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17th Jul 2018

Arsène Wenger admits staying at Arsenal for 22 years was a mistake

He gave a brutally honest interview to a French radio station

Reuben Pinder

He was a ‘prisoner of his own challenge’

Next season will be the first Premier League season without Arsène Wenger for 22 years. The idea of Arsenal being managed by someone else is alien to a lot of people – the manager became synonymous with the club.

During his final years at the club, discontent at results spread throughout the fans like wildfire and calls for him to resign or be sacked. He did eventually come to the conclusion that it was time to step down, perhaps a couple of years too late, as he admitted while speaking to RTL, a French radio station.

When asked what his biggest mistake was, he responded: “Perhaps staying at the same club for 22 years. I’m someone who likes to move around a lot, but I also like a challenge. I’ve been a prisoner of my own challenge at times.”

He is evidently very self-aware, acknowledging that he may have outstayed his welcome at Arsenal, as he became a victim of his own obsessive passion.

He was brutally honest in this interview, as he admitted that his biggest fear in life was “to lose the ability to be physically independent. I enjoy my mobility, I like exercising.”

Perhaps his most touching comment came when he was asked whom he would most like forgiveness from. “All the people who I’ve made suffer,” he said.

“In my line of work, we are constantly making decisions that punish people, while making others happy. When you work with a 25-man squad, it’s basically making 14 people unemployed every Saturday or Tuesday.

“Also, the players for whom I never managed to find the key to helping them reach their potential.”

Wenger may not have achieved what he was expected to towards the end of his Arsenal career, but as always he has shown in this interview that he is a man of class.