Thursday 10 May 2012
Pat Rice is to end his long association with Arsenal and will be replaced as assistant manager by Gunners great Steve Bould.
Rice, 63, joined Arsenal as a youth player in 1964 and went on to make 528 appearances for the club. He was part of the double-winning team of 1971 and lifted The FA Cup as captain in 1979.
Following a four-year spell with Watford until 1984, Rice returned to Arsenal to coach the youth team and became assistant manager when Arsene Wenger joined the Premier League club in 1996.
"Pat is a true Arsenal legend and has committed almost his whole life to Arsenal Football Club, which shows huge loyalty and devotion to this club," Wenger told Arsenal's official website.
"Pat has been amazing for me over the past 16 years."
"He has managed here. He knows our football philosophy"
- Wenger on Bould
Bould was part of the renowned Arsenal back four of the 1990s, lining up alongside Tony Adams, Lee Dixon and Nigel Winterburn.
He won three league titles, two FA Cups, a League Cup and the European Cup Winners' Cup.
The 49-year-old has been working with Arsenal's Academy since 2001. The youth team won the Premier Academy title in 2008 and 2009, when they also won the FA Youth Cup.
"His qualities are that he has the experience of the top-level game," Wenger said. "He has managed here. He knows our football philosophy and therefore there will be a continuity.
"We always want to give an advantage to people who know how we work, how we want to coach."
The club made a special presentation to Rice at a farewell barbecue on Wednesday, with Arsenal stars Robin van Persie and Jack Wilshere posting pictures on Twitter.
Wenger said he would miss Rice, with whom he won the Barclays Premier League title three times and The FA Cup on four occasions.
Rice will leave the club after Sunday's final game at West Bromwich Albion.
The Frenchman added: "Although we'll still see Pat a lot, as I know he's planning to come to all the home matches as a supporter!"