Arsene Wenger has urged Arsenal fans to keep showing their support to the Premier League club as they continue to rebuild under Mikel Arteta following the Frenchman’s exit in 2018.
During his near 22-year reign as Arsenal manager, Wenger had his own tumultuous relationship with Gunners fans and his current predecessor – who took the full-time reins after Unai Emery in December 2019 – has also faced criticism from certain groups of supporters.
Arsenal have not qualified for the Champions League since the 2015-16 season and the past two campaigns have finished eighth, while some fans who turned on Wenger during his last two years at the club remain vocal.
“My advice is just to the fans to continue to support the club,” Wenger told the PA news agency.
“To Arteta to continue to try and gain the momentum to keep this going. They have invested a lot of money and hopefully some potential in the team and (I hope they) continue to keep that momentum in the team.”
Wenger won three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups including the double in 1998 and 2002, taking charge of a record 823 matches during his time in charge.
However, after the move from Highbury to the Emirates in 2006, Arsenal lacked funds and struggled to remain title contenders, despite staying in the top four every year until Wenger’s penultimate season.
That challenge, Wenger hailed as his biggest achievement.
“It changed completely the landscape (the move from Highbury) because we had limited resources to maintain the club at the top level,” he said.
“For me personally, it’s my biggest achievement at the club, to remain – people speak only when you won – but we were three times second, five times third, six times fourth and that consistency is the most difficult with the limited resources that we had at that time and I’m very proud of that.”
His legacy also includes an unbeaten title-winning season in 2003-04 which forms the subject for a documentary, called Arsene Wenger: Invincible, and with a wry smile the former manager admitted he hoped no one else would match his feat.
“Look, we all want to do things in life that nobody else does,” he said.
“So let’s not be hypocritical, of course it is. But for me it is as well to do the job as well as you can do it, to have not one single moment of weakness during the season and at the decisive moments in the games, the players don’t give up and they keep their focus and they refuse to lose.”