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On this day in 2018: Arsene Wenger announces his Arsenal exit

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 20 Apr 2024

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On this day in 2018, Arsene Wenger announced he would step down as Arsenal manager at the end of the season after almost 22 years in the role.

Appointed in September 1996, the Frenchman had presided over a glittering period in the club’s history which yielded three Premier League titles, the last of them famously secured by his “Invincibles”, who went through the 2003-04 league campaign unbeaten.

In addition, former Nancy, Monaco and Grampus Eight boss Wenger guided the club to FA Cup glory on seven occasions and secured 20 successive seasons of Champions League football during a reign spanning 1,235 matches, 828 of them in the top flight.

However, his announcement came amid mounting disquiet over the club’s showing in both the Premier League and Europe, with three FA Cup successes in four years failing to placate his critics.

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.”

Majority owner Stan Kroenke paid tribute to the man who had gone toe-to-toe with Manchester United counterpart Sir Alex Ferguson and Chelsea’s Jose Mourinho.

Kroenke said: “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 Arsene 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. Arsene has unparalleled class and we will always be grateful to him.”

Wenger, described by Ferguson as “without doubt one of the greatest Premier League managers” and by former Gunners skipper Tony Adams as “the greatest Arsenal manager”, bowed out after a 1-0 final-day victory at Huddersfield on May 13, 2018.

The 68-year-old said afterwards: “I feel that I got a lot of respect not only from our fans, but from England. I would reiterate I loved English football, but I also learned to love England. You do not stay 22 years if you don’t like it.”

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