The pressure to win never abated.
But that adrenalin rush on matchday, when the manager is in the firing line and lives or dies by his decisions, will be gone when Wenger walks away from Arsenal for the final time.
Wenger admitted: “I am a bit like the guy who plays Russian roulette and suddenly has no gun any more. I will see how much I miss that gun.
“I don’t know what I will do next. I would like to have a little bit more freedom to decide what I want to do with my life.
“We live in extreme situations but you learn to dominate your emotions.
“Let’s not forget I started as a manager at 33 years of age, when I was responsible for a top-level team (Nancy), so that is 35 years ago.
“When I started, I thought I would never survive in this job but I learned to keep control of myself.”
'NOT MY DECISION' Arsene Wenger admits being sacked by Arsenal as Gunners prepare for Europa League semi-final against Atletico Madrid
When the time comes to watch Arsenal, Wenger’s beloved Arsenal, from the stands it will not be easy.
When enough water has passed under the bridge there will be an invitation from chief executive Ivan Gazidis, or Stan Kroenke, or his old buddy David Dein.
He really wants to be in the dugout, directing traffic in the technical area in front of full houses at the Emirates.
Those days will soon be behind him.
Wenger admitted: “I don’t know when I will be ready to come back to Arsenal. I have not had a break for 35 years.
“I honestly don’t know what I will do but if people want me they will find my phone number.
“I will continue to work, that’s for sure. My pride has always been to give my best to where I’m employed until the last day of my contract. In this job, you can look around for something that doesn’t exist. I don’t know how addicted I am.”
To leave this all behind will be tough.
Wenger designed Arsenal’s training ground to his own exacting spec and had similar influence over the 60,000-seater Emirates Stadium.
When he leaves for the final time, when he drives his beloved Lexus out of the gates at London Colney, the Frenchman will have to let go.
Wenger added: “I wish it all goes well. You do not give 22 years of your life for something, then go away and want things to collapse, not at my age.
“Maybe, when you have a big ego at 40, you think that the world cannot live without you.
“At my age (68), you understand that the world continues and you wish that it continues better.
“At least I think that the guy can work in a positive environment.
“Arsenal will not be short of candidates. That shows you as well that the place is a good place.
“It is green outside, there are nice trees and the good grass. Fantastic. No pollution — until the press conference starts.”
Touché. Wenger was back to his mischievous best yesterday, a nostalgic return to the days when Arsenal’s manager ruled the roost in English football.
He wants to leave Arsenal a winner, giving the fans what they want — Champions League football — before signing off for good.
Wenger added: “To qualify for the Champions League for 20 consecutive years is not as easy as it looks.
“It would really feel like an anticlimax if we do not beat Atletico Madrid and that’s why we want to give our absolute all to have a chance of going to the final.
“You’re never sure you are doing the right thing, but life is interesting because you have to deal with different situations.
“I’ve worked with some people here for 22 years.
“We were together through some difficult moments and we have a lot of emotional contact.
“It will be a bit difficult for me and for some people, as well, because we worked together for such a long time.
“But my job finishes in May and then I will go to the World Cup to watch England win it… on penalties.”
Wenger will be free of Arsenal by then, waiting for the club to announce his successor.
So many names are in the frame with Luis Enrique, Max Allegri, Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira and Mikel Arteta jockeying for position.
He added: “Is the job for people who worked here before? That is even better. There are many players who have the qualities but some of them are in a job.
“I won’t influence the choice but I will stand behind the decision.
“The need is to make the right decision, even if you have to be bold. Personally, that’s what I wish.”
Arsenal will soon take aim, settling on their top target after completing the recruitment process.
After that, Wenger will be a gun for hire.
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