Arsene Wenger departs the Emirates as charming as ever as he jokes about shouting at the next Arsenal manager

Wenger has two games remaining at Arsenal boss but neither will be back home

Miguel Delaney
The Emirates Stadium
Monday 07 May 2018 07:26
Arsenal pays tribute to Arsene Wenger in send-off video

He couldn’t leave without one last little bit of charm, as he smiled widely, and one grandiose statement of his vision of football. That’s just him, Arsene Wenger, the man leaving Arsenal after 22 years.

The football legend was asked in his final press conference at the Emirates whether he would ever sit with the fans in the North Bank.

“I would be happy to sit in the North Bank again,” Wenger responded. “You know what the positive of that is? I can shout at the next manager in the North Bank!”

It brought laughs, on what Wenger still described as “a very sad day”. While he admitted he needed more distance to properly reflect on 22 years, he couldn’t help himself elaborating on his idea of the game.

“My ambition was always to win with style,” Wenger said. “When you’re a big club, I think you have that responsibility, and to give the fans a special experience.”

This was it, summed up. This was why he is so celebrated, this was why he initially gave the fans so much to celebrate, and this was the idea he was still wedded right up to now… the end. Wenger still believed he would be vindicated, that he could succeed at the club in the old way again.

That is undoubtedly why there was something of a reluctance to Wenger on the day, why he couldn’t completely indulge the farewells.

That came across when he was asked how he felt throughout the day.

“Fortunately, in my job, you learn to disconnect from yourself. And you don’t analyse anymore how you feel. For 20 years: ‘OK, forget about you and just care about the problems you have to sort out.’

“When someone asks me how do you feel: ‘Why does he ask me that? I don’t know how I feel.’ I have to learn how to reconnect with myself now I have a bit more time.”

That is something he will also have to adjust to. Even if he doesn’t want to be leaving, though, he was grateful for the presentations and the very day as a whole.

“At least they think I gave my total commitment to do well,” Wenger said of the support now so cheering him again. “That’s how I see it and that’s how I take it. They know that my commitment was genuine total with complete integrity. So I take it as a big compliment.

“Guys who manage 22 years in a club of this stature, there are not many. I can always say, ‘My friend, you have been very lucky to have such comfort to work for such a long time for a club of that stature.”

“I will cherish very minute that I was here. As well, it’s a new start for me.” Apart from that, it was as well a very sad day. I came here to make the first photos and then the lawyers came in with the deposit for the rubbish [facility]. The stadium, I’ve seen it worked on every single part, from the press conference [room] to the technical areas. It’s a part of myself.”

Finally, one of Wenger’s ideas was put to him again. He was asked about his line that he just wanted to make people happy… and whether he thereby made himself happy.

“Sometimes to make people happy is to go somewhere else.”

This, of course, was said with a smile. But no little sadness.

“It is a story that ends.”

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