Arsene Wenger came away from seeing his team win convincingly at home yet again, but he admitted that it was the attitude of the fans in England that made him finally decide to step down. There have been many empty seats in recent home games and that was the fact today as well, and he is hoping that his departure will bring the fans back together again.
When asked if he was relieved to be finally getting away from the pressure of being Arsenal manager, but he said that was not his reason for leaving. “I was not tired.” he said.
“I believe that this club is respected all over the world, much more than in England. Our fans didn’t give the image of unity I want at the club. That was hurtful.”
“I feel the club is respected. The image we gave from our club is not what it is and not what I like.”
“Nothing more to say. I feel that this club has a fantastic image and for me that is absolutely vital.
“We can speak and speak and speak. Sport is about winning and losing and you have to accept that you will lose games when I am not here anymore.
“[Sport] is as well about something bigger than just winning and losing. For me that was always a worry, how the club was perceived worldwide. For kids who play in Africa, in China, America. The dream that it can create for young children who want to play football.
“All our clubs have a responsibility in that.”
“I’m not resentful and I do not want to make stupid headlines. I am not resentful with the fans. I just feel if my personality is in the way of what I think our club for me that is more important than me. That is all I want to say. It is nothing to do with the fans.
“The fans were not happy and I can understand that. It’s my job. I have to live with that. I can accept that.”
He was then asked if the atmosphere at the Emirates as damaging to the club, and he replied: “I don’t know. It was not corresponding to what I really feel our club is perceived and has to be perceived [as] all over the world.
“If you travel with us this club is respected all over the world. That’s down to work and as well to the way we play football, the way we behave and the way we treat people. I want that to go on and to be respected, to give the image I think is right.
“There’s a lot of money in the game. Above that is more than the money, more than the results. It’s the way a club is perceived and the example the club gives all over the world.”
So he feels that he was damaging the club’s reputation by staying on, but he makes the point that whoever comes in to replace him will also lose games, maybe even more than him. Will the new manager get even more hatred if he loses more than Wenger? Or will the fans give him a chance?