Joe Montemurro has admitted he has had second thoughts on several occasions since announcing in March that he would stand down as Arsenal manager at the end of this season.
“Yes, yes and yes,” he said when asked if he had felt at times that he has made a terrible mistake. “The coach in me and the long-term project person that I am, the bigger picture person that I am – yes I have had many doubts over the last month and a half, but there is a gut feeling that tells me I’ve made the right decision.
“The club now have the opportunity to go to the next level with someone better than me. It’s probably a selfish thing to say that I’m having many many regrets but I know that I’m making the right decision for Arsenal and the club.”
The 51-year-old will take charge of his final game with the club when Arsenal play Crystal Palace on Sunday in the FA Cup. A fan of the club, Montemurro joined Arsenal in November 2017 during Arsène Wenger’s final season at the club.
“It was great because I’ve obviously tracked his career as a coach and read a lot about his way and the ideas,” he said. “The first day you come in, you see the effect Mr Wenger had on the club from the design of the changing rooms, the colours on the wall, just the little things. In 2018 my mother passed away and I remember going back home to my house in Australia, we were out – me and my wife – I got home, there was a letter and it was from Arsène Wenger. I’ve actually got that letter tucked away in a folder here and I thought to myself: ‘Wow, that’s what we do it for’. It was a personal letter, handwritten and it was probably one of the most amazing moments in my life.”
Having given the press a brief rendition of Frank Sinatra’s Fly Me To The Moon as he waited to begin, Montemurro also said that he and the players have had a say in the internal review taking place.
“We’ve all had the opportunity, players, staff, everybody, to input on what we think should be base practices and what we think should be the practices that we should be improving and it’s all credit to the club for allowing our voice to be heard. I’m sure some of the will happen quickly, some will take a little time, but if they can build on the foundations that we’ve created I’m sure the club will continue to be at the top echelon of football.”
Meanwhile, Chelsea’s Fran Kirby has been voted the Footballer Writers’ Association’s Women’s Footballer of the Year. The forward was the unanimous choice of a panel of more than 30 football writers who specialise in the women’s game.