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August 2021

Ivan Gazidis: this is what he does. Questions from the floor

Ivan Gazidis: this is what he does…a report from the end of season supporters’ event by Drew (Blacksheep63)  Part one appeared here.

This concluding part of the report covers the questions that were asked from the floor.

The first question was why is everybody being quiet about Red and White and Usmanov? Given he is the richest man in the world (apparently even better off than Tony) why don’t we let him buy us loads of rich mercenaries and storm Europe?

Gazidis played a straight bat and reminded us that we support FFP (so it would be stupid), but also that he thinks an increased explosion of spending is not good for the game, and it’s not the Arsenal way. He got good applause for this – we don’t want a rich Oligarch running our club, we want sustainable growth aka Bayern Munich.

Ivan was asked what is plan B if FFP doesn’t deliver what we hope for? Ivan responded that plan B is the same as plan A because while are in favour of regulation it is not part of our business strategy, because we can’t rely on it.

So the aim is to push the club forward using our own independent resources, just like Munich. In fact we might move the club to Germany, to Munich actually and rename the club, Arsenal Munich (ok, he didn’t say that…well not out loud).

He was asked about the balance of the squad and the need to buy defenders. The questioner stated that this season our defence was not good enough and it took too long for AW to realize this. So does the coaching staff have enough influence and does AW listen?

Cleary Ivan is less comfortable talking about on the pitch matters but he pointed out that our defensible record this season, particularly in the second half of the season, was second best overall. Players developed into their roles, and he reminded us that it’s a relatively new group of players. And of course AW listens, what was he expected to say – nah, Arsene sticks his fingers in his ears and goes nanananananaanna when Bould enters the dressing room?

Then someone asked about Ivan’s laser (which I didn’t know he owned – awesome!)

Q: Will you be applying your laser and clearing more dead wood from the squad?

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A: ‘This is what terrifies me about these sessions’ he said! IG agreed that we had/have players that have not performed at the levels we want, but wouldn’t discuss individual players. But, a point that Untold makes, we don’t make quite as many mistakes in signings as some think.

Q: Have we not already missed a trick in signing players already given that MU, Chelski, and the Arab league all have new managers?

A: No I don’t. We are in all the right discussions and progress is ongoing, our transfers targets are not affected by the managerial changes (make of that what you will).

Q: Can the grounds capacity be increased and can the red section be supported/encouraged? A: There is no need for more seats. And as for the atmosphere, we are open to any ideas from supporters. He also batted back grumbles about the food and bars.

The Summary

Overall the man is a very good speaker, he was calm and well prepared and imbued confidence. Yes, he had the Qs in advance so it’s hard to catch him out but give him credit. I think we have to trust him and AW and Silent Stan to deliver this summer. We seem to be in a better place than we were in terms of spending power, let’s hope we can get the business done and be real challengers – that was Ivan Gazidis’ message to us.

I wasn’t able to ask if we could get a statue of Tony and Walter erected but I’ll try again next year. If you want to get involved I urge you to join AISA or AST.

Footnote (from Tony)

I would never seek to deny there is a very positive view of Ivan Gazidis from the Untold team.  Via Aisa (of which Drew and I are committee members) I was able to get a meeting with Mr Gazidis at which, on behalf of the Aisa Arsenal History Society I proposed that there should be statues all around the ground – starting with one of Herbert Chapman.  Lo and behold 18 months later, there they were.  Mr Gazidis also attended the AHS social at the Houses of Parliament earlier this year, and I had a private conversation with him, in which I found him very forthcoming.  So yes, I would very much go along with Drew on this one – he’s a very important part of the team.

The books…

The sites from the same team…


34 comments to Ivan Gazidis: this is what he does. Questions from the floor

  • WalterBroeckx

    He could and should have mentioned Untold I think 😉

    I also seem to have read a few tweets in which he called to be united when we have a bad game and not be over critical to the players because when the going get tough we all should be supporting the team and not get on their back.

