Arsene Wenger warns of Brexit-like hangover once he leaves Arsenal

LONDON -- Arsene Wenger has warned his detractors that they could wake up with a Brexit-like hangover once he leaves Arsenal.

Wenger told club shareholders at the club's Annual General Meeting on Thursday that they shouldn't forget about the "weight of the past and the weight of the future" in an era where the present seems to be the only thing that matters.

Asked later to elaborate on those comments and the level of dissent that was on show at the AGM, Wenger seemed to draw a comparison between those who want change at Arsenal and those who voted for Brexit.

"In the modern game, we lose a little bit the perspective of what is important and what is less important. It's always here and now. And the now is permanent, the judgement is permanent and forever," he said. "But society as well. You have the same example with Brexit. It's just here and now, but where do we go from there?

"Nobody really knows. Maybe it's good, maybe it's bad. I don't know. But nobody has explained what will happen in the future if we do that. ... The weight of the present has become predominant to the weight of the past and the future. And no matter if it's a football club [or society], you need to get that balance right."

Asked if the "Wenger out" section of Arsenal supporters may regret that stance in the same way some "leave" voters are regretting Brexit, Wenger then quipped: "I don't know. You may have to make a poll for that."

Wenger had earlier delivered a heartfelt speech at the AGM, where he also assured shareholders that his passion for the game was "bigger than ever."

And he told reporters after that it's the 13-year Premier League trophy drought that fuels his desire to stay in the game.

"I'm more hungry than ever because the demands are higher, because I didn't win the Premier League for a long time and because I want to do that before you get me out of here," he said.

"I have always something to prove. If I play with you now and we go out there and play four against four, you will see that I will try to win. I think I'm born for competition. I don't know why, and what happened, but it's like that no matter what I do."

Wenger also repeatedly returned to his long-standing theme about club values, and drew another comparison to the way society has changed.

"I know that nobody cares anymore [about values]," he said. "I remember somebody said that 500 years ago, the target for people was to be a saint. Fifty years ago, a hero in war. Today, a billionaire. Or even more, a celebrity. That is instant and here and now, but it has to be sustained properly."