Arsenal Football Club held its annual general meeting at Emirates Stadium on Thursday.
Shareholders had the opportunity to pose questions to the board, while chairman Sir Chips Keswick and chief executive Ivan Gazidis answered them. Gazidis also outlined the club’s vision and the steps that will be taken to achieve their aims.
“Our vision is for a club that is competing to win trophies at the top of the game, both domestically and internationally,” Gazidis said. “A club that plays the game the way it is meant to be played, a club that represents the joy of the game and not the cynicism of the game.
"A club that has the strength, belief and purpose and has the bravery to work hard for its success using its own resources. A club that believes in developing its young people and takes the risk to give them a chance. A club that we can be proud of.
“Our strategy is one of self-reliance. We don’t want our club to be dependent on anyone but ourselves. To achieve that, the club uses its own money, the money it generates to move towards high levels of on-field success. We use that on field success to help us drive more revenue into the club for reinvestment. The so-called virtuous circle.
“Of course we know we are in a highly-competitive environment, in which some of our leading competitors have seemingly unlimited resources. But I am convinced we can be successful by remaining disciplined and intelligent, by thinking differently to others and by uniting behind our powerful vision.
"We are driven, all of us, by an obsession to create more special moments like our FA Cup successes of the past two seasons, to create more history for our wonderful football club.”
Arsene Wenger also addressed the shareholders to thank everyone at the club for their continued support.
“I had the luck and the privilege to celebrate, on October 1, my 19th year at the head of the club as the manager,” he said. “I would like to thank you for this confidence and the board as well because we have gone through some fantastic periods, as well as some difficult periods, but they were always on my side.”
Wenger stressed his confidence that the steps the club has taken will result in further on-field success, after back-to-back FA Cup victories.
“In the last three years, we have built a core of people around the team who can help us develop even more,” he said. “Today as manager I get an unbelievable amount of information on every single game and every single player. I have a staff of around 20 people working around me every day who work very hard to make us stronger every year.
“I do everything possible to be sure that I make the right decision every time, it is not off the cuff. There are days of thinking and analysing behind [every decision], all the advice we get, we consider. The world has changed and I think we are equipped now, we are really advanced in the way we work and the way we prepare, and the way we develop players.”
Wenger concluded by underlining his total commitment to achieving further success and leaving a lasting legacy at the club.
“I know you want to ask me – will we win the championship this year?” he said. “I think we are back in contention and we have a good chance. All of our numbers confirm that we have the potential to be in the fight. In the calendar year we have taken more points than anyone else, which means the trend is right.
“We had a bad start to the season, but have still managed to come back to within two points of the leaders. We have created consistency, what we have to show now is what we showed against Man United and be capable of winning the big games with that level of urgency in every single game.
“We have potential to do more and we will fight very hard for that. I know I have faced some adversity, but I am more motivated than ever, more committed than ever. I am resolute to commit absolutely until the last day of my contract here to bring back big success to this club and leave, one day, this club in the position where it can do ever better when I leave. That is very important for me.”
Our club photographer was at the AGM and sent back these exclusive pictures.
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