EXCLUSIVE: Jack Wilshere on the ‘strange’ day Arsene Wenger announced he was leaving Arsenal
PUBLISHED: 22:31 18 October 2018 | UPDATED: 22:31 18 October 2018
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Former Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has been discussing various topics with Layth Yousif during his exclusive interview this week. The talented 26-year-old invited Layth to his house for an in-depth discussion on a wide-ranging number of issues as the star prepares to launch his first soccer school at the end of this month. Read on for more...
The talented Wilshere has been reflecting on the day that shocked football this week as he gears up to launch his own soccer school in North Herts this month.
The Gunners former creative midfielder who spent 17 years in North London recalled the day Arsene Wenger announced his departure from the club, in a move that stunned the game.
The long-serving Wenger, who had been at the club since 1996, revealed he was leaving in an emotion-charged morning back in April.
Wilshere, speaking exclusively to Arsenal reporter Layth from his Hertfordshire home, opened-up on the inside track on that never-to-be-forgotten moment. He said: “I remember coming in that day and thinking something wasn’t right.
“Something was a bit weird that morning. Mark Gonella [the club’s well-respected senior communications director] was there.
“All the media people at the club were there floating around before us.
“Arsene called a meeting and he just hit us with it. Everyone was a bit shocked. I remember Per [Mertesacker] said a few words saying we were going to give our all and try and win the Europa League for him. He also thanked him but it was all a bit strange.”
The Islington Gazette broke an exclusive during that unforgettable spring weekend giving the lowdown on the run-up to Wenger’s shock revelation.
We revealed that the reason why Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis was insistent the search for the club’s next manager only began officially on the Friday of Wenger’s announcement was because Wenger turned the tables on the top brass.
We wrote at the time that according to a well-placed source inside the club, Gazidis informed Wenger the day before that the club wanted change in the summer, but was reluctant to announce the news until the end of the season.
Wenger, who had always insisted he would never walk out of a contract, reluctantly agreed, insisting all his staff would be fully compensated - to which Gazidis agreed.
However, after sleeping on it Wenger decided he wanted to leave on his terms, and informed the staff and players at London Colney on the Friday morning.
The news stunned the staff, leaving many visibly shocked – with the source telling the Gazette at the time: “Arsene pulled the rug from underneath Ivan and his plans by announcing his own departure”.
The much-loved Wilshere, who is still admired by Arsenal fans all over the globe for his service to the Premier League giants in nearly two decades in the red and white of the Gunners recalled his own memories of that time.
Wilshere added from his luxury home: “It was a strange time for me and everyone at Arsenal.”
“It was a strange time. We were all trying to win the Europa League for him and to get the club back in the Champions League. But that 1-1 draw against Atletico Madrid at the Emirates [in the first leg of the semi-final of the Europea League] cost us.
“We should have been about 4-0 up but we drew 1-1 which was a real disappointment.”
See the Islington Gazette and our other North London newspaper titles for more from Jack on Wenger on Friday and for the star’s take on Pep Guardiola and many other topics.
The Jack Wilshere Soccer School runs in Letchworth on Tuesday, October 30, Wednesday, October 31 and Thursday, November 1. Courses are available for boys and girls aged four to 15. Everyone attending will be given a trophy and a signed photograph of Jack.
Across the three days youngsters will also have the chance to meet Jack and receive expert coaching from him and coaches provided by soccer school associate Paul Deller and his ‘Grassroots Soccer’ organisation.
Follow Layth on Twitter @laythy29