Arsene Wenger’s decision to leave Arsenal at the end of the season is good for all those involved, according to a leading supporters’ group.
In a surprise announcement on Friday morning, Wenger revealed he would end his spell of more than 21 years in charge 12 months into a two-year contract.
The Frenchman won three Premier League titles with the Gunners and holds the record as the most successful FA Cup manager of all time having lifted the trophy on seven occasions.
In recent seasons, however, a lack of meaningful challenge in both the Premier League and Champions League saw some Arsenal fans protest against the 68-year-old.
Wenger himself admitted uncertainty over his future created a negative atmosphere around the club last season and this year – with Arsenal 33 points adrift of newly-crowned champions Manchester City – he has opted to walk away.
Lois Langton, chair of the Arsenal Independent Supporters’ Association, believes the timing is right and hailed Wenger as a “fantastic” manager in his day.
“Without question, the announcement that Arsene Wenger will finally stand down at the end of this season is the right decision, both for the club and the manager, although, having been so long coming, it feels surreal that the day has finally arrived,” she said in a statement to Press Association Sport.
“The problems associated with his tenure in recent years are well documented and now that the announcement has been made, there is nothing to be gained by going over old ground.
“Arsene Wenger was, for a period of time, a fantastic manager for Arsenal. The Invincibles epitomise what he brought to the Club and, to that extent, his legacy will continue.
“We have seen with Manchester City this season how difficult it is to go a league campaign undefeated. The 2003/2004 season in particular will forever be a source of pride and achievement.”
While again being cut adrift from the top four, Arsenal have a chance to win a final piece of silverware under Wenger and secure a return to the Champions League as they face a Europa League semi-final against Atletico Madrid next week.
“It is now time to move on,” Langton added.
“We have a Europa League semi-final coming up against Atletico and a first success in Europe for Arsene Wenger would provide a fitting farewell.
“Arsenal has a rich and wonderful heritage and today will mark the start of a new era for the club.”