    I saw this on twitter so don’t know if it was really said or not. The persons are ones I rather trust so I hope he did this rather Untold appeal. Drew?

  • WalterBroeckx

    Oh and thanks a lot Drew because I can imagine that writing such a Q&A down is almost impossible.

  • Adam

    It’s no accident that we have a person in this office with his background. I’m very interested in how his role with the ECA turns out? There are some areas where I’m solely an Arsenal fan but others where I’m a fan of football first.

    Thanks for the information Drew.

  • Limpar's Wand

    I’m not sure I can agree with any praise for Ivan Gazidis. He has said virtually the same things every year for the last 5 years, and we have seen our key assets sold off one by one and a profit made from transfer dealings. If we are feeling positive about the transfer window all of a sudden it is not because Gazidis is making promises, but because we all know we have finally reached the end of our restrictive commercial deals and will also profit from improved centralised PL TV deals. That was always going to be the case, with or without gazidis and his statements and promises.

    What you get when you hire someone from the corporate world is slick presentation. A smart guy in a suit talking for hours on end but actually saying nothing at all! I’m not saying I think all the criticisms he has received are fair – I know the world of football opinion is ridiculous – but I find it especially difficult to trust the man based on previous statements he has made.

    I don’t even mind that we are secretive (when it suits us ofcourse)! All I get to see is the PR we send out in sessions such as this, so I suppose I expect to hear a bit of marketing guff to mould the image surrounding the club in the media.

    But why we should start trusting and believing Ivan Gazidis when he has said exactly the same thing every summer I fail to see.

    I don’t like him. I don’t trust him. He is a skilled corporate politician and I think it a shame we have to resort to such tactics. Perhaps it is merely the modern world. But for a club that claims such history, tradition and class, we certainly look like a faceless corporation at times. How sad…

  • Limpar's Wand

    Also, any idea where I can find the full video or when the q and a will be up on Arsenal player? Thanks!

  • Bootoomee

    Limpar’s Wand,

    Your entire diatribe could be summarised into those 2 short sentences:

    “I don’t like him. I don’t trust him.” It’s a pity that not everyone shares your mistrust and hatred of the man.

    Your post will make more sense if you can just enlighten us with clear and verifiable examples of the lies that IG has told you. I wonder why you are requesting for the full video of the Q&A, do you want to be fed more lies?

    All I sense from you is a class based bitterness against a man that is your better.

  • Matt

    It all starts to make sense now Aisa,Untold and Red Action are almost from the same embryo.

    As long as Arsenal keep providing private meetings for them and feathering there ego they will never have a realistic world to say about the club.

    There all in Gazidis’s pocket.

    Put paid for fan Frank Stubbs in there and you have a full house.

  • @Swales68

    I do wonder what fans actually want IG to say at these meetings?

  • blacksheep63

    hi Walter, yes IG did hint that we should be supportive not critical (this was in response to the Q about whether criticism and chants affects the board/manager. He was firm in saying that they all want success, and frankly it would be counter-intuitive to think otherwise. Gazidis, Kronke, Wenger et al want success, people who think otherwise are – in my opinion – a bit deluded themselves.

  • blacksheep63

    and I completely agree with Swales’ comment, stop looking for hidden meanings/agendas where there aren’t any

  • Limpar's Wand


    Er… not sure what got your goat lol, but are we not allowed to have a difference of opinion without someone making it personal? If I wanted to have a slanging match I’d find a playground.

    As to your question… I refer only to the many summers past where we have heard almost identical statements about our ability to spend, our real desire to compete for trophies etc. And then we have sold our best players and made transfer profits. I wouldn’t mind if he came out and was honest with us, and I’m surely not the only one who feels this way. Or has everyone already forgotten?

    If the sum of your input is to insult and point to something as cliched and banal as ‘class’ to explain a legitimate point of view, put forward with sincerity to a community of people whose opinion I respect, I question the point of you even bothering. I suspect it says more about you and your own bigotry than anything else!

