Patrick James Rice, more popularly known as Pat Rice has stepped down from the post of assistant manager of the Arsenal after 48 years of association with the club. Rice had joined the club as a player of the youth team in 1964 and matured to become a professional in the next two years. Between 1966 and 1980 he had made more than 500 appearances for the Gunners. It also includes heading the team as a captain in the 1979 FA Cup and leading to the victory.

He had played for the Northern Ireland national squad. In his eleven-year career with Northern Ireland (1968-1979), he won 49 caps. He had left the team for a spell of four years in 1980. During this time he moved to Watford. There he played 137 times and helped the club to get promoted to the First Division in 1982. In 1984 he retired from active playing and returned as the coach of the club’s youth team.

Later on, he went on to become the youth team manager and won the FA Youth Cup in 1988 and 1994. He had worked hand in hand with Wenger and helped the club get three Premier League titles and four FA Cups. Rice has been the strong right arm of Arsene Wenger since 1996 and has contributed largely to the success of the club in the past years. The departure of Pat Rice will mark the end of an era at the Arsenal. He has played multiple roles in his 48 years career in the club. His contribution to the club as a player, as a captain, and as a coach is commendable and appreciated by Arsene Wenger himself.

Wenger announced that Former Arsenal defender Steve Bould, 49, who is currently the youth team coach will be the replacement of Rice as the assistant manager of the club. Between 1988 and 1999 Bould made 372 appearances as a player for Arsenal and won two FA Cups, three league titles, a League Cup, and the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1994. In a statement, Wenger said that he wants to give a chance to people who know how the club coached. This is the reason Bould is his pick as he is a good coach and is capable of continuing the club philosophy.

Rice’s absence will be terribly felt by the club but in a way, it is fitting as the man has contributed the prime of his life to the club, and now it is time that he sits back and watches from a distance. He has done whatever he could and he knows that the reigns of the club are in good hands that can lead the club in the right direction. In the recent future, the familiar figure with the sunglasses will be sorely missed by all. Bould is sure to do a fine job but when a person of the status of Rice steps down the vacuum will definitely be felt!