Belfast Telegraph

Friday 11 July 2014

Rice to leave Arsenal

Pat Rice

Arsenal have confirmed long-serving assistant manager Pat Rice will leave the club at the end of the season.

Rice, 63, has been associated with the Gunners for 44 years having first joined the club as a youth-team player in 1964 before then going on to make 528 senior appearances over 14 seasons.

After a four-year spell with Watford in the early 1980s, Rice then returned to Arsenal as youth-team coach before joining Arsene Wenger's backroom staff following the Frenchman's arrival in 1996.

Wenger paid tribute to Rice following confirmation of his retirement.

The Frenchman said on www.arsenal.com: "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."

As a player with Arsenal, right-back Rice was a double winner in 1971 and was captain of the side that won the 1979 FA Cup. He also won 49 caps for Northern Ireland.

After becoming Wenger's assistant, Rice helped Arsenal win three Premier League titles and four FA Cups.

Wenger added: "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."

"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!"