April 20, 2018 / 2:02 PM / in 8 months

Soccer: Arsene Wenger's reign at Arsenal

(Reuters) - Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger announced on Friday that he would stand down at the end of the current season after more than two decades at the helm of the Premier League club.

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Newcastle United vs Arsenal - St James' Park, Newcastle, Britain - April 15, 2018 Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger before the match REUTERS/Scott Heppell/File Photo

The 68-year-old has been in charge of Arsenal since October 1996.

Wenger won three Premier League titles, including going unbeaten for an entire season in the 2003-04.

He also won seven FA Cups and kept Arsenal in the Champions League for 20 of his 22 years in charge.

Here is a timeline of the Frenchman’s reign at Arsenal:

1996/97 - Wenger was relatively unknown in English football when he became Arsenal manager on Oct. 1, 1996, but led the club to a third-placed league finish that season.

1997/98 - The Frenchman’s first full season got off to a poor start but ended in glory as he led Arsenal to the league and the FA Cup, becoming the first non-British manager to clinch a domestic double in England.

1998/99 to 2000/01 - Arsenal endured a period of frustration, finishing second in the league behind Manchester United for three seasons.

2001/02 - Wenger signed defender Sol Campbell and a re-galvanised Arsenal reclaimed the league title and completed a second domestic double by winning the FA Cup.

2002/03 - Arsenal retained the FA Cup but Manchester United won the Premier League. Wenger dubbed the campaign a success, saying it was a miracle Arsenal were able to challenge for the league given they spent far less than United.

2003/04 - In his best season, Wenger’s ‘Invincibles’ won the Premier League after staying unbeaten for the entire season.

2004/05 - Arsenal started strongly, extending their unbeaten league record to 49 games, but finished second behind Chelsea. Wenger’s team beat Manchester United to win the FA Cup.

2005/06 - Wenger took Arsenal to their only Champions League final where they lost to Barcelona. Arsenal finished fourth in the Premier League to seal Champions League qualification for the next season, but prolific forward Dennis Bergkamp retired.

2006/07 - Arsenal swapped their historic Highbury ground for the Emirates Stadium, ushering in an era of financial prudence.

Manchester United won the league as Arsenal finished fourth. Adding to Wenger’s woes, striker Thierry Henry was sold to Barcelona and defender Ashley Cole was sold to rivals Chelsea at the end of the season.

2007/08 to 2012/13 - Arsenal were hindered by their lack of spending in the transfer market but Wenger still managed to consistently finish in the league’s top four and ensure a steady stream of Champions League revenue.

2013/14 - Wenger helped Arsenal end their trophy drought with an FA Cup triumph. Arsenal’s challenge for the league title ebbed away by March and they finished fourth for the third time in four seasons.

2014/15 - Wenger bought striker Alexis Sanchez from Barcelona and the Chilean’s 25-goal haul helped the team finish third in the league and win another FA Cup.

2015/16 - Arsenal finished second behind shock champions Leicester City, marking the club’s highest finish since 2005, but Wenger’s team ended the season without a trophy.

2016/17 - Arsenal finished the league campaign outside the top four for the first time under Wenger, meaning the club would not play in the Champions League the following season.

As fans increasingly voiced their dissatisfaction at Wenger, Arsenal’s hierarchy handed him a two-year contract extension.

2017/18 - Wenger announced he would leave the club at the end of the campaign, with Arsenal in sixth place in the league table. His team face Atletico Madrid in the first leg of the Europa League semi-finals on April 26.

Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis

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