“I believe it was an exciting period [when I arrived at Arsenal] because English football moved in that period, around 1996.
If I give you the wages of my best players in 1996 and what they are today you see the evolution – it is not because of the money but because of how big the game has become worldwide.
It was an English game with English owners everywhere – in 1996 every club was owned by English people and today it is world companies with world ownerships and interests.
I believe that this club is brave and that’s one of the good values of the club and we have shown through the years that we can have a good togetherness at the club. That is always the quality that came out through good and bad moments. We kept our feet on the ground and it always fell together.
A lot has changed. [The art of management] has changed, the club has grown bigger, is now a global club. Twenty years ago it wasn’t as big, or as expensive! Football has become popular, it’s become a world sport. Today when I go out onto the training pitch, I see people from China or Hong Kong. Everything has changed and the pressure has intensified too. But what hasn’t changed is the solidarity inside the club. That’s always stayed the same.
It is always difficult to measure your own influence. I just tried to do what I do well and leave the judgement to other people – that is all you can do. Maybe what people will keep [from my time] is the ‘Invincibles’ year, but for me the job of a manager is to do the maximum with what you have available and that is what I try to do.”