  • Andrei

    So essentially Ivan Gazidis a hired bureaucrat with no financial stake in the club except for his inflated wages tells a major stakeholder to f… off. Does anybody thinks it is a sustainable situation long term?

  • Adam

    Andrei, you make a very valid point, but I think it highlights how the current custodians view Usmanov and Moshiri. Although I’m not sure what Moshiri has done wrong, maybe guilt through association.

    Really would be a coup for the big investors to get Arsenal under the ownership of a “sugar daddy”, considering how we are regarded by the supporters of FFPR.

  • Bootoomee

    Limpar’s Wand,

    Like I said before, I always chuckle when posters act hurt when their comments are responded to in kind. In your original post on this thread (@3.50pm), you impugned IG’s character severely and you called his integrity into question without telling us the acts of deceit that he has committed. Go back and read your own post. You complained about the CEO of Arsenal wearing suits (strange/elitist?) and being from the corporate world, like you know, most CEOs of this era. All I saw from your post is apparent resentment of the man for his personal success and status.

    Your comment is not issue based but a personal attack that is based on class. If you cannot see that then it must be so ingrained in your psyche that it has become second nature.

    On selling players, you need to understand that when they (players) want to go, all the club can do is get the most cash possible. Would you have preferred RvP leave for free after 1 year?

    On buying players and winning trophies, sorry but I am not going to dignify that nonsense with a response. I don’t support Arsenal for players that we might buy or trophies we might win. I guess I am a deluded fan.

  • Limpar's Wand


    I feel as if I have become the straw man for your desire simply to argue and exchange blows with someone. Frankly there are enough places on the internet and enough people with forthright opinions for you to do so; I am not the bad guy here and in any case this blog deserves better!

    My points about gazidis are entirely rational. I have listened to his public statements over the last few summers and they simply do not correspond to the reality we have seen. He has produced lazy marketing sound bites which have turned out to be hollow nonsense and in so doing has treated arsenal fans with no small degree of contempt. That’s not what I expect from the public face of Arsenal, and I’m not sure why you think it is perfectly normal and defensible.

    We’ve had tough decisions to make and I understand the difficulties facing the club. He has a very difficult job indeed. But it is hardly irrational to take what the CEO of my club is saying on face value, and then feeling betrayed when his promises have not come to pass.

    Quite why you feel the need to go on again about ‘class’ because I called him a ‘corporate suit’ is beyond me. That’s what he is. As someone who read law at cambridge (as I think IG did too) I really don’t see why I’d have an issue about his ‘class’! Perhaps you fail to see the nuance between someone who has grown up as an arsenal fan (like us) in and around english football and someone who worked as an executive for a multi-national corporation like Nike and is used to the way corporations treat their consumers. But really that seems to more your own obsession with ‘class’ (which incidentally I fear is rather obsolete nowadays) and has nothing to do with my main point… that he simply hasn’t been sincere and told us the truth!

    If that’s not ‘issue-based’ then I don’t know what is!

  • Limpar's Wand

    June 2012

    “We want to win major competitions,” Gazidis said. “We want to win the Premier League. We want to compete to win the Champions League. That is our ambition. My message to our fans is that we are doing everything in our power to make sure that Arsenal can challenge for trophies next year.

    “That is what this summer is about and that is what we are focused on for next year. We have a good team, we have a good young core of players and we need everybody involved to have belief so that we can push forward into next year and make a run at the Premier League trophy and for the Champions League. We believe we can do that.”

    Reality – sold our captain, top scorer (and player of the year) to Man Utd. Sold Alex Song to Barcelona. Estimated transfer spend – minus 4m (as in we made 4m profit on transfers).

    June 2011

    “It is very clear we had some shortcomings and in this close season we are going to see some turnover of players. Some new signings will be coming in and some of our existing squad will be going out. As Arsène [Wenger, the manager] has said, it will be a busy close season for the club.”

