'Ecstatically happy': Arsenal fans outside Emirates Stadium react to news of Arsene Wenger's resignation
PUBLISHED: 17:39 20 April 2018 | UPDATED: 17:50 20 April 2018
Fans outside Arsenal's Emirates Stadium today greeted news of Arsene Wenger's resignation with relief - but also spoke of sadness at the end of an era.
This morning’s announcement came as a surprise to many – not the fact the longest reigning manager in Premier League history is retiring, but the timing of the revelation.
Phivos Zavros, a fan of the club for nearly two decades, told the Gazette it was the right decision for all involved.
He said: “I think it was the right time for him to go but he’s basically been here all my life so it still makes me very upset.”
The legacy left behind by Wenger would also be a positive one, he added: “Now that he’s gone, he’ll be a lot more appreciated for what he’s done for Arsenal FC. He’s left a legacy of beautiful football, good traditions and values.”
Others, however, feel Wenger has been used as a scapegoat for recent Arsenal seasons and is paying the ultimate price.
Josh Chester said: “I have mixed feelings on Wenger’s departure – he was done a bit of injustice by the board and he takes the stick for most of it.
“The atmosphere was already toxic; it wouldn’t have mattered even if he won the league. People were moaning about him for not winning any trophies and when he won the FA Cup three times it still wasn’t enough.”
He pleaded with Arsenal fans to give their manager of 21 years the send-off he deserves, explaining: “Now that people know he’s going, they’ll focus on all the good things he’s done.
“Hopefully the fans back him for the rest of the season.”
But David Marks, a life-long Arsenal fan, claims to have wanted the Frenchman sacked for 11 years. He said the news came as a big relief.
“I’m ecstatically happy,” he said. “I feel like a weight’s been lifted off my shoulders – it’s been a long time coming now.”
He added: “Some people get less for murder than the time he’s been here and I’ve had to suffer with that man for quite a number of years.”
Eighteen-year-old Rocky Adamou has lived his entire life with Wenger as manager of Arsenal and said the news had shocked him.
He told the Gazette: “When I first heard the news it gave me chills and I said ‘this can’t be right,’ but it’s time for him to go. Thanks for the memories and hopefully we can win the Europa League to give him the best send-off possible.”
Claude from supporters’ YouTube channel Arsenal Fan TV is also one of those overjoyed at the news Arsene Wenger is stepping down. He said: “Today’s a brilliant day for it. We needed a big change and it should have happened last May. I was disgusted when it didn’t – he could have gone out on a high.”
But Claude argued Arsenal board members are just as much to blame for poor results as much as the manager.
As with most Arsenal fans, while Jake Lock sympathises with Wenger, he feels now is as perfect a time as any to leave.
He said: “I like the idea of Wenger gone – change will do us good. He’s been here for 21 years – he’s done well for the club but his decision making with players has gone a bit pear-shaped.”
The names that pop up again and again when Arsenal fans are asked who they would like as a replacement to their most successful manager ever are Juventus’ Massimiliano Allegri and, currently on a sabbatical, Carlo Ancelotti.