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Monday, May 7, 2018

Emotional farewell for Wenger at the Emirates Stadium in Arsenal.

Arsene Wenger signed off in style at the Emirates Stadium, as he addressed the crowd following an emotional final home game as Arsenal manager ended in a fitting and stylish victory.

Tributes were paid to the outgoing Frenchman throughout Sunday’s 5-0 thrashing of Burnley, starting with an appreciative guard of honour from both sets of players and ending with speeches and presentations on the pitch.
After the final whistle, Arsenal awarded Wenger with the special trophy the club had been awarded to commemorate their undefeated “Invincibles” title season of 2003-04, before the manager addressed the stadium for a final time.

“Thank you for having me for such a long time. I know that’s not easy,” he said. “Above all I am like you: I am an Arsenal fan. That means this is more than just watching football, it’s a way of life. It is caring about the beautiful game, about the values that we cherish.

“I would like to thank everybody at the club who makes this club so special. I would invite you to really push to support the players and the staff who will remain behind me.

“For me these football players have a special quality, not only on the pitch but off the pitch. Please follow this team and support them next season because they deserve it.

“I would like to finish by saying I will miss you. Thank you all for being such an important part of my life. I hope to see you soon. Well done. Bye bye.”

Tributes to the 68-year-old, whose departure at the end of the season was confirmed a fortnight ago, began on the approach to the stadium.

A large banner reading “Merci Arsene” was temporarily installed outside the ground, accompanied by a list of all of the silverware delivered throughout his reign.

Wenger emerged shyly from the tunnel into the scorching north London sunshine before waving to the capacity crowd as Gunners fans sang his name for one of the final times during his 22-year tenure.
Chants of “There’s only one Arsene Wenger” and “Arsene give us a wave” could be heard from the stands at regular intervals, while the majority of the 59,549 in attendance donned red T-shirts handed out by the club with the message “Merci Arsene.”

Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke was among those in attendance for the celebratory occasion, which showed glimpses of the free-flowing, attractive football of Wenger sides of old, with a host of club greats, including Emmanuel Petit, Bob Wilson and Martin Keown, joining him.

It was Wenger’s 606th home game in charge of the Gunners, a run which began on October 19, 1996 with a goalless draw against Coventry at Highbury, a decade before the Gunners moved to their current home.

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