Wenger: Arsenal responsibility had ill-effects on health

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Arsene Wenger says that his departure from Arsenal was, in some ways, a relief, as his health was beginning to suffer under the relentless pressure of the job.

It’s almost a year since he announced his intention to the leave the club at the end of last season, but even three FA Cup wins in four years couldn’t alleviate the stress he felt due to the demands of the job.

The former boss was speaking at an event in France, and compared leaving Arsenal to a break-up, but acknowledged the benefits for both him and supporters.

“In life there are some splits that you choose and some that are imposed on you,” he said.

“In this case it was a bit of a mix of the two. Because, at a certain point, the fans need a change. In my last year it was becoming difficult.

“So it was both a break-up but also a relief for me, because carrying that responsibility for so long, with all the obligations that come with it, it wears you out.

“It’s extraordinarily difficult. And last year I felt I was beginning to pay the price health-wise.”

If you’ve seen any recent pictures of Arsene, he looks like a weight has been lifted from his shoulders, and it’s probably telling that a man who seemed absolutely wedded to the mountain of work day in, day out that goes with being a manager, has yet to take on a new role despite plenty of offers.

He also had some very interesting things to say about Thierry Henry, his role as the star player in the team, and what it means when he moved to Barcelona.

Check those out in the Twitter thread below.

Listen to the brand new Arsecast Extra, covering the win over Newcastle and much more

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aberinkula
aberinkula

Tbf, he wasn’t the only one.

In all seriousness, he looks and sounds well these days. And still wearing Arsenal tracksuit bottoms on holiday, the absolute legend

Giuseppe Hovno
Giuseppe Hovno

Love this guy and always will do

VAR will solve the problem
VAR will solve the problem

Although it was a much needed break, it felt like a part of the soul was lost when he left. When we talk about identity of a club, Arsene was a major part and sometimes, perhaps bigger than the club itself.
Sad the way he left but i guess life is like Game of Thrones. Never turns out the way it should…

Wilsheres Middle Finger
Wilsheres Middle Finger

You had me right up until the GOT reference..

hustle6
hustle6

resting up before he starts his new role of Technical Director…

Red-Sky
Red-Sky

Watching Wenger’s final years had ill-effects on health on many fans I would dare to guess.

martin
martin

3 FA Cups was a little help

Goonereality
Goonereality

You’ll see a decline in the club’s on-field performance linked to an increasing dumbing down of expectations from Wenger. Once upon a time, we won the Premiership and domestic cups and qualified for the CL. Then, when we simply weren’t good enough to win the Premiership, qualifying for the CL became (almost magically), “like winning a trophy” according to Wenger. What nonsense. Despite the later FA Cup wins, against some pretty variable opposition mind you, we were still in a steep decline compared to other “top” teams. Can any of us forget (although I’ve tried) the hammerings in the Premiership on a regular basis, and also some in Europe? And at the end of course, he couldn’t win the “trophy” of CL qualification. He should have gone earlier.

Robin
Robin

We beat every other top team in the country winning those cups: Spurs, Everton and Liverpool in 2014, United in 2015 and Chelsea and City in 2017. Remember we were 4th favorites come the semi final of our last victory. A bit of respect for a man who deserves it

Santori
Santori

Respect. He was threatening to turn things around again with better spend freed up from the (mostly) paid off stadium.

BUT he dropped the ball the season when we bought just Cech and Leicester went off to win it. Had he spent a little more then and built on the 2 FA cups, it could have been the title again and a better ending for the legend.

Goonereality
Goonereality

Well, we’ll never know. But the position we’re in now isn’t down to Emery, is it?

Nachoman
Nachoman

Well said

DB10s Air Miles
DB10s Air Miles

And now you’re desperate for that 4th place trophy. Ironic really.

Olivije Žirod
Olivije Žirod

We were on the clear up until the December of 2016 when the contract problems started. English media started doing everything to unsettle the squad and Wenger. With Ozil we at least knew that his head was with us. On the other side Alexis started to perform badly, his body language changed and he didn’t put the effort anymore. If I remember correctly his running stats massively droped after the December of 16th. Imo his personality also changed. Wenger made a big mistake with not selling him at the start of the last season.

