By Chris Harris
Vic Akers admits it will be difficult to 'let go' when he steps down as Arsenal Ladies manager at the end of the season.
The 62-year-old has won a staggering 31 trophies during 22 years at the helm but his long reign will finish on Sunday after the Premier League title decider at Everton.
Akers won't actually be at that game - his first-team kit manager duties take precedence - but he intends to keep in touch from the bench at Emirates Stadium while Arsenal take on Chelsea.
Either way, it will be an emotional day for the 'godfather' of Arsenal Ladies. Akers was the driving force behind the club's formation in 1987 and has guided his team through thick and thin ever since. That's why he'll find it tough to relinquish control when he hands over the reins in the summer.
"It has been quite a sad situation," said Akers. "It has been starting to kick in that [the FA Cup Final on Monday was] the last time I will walk into a dugout. It’s a bit strange after 22 years but life moves on.
"Unfortunately I won’t be available for my last game because of the men's game against Chelsea. It’s very sad for me but it’s one of those ones that I’ll have to organise on the telephone. Every 10 or 15 minutes I’ll be on the phone, but I’m not that quick at texting!
"It’s very difficult to let go of team affairs after over 20 years because it’s my forte. I am better equipped at that than I am at most things – even the kit manager role. But there are times when you know it’s time step down. I’ve got a dodgy knee and that will need replacing at some point. When I can’t actively be involved as I would like to be it’s very difficult.
"Instead I will oversee everything as General Manager and run the Club from above now. I’ll deal with the money side of things and bringing players in along with the coaches."Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 8 May 2009