Today, Arsenal fans have received the news that many of them have been waiting for: Arsene Wenger has decided to step down as Arsenal manager at the end of the season!
After many fan protests have been staged this season, no Champions League football to look forward to, and a decline on the pitch in results and form from his key players, Wenger’s decision seems best for the club of Arsenal, with the board now set to go about appointing a successor to the longest-serving manager in the Premier League out of the current 20 clubs.
Wenger first joined Arsenal in August 1996, replacing Bruce Ricoh as manager. The Frenchman enjoyed a relatively fruitful spell during his early years, winning the Premier League in 1998, 2002 and 2004, as well as the FA Cup in 1998, 2002, 2003 and 2005 and the FA Community Shield in 1998, 1999, 2002 and 2004. However, following Arsenal’s move from Highbury to the Emirates Stadium in 2006, the tide began to turn as a barren spell of nine years began for the club, with Wenger and Arsenal not getting their hands on silverware until the year of 2014, in their 3-2 win over Hull City in the FA Cup Final. Two more FA Cup successes followed in 2015 and 2017, with FA Community Shields also coming in the same years. Wenger will now be looking to finish his Arsenal tenure strongly, with a Europa League semi-final against Spanish giants Atletico Madrid on the horizon.
In a statement released on the Arsenal club website this morning, Wenger, said: “After careful consideration and following discussions with the club, I feel it is the right time for me to step down at the end of the season. I am grateful for having had the privilege to serve the club for so many memorable years. I managed the club with full commitment and integrity. I want to thank the staff, the players, the Directors and the fans who make this club so special. I urge our fans to stand behind the team to finish on a high. To all the Arsenal lovers, take care of the values of the club. My love and support for ever.”
In the same statement, Gunners shareholder Stan Kroenke commented “This is one of the most difficult days we have ever had in all our years in sport. One of the main reasons we got involved with Arsenal was because of what Arsène has brought to the club on and off the pitch. His longevity and consistency over such a sustained period at the highest level of the game will never be matched. Arsène has unparalleled class and we will always be grateful to him. Everyone who loves Arsenal and everyone who loves football owes him a debt of gratitude. Three Premier League titles, including an entire season unbeaten, seven FA Cup triumphs and 20 successive years in the Champions League is an exceptional record. He has also transformed the identity of our club and of English football with his vision for how the game can be played. We have high ambitions to build on Arsène’s remarkable tenure and to honour his vision by ensuring that Arsenal competes for and wins the biggest and most important prizes in the game. We must now focus on making a strong finish to the season and ask our millions of fans around the world to join us in paying appropriate tribute to one of the greats of Arsenal’s history and one of the greats of the game.”