Arsene Wenger apologised for making Arsenal fans suffer over the course of 20 years as he addressed the club’s AGM on Monday.
The Frenchman, who has recently moved past his two-decade anniversary as boss, received a standing ovation prior to addressing shareholders at a meeting which has previously seen him receive a more frosty reception.
Wenger joked that he was sorry Arsenal supporters had to listen to him yet again and for the pain they have had to deal with during his reign.
Majority owner Stan Kroenke presented the manager with a portrait which included the names of every player selected during his time in charge, totalling 210.
“Yes, it’s 20 years – I’m sorry,” Wenger said at the event, which took place just a day before the EFL Cup tie at home to Reading.
“I would like to thank you for your consistent support and to apologise for every minute I make you suffer in these 20 years!
“But you don’t look too bad for people who have suffered for 20 years.
“I am sorry for the boy who was born 20 years ago and only known one manager. I would reassure him that when he will be 40 he will know a few more.
“I have tried to serve for 20 years this club sincerely, with complete commitment, loyalty and of course competence and that was a very important part of my guidance.
“I tried to respect what is important for this club, respect for people, humility and as well always try to develop the team and the club.”
Wenger believes Arsenal, who are level on points with leaders Manchester City after nine matches, are in with an excellent chance of ending their wait for a first Premier League title since 2004.
He said: “I believe the team has the commitment, togetherness, hunger, desire and unity.
“We have a good chance to compete for the Premier League.
“Our challenge is to compete for everything starting tomorrow in the League Cup. Even if you see some new faces our desire is to qualify and fight for everything because I believe we have a squad that is more mature and better equipped to cope with all the challenges we have.
“That is the target and I am absolutely committed to fulfil and give my best so that we are successful until the end of the season.
“Let’s meet these challenges together as you have a big part to play in our success and I wish you all the best.”
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