Today we celebrate a remarkable landmark – 70 years of service from director Ken Friar, who joined the club as a full-time employee on August 1, 1950.
In fact, ‘Mr Friar’ as he is affectionately known at the club, actually started as a part-time box office runner four years prior to that! He progressed through the ranks to become box office manager before taking the reins as club secretary in 1973.
Ten years later, he was promoted to managing director, presiding over the day-to-day running of the club in a role he held for 17 years. In 2000 he took charge of our new stadium project and, having worked tirelessly alongside his great friend Danny Fiszman to make that dream a reality, Emirates Stadium is very much his lasting legacy.
To this day, he remains an active board member involved in numerous decisions to help drive Arsenal forward. Now 85, the FA Cup is a competition close to his heart.
“This will be the 17th FA Cup final that Arsenal have played in since I joined the club,” said Mr Friar. “Thankfully we’ve managed to win 11 of those, let’s hope it’s 12 at the final whistle today – which will be 14 in all. Even I didn’t manage to get to the victories in the 1930s!
"I do remember the 1950 final, which took place just a couple of months before I started at Arsenal. I was a kid and it was so exciting, my first visit ever to Wembley. I had a standing ticket, the stadium felt enormous and we played in the gold shirts. I remember it very well because the cup final day started at seven o'clock on the Saturday morning and wound its way right through the day. They were great times.
“It’s a wonderful competition that has given me and millions of Arsenal fans many happy memories. It’s nice to be able to celebrate my anniversary on what’s such a special day for the club.”
Everyone at Arsenal would like to thank Mr Friar and wish him a happy anniversary, as would his friends at the Football Association and the wider football family.
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