Arsenal have confirmed that Arsene Wenger’s long serving number two Pat Rice will be stepping down as assistant manager at the end of the current season.
The Northern Irishman has been a loyal servant to Arsenal Football club racking up an incredible 528 appearances for the Gunners over 14 seasons before having a stint Watford. He then moved onto coaching firstly for the Arsenal Youth team and then as Wenger’s right-hand man from 1996 onwards. An incredible Arsenal career spanning 44 years.
Rice has enjoyed many accolades within his inspiring long-term career at Arsenal, both as a player and manager. Among his achievements is winning the double in 1971, captaining the Gunners to an FA Cup victory in 1979, winning two FA Cups as the Youth team coach in 1988 and 1994 and of course aiding Arsene Wenger in guiding Arsenal to three Premier League titles and four FA Cups.
Wenger had nothing but praise for his right-hand man who was quoted as saying on official website Arsenal.com:
Pat is a true Arsenal legend and has committed almost his whole life to Arsenal Football Club, which shows huge loyalty and devotion to this Club.
Pat has been amazing for me over the past 16 years. When I first arrived at Arsenal, Pat was always there and taught me so much about this great club. I will always be indebted to him for his expert insight into Arsenal and football as a whole. On the training pitches and on matchdays, Pat has always been a passionate, loyal and insightful colleague, who we will all miss.
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Thank you Pat, we’ll miss you and all of us wish you and your family the best of health and happiness for the future. Although, we’ll still see Pat a lot, as I know he’s planning to come to all the home matches as a supporter!
While it is sad that to hear the news of Rice’s departure, it does leave a massive opportunity for Youth coach Steve Bould who has been revealed by Wenger to be the next assistant manager.
Bould, who was widely considered the favourite choice after having a distinguished playing career at Arsenal as part of George Graham’s infamous back-four, is known to be loud and strongly opinionated and will hopefully be outspoken despite sitting under the shadow of Arsene Wenger.
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