked by the owners due to demands from the fans and not being able to get his team to perform to a high enough standard.

Arsène Wenger, Oct 1996 to Jun 2018

Arsene Wenger
Gaius Cornelius | – CC BY-SA 4.0

Arsène Wenger is arguably Arsenal’s most successful and well-known manager to have ever worked for the club. During his 22 years at the north London giants, Wenger managed to win 17 trophies in total which consisted of three Premier League titles, seven FA Cups, and seven Community Shields.

Wenger managed to win his first Premier League title with Arsenal in just his second season with the club, which cemented his place as a hero of the Gunners and their fans instantly. His second and third league titles with Arsenal came in his sixth and eighth seasons with the club.

After managing these titles and trophies over his first decade in the club job, fans were eager to see if they could continue winning league titles and many supporters were expecting Arsenal to win European titles too. Unfortunately, this did not happen and after Wenger’s third English top-tier title he didn’t manage another.

There was no success in Europe either, after qualifying multiple times over the years Wenger’s players could never seem to get very far in the numerous European competitions they qualified for and each year they always seemed to fall short. The best it got on the European front was in 2000 when they were runners-up in the UEFA Cup, and more impressively in 2006 when they lost the final of the Champions League. Fans started to grow more and more impatient as they drifted further from the top of English and European football. This eventually resulted in Wenger’s time at the club ending in the summer of 2018.

Bruce Rioch, Jun 1995 to Aug 1996

Bruce Rioch
Simon Wedege Petersen | – CC BY 3.0

Another manager that had a short spell at the club, Bruce Rioch only managed one season at the Gunners. In the end they finished fifth, which, although it wasn’t good enough to keep him as the manager, was a big improvement upon a 12th place finish the season before. This effort was ultimately the steppingstone that allowed Wenger to become the next Gunners manager and start his success story.

George Graham, May 1986 to Feb 1995

George Graham
Rob Mieremet | – CC BY-SA 3.0 nl

Another one of Arsenal’s longest-serving managers, Graham managed to win two of Arsenal’s tally of league titles, which came in 1989 and 1991. In addition, he also managed to win an FA Cup, two EFL Cups, and a European Cup Winners’ Cup. All these titles with the Gunners have secured George Graham’s status as one of Arsenal’s all-time greatest managers and a legend of the club.

A testament to his class is that he was in charge of the club for almost 10 years and managed them for a total of 287 matches. Unfortunately though, his time at the club ended rather disgracefully as he was found guilty of taking money from transfers and was sacked by the board. Even though he paid the money he took back, this was not enough for him to be reinstated. Although that was clearly not the end to his Arsenal managerial career he wanted, he still had a good spell at the club and is remembered very fondly by fans.