Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger gave an emotional speech following his final outing at the Emirates as manager, before taking a swipe at fans by claiming he will be looking forward to being in the stands and shout at the new boss.
The Frenchman is stepping down after 22 years in charge, and was awarded a golden Premier League trophy for his unbeaten campaign back in 2005, and thanked the fans for putting up with him for so long.
“Thank you for having me such a long time,” he said. “Above all, like you, I am an Arsenal fan. It is a way of life, it is caring about the beautiful game and the values to cherish.”
“In my job, you learn to disconnect from yourself. For 20 years, I just felt, ‘OK, forget about me, and just care about the problems you have to sort out’. I don’t know how I feel. I have to learn how to reconnect with myself now.”
“It is as well a very sad day for me,” he said. “I have worked on every single part of this stadium. It’s part of myself, but as well, it’s a day where the next people can work in good conditions, and I’m happy for that.
“Not many guys manage 22 years at a club of this stature. So I can only say, ‘My friend, you have been very lucky’. I will cherish every moment I was here, but as well it’s a new start for me. The fans know my commitment was genuine and total with complete integrity. I wanted to make people happy. My ambition was to win with style, That was always my target.”
The manager has come under pressure from fans to quit the club in previous years, and the slogan ‘Wenger Out’ has become an internet sensation with placards being spotted around the globe, and the 67 year-old has taken a sly jab at those who opposed his stay, claiming that the best thing about being out of the job and in the stands is that he will get to join in with the shouts at the man in charge.
“The positive of that is I can shout at the next manager.” Who that might be, he was unwilling to speculate. “I think it is better I don’t speak publicly about the next manager because I’m not involved in the story,” he said.
“I do not want to put any pressure on the club to choose this guy or this guy and give already a handicap to the guy who comes in because he has been chosen or it wasn’t my decision – I am nothing to do with that.
“I just think he inherits a team that is much better than people think it is.”
Did Wenger deserve all the disrespect over the years? How long will a new manager be given to improve on our league position?