By Richard Clarke

Jens Lehmann left Emirates Stadium on Sunday with tears in his eyes and a smile on his face.

Before kick-off, Arsène Wenger had said the 38-year-old was "99 per cent" likely to leave at the end of his contract in the summer. Therefore the manager afforded his German keeper the luxury of a 20-minute appearance at the end of the 1-0 win over Everton.

At full time captain William Gallas convinced the former Dortmund stopper to make his own personal farewell. He then joined the rest of the side in a more general thank you to the fans.

Lehmann's name was sung the loudest, proof that his five years had been memorable.

"I had one or two tears in my eyes," he said afterwards. "It was a great farewell for me. This farewell will always stay in my heart.

"The boss told me before that he planned to get me on. It was a very warm welcome on the pitch and I was very fortunate because the team didn't let me down before, just in case it had been 3-0 or 2-0 for Everton, it would have been a different reception."

So how does Lehmann look back on the Arsenal experience?

"It was the right decision from the start to the end, to come here," he said. "Not only in terms of football but as well for my family. My children now are talking, are speaking better English than German, and they don't want to go back.

"My wife and myself, we learnt the language quite well and we learnt about another way of life. A very respectful, very kind way and that's a little bit different to Germany. There are a lot of similarities between English and German people but there are some differences as well.

"As for the football I was part of a team which was playing probably the most attractive game. It was really good.

"In the first two years we won something, unfortunately in the third year we were very close to winning the Champions League, but failed in the end.

"My biggest memory was probably the Real Madrid game at home, when we played 0-0. Then of course the FA Cup Final and then there was the game we became champions at Tottenham.

"I was together with Sol Campbell we were the only players who felt disappointed in the dressing-room because we didn't know we were champions by this time. We had conceded a goal just at the end and it finished 2-2. That was a very, very emotional moment for me.

"But, I said before, there are more memories than only just playing, there is the reception of the supporters. The respectful kindness of the supporters."

And that is what Lehmann saw for one last time on Sunday.

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source
Richard Clarke 5 May 2008