'It's been phenomenally positive'

'It's been phenomenally positive'

With our pre-season tour now at a close it is natural to reflect on the trip as a whole - and Ivan Gazidis feels the past two weeks have been hugely beneficial.

As well as gathering momentum in our preparations for the new Premier League season, the tour also afforded the opportunity for many off-field events and engagement with our fanbase and the local communities in Sydney, Shanghai and Beijing.

Below is a transcript of our chief executive's full interview with Arsenal Player:

on the tour…
It’s been a brilliant, brilliant pre-season tour. First of all, brilliant off the field in terms of the preparation for the players, fitness work and everything on the football side that goes with that. But off the field, the welcome from the fans in Sydney and here in China has been incredible. Everywhere we’ve gone there has been hundreds and thousands of fans, 200,000 plus in attendance at the games. But also we’ve been reaching out in all the places that we’ve been. I think we put on over 100 events altogether with our players getting out and about and meeting with our fanbase in all these different places. Brilliant to experience a little bit of the culture and also the beautiful scenery as well. It’s just been fantastic all around.

on his personal highlights…
Well, I think one of the highlights from my perspective was going and visiting our friends at Tribal Warrior, which is an organisation which helps indigenous people in Australia, young people, and supports them with achieving their potential. It was great for us to be able to connect with that, see some of the indigenous culture in the country and also to make a contribution to the work that they do and we’re proud to do that, but it’s also fantastic to experience just a little taste of Australia’s rich history which goes back far, far before when it was colonised. It goes back into the midst of time and you could feel the depth and the beauty of that civilisation on that visit, it was a lovely thing to do.

on the club giving something back…
We take club values seriously and a part of that has always been our work in the community. We’ve got deep roots in our local community in Islington, we’re touching over 3,500 people every week in our local programmes. But we’re also doing work all around the world. We’ve done work here in Beijing with migrant children in Beijing. We’re doing work in places as difficult and far flung as Iraq and Syria, Somalia, Indonesia, building football pitches and giving the programmes that go around that infrastructure, those football pitches, that helps us support people to great social outcomes. So we’re taking what we do locally and bringing it around the world and I’m very proud that that’s a part of what this club does.

on the welcome from fans around the world…
The connection that people feel with the club and its values is very real. One of the things that you really begin to understand when you travel around the world is not just the breadth of the club and the scale of the club around the world, but the degree of personal connection that people have with the club and with the values. It’s been phenomenally positive to be able to come out here in person and see that and give them that personal interaction with the club and with our players and to see the response has been incredible.

on the summer continuing apace in London now…
It does. We get back to London and we’re straight into three weeks of preparation really going into the Premier League season. The next week is going to be about preparing for the Emirates Cup. We’ve got games on Saturday and Sunday at Emirates Stadium and that will be the usual fantastic event that is serious preparation, all the players getting a chance to work some more on getting ready for the beginning of the season. But also it’s always a fantastic, festive atmosphere, so that’ll be a great event for us and then of course the week after that the Community Shield, we play Chelsea again and then straight into the season.

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