In his final Arsenal press conference, Arsene Wenger explained what he was trying to achieve with the club over the years, and in the end it comes down to giving something back to the fans.
In general, if you ask a manager about their goals at a club, they’ll probably tell you they want to win matches, win trophies and make a name for themselves and the team on a global stage. It makes sense, that’s pretty much what football is about after all.
Arsene Wenger gave a very different answer in his press conference. We’ve transcribed it for you below, but it’s worth a watch:
Wenger talking about what he tried to give Arsenal supporters over the years. Beautiful sentiment. pic.twitter.com/Py4JSyo7jH
— Dan Critchlow (@afcDW) May 10, 2018
“I always think, the most important thing when you wake up in the morning is to go ‘Oh, I’ll watch Arsenal today, I have a chance to see a good game’,” he said. “That’s basically what I tried to do. To give people an experience in life that is not everyday.
“Every day is not pleasure, you know? I think football has a responsibility to try to give some people a special moment in their life. After that, you do not always manage it unfortunately.
“But at least you have to give them the hope they can see something special, and be transported somewhere that they do not always experience on a daily basis.”
I’d like to think Wenger achieved that goal. There’s certainly an expectation at the club nowadays that the team produces attractive football and unique experiences, as well as winning trophies and the rest.
In the last few years it’s been harder to come by, and that’s probably what ended up spelling the end for the manager after such a long time. Still, the image of Arsenal as that kind of club remains.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan was at Manchester United for a 1-1 draw against Arsenal where the Gunners didn’t create a single shot on target until the 89th minute. Yet, when he signed for the team this January, he talked about wanting to come to a club that plays offensive football. That’s still how most players and fans see Arsenal.
Hopefully Wenger can keep giving people those special moments in whatever he does next, and his legacy here will carry on without him.