Interview

'The thank you will be very deep and profound'

By Ivan Gazidis' own admission, Friday was an historic, exhausting and emotional day for everyone connected with the club.

Our chief executive spoke with Arsenal Media about Arsene Wenger's decision to stand down at the end of the season and this is what he said:

on an emotional day...
I think all of us today, especially me maybe because I've had such a close personal relationship with Arsene over the past 10 years, just have a wide range of strong emotions. It is a powerful day, and there's a lot of conflicting feelings mixed in together. There is a real sense of sadness, a changing of an era, the beginning of saying goodbye, but also a powerful sense that we need to activate ourselves, we need to get behind this man. We have a chance to push for a really special moment for him, and for the club and for all of us. There is an energy there as well as this feeling of transition. Everybody at a time like this feels a sense of uncertainty, can we look to the future with confidence. One of the advantages of being in my position is knowing that the foundation, the values, what Arsene has done for the football club can be taken forward. We have fantastic people at this club, with real capability to do that and our challenge is to carry on that brilliant legacy that Arsene has given us and do it in a way that makes him proud. I am energised behind that and I know everyone at the club is.

on why the decision was taken...
Today I am focusing on paying tribute to Arsene. I don't want to get into a public discussion about private conversations that I want to respect. The decision has been made and now there are two things that are important. The first is that we take some time to honour Arsene and to show him how much love and affection there is for him, and to get behind him and make some special moments for him and for this club. The second thing is to begin to look forward longer term, how do we take that legacy forward? Those are the important things today, and today the second part of that task begins.

03:02

22 years, three titles, seven FA Cups... one Arsene Wenger

on moving on from that 22-year relationship between the boss and the club...
You don't break the relationship. Arsene's relationship with this club is unbreakable, it will always be a special relationship and it will last as long as Arsene Wenger is on this earth and longer than that. The relationship is not broken, it will take different forms as we move forward. The love, the mutual love and affection, regard, respect will always be there and the great thing is that for our fans they have the opportunity, which I know they will take, to express what they feel about this man.

on the response from the fans for the final three home games...
Every one of these games will be absolutely special and probably all of us are feeling that there are 270 minutes left of this man with Arsenal here in the stadium that he helped to build. We want to make every minute of that special. For everyone who loves Arsenal, and I would say everyone who loves football, these are going to be special games, and a special atmosphere and I think the thank you will be very deep and very profound.

on his final reflections...
It has been an exhausting day, probably for all of us. There are helicopters circling above the stadium, people coming to the stadium wanting to show their emotions, the amount fo worldwide coverage, the types of people speaking - not just football people, but people from every walk of life - I think my reflections of the day are that when moments like this happen that is when you realise just how extraordinary the reach is, not just of Arsenal but of Arsene Wenger and his personality.

00:56

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