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Untold at the AGM; what Mr Wenger really said

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The Christmas gift for the fan with (almost) everything

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Arsene’s Speech at the AGM

 

After hearing Arsene’s speech at the AGM in full, I decided that it should be transcribed and submitted (slightly edited) as a full article. Overall, Arsene touched on many relevant issues that are discussed regularly on this blog, and I thought that we could all benefit from hearing his comments largely unedited. But even more importantly, I thought this speech included a good message to Arsenal fans, and I wanted to do my part to ensure that his words reached as many fans as possible. The speech follows.  -Anne

“Good afternoon, I’m happy to have the opportunity to speak to you. Usually I speak to you through the medias, and they don’t always reflect what I say…

I hope…that in many, many years, people will look at this period and think that we have put the club on the right track. That we have defended the right values, and that they will think that together we were not too stupid. I believe that the values we defend are highly defendable, because we want to do things with class. We want, of course, to be very ambitious.

We want as well to be very brave, because I believe that this club has always been very brave in its decisions. Courage is a quality that I admire because it’s a very needed quality in the modern world. I feel I can see a lot of fear, even discontentment amongst you, and I can understand that, because we live in a world where we fight with people who have extremely high resources. The way we can compete is to try to be intelligent, but as well is to be united.

Because football is difficult, very difficult, to be consistent, and as Ivan said, we have been more consistent than anybody else in the world in the last 15 years, and to stay at the top, top level, we have to be united.And that does not mean that I am not to be criticized. I accept that, but towards the outside we have to show that we are united, because that’s the only way that you can survive at the top. It’s difficult enough if you are united. If you’re not united, that’s it. You have no chance.

We defend as well values that, at the moment, at the time, are questioned, but a self-sufficient model. Do we want to change that, or not? I believe, and I take full responsibility for that, we can be competitive the way we run the club. The players… we lost two world class players, but do not judge too quickly the players we bought, because I think they are top, top level. And I would remind you that some world class players have arrived here in August and not played before September, November, some of them, and became after world class players.

We had a very difficult start. We had a very difficult environment at the start of the season, and we were under tremendous pressure. I would just like to come back on last season. Because last season was the season, I must tell you, maybe the most difficult to accept with its end result. Somewhere, some days, I thought maybe it was completely my fault that I convinced the players that you could go for all four competitions, and that you can win every single trophy.

Because I believe, overall, we had a very good season, performance-wise. It finished very badly, but we were competitive in all the competitions.We lost, unfortunately, at the last minute in the Carling cup. We went out in the last minute against Barcelona…and against Liverpool in the championship, and of course everything after was judged in a negative way. But the overall performance that the team has put in last year was much better than the credit we got in the end…

I think we have a very good basic situation. For example, I was a lot under pressure to buy a goalkeeper, and we were faithful to the goalkeepers we have, and I think everybody would agree today that we have sorted the problems out, and that we have good goalkeepers, world class goalkeepers, and that the basics of our team, of our potential, is right….

In the media, of course, we don’t get any credit at the moment.. Because I think the team is on the right way, the team has a fantastic attitude and spirit, and we are capable to compete. Because we will compete. Where will we finish at the end of the season? Frankly, I don’t know. I know just one thing, that these players that we have at the moment, they are ready for a fight. Because I see them behave every day, and they are ready to have a go.

Not many people at the moment are behind us, but I believe that we can be a surprise, and a positive surprise. So let’s, what I would like to invite you to do… Let’s stand behind this team. And I believe that we started, at the Emirates, with a very different environment, because people were very skeptical. But people understood two things:

First of all, if you do not get behind the team, we have no chance.

Secondly, I think as well that people realized that this team has the right attitude and the right spirit, and that, even during the difficult periods in the last two home games, the fans were absolutely fantastic, behind the team.

What we had not seen at the end of the season, and it’s time to realize: Yes, times are more difficult. But yes, we can still be successful on the one condition that we all stand behind the team and are united, and at the end of the season, we’ll see where we stand. Then, if we gain absolutely everything, and do fight together for every single game, for every single competition, we can be..proud.. of what we have achieved.

