Press conference

‘A send-off that the world will take notice of’

Ivan Gazidis says that Arsene Wenger will “feel the full force of this club behind him” when he takes his final steps as our manager.

The boss will stand down at the end of the season, bringing to a close almost 22 years at the club.

In the final part of Ivan’s press conference transcript, the chief executive looks ahead to our remaining home games.

on whether it was an emotional conversation…
I don’t think Arsene could leave a club after 22 years without there being a lot of emotion involved, and right across the club, for myself personally, 10 years… it’s not just a working relationship that I have with Arsene, it’s a personal relationship and we’ve been through a lot together. For me personally it’s a highly emotional day today, but it’s interesting speaking with members of staff, at London Colney and at Highbury House, just how impactful today is. It feels very, very big. At the moment we are still assimilating that, but tomorrow we have to start thinking about how we move forward. Arsene is going to feel the full force of this club behind him over the next couple of weeks. Beyond that we are going to take what Arsene has given us and we are going to take it forward. I will make sure we do that.

on personally wanting him to stay…
I don’t want to get into all the discussions that went on. The decision is made. I think now it is time to honour him today. I see that and I am really heartened by what’s happening. And you will all see the power and unity of the club. Now, for me as chief executive and the team of people we have looking forward, we have to embark upon a process which we have not done – whatever is being said, we have not done that – because we would never do that. I don’t think it is in Arsenal’s values to do that behind the back of a great man like Arsene. Other clubs go out and conduct their managerial search for understandable reasons in that way. For us, there has been a conversation. Arsene has made his decision and now that process begins.

on the players being informed…
I’ve spoken with Per Mertesacker today after the meeting. I wanted Arsene to have that space to speak to the players himself. It is very, very clear that our players are going to fight for this man and make sure that they send him off in the right way. I don’t know what that means for results but I can tell you that the commitment of these players to finish the season strongly is absolutely unquestioned.

on making a quick appointment…
The most important thing is to make the right appointment, not to make a quick appointment.

on a quick announcement…
Again, really, today we are assimilating a lot. A lot has happened. That process starts this evening.

on the send-off…
We are working on plans and I think West Ham on Sunday will be a great atmosphere. Thursday [against Atletico Madrid] will be electric and I think the Burnley game on May 6 will be a send-off that the world will take notice of.

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