Corbyn leads tributes to Gunners boss Wenger
Labour leader pens letter to the Tribune after announcement that the Arsenal manager is stepping down after 22 years at club
27 April, 2018 — By Richard Osley
Arsene Wenger (right) receiving the ‘freedom of Islington’ at the Town Hall
LABOUR Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has written an emotional salute to Arsene Wenger after the Arsenal manager announced he is stepping down after 22 years in charge.
Gunners supporter Mr Corbyn said in a letter published in today’s Tribune that not everybody had seen the Frenchman’s sensitive and caring side up close. Mr Wenger always took the time to talk to youngsters and had inspired them to take up the sport.
“Yes, he can be grumpy in interviews, having to answer often ridiculous questions and face criticism from pundits. He sets an example that you can rise above this, and prove you are stronger than your critics,” Mr Corbyn, the Islington North MP, said.
As an irreverent “and finally” question, Mr Corbyn has often been asked whether he was “Wenger In” or “Wenger Out” on political talk shows, and unfailingly supported the three-time title-winning manager in his quest to bring the glory days back to Ashburton Grove.
While Mr Wenger’s future has been a source of debate for several seasons amid Arsenal’s up and down performances, the announcement on Friday morning still sent shockwaves through Islington.
He is one of only a select group of people to have been granted the “freedom of Islington” at the Town Hall, a ceremonial honour awarded in the wake of Arsenal’s historic and unmatched unbeaten Premier League season in 2004.
Richard Watts, the council leader, is an Everton fan, but added his tribute, describing Mr Wenger as a “towering figure”. The club have a history of parading trophies through the borough and celebrating on the civic floor.
Some fans sang Mr Wenger’s name at the stadium during Sunday’s 4-1 victory against West Ham United although further farewell events are expected at the last home match of the season next week versus Burnley.