Sunday, May 26, 2024

Wenger: Great to experience the fantastic atmosphere at Emirates Stadium

Arsene Wenger says it’s a great satisfaction for him to experience the vibrant atmosphere at Emirates Stadium even if the move from Highbury and the subsequent trophyless years caused him many sleepless nights.

It took the Frenchman nearly five years to return to the club after he stepped down as manager in 2018, but with the pain of that departure finally subsiding it looks as though he might become a more regular visitor.

Wenger was the guest of honour for yesterday’s Emirates Cup friendly against Monaco, another of his former clubs, and returned on Thursday afternoon for a special lunch in the Diamond Club hospitality suite to celebrate the unveiling of his long-awaited statue. 

Josh Kroenke flew in from the US, the club’s senior executives were present, as were a number of Wenger’s former staff and players, including Boro Primorac, Steve Morrow, Jack Wilshere, Ray Parlour, Per Mertesacker, Gilberto, Theo Walcott and Martin Keown. We’re sure there were plenty more.

When the time came to visit his statue, the 73-year-old flew solo – a few members of the club’s media team aside – before signing autographs for some of the lucky locals who’d got wind of the visit. All in all, he seems to have enjoyed himself.

“It looks a bit strange to look at yourself not moving!” he told Arsenal.com.

“But it’s emotional because it’s an honour and overall, I always wanted to be part of this club, and somewhere I feel I’m part of this club forever and that’s where I want to be. So, I’m happy because I’m where I want to be.

“I was always animated by the energy of working for something that’s bigger than me. Overall, I feel that my contribution was to make this club what it deserves to be: one of the biggest clubs in the world.

“So, when I come now and I see the stadium, I see my work was worth it because I feel that this stadium made me suffer. I’m happy to stand in the shade of this stadium because I had some sleepless nights because of it!

“But overall, it’s great to see it and come back to see such a fantastic atmosphere now, with our fans and with the team doing well. For me, it’s a great satisfaction.”

We don’t know for sure, but we’re guessing Mikel Arteta was present at today’s lunch. The Spaniard has been pushing hard for his former manager to be reintegrated into the club and he’ll surely have felt great pride at seeing the smile on Wenger’s face.

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Heavenly Chapecoense

Arsene is class, period.

Mark

Full stop.

Johnny 4 Hats

I absolutely adore Wenger and I’m so touched that his statue sits in pride of place outside the stadium that he built. But this window especially has reminded me how much more cut-throat and aggressive Arteta is. Signing Raya and Timber are two moves that Wenger just never would have made. Upgrading Xhaka is another. Wenger had such deep loyalty to his players and that would often be to his detriment. Mikel is utterly obsessed with improvement and he doesn’t allow for serial underachieving. What Wenger did is miraculous and historic. But his reluctance to evolve the team left a… Read more »

Spanish Gooner

I agree, but there are so many wonderful players that we got to see come to light because Wenger stuck with them through injuries and bad form. I absolutely loved Rosicky and Cazorla and Ramsey became probably the first Emirates era icon when other managers would probably have sold them once it became clear they couldn’t manage 38 games a season. RvP reached a truly generational level for 18 months after years of injury trouble, but the less said about him the better.

Riku

Why would he not sign Timber ?

Nainsley Aitland Miles

Arsene was restricted in evolving the team due to financial constraints of the stadium move. Loyalty was practically a necessity. It was an open secret since 2006 that the club were satisfied with top 4.

Mikel is doing a phenomenal job but we have spent over 600m since 2020.

Onenil

Thank you Arsene, for staying away when it wasn’t helpful to have our old boss hanging around. It must have been hard.
So pleased that we have come this far that we can have you back and celebrate your time properly.

jw1

Thrilled for Le Prof to be honored– for posterity.

AusDrexler

He is a man of his word and he wanted, needed, to see the stadium build completed and the club he loves come out the other side better for it. Could easily have notched up many spanish league titles and champions leagues, most managers would of walked away much much earlier. You have to respect that.

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

This is emotional

Jon

Sad to see that his hair has all turned to white 😪😪😣 He gave 20 plus years to Asenal. Forever grateful to you Arsene 🙏🙏

GunnerDub

Arsenal who????

Declan Fried Rice with Egg

I’m all sorts of happy that Wenger still refers to us as “our fans”.

Spanish Gooner

It was really sad to see him attend the private viewing alone. Arsene went on record in the past talking about the part the Arsenal job played in his divorce, and a part of me hoped that after retiring he’d be able to enjoy that aspect of life once again.

Emi Rates

He has said in interviews that stepping down from Arsenal allowed him to reconnect with certain people, and i paraphrase, he’d neglected in the past due to living only for football.

LEFT08

Having Arsene come home is …like winning a trophy! Seriously, it’s great to be able to see him and show him our love and appreciation. People like Arsene are truly rare in the world and we were lucky to have him all these years.

mach iii

Beautiful, but it is in reverse!

The Club was at work for something greater than itself, and that is Arsene.

The club is the only begotten son of the living God Arsene Wenger.

He is the ultimate. The giver and the taker of life. Hallowed be thy name.

The holy trinity has truly opened a fourth seat to become the holy quadrology.

Thank you for gracing Your stadium once more.

Bless you Arsene, Bless you.

mach iii

All reading this should take a moment to get on their knees and bow their heads low in honour of this divine being.

AlexNuggz

Merci Arsene! So much love for the man that got me into football in the first place

Abhi

Legend. Out greatest ever manager and an absolute class human being to boot. It’s because of him and the teams he built that I started to support Arsenal and I’m just one in millions. Supporting this club is a crux of my life, it’s honestly become a part of my identity. I get inspired, feel emotional, feel so much passion for this club and it’s all because of Arsene Wenger. I feel proud and honored to have been even a small part of what he created.

Abhi

Thank you Arsene.

Chippy

It’s funny even after all that Ferguson won, in hindsight after a few years and the dust has settled Arsene seems to have a more special regard from his club and fans. Speaks volumes about the man. Legend.

Gatheenge

“Overall, the statue is of top, top quality and it looks like its handbrakes are off…”

Emi Rates

“It looks a bit strange to look at yourself not moving!”

Such an Arsene Wenger thing to say. You can’t read these quotes and not hear his voice and accent in your head.

Reality check

Back at his wise and poetic best. Learnt so much just from his pres conferences.

PayRarlour

“Look err…”

PayRarlour

I don’t have many heroes in life, but one of the few I do have is Arsene.
A moving aria for a vanishing state of mind.
It brought a tear to my eye to see him back at the Emirates and to see that as expected the club still meansas much to him as it ever did, I only feel that the celebration should have been a little bigger.
At least now, he is immortalised and will (hopefully) forever stand outside the stadium he built and any future Arsenal stadiums.
Merci Arsene.

Foggy

Legend

Jennifer

Will always love and respect Arsenal wenger, a true inspiration and a wonderful human being, so glad the pain of leaving has subsided and he can once again be at the club he loves and be a part of something so great

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