Huddersfield Town v Arsenal

1 of 8
Press conference

Wenger - It was a human adventure for 22 years

Arsène Wenger's final press conference as Arsenal manager covered his emotions, the fans' reactions, and how English football changed him.

Here’s a transcript of what he said:

on how he feels…
It’s a real special day. I think I should have announced every week that I leave because people are so nice to me since I said that! I would like to thank the people here - our fans, the Huddersfield people have shown a lot of class. It was a great day, a happy day, because they celebrated staying in the Premier League. It was my last game after 1,235 times, it’s maybe time, but it was a special day and the players wanted to win the game. Overall I would like to thank everybody. I had fantastic human experiences at the club, above the results. I believe that it was a human adventure for 22 years and I wish everybody well and a lot of success to my club in the future.

on bowing to the fans before the game…
It was spontaneous. I know that we disappointed the away fans this season. Many of them live the whole week and save money to travel up to games. It’s part of respect. We had disagreements, which I can accept, but we had one thing in common: we love Arsenal Football Club. I just wanted to share that with them today.

on planes flying over the stadium…
They had the wrong banner out today!

on if he has a sense of the respect staying in spite of frustration…
Yes, I get that. I feel like I got a lot of respect, not only from our fans, but from England. I reiterate that I love English football but I learnt as well to love England over the 22 years. You do not stay in a country like that if you don’t like it. For me that’s as well a good return from people who love football here. It’s a special country, especially for football. That’s as well why I stayed such a long time.

on if English football changed him…
Yes, look at my face, it has changed me a lot! It’s difficult to understand when you don’t live in this country how deep the love is for the game. It was a fantastic experience for me, I must say. Where do I go from there? That’s difficult. When you have experienced such an intensity for such a long time, it will be difficult. But even not managing the club, I will remain a fan of the club.

Interview

‘In not a lot of time, the boss taught me a lot’

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Arsene Wenger

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang only worked with Arsène Wenger for five months, but he learnt a lot from the boss in that time.

The Gabon international was brought to north London by Wenger in January and has since netted 10 times in 13 Premier League games, including the final goal of the boss’ 22-year reign at Huddersfield on Sunday.

“It was important for us because it was the boss’ last game and it was important to win this game for him,” Aubameyang said. “It was special to score the goal and I’m very, very happy.

“I’ve learnt a lot in not a lot of time working with him, but I really did learn a lot. I’m so happy to be here. I thought he’d be here for years. Of course it was a shock, but this is football. Sometimes you never know, but I was happy to play for him.

“At the beginning it was really hard because I don’t think I was ready physically. I didn’t play in January all month, so it was not easy. After a lot of work with the staff I found my form again and then scored some goals thanks to my team-mates.

“These last few weeks we’ve played well and we have a lot of young players. It’s good for the future and I’m sure that next season will be a good one for us.”

Video

Watch the best bits from the boss' final game

We ended the Arsène Wenger era with a 1-0 win at Huddersfield Town on Sunday.

In the boss' 1,235th and final game as our manager, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored the only goal in the first half to give us our first away points of the year in the Premier League.

You can watch the goal, plus the best Wenger content from the day and a full match replay below, with extended highlights available at the top of this page.

Interview

Watch Arsène Wenger's final Arsenal interview

After his press conference, the television and radio interviews, Arsène Wenger's final ever words as our manager were delivered to Arsenal Media.

The boss spoke to us following the 1-0 win at Huddersfield - his 1,235th game in charge.

Read on for the full transcript…

on the emotions of the day…
It's difficult you know. It's such an emotional day, after 1,235 games, to realise it's your last one is very difficult. For me, for it to be a happy day it has to be a win, so it was a great day because there was a celebration for Huddersfield, they stayed in the league, and for us it was my last game. Overall I am very happy. It finishes well and I wish success to the club in the future. We have a great club and a great team, and with a few additions this team will challenge next year, I'm convinced. They have a great spirit and I will follow that with very, very scrupulous attention.

on the reception from Huddersfield…
They have shown a lot of class and respect. That shows you that in England people really love football and have a great respect. I enjoyed it very much and would like to thank them for that as well.

on when it will sink in…
Certainly tomorrow morning, because when you finish a season and remain a manager, you plan what you have to do next season, and that will make me realise that's not the case anymore. That's why I wish the club makes the right decisions, continues to progress and move on.   

on what he will do tomorrow…
The car drives alone, it goes on the M25 and goes out at Colney. I will still have to clear my office. I will have a few days away now, then come back and clear my office, and then I will have to think where I go from there.