    Reality – sold captain Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona. Sold Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy. Estimated transfer spend – minus 22m.

    May 2010

    “We’re now coming to a period, with Highbury Square coming to its completion and some of our other property developments bearing fruit, where the financial health of the Club is secure,” explained the Chief Executive.

    “That does not mean we have unlimited resources, but it does mean we have sufficient funds to invest. As always we’ll only do this on our timescale, on the basis of our manager’s assessments and not those of the media.

    “We have the youngest squad in the Premier League and we need to translate that potential into results. To the extent that the manager thinks it’s necessary, we will use our resources to supplement the squad intelligently so that we can take that vital step forward.

    “For the most part we’re now in the healthy position that almost all of our young players are under long-term contracts and their futures are secure, as well as their possible transfer values being protected. One or two players are coming to the end of their contracts – William Gallas, for example.

    “Whatever happens, Arsène has identified the fact that the defence has been an issue for us this year, so it’s not difficult to imagine that that’s an area we’re focused on in this transfer window.

    Reality – estimated transfer spend – 12m.

    13 May 2009

    “We have a team with an average age of 23 or 24 that went to the Champions League semi-finals and is going to get better,” said Gazidis. “Does it need to be supplemented? Quite possibly but it is a very, very promising situation for the next four or five years. Right now, I think it’s important to have some perspective and be brutally realistic with ourselves – but not only on the negative side, on the positive side as well.”

    Reality – Sold Adebayor. Sold Toure. Net transfer spend – minus 31.5m.

    God knows why I bothered, but here is why I’m deeply skeptical about Ivan Gazidis and what he says. He says the right things, sure, but they don’t correspond to our actions as a club. I have gone away from gazidis’s statements optimistic about arsenal summers for too long to start believing him now!

    He simply wants to manage the image of the club in the media with these cynical sound bites that give the fans hope. And the last time I checked he’s done a pretty awful job on that front because we are now the top whipping boys for most of the press and a national sports radio station has made it its primary mission to deride us! Perhaps that tactic works with american consumers, but not lifelong football fans.

  • Adam

    Limpar’s Wand, This aint a dig mate, so don’t take it that way, but have a little hope. The past is just that, for various reasons we have been unable to compete at the very top of the prem, but things are changing and you gotta have a little hope.

    Maybe not next season (I hope we win it) but soon we will be up there again.

    Plus if the media bother you that much, don’t read or buy into it.

    The biggest disappointment in all this for me is; It proves that at the very top of the game it’s all about money. So if we have had to go through a decade of bullshit to get to a stage of having enough to compete, that’s what’s had to be done.

  • Bootoomee

    Limpar’s Wand,

    Thanks for your last post. I enjoy a good debate backed by facts, which is what you did here. Kudos to you, even if I don’t agree with you. I see your quotations of IG’s past utterances but I just cannot see where your accusation of dishonesty and incompetence is coming from. The man is basically doing his job as the face of the club, you know, the voice of AFC. You put all the blame for our players leaving on him as if he just decide to weaken the team by selling thm off, just for the fun of it. Every transfer that you cited (except Kolo Toure, whose reasons I’m not sure of) was borne out the players’ decision to go for more money (or trophies as they always claim). I’m sorry if this sounds like a crime by the board but my question is: should we just allow them to run out their contracts and go for free?

    I am a gooner but the team’s achievements cannot be credited to me in anyway. All we fans get is the euphoria of winning and the bragging rights. But all these fade over time. I was looking at this list today:( ) and I was amazed by the number of league titles that Sunderland had won (SIX) as well as Nottingham Forests’ 2 European Champions’ cups. The management and players who won those trophies will bear them forever on their records but can any Sunderland or Forest fan brag about those successes now without looking ridiculous? Would it be written in the obituary of any of their fans that they were supporters of the club when such and such trophy was won?

