What a season it’s been, Gooners. There’s so much to be proud of across the club: from our players to our staff to you, the supporters. There have been tough moments where we’ve all been called upon to be resilient, but we’ve managed to keep going. That’s no small feat.
Among the challenges, it’s sometimes easy to forget what we’ve managed to achieve this year. Winning the Conti Cup - my first trophy here at Arsenal - was an exceptionally proud moment. We really showed our quality that day: to outplay and outscore a very good Chelsea side when it mattered, in a cup final. Besides, it’s always nice to be rewarded with a trophy!
There’s also been huge progress in the Champions League. We beat the reigning champions of Europe, away from home, by a big margin. We also reached our first Champions League semi-final in a decade and even though we came agonisingly close to the final, I’m no less proud. I’ve said before that we could beat any team on our day and I believe this year, with those performances, we proved that. It was a huge step in the right direction.
We had high expectations going into this season because that’s what the legacy of this club demands but even then, the progress off the pitch has been beyond what we ever imagined. Beginning with a record WSL attendance at the North London Derby only to make history once again and sell out Emirates Stadium for a Champions League semi-final - it’s been incredible. We’re building something powerful here. Long may it continue.
We’ve also seen significant changes at the training ground, where we have built a brand new building to provide us with the elite, high-performance surroundings we need to excel on the pitch. Our men’s, women’s and academy teams have all been inspired by each other’s success this season and you can really feel that unity when you spend the day at London Colney. I think back to the way the whole club welcomed back our Euros and Copa America winners in the summer – that set the tone for the season ahead.
When it comes to our players, their physical and mental resilience has been nothing short of extraordinary. I’m so proud of them for what they’ve achieved in a season so full of challenges. They’re fearless, they always give 100% and they embody our values every time they step onto the pitch. I couldn’t have asked for more.
We’ve learnt how to play with new formations. We’ve adapted as a squad to become incredibly versatile in terms of structure and play and we’ve played some beautiful football. Our young players have been asked to step up and they have done so wonderfully, showing character way beyond their years. We would never have chosen some of the situations we’ve found ourselves in but that is what makes you stronger.
It’s so important to remember that behind each injury is an individual. Above all, we must take care of them as a person and support their recovery as best as we can. That’s what our world-class medical team have always done. Until our injured players can join us back on the grass, we’ll be with them every step of the way.
And what can I say about our supporters? It’s difficult to express just how much your spirit, support and energy has lifted us in every single game. Home or away, Emirates Stadium or Meadow Park - it doesn’t matter. You are living this journey with us. A huge thank you to everyone, especially groups like the Arsenal Women’s Supporters Group, The Red & White and AWFC Home & Away who have been instrumental in creating an atmosphere to be proud of. When things have got tough, your voices have lifted us again and again.
We’ll go into next season with hard-fought experience, having gone through one of our toughest-ever periods. In the face of real hardship, we’ve built such a strong foundation together and I truly believe success will follow. I cannot wait to see what we create in the future.
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