Like a wise man once said that every beautiful thing comes to an end, though a clìche, but the beautiful and intriguing love story between Arsenal and Arsène Wenger also found a conclusion at Emirates on Sunday.
After a wonderful spell of more than two decades the sweet adieu came by from the veteran. Merci Arsène was the theme for the day. While the match was between Arsenal and the visiting Burnley but the day was for the Frenchman. The Arsenal team paid their tribute by popping in five goals. While the result of the match was of much less significance but still the Arsenal’s players made it sure that Arsène would remember his last match fondly at the stadium that he created.
Commemorative t-shirts labelled with ‘Merci Arsène’ were handed out to every home fan to wear during the game and even the visting away fans also joined in and sung ‘Only one Arsène Wenger’, which proves what kind of an influential figure he has been in English football for all these years. The match had a testimonial feel to it where large number of people turned up at the Emirates, signed a guest book which include tributes from supporters all across the world. The huge turnout itself shows how great esteem Wenger still helds, although negative fan sentiment is one of the many reasons he called time at the North London club.
The veteran Frenchman said before the game,”Personally I expect today will be dominated by sadness.”
“It’s an end of a long story for me at Arsenal. But I will also feel grateful for having led this club – that I cherish so much, for such a long time.”
” I tried to commit completely, for so many long years, to make people happy and I wish just that the people who love this club will be happy in the future and get what they really want and love.”
“I’ve met people for whom I am the only Arsenal manager they have known, so now this is the opportunity for the club to have new people and new ideas to continue to move the club forward, which is what I’ve tried to do my whole life.”
Wenger also said,”One day I’ll go upto heaven and He will ask, ‘What have you done with your life?’ The only that I have will be, ‘I tried to win football games.'”
In his farewell speech he wished good health and recovery for his fellow veteran and one time arch rival Sir Alex Ferguson who is in intensive care after undergoing a surgery due to brain haemorrhage on Saturday.
It was an incredible journey for him starting as “Arsène who?” to “Le Proffeseur”, the 1998 team which won the double to the legendary 2003/04, the numerous FA Cups that has been won which makes him the most successful manager in the history of FA. The magical moments that he created for every Arsenal supporters across the globe.
After a few months time it will be a gigantic task to be filled in for the successor of Wenger in trying to fill the void.
On the other hand Wenger might look forward in his career and life. But one suspects that he will be associated with football. As his nemesis Mourinho said earlier he might leave Arsenal but he hopes to see him in football, in a new club.