Steve Bould named Arsene Wenger's No 2 following Pat Rice's retirement
Following the news that Pat Rice, who joined Arsenal as a youth team player in 1964 and has been with the club for 44 years, is to retire from his position as Arsene Wenger's number two Arsenal have announced that former player Steve Bould is to step into the role. Rice, 63, is to retire from the post that he has held since Wenger's appointment in 1996, allowing Bould to step up from his position as Youth Team Head Coach.
49 year-old Bould, who was capped twice by England, represented Arsenal 287 times over and eleven year period and has been coaching the Gunners' youth sides since June 2001. Wenger believes that his former defender is a perfect replacement for Rice and praised his new assistant's coaching ability at the press conference which announced the appointment.
“His qualities are that he has experience of the top-level game, he has managed here, he knows our football philosophy and therefore there will be a continuity. He has also chosen after his playing career to coach here at the Club and we always want to give an advantage to people who know how we work, how we want to coach. A very good coach is the most important thing, no matter where you played," said Wenger.
Meanwhile, Wenger was quick to praise the work of Rice who made 528 appearances for Arsenal before taking up the role of youth team coach of the North London side in 1980.
“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. Pat has been amazing for me over the past 16 years. When I first arrived at Arsenal, Pat was always there and taught me so much about this great club. I will always be indebted to him for his expert insight into Arsenal and football as a whole. On the training pitches and on matchdays, Pat has always been a passionate, loyal and insightful colleague, who we will all miss.
Wenger added, “Thank you Pat, we’ll miss you and all of us wish you and your family the best of health and happiness for the future. Although, we’ll still see Pat a lot, as I know he’s planning to come to all the home matches as a supporter!”
The tributes didn't stop there with start striker Robin Van Persie adding his thanks on his twitter account, tweeting; "Thanks Pat Rice 44 years as a Gunner! Amazing!"
Jack Wilshere weighed in with a tweet of his own, saying, "Mr Pat Rice.....44 years at the Arsenal....Take a bow! Thanks for everything you have done for me!"