Joe Montemurro admits telling Arsenal squad about his exit was hard

Sonia Twigg, PA
·2-min read

Arsenal manager Joe Montemurro revealed he was a “mess” when he told the players about his decision to leave the club at the end of the season.

The 51-year-old Australian has been in the job since November 2017 and guided the Gunners to the 2018-19 Women’s Super League title – his tenure has also included winning the Continental League Cup in 2018.

Arsenal said in a statement that Montemurro, whose side are currently fourth in the WSL table, has “decided to take a professional break to recharge and dedicate more time to spending with his family”.

“The decision was made in February,” Montemurro said.

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“Look, I think probably just after the return this season there was some things I needed to resolve and look at but the decision happened in February and we decided that this was the best time to announce it going forward.”

The manager informed the players at training and explained it was an emotional decision to leave the club.

“You should have seen me an hour ago when I told the players, I was a mess. I was waffling on, I didn’t even know what I was saying to be honest, it was really hard, really really hard,” he added.

“I think the biggest thing I was scared of when I told Vinai (Venkatesham, chief executive) and Clare (Wheatley, development manager) was that they’d be upset and never let me back into the club, but they’ve been absolutely amazing.

“I can sit here and safely say that I will be forever part of the Arsenal family and I was one of the lucky ones that got to work here and give my all and meet some amazing people.

“So that was the scariest thing for me to be honest, to think that they’d be upset and all that but everyone’s been amazing and the club have been absolute class.”

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Montemurro has been in continuous management for nine years, with Melbourne City’s women’s and men’s sides before joining Arsenal in 2017, and has had to split time with his family, some of whom remained in Australia during his tenure at the Gunners.

He added: “It’s been an amazing journey but I think now is the right time, it just seems like the right time and feels like the right time.

“I think I’m leaving the place in a better shape for it to go to the next level and they will find someone fantastic who’ll take it to the next level.”