Lee Herron is joining Arsenal as head of academy football operations this summer, and he gave a heartfelt goodbye to Reading after his departure was announced last week.

Herron was Academy Manager at Reading, and in total he spent 20 years with the club. Unsurprisingly, he didn’t want to leave without saying goodbye, and sent a farewell letter to the Reading Chronicle, which you can read in full here.

“After twenty years at Reading Football Club it is time to say goodbye and take on a new challenge with Arsenal FC,” he confirmed. “I have been privileged to play a small part in establishing the Royals as a club that can now compete with the very best.

“However it is being part of developing young players that has been the part of my job that has been the most rewarding. I’ve been extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to work my way through the football club, from a young, part-time coach through to leading the Academy.

“Of course, you can’t have the level of success that we achieved without working and building a tremendous team of people on and off the pitch – this was our real strength. At this club we have tried to produce not only good players, but good people.”

That’s good to hear ahead of Herron’s move to Arsenal, a club that prides itself on class and doing things the right way, as well as of course getting results on the pitch. Those values were instilled over many years, but particularly during the reign of Arsene Wenger. Hopefully that won’t change now the French manager has moved on.

Exciting times for the Arsenal academy

The u23s won the Premier League 2 last season, with a number of players making their first-team debuts. The academy also reached the FA Youth Cup final, the Premier League International Cup final and finished 2nd in the u18 Premier League.

Plus, Freddie Ljungberg is the new head coach of the u23s, and Per Mertesacker is head of the academy. It’s certainly a good time to be a young player at Arsenal. Hopefully Lee Herron can help to make it even better.