Arsenal Women have announced that manager Joe Montemurro will leave at the end of the season. Montemurro said, “This has been the hardest professional decision of my life, as I absolutely love this job and this club, the club I have supported all my life. I’m hugely grateful to the club for their unrelenting support during my time here and in understanding and respecting my decision.”
“With a lot of pride and a lot of emotion, I put on this training outfit every day and go to work and represent this amazing brand. To have had the privilege to do that is probably one of the biggest highlights of my life, not even my football career.” @MontemurroJoe ❤️— Arsenal Women (@ArsenalWFC) March 31, 2021
Montemurro was appointed in November 2017, and won the Continental League Cup in March 2018, while also finishing runners-up in the Women’s FA Cup. In his first full season, Arsenal won the WSL, ending a 7-year drought. In last year’s curtailed season, Arsenal finished third on points per game, while finishing runners-up in the Continental League Cup.
Montemurro will leave on May 31. Arsenal have five games left this season, and if they win them all, Arsenal will finish third, in a Champions League spot, which is Montemurro’s focus: “My focus now is helping the team to complete the season strongly and finishing as high as possible in the WSL, leaving the club in good shape for the future.”
This is a rare occasion in football of a manager making the decision to step away at the right moment—and its rarity means Montemurro deserves credit for making that decision. After success in his first year and a half at Arsenal, results have fallen away over the last eighteen months, especially in big matches. Arsenal have won one of six games this season against other clubs in the WSL’s top 4, and as a result, find themselves fighting for a Champions League spot rather than competing for the title.
Chief executive Vinai Venketesham said: “We are going to start the process for Joe’s replacement, and we are going to start that process immediately. We’re going to be looking for someone to build on the illustrious history that Arsenal Women have, build on the legacy that Joe is going to leave, and also leads us into a new era for women’s football. An era where the popularity of the game has never been higher and the competitiveness of the game has never been higher, both here and internationally.”
Venketesham also disclosed that Arsenal have been undertaking a review of Arsenal Women, to identify further areas for investment. In terms of making the decision of hiring a new manager, Venketesham said, “there will be a few of us involved to find Joe’s replacement, we will have the management of Arsenal Women, our people director, our technical director, Edu, and of course I’ll be involved in the process.”