Hamburg Gooner
Hamburg Gooner

No, not quite: the real problem at the end of 2016 was the injury to Santi Cazorla – we never really recovered from that (and the injuries to Özil and Sanchez at the time didn´t help either). Just look at yesterday´s match and imagine Santi in our side for the last two years … things would have gone differently ..

Begeegs
Begeegs

Sweet Jesus – give it a rest. It’s a long while back now.

kaius
kaius

People are still doing American Civil war re-enactments and some Brits can’t resist making WWII references when talking about Germans.

No doubt the Gooner Civil War around Wenger will keep dividing opinion for many decades to come

ArsenAlan
ArsenAlan

The ‘problem’ with Henry was kind of replicated with Sanchez, only he lost the ball a lot more. I don’t have the exact stats, but I fail to remember a time where there was massive amounts of frustration with Henry’s possession.

Glad to see AW feels in better health and still offering advice to his players.

Santori
Santori

Henry was superb with the ball. Could not take it off of him.

The other player who was excellent was Santi whom Arsene found and signed off Malaga for comparatively nothing. A real steal too.

Wenger has made superb signings even in later years. Koscielny was a bargain.

Arguably Diaby could have replicated Viera plus more but for injuries.

Ozil at 42.3m (panic buy never mind panic loan these days) was also a bit of a coup for us.

Wenger if anything flattered to deceive bc he bought superbly well in market.

Mslintat does not even compare.

Wenger was his own worse enemy penny pinching on defense in particular. His allergy to tactics and direction from the bench was a different story.

Perhaps an inability to come to terms with the new environment with the oil rich clubs and rest of the league benefiting from new TV money distribution eroding our once stronger market access, was his downfall.

BUT in market he was superb.

AND lets not forget he also managed to improve and convert players into new roles like Henry, Santi, Kolo and RVP, with outstanding effect.

We may not have won as many trophies as United but some of the moments Wenger achieved with the team (even if near misses) reached the sublime.

Football was elevated to a purely different level beyond words.

Like fine wine, we had some vintage years many misses but the moments when everything came together (those combination goals) were simply out of this world.

Goooooooner for life
Goooooooner for life

When is this legend getting his statue outside the emirates?

shokim
shokim

And when will we name a stand after AW?

Goonereality
Goonereality

The truth is that for his own health, and as importantly, the health of the club he should have left some years earlier. Most Gooners will acknowledge the relative decline of the club to where we ended up when he finally left – it certainly wasn’t just in the last year. I’m glad he’s well of course, but he was doing more harm than good for some time before the end and Emery is having to cope with the fallout (and coping very well so far).

Santori
Santori

Nah.

He won two FA cups back to back but the problem was the season Leicester won the League. We should have won that but he was his own worse enemy and we only brought in Cech that season.

Then it started to unravel truly. It wasn’t helped by some disrespectful fans who contributed to the poor atmosphere and compounded issues.

Wenger deserved more respect and grace but some segment of fans are complete plonkers and lacked class.

Hope he knows most of us have the utmost respect for him and the incredible journey he has taken us.

We were financially transformed by the man and he reinvented the way football is played in England.

Goonereality
Goonereality

Yep, I’m afraid. We must be careful of revisionist history. It’s not correct to say “some fans were disrespectful”. The majority of fans at The Emirates (I was one), could see the poor quality of the teams he was putting out, and in the end enough was enough. They weren’t “complete plonkers and lacked class”, rather more and more of us recognised that the club meant more than the man. There’s a limit to how long respect for any manager keeps him in the job – it must never be “Wenger (or anyone else) right or wrong”, particularly when it’s increasingly obvious he’s wrong!

leroy
leroy

you don’t speak for the majority of fans, and you should probably remove ‘reality’ from your user name.

