Legendary Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has paid tribute to the Queen, revealing his “respect” and “admiration” for the beloved monarch and her decades of service.
Queen Elizabeth II sadly passed away on Thursday aged 96, ending her 70-year reign. She’s the UK’s longest-serving monarch and was admired across the world, with millions of people penning emotional tributes in the hours since her death at Balmoral, Scotland.
Many senior figures within football – including England managers Gareth Southgate and Sarina Wiegman – have paid their respects to the Queen, with all domestic fixtures in the UK on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday postponed to honour her passing.
Wenger, who was in charge of Arsenal between 1996 and 2018, has also revealed what the Queen meant to him. “I arrived in England almost 26 years ago, in October 1996,” wrote Wenger on Instagram on Friday evening. “During that time, it was an honour to meet Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II twice. Once at Buckingham Palace, and once at Windsor.
“In an ever-changing world, throughout her reign, her sense of duty, and dedication to keeping the nation united are qualities I had huge respect and admiration for.
“The tributes that have been paid by people from all walks of life from around the world, demonstrate how much she meant, to so many. I would like to send my condolences to the Royal Family, and to all those who are in mourning today.”
The Queen’s passing was announced on Thursday evening. Her successor, King Charles III, said: “We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished sovereign and a much-loved mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world.”
Since then, football has grieved the passing of the Queen. “My thoughts today are with His Majesty King Charles III, the FA President HRH The Duke of Cambridge and the Royal Family,” said England men’s manager Southgate on Friday evening. “In remembering and celebrating the life of Her Majesty The Queen, we are also acknowledging her remarkable leadership and lifetime of dignified service.
“She showed the world what it is to be British. Her values, her dignity, her resilience were an exemplar to us all and she has provided us with stability and reassurance in the best and also most difficult of times. I was proud to have her as our patron and to sing God Save The Queen before every match.
“The team will have the chance to pay our respects at our fixture with Germany later this month. An occasion that will, of course, bring to mind the World Cup final in 1966 and the moment when Her Majesty handed the Jules Rimet trophy to Bobby Moore. As Wembley and the country falls silent, I will think of that and her 70 years of impeccable duty.”
England women’s manager Wiegman added: “I just wanted to join the many millions of people across the world to celebrate her life and mourn her passing. My homeland has always had a great deal of respect, admiration and love for her and I know that is a feeling not unique to the Netherlands but across the entire world. Developing my connection with England strengthened my bond to Her Majesty. I could feel the love the public felt for her, a mother figure for people to seek stability and peace from in uncertain times.
“The national anthem sung with such respect by my players and staff, served as a reminder of what she meant to the country. The words ‘send her victorious’ a line written on our shirts, but was also in our hearts.”