‘I’m an Arsenal fan… so this is a bit surreal’

Although our new manager Joe Montemurro grew up on the other side of the world, the Australian has been an Arsenal fan his whole life, making the experience of working at the club he supported growing up a surreal one.

Having had time to meet some of his new players, get on the training pitch and begin to settle in to a new country, Joe Montemurro sat down with us and explained how he felt to be the new Arsenal Women’s manager.

Here is what he had to say:

on what it feels like to be the Arsenal manager…
Look, without using the common clichés, I am honoured and privileged. It’s an amazing opportunity and I’m looking forward to the journey.

on what appeals to him most about the club…
The thing that really hit me from the start was that it’s a real people’s club. I’d been here for a couple of days before I got the job, obviously to meet, greet and see. The thing that really stuck out was that they really care about their people and they really care about what they stand for and the ethos of the club. That was really evident without speaking of football. I’m an Arsenal fan and have been all my life, so obviously the footballing part of it suits the way that I think football should be played, in a proactive possession based game, and hopefully we can bring that forward in the women’s team also.

on being an Arsenal fan…
It’s a bit surreal. I sort of look and see that I’m wearing the badge and here seeing the legends and the people, so it’s very surreal actually. I’m sort of still coming down from the high, so I can’t explain it, it’s really difficult to explain, but I think surreal is the right word.

on how the move came about…
It’s interesting, I effectively got an email one night about some interest from a club overseas. Low and behold it was Arsenal and it just developed from there, so pretty much here I am and it was quite a straight forward process and quite interesting that it happened so quickly. Obviously they must have been monitoring and asked around about my qualities and credentials and so on and low and behold I’m here.

on it being a big step swapping Australia for England…
I suppose football is a global family and wherever you’re asked to go and it’s the right opportunity, you take that opportunity and obviously it being a great organisation like Arsenal, was a pretty easy decision for me. Yes, the distance from Australia is a long, way away, but I think to be involved at the highest level you have to be at the best clubs and you make the decisions according to that. As I said, I’m just honoured and privileged to be here.

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