Nas
Nas

Sadly iys 50 50 now.. im on the green side of tbe 50!

kaius
kaius

Couple of things, one – it’s pretty funny how, even today, some Wenger diehards are not prepared to listen to even the mildest criticism of Wenger and try to shut it down.

Two, no Gooner should be afraid to say that Arsene should have stepped down years earlier. I mean, the man is telling us how unhealthy the job became for him. Besides, this club showed him a lot of faith and respect through the lean years. A ‘disrespectful’ or ‘impatient’ fanbase does not keep the same coach for two decades in the modern era.

Even if he wasn’t ready, we should’ve given him a glorious FA Cup sendoff in front of 30,000 Gooners at Wembley, instead of a few thousand at Huddersfield, and given him the option of an honorary seat on the board, or a technical, advisory, or ambassadorial role. Still holding out hope that this happens for him.

.

Red-Sky
Red-Sky

“financially transformed”. That’s nonesense. And don’t take my word for it, go check on the financial reports, you’ll find most our revenue is TV money. i.e. PL related, which has to do with general popularity of the competition. Our commercial revenues are much less than some of our rivals who win big titles consistently, or even Liverpool who haven’t won anything for a long time.

Jman
Jman

If the health of club was that bad . . . how come we vying for 4th place?

Gunner142
Gunner142

It’s funny how people forget that he sacrificed his pride and peak time by staying with the club at a critical financial period. Like modern day managers he never complained about budgets publicly. While Ferguson was buying the best talents from PL teams, he had to stayed back and watch his low budget team get hammered 7-1 and loss his dignity.

He could easily have left for real, barca or bayern and get a few more trophies in his collection. And guess what whom would’ve you bring to get you success in that low budget? I think even Sam Allardyce would have rejected the offer if he knew there was no money. Just joking!!

Wenger didnt won any trophy but he made me a fan of Arsenal when I was just starting to watch football more regularly. He brought a huge fan base with his style. He tried to climb the mountain with bare hands.

Spurs are in a similar situation. To understand how much he sacrificed for Arsenal, just watch Pochetinno. Will Pochetino stay at spurs with lack of investment? I don’t think Pochetinno will sacrifice his career at Spurs like Wenger did.

Crash Fistfight
Crash Fistfight

Personally I think Pochettino will stay at Spurs for the same reason Arsene stayed at Arsenal: there is/was never any pressure to deliver immediate success in terms of trophies. I don’t deny that there’s the whole project thing as well, to take into account, but I think that’s part of the same argument – they got the club to the position of success (even if that means winning fuck all if you’re Pochettino) so they’re allowed leeway if things don’t go so well (“be careful what you wish for”).

Do you think Spurs will sack Pochettino if they finish 5th/6th? Of course not, because they know getting someone else in would be a huge risk. He’ll use the ‘interest’ from big clubs to get a nice big fat pay-rise. I’d imagine it’s the same thing that Diego Simeone has done in order to become the highest-paid manager in Europe – Atleti are never going to finish outside the top 3 in Spain and other than that, there’s no pressure on him to win something every season. Why go to Real or PSG where you’ll be sacked for not winning the league and/or the CL every season?

Bobbyt
Bobbyt

Love this guy, he lived the club but I guess it was too much/too long in the end. Best of luck to him and hope he returns to the game soon

thw14
thw14

I’m happy for him. He was always a much, much better mind and person than to serve as a shield for the club’s soul-less owners. The vast expanse of daylight between them has only served to restore his sheen.

And – at least so far – show the Kroenkes up as rank amateurs, salvaged by another decent manager they don’t quite deserve.

Santori
Santori

The shameful thing is how some fans treated Arsene.

Sure he lost his way toward the end but they did little favour contributing to the tepid if hostile atmosphere at the Emirates.

In truth the season when Wenger only signed Cech and Leicester went on to win it was the catalyst.

BUT the gaffer should have commanded better support even so.

That said, Unai has been a great signing.

He’s been clever not tried to reinvent the wheel (like Arteta would have). Instead he’s improved what he has on hand, tweaked and intervened from the sidelines and given direction where Wenger was ethically opposed to.

