Patrice Evra has paid a heartfelt and indeed classic Uncle Pat tribute to Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.
The left-back, who joined West Ham United in January, enjoyed plenty of battles with Wenger’s side down the years and came out on top more often than not.
Wenger announced on Friday morning that, after 22 years at the helm, he would step down as manager at the end of the season, prompting tributes from all around the footballing world.
And Evra, an unused substitute in a 4-1 defeat at the Emirates, took to Instagram to pay homage to one of English football’s greatest pioneer.
Wenger hung around for too long, surrounded himself with people who didn’t challenge him enough, watched as other clubs grew financially, and ultimately grew soft along with his team.
But his reasons for doing so were pure: he simply loved Arsenal too much.
It was a club he always felt to be his to some degree, arriving in 1996 and challenging the booze and cigarettes culture of this country to create something better, something we had never seen before, something that left an indelible mark on the English game. He turned Arsenal into a bastion of class and panache, building the club a glamorous new home in the process, believing unwaveringly in the notion that football, above anything, should be an art.
He is not someone like Sir Alex Ferguson with other passions in life. Arsenal is everything to him. Arsenal is his family and his art and his raison d’être. Nobody – perhaps not even Uncle Pat himself – loves this game as much as Arsene.