It’s been a tough and cold day today (Friday) since Arsene Wenger announced his exit from Arsenal FC at the end of this season. Several coaches and players have sent in tributes on his departure. Everyone has been feeling sad and happy at one point or the other. A lot of people have expressed their love and respect for the outgoing Manager of Arsenal for 22 years.
The Club And The Players’ Reactions:
During his 21-year spell as our manager, the boss has won three Premier League titles, seven FA Cups and seven Community Shields, and has given a number of academy graduates their first-team debuts.
Wilshere was the 136th star to play under Wenger, and we caught up with him after Friday morning’s announcement.
on his reaction to the news…
First of all, I was shocked. I didn’t see it coming. I know he had another year left on his contract and I thought that he would do it, but unfortunately he’s not. I’m sad. Ever since I’ve known about Arsenal, Arsène has been there. I’m sad, I’m a little bit disappointed that we couldn’t give him the season he wanted, but we’ve still got a chance to win something so he can leave on a high. He’s been great for me throughout my career, gave me my chance from a young age, stuck with me, showed his faith in me and helped me to develop as a player. I owe him a lot in his career and I want to give him the send-off he deserves. I’m sure the fans do. I know the rest of the players do and we want to win something for him now.
on it taking a while to sink in…
It is and that’s why… We’ve literally just found out an hour ago and I’m sure when the dust settles and we have a few days to think about it, we’ll start to reflect on it. At the moment it’s a bit raw, it’s a bit sensitive. We want to send him off the right way because he’s given so much to us, has shown faith in every single one of us as players and we need to send him off in the right way now.
on it being extra motivation to win the Europa League…
Exactly, and that’s what we have to do now as players. We have to put everything to one side and put all our focus into winning this competition to give him the send off he deserves. We spoke to him this morning and he was a bit like that. He wants us to win it for us, and that just shows you the type of man that he is. We need to win it for him really and get behind him in these last few games to give him the send off he deserves.
on the players’ reaction…
We haven’t really had much time to sit down and talk about it. I think everyone was just a little bit shocked. It’s the first we heard about it, we didn’t see it coming because as I said, he had another year left on his contract. It’s not really something that you talk about as players. You just focus on the next game, you don’t worry about who’s the manager and what’s going to happen with the manager. Of course, you read stuff online and in the media but you don’t really pay attention to that, so it was a bit of a shock. Now, all we can do is put our focus into winning something.
Source: Arsenal offical website.
From a Concerned Player And captain – Per Mertesacker
“Obviously he has been at the club for such a long time, he has been so supportive to me. One major reason why I’m here is because of him. It’s been emotional and there will be time to digest it but it is a sad feeling right now.
“He’s been the major figure for this club for over 20 years. He’s been so impressive for me and he’s trusted me so much throughout my career, in bringing me here, giving me the opportunity to play here and making me captain, even when I was injured.
“He also gave me a future role here at the club, so I’m very grateful and humbled for the opportunity he gave to me.
“It is a sad day for me but we’re also moving forward for the future. It’s in Arsene’s interest as well that this club will give positive memories to the fans and the people.”
From Sir Alex Ferguson
“I am really happy for Arsene Wenger,” Sir Alex told ManUtd.com. “I have great respect for him and for the job he has done at Arsenal.
“It is great testament to his talent, professionalism and determination that he has been able to dedicate 22 years of his life to a job that he loves. In an era where football managers sometimes only last one or two seasons, it shows what an achievement it is to serve that length of time at a club the size of Arsenal.
“I am pleased that he has announced he is leaving at this stage of the season, as he can now have the send-off that he truly deserves. He is, without doubt, one of the greatest Premier League managers and I am proud to have been a rival, a colleague and a friend to such a great man.”
Thierry Henry’s Speech:
“It was a bit of a mixed one. It is a sad day for me to see the big man leaving the club, although we all know he has some games left. Happy in a way that people are going to hopefully give him the exit he deserves,” he told Sky Sports News.
“A bit of happiness also because I think recently it has been hard for him and the club. I just hope that starting from Sunday that people are going to support the team and give him a good exit.
“Is it a good time or a bad time? People will debate that. It was his time and he felt like he had to say that. My thing is recently people were always confusing what the team was doing and his legacy. Once you announce that you’re leaving people are going to talk about your legacy and his legacy is untouchable.”
“Look at me laughing. Listen, this is a funny one because I’m not going to go that way again,” he said.
“I was trying to talk from the heart and I went a bit too far. There is one person you can ask that question to and that’s [Arsenal chief executive] Ivan Gazidis, he’s the one who can answer that question.”
“Let’s not forget we still have to win the Europa League,” added Henry.
“The team has to win the Europa League, it would be a major achievement and a great way to give him a good exit.”
Jose Mourinho’s quota:
“I always wish the best for my opponents so for me that’s the point: if he is happy with the decision, if he looks forward to the next chapter of his career and his life, I’m really happy for him; if he is sad, I’m sad.
“Mr Wenger and Arsenal were for many, many years the biggest rivals of the Sir Alex era. I’m pretty sure we will show Mr Wenger the respect he deserves.”