The Arsenal Supporter’s Trust submitted questions for Ivan Gazidis to answer in the end of season Q and A. I previously wrote an article regarding this and after watching the video and speaking to various people I thought a follow up article was due. As you would have read from the article before the meeting there were some interesting questions that needed to be answered. We haven’t exactly been the firing cannons we should have been the last few seasons and it’s time to find out why.
Ivan Gazidis spoke confident and eloquently and much like a politician, he looked comfortable throughout and it seemed to me that his words were rehearsed-and then I found out that he had a chance to prepare his answers to the questions before the meeting started. I think a much better solution would have been to stick to the previous set up of putting the board on the spot. He avoided answering some questions straight away preferring to keep talking and referring back to the model that Arsenal are trying to achieve. He defended before the Q and A even started by saying we still have “an awful lot to be proud of” That to me is a surefire sign that something isn’t what it is meant to be.
Last season- Gazidis speaks of the last season as one that Arsenal came out of with credit…albeit not triumphant. He said “there were moments in last season that he would not like to relive”. A season of “mixed emotions”, there were times when the public lost belief and that was visible. For every low moment there were times when we had highs to match. He also said at the lowest moment they had, the team didn’t fall apart.
12/13 Season-He insisted they were not content with 3rd and that they want to be competing to win trophies on a regular basis. 3rd is not a consolation prize. He said in regards to the actions that go on behind closed doors- that “if it’s not seen then people do not think that we are doing it”.
Emirates and Arsenal’s business model- He talked a lot about this issue throughout many questions. The plan that Peter Hill-Wood and the board had was trying to move Arsenal forward in terms of competing and also enabling a future plan of making Arsenal FC a sustainable club in monetary aspects. Hill-Wood knew that stadium couldn’t be done alone without investors and sponsorship so they went ahead with the Emirates. The Emirates was a move that would hopefully “propel Arsenal to the top echelons of clubs in Europe” but they didn’t take into account the huge price hikes and the nature of teams around us becoming a lot more competitive. They still insist that when Fifa’s Fair play rules come into effect that Arsenal will be the better club for it. Gazidis was also asked if they don’t believe in football clubs that are unsustainable then why do they accept money from said clubs-to which Gazidis replied that if it benefits Arsenal then they will do it.
Robin Van Persie-Simply said he wasn’t going to talk about this publicly and they had made a decision with RVP not to discuss it.
Transfers, Contracts and wage structure-Ivan Gazidis admitted himself that the best way to handle a transfer window was “to buy early as possible and achieve value”, buy players that will make a difference. They still believe it is the best policy to invest in youth. He realises that there is inefficient spending within the team in regards to wages which is indicated that will be solved. He recognises that the squad needs adjustments but did not speculate whether this would be players out or players in. Arsenal prefer to sign and player on a contract that starts off relative to their belief of a player’s worth and when they have proved themselves then they will increase the wages. Arsene has the money to spend but Arsenal will not break their structure in terms of over paying for a player unless they are worth it. In terms of renewing contracts he has agreed that they have made misjudgements in regards to some contracts that have been left to run out and some contracts that have renewed based on nothing.
Tickets for red/silver members-The simple answer to this was to keep trying to get tickets-I don’t think this is good enough, I think they should have a better system in place so that ALL fans, not just the ones with lots of money get to go.
Alisher Usmanov-Gazidis said that there is a unity amongst the board at the moment and that they do not want this disturbed. They don’t advocate the throwing of money at a situation and will not endure this at Arsenal.
This was the main and important points that came from this session. I can see why a lot of Arsenal fans are still unhappy with the outcome. There were no assurances to whether we will be investing any money in players and improvements to the squad. He speculated that the communication between club and fans would improve. But overall as much as Gazidis answered the questions as much as he could we are still not really left with much hope other than to ride out the situationas it is and hope that when FFP rules come into effect that we end up being the better club for it. That seems to be Arsenal’s vision at the moment and I just hope it works. Gazidis closed the meeting by saying this
“I know we are not where we want to be right now, I totally get that, but I want you to understand the journey we are on right now”