    Now, here is why I don’t question the commitment of the management and players: they have more at stake than I do! I know that they get heavily paid (as is typical of their industry) but each time we fail as a club, these guys lose more. I don’t think they are infallible, and I have always noted this in my defence of the team and management. Like in every field of human endeavour, mistakes are made from time to time. I just refuse to accept the demonisation of these guys for out fates in the last 8 years; which BTW, I don’t see as so bad.

    On players being bought, this is one area that I have zero interest in. It is not duty to prescribe players and I trust AW’s credentials in this aspect than that of most of his contemporaries and definitely more than those of his Internet detractors. Based on available resources, he is doing his best.

    You wrote:

    “we are now the top whipping boys for most of the press and a national sports radio station has made it its primary mission to deride us!”

    Honestly, for someone of your calibre (Cambridge educated lawyer), I cannot believe that you are affected by something this petty! What would you do if we get relegated (with the mocking and backlash that would follow)?

    Lastly, you wrote: “Perhaps that tactic works with american consumers, but not lifelong football fans.”

    I did not know that being an American consumer and a lifelong football fan are mutually exclusive states of existence! I am not an American but I still see the comment as America bashing that is uncalled for and it sours a good post.

    Hopefully, we’ll sign some world class players and win some trophies soon. I don’t fret over these 2 matters but I guess they will make disgruntled fans happy and we can all cease these back and forth snipings at each other.

    I wish you well. Peace!

  • R1dultimate

    As far as I know, I G is a liar. He only cares about protecting d image of d club,as it’s his job. He isn’t a bit worried about d club winning trophies. If I were a football player, wud I stay in a club which a/v not won anytin in 8yrs? Definitely not. I really don’t blame d player who left. They saw dat the club nd d manager aren’t after winning trophies, but makin money each year, or y wud d manager sell his best players each season. They are all liars, and I definitely know dat dis season, we won’t win any major trophy. Dat’s d simple truth. Dear gunners,pls don’t deceive urselves again.

  • Bootoomee


    Thanks for the rant. I am now mad at the club too. Thanks for spreading the message of hopelessness!

  • ck

    I have been lucky enough to speak with Ivan 3 times last season during our supporters rep meetings, I always found him to be open & honest, I think we as fans can often get frustrated at our predicament but I would hope that we get behind the team & help Arsenal get back to where we deserve -The top of English Football. Ivan does a lot of work behind the scenes & we as a club will see those benefits for years to come. Keep the faith.

  • Ant the Limey

    I have to say this is a most awesome comment thread so far.

    I agree with Bootoome in every logical assertion… And with Limpars wand in almost every emotional reaction.

    I AM a corporate suit, and I recognize it – disappointing me as a fan that I recognize platitudes yet heartening that I know the club is not being run with the emotion of a fan.

    On FIFA I still play Arshavin over gervinho due to stubbornness over having paid for a shirt with his name on it.

    Good thing I’m not manager. If I was,, however, I would be glad of someone like Gazidis out there saying these things so I don’t have to, and can concentrate on pulling together the best team I can without sacrificing long term stability.

    In FIFA Career Mode I manage Leeds. This is so I can bring a well known name back to former glory. Remember when they spent all their money on stadium and players in anticipation of champions league football. Remember when they went bankrupt. Don’t know who did it, but I’m glad they aren’t manager of Arsenal either.

    I live in America now, but am from Essex. Since the move,I have visited the emirates but have not seen a game there yet. Kroenke’s US soccer team – Colorado Rapids – won the MLS 2 years ago. His hockey team is solid.

    Usmanov – regardless of any potential criminal activity – seems to have nothing but ill timed press releases. If he really wanted to give us a player, he could buy higuain for $40 mill, then sell him to us for $1 mill and write down a $39 mill loss. Thru a holding company. Like spurs does.