The manager's final message to the fans…
I would say we have something in common, that will remain. They certainly did not always agree with me, but we had something in common, that I wanted to show that I respect and share, and that's the love of Arsenal Football Club. That has to be beyond everything else.

Press conference

Wenger - Herbert Chapman smiled at me today

The manager's final game in charge was at the former home of another visionary Gunners icon, Herbert Chapman, and Wenger said it made for a 'special' occasion.

After the game our departing manager thanked Huddersfield for the reception, spoke about his cherished memories from his time in charge, and looked ahead to the future.

on if he absorbed the afternoon…
Yes, I wanted to get a bit out (before the game). It’s my last day, I thought I deserved a bit of oxygen, and it was nice weather. The people were nice, Huddersfield was happy. I must say they offered me a nice present before the game. It all worked well. Herbert Chapman, who was maybe our greatest manager, came from here. For me to come here on the last day had a special meaning. When you know the history of our club, for me it has a special meaning. In fact there was a photo just in front of the dressing room where Chapman smiled at me, because he was on the photo.

on if he’s thought of having to play against Arsenal…
I’m not ready for that at the moment. That would be very difficult. I think on the day I would stay at home. I don’t envisage that at the moment.

on if he’s had the offer to do that…
I’ve had offers, yes, of course. But at the moment I haven’t even spoken to anybody. I’ve had many offers but when you come out of such a long process, you cannot jump out and the next morning say ‘I go somewhere else’. It is impossible. 

on whether he could work again in English football…
I don’t know. Maybe it’s better I go somewhere else. 

on what Huddersfield gave him as a present… 
A big remembrance of 1,235 games and half a Huddersfield and half an Arsenal shirt together. I came here many, many years ago when we played a game in pre-season for Huddersfield who had some financial problems and so I knew this place. At the time I was happy to come in pre-season and since they’ve moved up to the Premier League.

on how it feels to be part of the history of the club…
I’m very proud of having contributed a little bit to give some good moments to people who love the club, but you know what still will remain, I don’t know. The victories or the defeats? But I think what will remain is the formidable human aspect of those 22 years that were special and I will cherish that.

on whether the players have done anything else for him…  
Well, I will keep that secret. We have to keep some things together and I told the group of players I love to work with them and when you look at our season, there is something in our group that is waiting to come out. We were very close this season and despite all that, we went to a League Cup final, the semi-final of the Europa League ,that we should have qualified from, and at home we had a fantastic season. It’s away from home that the team needs to improve and they will.

on the contribution of African players to his career…
I had in my whole life African players and I opened a school in Africa with one of my friends. People like Yaya Toure, like Kolo Toure, like Eboue and Gervinho, they came all out of this school! So I had George Weah at a very young age, Lauren from Cameroon and all these African players in my team and they made a huge contribution.

Interview

‘It’s been a pleasure, an honour to play for him'

Arsène Wenger and Alexandre Lacazette embrace

It’s been an emotional day at Arsenal.

After we beat Huddersfield Town 1-0 in Arsène Wenger’s final match as our manager, Alexandre Lacazette - our top scorer this season, with 17 goals - spoke of his admiration for his fellow countryman.

on the importance of finishing with a win for the boss… 
It was really important. It’s his last game at Arsenal so of course we wanted to win for him, even because this season away was very bad for us. We didn’t win enough games so I think for the finish it’s perfect for him

on what it was like to work under him… 
It was a pleasure and an honour because he is a great coach and a great manager and did a lot of great things for the club and for the team, so of course I wanted to win for him. 

on whether it will be strange now that he’s gone…
Yeah really when we learn that we’re finished with him. In the team and for me personally it was really strange because he gives me a lot of confidence and he brings me from my club so I will always be thankful for him.

on going forward... 
Yeah, we are in a strong position. We are in Europe, even if it’s not the Champions League, but now we hope a great coach will come and continue like this and continue the work.

Post-Match Report

Huddersfield Town 0-1 Arsenal: As it happened

Arsène Wenger during his final match in charge of us

WHAT HAPPENED

Twenty-one years, seven months and two days after it began with a 2-0 win over Blackburn Rovers – the Arsène Wenger era is over.