I am personally convinced that we have a chance to qualify again, and I know as well that in the modern world that ticket pricing is a problem. We spoke about that a lot at the board before that decision has been made, but just to keep the players, we have to put our wages up so high that the financial situation becomes more difficult for us. That’s why I can understand that you feel punished by that, but it’s a decision that…gives us a chance to keep our players, and unfortunately it’s the real situation we face at the moment.

So, I know I’ve been talking too much already, and I would just like personally to turn around the skepticism that is surrounding this club at the moment. For me, it’s too high. And if I would just like to achieve one thing today, it’s trust us. This team has qualities. This team will fight, and if you help us to do that, I think we have a chance to have a successful season.

Thank you very much.

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With over 2000 followers: Untold Arsenal on Twitter @UntoldArsenal

27 comments to Untold at the AGM; what Mr Wenger really said

  • Pete

    @Anne
    Thanks for that. 🙂

  • Mandy Dodd

    He made a great speech, almost a call to arms like quality. I think even some of his doubters amongst our fans will appreciate that.
    And by all accounts, got a standing ovation.

  • Sitting at the AGM and listening to the speech, it struck me that by putting those two references to the media in between the call for fans to support the team, Mr Wenger was saying something very clear:

    You can support the media’s view, in which case you take the line that we are hopeless, and that will affect the players seriously

    Or you can support the team on the pitch.

    I think that is so clear, and I believe that to be totally true. Everyone engaged in the harping on about poor quality players is simply making matters worse.

    It is like the funny question about whether we will get a discount next season if we are not in the Champs League. What good will that do the club? None at all – it is simply a way of sniping at the club, and ensuring that we fall, never to recover.

  • Aditya

    I just saw the speech through the official website and read this entire piece as well. It was really heart warming and direct. 2 points that i personally feel about the way Arsenal is treated –

    1) Some section of the Fans – I try to hold multiple discussions with those who believe Arsene must go, and Arsenal have an incorrect policy. The reason I started it was to try to change their minds, but for doing that, I needed to first understand their reasoning, which to be honest, is not very clear to me. Finally I feel they do it because they feel they have to. Rebel for the sake of it or something like that. (and no speaking louder than the other person is not a great argument like most people seem to believe)

    2) Media (I dont mean just the English Media) – This is what probably hurts the most, as I feel this feeds the above category. I follow Arsenal gossip (I would dare not call it news!!!) in the English papers online. Its like they hate us, and I mean really really hate us. I’m not sure why. Now this is also evident in papers that I read here (Singapore and Malaysia) as well. What is it that we are doing wrong here. Simple Example – Yesterday Arsene gave a statement that RVP has agreed to start discussions on an extension (he was quoted on BBC) today there is an article in the paper which says, RVP is moving to Man City. WHY ALWAYS US?!!!! (No pun intended 😉 )

  • silentstan

    what he didnt say but should have

    I am to blame for the summer transfer chaos. I knew they wanted to go but deluded myself they wouldnt. I then bought replacements not of the same quality as those that left. Just like i did in each of the past 7 years.
    I have not spent the money that has been available to me because i wanted to reduce our debts, and kept my fingers crossed we could still get in the CL. one year we did it courtesy of bad lasagne, not because of my skill as a manager.

    I am also calling for you to support the team more because i am trying to stop you criticising me and the board. It is unlikely we will get in the CL at the end of this season, but that can wait till next summer, when i will make some more lies up about bringing in super super quality players.

    Sorry fans but i have fucked it up for some years now

  • Pat

    Thank you so much, Anne, for posting Arsene’s speech. It is so good to read it direct not filtered through the media. He was honest, but then, he always is. He even addressed directly the matter of the price rises. And of course he is absolutely right about how important it is to be united. That is the basic minimum for us to succeed. I’m very happy with the way the team is gelling at the moment. And it was exciting to succeed in the Carling Cup this week with two young defenders. Very positive for the future.

