Arsenal Assistant Manager Pat Rice is to leave the Club at the end of the season after a 44-year association with the Gunners.
Rice has a rich history with Arsenal Football Club, having first joined as a youth team player back in 1964. A Northern Ireland international right-back, he was a ‘double’ winner in 1971 and captained the side to FA Cup glory in 1979. In total, Rice made 528 appearances for Arsenal across 14 seasons.
After a spell with Watford between 1980 – 1984, Rice returned to Arsenal as a Youth Team Coach, winning two FA Youth Cups in 1988 and 1994. He took up a senior coaching role when Arsène Wenger joined in 1996.
As Assistant Manager, Rice, 63, has been Arsène Wenger’s right-hand man, helping to guide the Club to seven major honours – three Premier League titles and four FA Cups, including two ‘doubles’ in 1998 and 2002.
“It is very sad for me, because when you work with a guy like Pat for 16 years, it is a very difficult separation,” Arsene Wenger told Arsenal Player.
“I would say it is a privilege for me to meet a guy like Pat, not only for his competence but as well for his honesty, his discretion – which is not always easy in this job – and for his confidential attitude, and for his tremendous support.
“He was one who always gave me his honest feelings, and when I made different decisions he was completely behind me. That is a privilege when you are in my position. I am convinced it will not be a complete separation. I am convinced until the last day of his life he will be at the Emirates.”