After 1,235 matches, 716 victories, 2,298 goals, three league titles, a record seven FA Cups – and not forgetting the longest unbeaten run in English football league history – the most extraordinary, most successful and most transformative reign of any manager in Arsenal history has come to an end.

So this apparently run-of-the-mill fixture instead became a chance for the travelling fans to say a final farewell to a truly unique manager, coming to the end of a gloriously unique period of the club's history.

Arsène Wenger received a guard of honour before his final match

During his record-breaking tenure, Arsène took charge of 22 per cent of the club's all-time games, and managed more than one quarter of all players to wear the famous red and white. He lifted 40 per cent of our total trophy haul, and was in charge nine years longer than our next longest serving boss. We will surely never see anything like it again.

The Frenchman's achievements will live forever in the history books, and now the man himself is part of Arsenal's past.

But his stewardship can't be summed up by mere stats or even silverware and achievements. He brought a style of football - Wengerball as it was known - that became admired all over the world, and that was in evidence again in flashes against Huddersfield. 

Though in truth the game had an end of season feel about it, and was decided by Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang's 10th goal for us since joining the club in January. He slid in at the far post in the first half to turn home Aaron Ramsey's cross. So the players were able to send off the manager with a victory, ending a run of away day defeats that stretched back to the start of 2018.

But today wasn't about the result, it was about the occasion. And in fact it was fitting that Huddersfield – former club of Arsenal's other great visionary manager, Herbert Chapman – provided the opposition. The home fans, giddy themselves after beating the drop in a magnificent debut Premier League season, illustrated the universal respect Arsène engenders by singing his name on the 22nd-minute.

Chapman's influence is still evident around Arsenal today, more than 80 years after his death. Arsène's legacy will also stand the test of time. His stamp on the club is permanent.

But the next time Arsenal play, there will be a different manager in the dugout. That's going to take some getting used to.

Au revoir, Arsène, and thanks for the memories. 

WHAT IT MEANS

Arsenal finish sixth – the club's 59th ever top-six finish – and will go straight into the group stage of the Europa League again next season. The points tally of 63 was the lowest since 1995/96, 

The Premier League 2017/18 final table

The Premier League 2017/18 final table


WHAT'S NEXT

Attention turns to Arsène's successor, with the club likely to appoint our 19th full-time manager within the next month. Action resumes under the new boss in July, with friendly matches against Atletico Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain in Singapore. The 2018/19 Premier League season kicks off on Saturday, August 11 – two days after the transfer window closes.


A CAREER IN NUMBERS

All the stats from Arsène's incredible reign

* The manager's final playing record is – Played: 1,235 Won: 716 Drawn: 266 Lost: 253. Overall win percentage: 58%.

* Arsenal scored 2,298 goals and conceded 1,227 (goal difference +1,071).

* This was Arsenal's 1,000th Premier League game, of which 828 came under Wenger.

* Arsène used 222 players, of which 200 made their debut under the boss.

* Patrick Vieira made the most appearances (402).

* Those players came from 53 different countries.

* 117 players scored for the boss - Thierry Henry led the way with 228.

* The most common scoreline was 2-1 and 1-1, recorded 127 times each.

* The team he played against most often was Chelsea (62) and the most wins (32) and most goals (103) came against Everton.

* He won 17 honours including Community Shields, and 15 Premier League Manager of the Month awards.

* He was in charge for a total of 7,895 days.

Interview

‘I’ll forever be grateful to the boss’

Danny Welbeck and Arsène Wenger after the 2017 FA Cup final

Danny Welbeck described Arsène Wenger as 'a legend of the game' after featuring in the boss’ final ever match in charge of us.

The striker was part of the historic 1-0 win over Huddersfield, coming on in the second half, and afterwards he was asked about Wenger's 22-year reign.

"It’s a long period to sum up," Welbeck said.

"I think obviously he’s a legend of the game because of what he’s done for the Premier League, world football and not just Arsenal Football Club, so that says it all really. I’m very fortunate to have played under him and been through his guidance so the way that he’s supported me and kept faith in me, I’ll be forever grateful."

The fans and players were able to celebrate the send off with a final-day win, ending a long run with an away point in the Premier League.

"it's been emotional time, but I think we’ve got to stay professional in and around the place and when it comes to games, we want to do our best and get the three points and today we done that and finished on a positive note." 

Fixtures

International Champions Cup
Ticket Info
International Champions Cup
Ticket Info

Results

Friendly Match
Premier League