  • What is interesting about Silentstan’s post is that there is no evidence as to why he should have said any of this, or whether any of it is true.

    The writer might believe this is all true, but if so, must have a very very sad life indeed deep in such misery with no belief in the future, and no feeling that maybe any evidence is required. Or maybe the writer is trying to be funny. Who knows – we are top of our champions league group, in the quarters of the league cup…

    Actually if we were Tottenham, and following their approach we would do as they did in a press release put out one December which says

    Tottenham are still in this year’s FA Cup.

    Now that was funny. (Actually Mr Wenger also didn’t say we have won 7 of the last 8 or whatever it is. Nor did he say, as one questioner said, we have picked up the same number of points from the teams we have played in the league as we did last year (substituting Swansea for WBA).

    Funny ol game.

  • Tigergunner

    That was a great speech from Wenger. The self sustaining model is the way to go. maybe I understand a bit why some fans are so frustrated. We live in world where the economy is in peril, a lot of depressing news, negativity – I admit Arsenal winning gives me a high. A bad day at the office can be salved when Arsenal scores a great goal, etc. Anyway, I still think Wenger is still the best person to lead us under the current circumstances.

  • Oh some of our fans have brains i like that unlike our neighbours(spurs)….well wenger we still blv in you we just worry when you dont replace quality with supa quality,,,mertesacker suspect…get samba and get a genuis steel midfielder a fighter then pavylunchenko we will chllenge for something….

  • walter

    I would like to point at this sentence which reflects why over here some people started the Untold Media watch: “Usually I speak to you through the medias, and they don’t always reflect what I say…”

    Just in case you missed it: “THEY DON’T ALWAYS REFLECT WHAT I SAY…”

    And then I see some “””””””trustful””””” media sources having a dig at Wenger today…. I think his words were bullseye. The truth hearts and so today they tried to kick back.

  • walter

    This silentstan = spudsstan 😉
    Sill not over 6 seasons ago… 🙂

  • Domhuaille MacMathghamhna

    Silentstan……your AAA rant is full of errors as follows:

    ¨I am to blame for the summer transfer chaos. I knew they wanted to go but deluded myself they wouldnt. I then bought replacements not of the same quality as those that left. Just like i did in each of the past 7 years.¨ – This statement alone is totally and patently exaggerated and false. There was no ¨chaos¨as you so fondly reminisce about but a long,drawn-out but ultimately productive planning for the departure of Nasri and Cesc. Yes he wanted desperately to avoid their leaving but he was NEVER deluded (you are however) about their choices and always respected them. He did bring in quality replacements that were affordable and together are giving us a new, winning approach to the game. It wasn’t about finding exact replacements for Cesc and Samir, but in bringing in skilled and worthwhile players who have skill,ambition and a desire to win, which he managed to do.
    ¨I have not spent the money that has been available to me because i wanted to reduce our debts, and kept my fingers crossed we could still get in the CL. one year we did it courtesy of bad lasagne, not because of my skill as a manager.¨ – this is utter rubbish and you know it. Your statements are rotten, not the lasagna. He has, by dint of careful transfer planning and youth development, kept us in the CL and competitive in the EPL on a limited budget. By the way, what money was available to him? Nobody knows the exact figures but if you’d taken the time to check your claims against Swiss Rambler’s website and Untold’s analysis, you’d see that he used what he had and got full measure for his spending, but that doesn’t fir your AAA hypothesis does it, so you ignore the truth for fiction.

    ¨I am also calling for you to support the team more because i am trying to stop you criticising me and the board. It is unlikely we will get in the CL at the end of this season, but that can wait till next summer, when i will make some more lies up about bringing in super super quality players.¨ – What part of his statement, ¨And that does not mean that I am not to be criticized. I accept that,¨ do you NOT understand. Wait,I know, the entire sentence sticks in your craw because you think he’s a liar, a deceiver and a clown but you are the one he’s talking about when he says that some ¨supporters¨ are living in fear. You are so afraid that he’ll succeed…thus making you look like the fool you are….that any criticism of his managerial skill, approach or philosophy is justified to your blinkered eyes.

