Arsène Wenger‘s final pre-match presser ended a short while ago. The team travels to Huddersfield for the final match of the 2017-2018 league season, but the media had almost no questions about the opposition. Instead, the talk revolved around the boss.
Catch up on the emotional final presser of Wenger’s Arsenal career.
Wenger’s Final Pre-match Presser at London Colney
Our man Arsène is coy over his successor. While it is no doubt down to the trinity of Gazidis, Mislintat and Sanllehi to make the selection, that hasn’t stopped the media from asking.
However, the boss did pass down some sage advice for whomever fills his massive shoes,
“The advice I’d give to him is to give his best and respect the values of the club. This club is respected all over the world and I would just like him to bring his own ideas. It will be a different speech, a different way to see the game. It’s a chance for the players to see something different.
“As well, on the other hand, I’d say to respect what has been built here and what people care about as well. You have seen on Sunday, when you speak about the goodbye I had with the fans, is that some of the fans don’t always agree with my decisions but I think they respected one thing: that I was honest, loyal and committed to the values of the club and to give my best for the club. They wanted to tell me ‘we agree with you on that’.
“And I would like my successor to do that as well.”
Pride & Regrets
Whatever the record books say, Wenger’s final pre-match presser included the boss’ feelings on what part of his Arsenal tenure was his most successful.
“I would say personally from 2006 to 2015 it was certainly the period where I needed to be the strongest and [where] I did the best job. To accept to commit to five years when you build the stadium to work with restricted resources and keep the club in a position where we can pay our debts back, I personally feel I did my best job in that period. Not the most glamorous maybe, but the most difficult.”
Wenger also spoke of his legacy,
“I would say the legacy is what you think is important, with the way you behave with your players. I get so many messages from players, that are not about the trophies we won together, they are more about the human aspect. That’s what the players keep – and the values of the club – that they realise when they go somewhere else. That’s what you want and after that you want the style of play, as the manager has an influence on the way you play football. The idea that you want to give from the game you love.
“The structures of the club, the way you can influence individual players’ lives as well. All that together you would want to be remembered for.”
The Long Goodbye
Saying goodbye is in this case, a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it is certainly time for Wenger to leave. On the other, he is our greatest ever manager. Wenger’s final pre-match presser continued with a question about the long goodbye,
“I enjoyed some aspects of it, yes – and not all. It was not always easy to cut slowly with what you do everyday and always you want to do it as well as you can and you don’t want to forget to thank people who deserve it. There are some people here who I employed 20 years ago who fought for me every single day so it is not easy to say goodbye.”
When exactly will our man Arsène officially leave the club? Or, in other words, when will he clean out his desk?
“I have some work to do in France on Monday, Tuesday and after I will come back on Thursday and clear my office and that will be it – after that I don’t know.”
And, what are his plans after he leaves?
“I will watch the World Cup, I will be at the World Cup at the opening game and I watch of course the Premier League. When I wake up in the morning I look first at what kind of game is at night and that will not change.”
During the presser, Wenger was asked about the changes he has seen in the Premier League,
“There’s two aspects I would say. The Premier League has created many jobs, when I arrived we were 80 at Arsenal, we are today 700. That means from a private little company where you know everybody, we have gone to a normal company with an HR department where everything has to be processed and regulated. That’s not down anymore to your initiative, but every single decision has to go through a process in an over-regulated society.
“It’s sometimes discouraging, so the human aspect has dropped a little bit. On the other hand the financial power of the clubs has become huge. On the other hand, in 20 years the ownership has changed completely. If you look at the ownership when I was arrived and what it is today, it has become completely world wide. England does not own the clubs any more, it’s much more international. The world has become globalised and open, so the competition is worldwide with the players as well. These owners buy players from all over the world. The Premier League has become a world-wide championship.
“The next evolution? Maybe I will see you in a few years and you will certainly have a European league over the weekends. A domestic league will certainly play Tuesday/Wednesday. I think that is the next step we will see.”
When asked about how emotional of a person he is, Wenger said,
“Yes, but I’m very passionate and at a very young age, I realised that if I wanted to survive in this job, I had to get control of my emotions or I wouldn’t survive. I don’t know if you [can] imagine, but at 33 years of age, I was responsible for a top team in France. I’m 68 today and I’ve never stopped. There’s a long learning process of controlling who you really are.
“Control the animal that is inside you. That helps me a lot. I went through some fantastic periods in my life, and as well some more difficult periods. The fact that I managed to keep control of my emotions and my reactions helped me a lot to do my job. Now, after I finish here, I can re-connect a little bit and be a bit more who I am really.”
There’s Only One
Wenger’s final pre-match presser concluded with two questions. First, if the public has seen the real Arsène Wenger,
“You have seen the real Arsène Wenger, one aspect of me, which is a desperate guy who wants to win football games. That’s the thing that matters. That’s what is a really big part of my personality.”
Finally, what does he want to achieve in his career,
“I had a personal fight with myself my whole life – to be as good as I can be and I will continue to do that.”
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