By Tony Attwood
Joe Montemurro, manager of Arsenal Women’s team, has announced that he will leave Arsenal at the end of this season. He called it the “hardest professional decision” of his life, adding,
“I absolutely love this job and this club, the club I have supported all my life. I’m hugely grateful to the club for their unrelenting support during my time here and in understanding and respecting my decision.”
A statement from Arsenal said, “Joe has done a fantastic job over the past three years, leading us to a first Women’s Super League title in seven years in 2019, four cup finals and a Champions League quarter-final, while building a talented and competitive squad. …
Joe has decided to take a professional break to recharge and dedicate more time to spending with his family.”
Speaking of his decision Joe said, “My three-and-a-half years at Arsenal have been a fantastic adventure, the highlight of my coaching career. I have had the opportunity to work with and learn from some of the best in the industry on and off the pitch.
“This has been the hardest professional decision of my life, as I absolutely love this job and this club, the club I have supported all my life. I’m hugely grateful to the club for their unrelenting support during my time here and in understanding and respecting my decision.
“I’ve had a fantastic time here at Arsenal and I am proud of what we have achieved. I must thank all the fans, players, staff and the club. This club has always been a leader in women’s football and I will be cheering us on to the next level as I watch as a passionate and enduring fan.
“My focus now is helping the team to complete the season strongly and finishing as high as possible in the WSL, leaving the club in good shape for the future.”
He also said that he was “scared he would not be allowed back in the club” having told Vinai Venkatesham and Clare Wheatley of his intention to return to Australia, adding, “They’ve been absolutely amazing. I can sit here and safely say that I will be forever part of the Arsenal family and I was one of the lucky ones that got to work here and give my all and meet some amazing people.
Joe’s comment on how he told his team he was leaving is typical of the guy. “I was a mess. I was waffling on a bit, I didn’t even know what I was saying – it was really really hard,” he said.
Joe leaves the club at a time when the women’s football in England has changed dramatically with Manchester City and Chelsea ploughing in “as much cash as it takes” in order to become the dominant team in England, and then in Europe. What is so impressive is that despite having a much smaller financial base Arsenal are still competing for the third Champions League place in the league.
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