    Justify your nom de plume and stay silent Stan as posts like your only serve to paint you as a biased, prejudiced and misinformed ignoramus!

  • Anne

    Personally, I’m curious to know what Arsene was referring to when he said that it was understandable to feel afraid, because:

    “we live in a world where we fight with people who have extremely high resources.”

    While this could be read as simply referring to higher-spending clubs, Arsene seems to have left the statement open-ended and ambiguous, and I’m inclined to believe that this was deliberate. So, who else could he have been referring to?

    And along these same lines, I believe that above should be read in conjunction with the following:

    “We want as well to be very brave, because I believe that this club has always been very brave in its decisions. Courage is a quality that I admire because it’s a very needed quality in the modern world.”

    When I was listening to Arsene’s speech, I personally took heart at these words. Because I see them as a message that applies not only to Arsenal as a club, but also to us here at Untold, with all of the things that we’re attempting to do.

    And I also believe that the message is equally applicable to the many Arsenal fans out there who are trying to do the right thing and support the club, in the face of other forces who are trying equally hard to pull us in the opposite direction, to the overall detriment of Arsenal FC.

    So, courage lads! 🙂

  • Anne

    @Dom:

    Thanks. It felt kind of cathartic to read that 🙂

  • Anne

    @Aditya:

    I believe that your questions about the media and some sections of the fanbase may be directly related to the same quote that I highlighted in the post above…

  • Anne

    And just one more follow up to that post… It appears that the bbc actually edited Arsene’s above statement to eliminate the ambiguity that I referenced… So, just to lay it all out, here, again, is what Arsene actually said:

    It’s understandable to feel afraid, because:

    “we live in a world where we fight with people who have extremely high resources.”

    The following is the bbc’s “edited” version of the quote:

    “I see fear and discontent amongst you and I understand it,” started the infamously short-sighted manager, “but we fight against clubs with high resources”.

    “Clubs” with high resources, as opposed to “people” generally…Interesting, no?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/mattslater/2011/10/arsenal_agm.html

  • bjtgooner

    @ Anne

    It was an excellent idea to post Wenger’s speech in full, especially as many of us will not have the opportunity to attend the AGM. In such circumstances it much better for as many fans as possible to read exactly what Wenger said rather than an abbreviated or distorted media summary.

  • Passenal

    Anne @ 8.44 pm – that is really interesting because the BBC’s edit of that sentence for me completely changes the meaning and tone, and surprise surprise, is accompanied by another dig at Arsene’s character.

  • iniez

    Thank god for untold, really fantastic job guys

  • LRV

    Very good work Anne.

    My mum once told me “Son, you read too much into the media view of things. If you are not careful, you will end up with a distorted view of the world… And a very slanted view of your role in it. Be craeful.” So, thank goodness, I don’t live my life a slave to the media.

    People like -‘silentstan’ up there, who should really give a thought to his cognomen, have truly become slaves to the media. Their minds are completely controlled by it. Perhaps he, & others like him, should declare love & support to their puppeteers in the Red & White Holdings rather to Arsenal Football Club.

