By Chris Harris
Maintaining their values in a changing football world will hold Arsenal in good stead for the future.
That’s the view of Arsène Wenger, who marked his 60th birthday by attending the Club’s Annual General Meeting on Thursday.
The Frenchman was given a standing ovation by shareholders at Emirates Stadium and responded with a forthright speech about the Club’s direction.
While a number of clubs, including Chelsea and Manchester City, have relied on billionaire backers to build expensive squads, Arsenal have chosen a different path. Their self-sustainability model has its critics but Wenger firmly believes that football’s regulated financial future will leave the Club in a powerful position.
“We are in the middle today of two different ways to see the development of the game,” he explained.
“One is people with unlimited resources who do not care about balancing the budget and one, an attempt from the European Union to regulate that, control it, and get that out of the game.
“I believe that will happen and fortunately we are on line with the modern development of the European game and that is why I believe to keep a club strong is essential.”
Wenger eclipsed George Allison as Arsenal’s longest-serving manager at the start of the month and has stayed true to the principles which were in place when he arrived in North London just over 13 years ago.
The Frenchman has no intention of surrendering those values even while Premier League rivals welcome wealthy benefactors into the English game.
“When I arrived here 13 years ago I could sense that this Club had values, tradition, and strength in their belief and in their values,” he said.
“When I travelled at that time to Derby or to Coventry when they were in the Premier League, they always told me it is the ‘Arsenal way’ to do things.
“They do it their way and it was always respect and admiration in their statements and I believe it is essential and important that we keep that inside the Club.”Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 22 Oct 2009