Arsenal have confirmed that Steve Bould and Neil Banfield have joined the club’s first team set-up.
Bould, as Arsene Wenger stated a couple of weeks back, will be the new assistant manager, while Banfield is the new first team coach.
“I have always felt it is important to have people around who understand what this great Club is all about,” explained the boss.
“With Steve and Neil joining the first-team staff, it ensures we carry forward our traditions and approach in a consistent way. I am looking forward to working closely with Steve and Neil and wish them every success.”
The duo, who have progressed from coaching the under-12s and under-14s to the Youth team and Reserves respectively during Wenger’s time at the club, have, as you might have expected, spoken with pride about their promotions, while both stressing their desire to maintain the manager’s footballing philosophy.
“It is more than excitement, it is an absolute privilege and an honour,” Bould told Arsenal.com.
“I know I have some big shoes to fill with Pat having spent 44 years at the Club and that is going to be the hard part.
“There is a brand and philosophy that we have to play. That is No 1 whether it is youth players, reserve players or first-team players.
“All of our kids have to be technically sound and able to play and that is the basis we all work off. First and foremost is the philosophy of the football club and the manager.”
Explaining that he thought the boss was inviting him in for a chat about why he’d be staying with the Reserves, Banfield rather charmingly relayed what happened when he was told of his new position.
“The manager invited me into his office, and with Steve Bould going up to be assistant manager I thought that he may have pulled me in to explain his decision. To me it was a logical move anyway, but I thought it was nice of him to explain it to me.
“Then he told me he wanted me to become first-team coach, and you could have knocked me over. I was a bit gobsmacked to be honest, but after the initial surprise and sense of achievement inside, I was just delighted.
“I am absolutely delighted, it is a dream come true. To think I am now going to be first-team coach… well I pinch myself sometimes. I am really looking forward to it.”
You can’t fault the enthusiasm of either man, that’s for sure. Congratulations to them both and may they both be successful in giving Arsene big hugs, laying out cones and pinning unruly slackers against the dressing room wall with gusto.
An announcement on who’ll be taking over the Youth Team and Reserves is expected shortly.