  • Greg Urayayi Killer the Gooner

    I have been a great supporter of this great club and this great coach, Le Prof Arsene Wenger. I think at the AGM I appreciated what he said that ‘…lets criscize each other internally but but lets be united to the outside…’ powerful words. When I look at the current squad:
    1. We have 2 of the best young upcomming goal keepers in WS13 and Fabiansk…even Mannone has a lo of potential.
    2. Our defense is being criticized especially on last season’s performence BUT no one acknowledge we ha the best away record in the EPL, we had our 3 best players injured for the greatest part of the season Cesc04, RvP and TV05. No one dares to explain that shifting Alex Song to the back means creating a problen in anchouring role. What I mean is I believe a defense of PM4, TV5, BS3 and AS11 and Alex sitting in will be difficult to breach once it gels. Besides we have LK6, JD20, Gibbs, Jenkison – who I think are very good covers for back four. The only flops is Squalaci. I also see a lot of positivity in Frimpong and Colquin. Still we have a Denilson to be reviewed.
    3. Midfield – this dept is spoiled of choice because we only need 2 player since we play with 2 wingers and 1 out and out striker. For the 2 slots we have MA8, JW19, AR16,AD2,TR7,YB30 – tell me 6 players for 2 positions what more do you want. True a Hazard or a Gotze will add to what we have but I still believe we have enough players to deliver, AA23 is still a central player I have realized.
    4. Attack – RvP is given, I after watching Ju-Young Park, we have a option for RvP and Arsene must start giving him games with the captain on stand-by to like he did against Stoke. Gervhinho is a live wire. Theo needs to improve. Not so much worried abou that because we have Arshavin and AOC15 & YM31 as options! Beside change in the mid avails Ramsey who did so well @ Marsaille from the wing (as stop gap measure).Chamk???? a good striker but not sure he is better than Bendtner in the Arsenal type of play.
    5. We have the budget to buy players in January and I know Wenger will always buy quality most of the time.
    GOONER TO THE MARROW

  • Gooner

    Arsene is a genious. End of. That is why some people do not even get close to what he says.

    @ Anne, I think he meant to leave the statements open to also show that Arsenal don’t operate with dark forces or “GODFATHERS. Much as I would like to believe otherwise, I am of the opinion something FISHY might be going on in EPL!

  • Anne

    @bjtgooner:

    That’s exactly why I posted it. It’s really kind of amazing that, with all of the press coverage that this speech received, I didn’t come across a single article that truly conveyed what Arsene was actually saying.

  • Anne

    @Passenal:

    I agree. The BBC’s edit does completely change the meaning. I’m glad that you immediately picked up on that as well.

  • Richard B

    This was the first AGM that I’ve not attended in a few years and it’s interesting to hear and read others’ interpretations of what was said or implied.
    The frustration that appears to be greater this year seems to come from not having an understanding of why we couldn’t hold on to ‘world class’ players in the face of outrageous tapping up and exhorbitant pay offers. Those of us old enough to remember the departures of the likes of Brady, Stapleton, Anderson etc. etc. have, of course, been there before. But the key difference these days is the circumstances that exist at Chelsea and Man City.
    Before those two clubs had virtually unlimited funds made available to them we duopolised the EPL with Man Utd. In order to squeeze their way past us the two, newly financially doped, clubs needed to spend upwards of half a billion pounds each – a significantly large proportion of it specifically aimed at weakening us directly by taking players from us.
    Cold logic says that in order to resist that strategy we would have needed to spend as much – either to increase our wage bill to an unchallengable level (whatever that might have to be) and to outbid those clubs for players that we thought might improve our squad.
    Where exactly would this half a billion pounds have come from?
    Doubling ticket prices? Obviously not. Shed loads of debt? No thanks – it doesn’t seem to have worked anywhere else so why should we be different. Our own financial doper? Well we can’t criticise Chelsea and Man City for having lost their souls (if they ever had one) or for being the playthings of rich men who buy players as much for reasons of vanity and sack on a whim and then say we want to be the same.
    Arsenal have stuck to their long term strategies and reacted in the right way to a change in the market by moving to a new stadium and filling it by playing highly watchable football.We know it’s the right way to do it because everyone else (even Chelsea) are trying to do the same and wished they’d adopted ‘the Arsenal model’ years ago.
    The only worry I have is Wengers assertion today that he is concerned about UEFA’s lack of clarity over FFP. If those restrictions don’t come in then we will suffer relative to the financially doped. But for many other clubs it will be a complete disaster. We at least will survive and, relatively, prosper. Many other will simply die.

  • Ben

    Many thanks for posting the transscript from Arsene. It was a very fantastic speech he made.

    It makes me feel more positive about Arsenal.