Arsenal Assistant Manager Pat Rice is to leave the Club at the end of the season after a 44-year association with the Gunners.

Rice has a rich history with Arsenal Football Club, having first joined as a youth team player back in 1964. A Northern Ireland international right-back, he was a ‘double’ winner in 1971 and captained the side to FA Cup glory in 1979. In total, Rice made 528 appearances for Arsenal across 14 seasons.

After a spell with Watford between 1980 - 1984, Rice returned to Arsenal as a Youth Team Coach, winning two FA Youth Cups in 1988 and 1994. He took up a senior coaching role when Arsène Wenger joined in 1996.

As Assistant Manager, Rice, 63, has been Arsène Wenger’s right-hand man, helping to guide the Club to seven major honours - three Premier League titles and four FA Cups, including two ‘doubles’ in 1998 and 2002.

Arsène Wenger said: “Pat is a true Arsenal legend and has committed almost his whole life to Arsenal Football Club, which shows huge loyalty and devotion to this Club.

“Pat has been amazing for me over the past 16 years. When I first arrived at Arsenal, Pat was always there and taught me so much about this great club. I will always be indebted to him for his expert insight into Arsenal and football as a whole. On the training pitches and on matchdays, Pat has always been a passionate, loyal and insightful colleague, who we will all miss.

“Thank you Pat, we’ll miss you and all of us wish you and your family the best of health and happiness for the future. Although, we’ll still see Pat a lot, as I know he’s planning to come to all the home matches as a supporter!”

Pat, whose last match as Assistant Manager will be this Sunday against West Brom, last night enjoyed a farewell barbecue with Wenger and the first team squad.

An announcement on his successor will be made in due course.

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10 May 2012