Plus he has been politically astute. He gave the under performing Mslintat enough of a chance before moving on.

And he has man managed his top asset ozil very well.

These same fans were all too eager to make noise about giving the new gaffer 3 seasons to turn things round but the slight bump in December, the same voices were already calling for his head.

Comedy channel AFTV.

Assshavin
Assshavin

The signings we made while Mislintat was here, were all great signings, except for maybe Lichtsteiner.

lari03
lari03

Dude, would you just keep quiet?

Some folks like me have been crying wolf even when Wenger was winning with the Invincibles before the reality unravelled.

What if you learn that the Invincibles underperformed under Wenger? Do they have a Champions League title to show? Yet we were one of the best teams in Europe during that era.

I appreciate Wenger and Arsenal maintained a good level during his first 10 years with David Dein in the saddle, but his weaknesses were glaring even back then.

Remember Marlon Harewood of West Ham, and how the London derbies of that era were really tough, a good tactical coach would have figured a way to neutralize such threats.

shokim
shokim

Top man. Arsene should take it easy and enjoy his retirement. Although he could enjoy the occasional punditry of course.

Francesc
Francesc

He seems to very much into Qatar WC organizing.

Btw anyone has any idea how I can get a job in Qatar WC organizing, preferably in finance?

Crash Fistfight
Crash Fistfight

Do you know anything about sticking money in brown paper envelopes?

Leon
Leon

I hope he is enjoying his time off and see’s there is a lot more to life than football – a hell of a lot more.
If he is as sensible as I imagine he is he will stay well clear of football management.
There is, however a director of football post available if he is interested !

Goonerink

i wanted that from the start.
i wonder if he would be interested, having the time away may have changed his view on such a role.
AFAIK wenger never liked the roles because he saw their jobs as the managers job.
which to be fair it is. however we have a modern structure now with a head coach and a DoF and what not.
does he fancy coming back to do the backroom jobs of a manager, without the press and stress?

or would he prefer a big cheque managing elsewhere?

Goonerink

Full transcript looks like he would be interested!

Jarghs
Jarghs

I miss him. I don’t necessarily miss Arsene the manager but I truly miss Arsene the man. I wish he was on my telly box each week, talking about football… or French poetry, wine, politics, anything really.

Dave Cee
Dave Cee

Why is my discussion being interruoted by shit ads. Blogs u have sold out. Sad

Dave Cee
Dave Cee

I won.t say last time bcos i used to love this site..but really SAD

Kroenke the Klown
Kroenke the Klown

An OK attempt at trolling but you can do better Dave

Vonnie
Vonnie

The only reason it got to the stage it did was because Arsene wouldn’t delegate and surrounded himself with yes men. I will never disrespect him, but he was responsible for his own situation and nobody around him was strong enough to intervene until it was all too late. I’ll be honest, I was delighted when he left, and I think both he and the club handled the situation well, all things considered. The first ten years of Arsene were fantastic, the next few not so good and the last five were totally toxic. I think it will take a few more years before the situation settles down, but there can be absolutely no denying that we were a team in decline for the last years of his management.

KongoKim
KongoKim

Is there a full transcript or video(english/subtitles)?
When he says this stressful job affected his health, which is absolutly understandable, does that mean he will take a job bit far away from the great spotlight? He said in an interview that his only regret during his Arsenal years is that he never experienced something else so perfect fit imo would be nationalcoach of an non european country like i dunno…Iran, Costa Rica, Marocco, Tansania… where his wisdom might be needed or a job with a certain responisibility like Colombia, Ivory Coast, Japan or why not Argentina/Brazil. But sure he knows what hes doing tho.

Teryima Adi
Teryima Adi

Les Professeur…

HiredGooner
HiredGooner

I actually remember being so mad during the 2006-07 season where it seemed like all we would do in our league matches was knock it up to Henry and cross our fingers

Espen
Espen

Arsene Legend!

Lan
Lan

This man’s autobiography would be a global bestseller. Do it, Arsene!