Superstitious Wenger shakes off Hughes
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger responded to Manchester City boss Mark Hughes’ outburst over the absence of a handshake by blaming the snub on the alignment of the stars.
On the eve of the superstitious Frenchman’s 500th game as Arsenal manager, the contact-avoider said the lack of a handshake was nothing personal against Hughes, just a case of ‘horoscope misfortune’.
“I have been in charge of 500 games for Arsenal, and I have shaken hands 497 times. That’s just the way I chose to live my life,” mumbled Wenger.
“It’s an ancient Wenger family tradition. It’s just unlucky that Hughes caught me on a day when the stars selected the 3/500 chance that I would not handshake.
“One of the other times I didn’t handshake was when Prince Harry was guest of honour. I wasn’t shunning him, I just could not do anything about it.
“The other time was with Mr Ferguson and the decision not to shake was nothing to do with his achievements.”
City boss Hughes refused to acknowledge the superstition excuse was valid, and was seething that the Frenchman bypassed the skin-touching exercise.
“I always shake hands before and after I meet someone,” said Hughes. “And sometimes a few times in mid conversation.
“You can never shake hands too much, there is no excuse. There is never an inopportune moment.
“Last year, my house was burgled, and before I apprehended the villain… I thoroughly shook his hand.
“I pinned him to the ground and, before the police carried him away, I shook it again.”
Hughes’ furious outburst over the lack of shakey-hand action sent shock waves through the Premier league.
Before Chelsea’s visit to Eastlands, manager Carlo Ancelotti said: “Hughes’ intensity worries me. I will be shaking his hand at least three times before the game.
“And no matter how many times he offends me or my family, I will be shaking numerous times afterwards.”
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