>> It's the end of an era for Arsenal and English soccer, Arsene Wenger stepping down as manager of the London Club after almost 22 years in charge, the timing of the move a surprise. The Frenchman's contract ran until the end of next season, and he'd given few hints that he was about to go.
In a statement, Wenger would only say that now was the right time to call it a day. Merci Arsene, said the club in a timelapse tribute>> Arsene Wenger, we want you to go.>> But there's no doubt Wenger was under mounting pressure. He won the Premier League title three times in the early years of his reign, but Arsenal has since endured over a decade without taking the title.
This season, they looked set to finish no higher than sixth. Even so, Wenger leaves as a legend in the game. Besides the league titles, he won a record seven FA cups, and he's credited with starting a revolution in English soccer. After arriving at Arsenal, he professionalized many aspects of the game, from training to player nutrition.
His innovations were then copied, and some would say bettered by the other leading clubs. Now Arsenal says it will name a successor as soon as possible. Few think the new man, or any other Premier League manager, will ever again enjoy two decades in charge.