  • Ant the Limey

    Also – Gazidis was in charge of the MLS – that means more than you might think if you don’t live in the US. They have had to operate under strict financial pressure in order to survive and grow as a sport. I support the Arsenal with 126 year history.. And Philadelphia Union with a 3 year history. And Bobby Perez broke my heart when he refused to be the Union’s Designated Player because he thought Philadelphia was too ugly a city to live in.

    In the MLS, the league owns a players contract, not the team – so they can create super drafts to start new teams in the league when someone buys a franchise. Each team however can have 2 designated players. They can pay these guys as much as they want as long as the TEAM pays for it, with no assistance from the league, hence bekham on galaxy and Henry on red bulls (he also broke my heart with 2 late goals including a bicycle kick in the 90th minute, earlier this year – I saw that in person).

    The MLS has grown since its creation 18 years ago to 20 teams and become the US’ 3rd most popular support, already eclipsing NASCAR and I think basketball.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Chill guys ,have a cuppa , take a deep breath and enjoy. Cheers !

    ( A message to take to heart …)

    If I’m quiet , it doesn’t mean I have nothing to say .

    If I show happiness,it doesn’t mean that everything is ok.

    If I laugh a lot, it doesn’t mean I don’t take things seriously .

    If I forgive ,it doesn’t mean I should be taken for granted.

    If I don’t call ,it doesn’t mean that I don’t care.

    If I’m naive ,it doesn’t mean you should lie to me .

    If I don’t show emotions, it doesn’t mean I don’t feel them.

    If I don’t say I love you ,it doesn’t mean I don’t.

    If I ‘m not like you ,it doesn’t mean I ‘m weird .

    Don’t jump to conclusions, ask questions and LISTEN to the answers .


  • WalterBroeckx

    Where is d cliff so we can throw ourselves off it?

    W r doomd I tell ya, W R DOOMD!!!!

  • @Swales68

    @Ant the Limey just wondering about the buying players through a holding company and Spurs quote. I have not heard that before I was just wondering if it is defiantly true or just a rumour?

  • Asif

    @Brickfield Gunners – good comment…and thanks Bootoomee and Limpar’s Wand, your exchange of thoughts was very insightful…

  • Ant the Limey

    @swales68 – scurrilous rumor until proven otherwise 🙂

  • @Swales68

    @Ant the Limey

    Dam it sounded so good 😉 spurs were the 1st club to set up a holding company to run thier club through.

  • sperez

    As I’ve said, Arsenal is now 99% a cold corporate machine disguised as a football club.
    Arsenal only exists to make money whereas a true football club’s primary goal is to compete for trophies. And Wenger is complicit in all that. He is a corporate man now through and through. Laughing all the way to the bank while the fans are being fleeced.
    The people in charge at Arsenal disrespect the fans by spinning the same old tired s*it every year.

  • Bootoomee


  • Domhuail

    R1dultimate…..if things are so bleak why don’t you commit harakiri first and we’ll follow you, after some reflection of course!

    Spermhead (Sperez)….usual nasty shite excreted from your negative cynical and addled mind. We get that you hate Arsenal and Wenger….now go back to your gutter and leave us alone!

  • sperez

    Wenger is not Arsenal. I failed to see why some people think otherwise.
    I dislike Wenger because he is a lame excuse maker always trying to protect his own sorry a$$. He has carried out his own selfish agenda to the detriment of the team and his complacency has stunk the place out.
    Arsenal should not be his plaything and he should be introduced to the word ACCOUNTABILITY. That’s something that happens at every club.
    I can’t defend Wenger because his policy is utter bollocks. His pathetic wage parity model is the biggest f*ck up at the moment add to that his lack of tactical nous/motivation skill. Recipe for failure (exactly what has been happening over the last eight years).
    You don’t accept (and probably hate) everyone who doesn’t think the sun shines out of Wenger’s Ar$e.

  • Stuart

    It’s unbelievable that you cant see most of the things Wenger has to say are smokescreens – not for the fans but for the opposition. Wake up and smell the coffee.