Arsene Wenger reflects on his 22 year ‘adventure’: We had disagreements but fans and I loved Arsenal Football Club
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Dignified departing Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger reflected on his final day in charge of the club after 22 years in charge – describing his two decades in North London as an ‘adventure’.
Wenger bowed out after a 1-0 victory over Huddersfield Town on an emotional afternoon in Yorkshire.
A 38th minute goal from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang sealed the win on a perfect day for the long-serving Frenchman.
Wenger was hailed by both sets of fans on a day of celebration, as the home side, buoyed by their escape from relegation, honoured him with repeated applause including a heartwarming, sustained round of applause for 60 sixty seconds on 22 minutes to mark the same number of years he has served Arsenal as boss.
Reflecting on his time after the match, Wenger said: “It is maybe time [to leave]. It was a special day and the players wanted to win the game.
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“I had fantastic human experiences at the club above the results.
“It was an adventure for 22 years an I wish everyone well and success to my club in the future.”
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Moments after Wenger’s salute prior to kick-off he walked to the section of the ground that housed the Arsenal fans.
Although the last few years have seen splits in the fan base culminating in fan unrest and swaths of empty seats, with the majority of fans deciding it was time for him to go after two damaging 3-0 defeats against Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final and four days later at the Emirates, the travelling supporters offered the long-serving Frenchman acclaim.
Wenger also bowed to the ground in an unplanned gesture.
Wenger explained: “It was spontaneous. I know that we have disappointed this season the away fans. That many of them they leave a whole week’s spare money to travel up to our games and it’s part of the respect we had.
“They had disagreements with me. I can accept [that].
“But we had one thing in common: We loved Arsenal Football Club. I wanted to share that today.“
Wenger also wryly made light of the flypast from a plane over the John Smith’s Stadium praising him, saying they had ‘got the wrong banner’ in a reference to the infamous match at West Brom last season when pro and anti factions funded airplanes to display banners over the Hawthorns.