Arsene Wenger: Longtime Arsenal manager leaving club

April 20 (UPI) — Longtime Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger announced Friday that he is leaving the club after nearly 22 years at the helm.

Wenger, 68, posted a 704-245-279 record in 1,228 games with the Gunners. Arsenal owns a 16-11-6 record this season in the Premier League, ranking No. 6 in the standings.

He won 10 major trophies with the club.

Wenger will step down after the season, after taking over at the club in October 1996.

“After careful consideration and following discussions with the club, I feel it is the right time for me to step down at the end of the season,” Wenger said in a statement.

“I am grateful for having had the privilege to serve the club for so many memorable years.”

“I managed the club with full commitment and integrity.”

“I want to thank the staff, the players, the Directors and the fans who make this club so special.”

“I urge our fans to stand behind the team to finish on a high.”

“To all the Arsenal lovers take care of the values of the club.”

“My love and support forever.”

An outpouring of support flooded social media after Wenger’s announcement. Gunners owner Stan Kroenke also issued a statement on the longtime manager.

“This is one of the most difficult days we have ever had in all our years in sport,” Kroenke said. “One of the main reasons we got involved with Arsenal was because of what Arsene has brought to the club on and off the pitch. His longevity and consistency over such a sustained period at the highest level of the game will never be matched.”

“Arsene has unparalleled class and we will always be grateful to him. Everyone who loves Arsenal and everyone who loves football owes him a debt of gratitude. Three Premier League titles, including an entire season unbeaten, seven FA Cup triumphs and 20 successive years in the Champions League is an exceptional record. He has also transformed the identity of our club and of English football with his vision for how the game can be played. “

Arsenal faces West Ham at 8:30 a.m. Sunday at Emirates Stadium in London, England.