Arsenal’s AGM – the commentary

By Tony Attwood

In recent years I’ve been at the AGM of Arsenal, but this year other commitments made it impossible – so I’ve been picking up the news feeds as we go.  But please do note this is not a first hand record, and in the past I have found that what actually happened at the AGM was not what was reported.

If you were there, please do add some comments on the bits I have missed.

Overall it looks as if it was a more pleasant less fractious occasion than in the past – and it also included questions to Mr Wenger which he answered openly.

For example he was asked near the end about switching to a 4-4-2 system – something we were speculating on here for when Giroud and Danny W can play together in the team.

The boss said he was open to the idea, which has positives and negatives.  But overall he promised that it would be used once Giroud is fit and able to play alongside  Danny Welbeck.

On Fanshare – another issue we’ve touched on here (not least because I’m a member of Fanshare) – we got this answer: “Mr Kroenke and Arsenal board have given Fanshare around £250,000 of club’s money to cover the running of the scheme. We have never sought or received any funding. The funding could not go on forever. There was always an understanding that it needed to become self sufficient. The Arsenal board have more than lived up to its promises in relation to Fanshare.”

Following the wild and inaccurate coverage of Arsenal’s ticket prices Ivan Gazidis pointed out that ticket prices have gone up 1.6 per cent since 2006-7.   Actually I wish I had had that figure to hand when I wrote my piece about the bizarre Guardian coverage of ticket prices.

Interesting also that the paid journalists covering the survey from the BBC didn’t see that either.  (Everton have made a large public rebuttal of the figures and their interpretation – so it is not just Arsenal’s figures that were misrepresented.)

“The board has never approached ticket prices glibly or lightly. Demand for ticket continues to far exceed supply.   Underneath those headline ticket prices, the club continues to make tickets available to as many as possible.

“Our ticket exchange continues to grow and it’s the most advanced in the game, 60,000 will use it this season. That continues to remain a priority for us.”We have introduced £10 tickets for young Guns, adults and we are always looking at initiatives.”

Questions on transfers came up – although as far as I can see no one bothered to link the money spent on transfers with the need to raise money through crowd revenue.

Ivan Gazidis said, “We are not hoarding a vast cash balance. We do not try to broadcast our cash situation but situation is more complex.   It is quite untrue that we are sitting on a huge cash pile for some unspecified reason.”

On safe standing it seems Arsenal’s position has changed.  “We’re open to safe standing but it has to be through the government who will study many aspects of it before approval.”

On the issue of new players Mr Wenger agreed that another defender was needed and that the club had tried to buy one in the summer but couldn’t get the right man.   He also said that he was “determined to do a lot of work to develop that with youth team and experienced players. I am determined to fight harder than ever.”  On injuries he said, “We are trying to develop our preventive work in medical side.  We are also working on the mental side, it’s important the players are attached to the club.

So there we are, another AGM.  A positive atmosphere from what I hear.

Index to anniversaries and articles




17 Replies to “Arsenal’s AGM – the commentary”

  1. Tony,

    I was at the meeting and am just starting a report, will be with you in an hour or so.

  2. The problem that outsiders have when they look at Arsenals finances is that they mistake a financial statement (a review of the past) with a budget (a prediction of the future).
    They also forget that, unlike most other clubs, Arsenal is not happy to live a hand-to-mouth existance, relying on this weeks revenue to pay this weeks expenses; a risky thing to do at the best of times. We have more than one player on our books who wasn’t always paid by their previous employers and being able to guarantee a players salary better than 99% of rival clubs can count for a lot.
    Perhaps most importantly they don’t understand Arsenals policy with regard to the gambling of revenue derived from fans in the transfer market – a market in which everyone (even the most astute) makes mistakes.

  3. Personally, I find it irksome to hear that the majority shareholder has put nothing into the club. People who shout this out seem to not understand the basic economic concept of opportunity cost. A cost of buying up the Arsenal shares is that he could not buy up other things – things that would have given him a return of some sort. Had he just put the money in the bank he would have got money back in interest. 3 million pounds is a lot in relation to the average ticketholder’s salary probably but it reflects a very small amount of the money Mr. Kroenke has tied up in the Arsenal Football Club. I am not advocating that he take money out as dividends (because so would Usmanov, then) but I sure do understand that he would get some return for his millions in shares; I am actually grateful that he hasn’t taken out more.

  4. Has any1 asked them what they are or if they are doing behind the scenes about the situation with refs?

  5. Gouresh,

    No-one mentioned that ‘Elephant in the Room’. I attended as a representative of a shareholder, if the opportunity arises next year I will approach her to see if she is happy to formally ask such a question.

  6. gouresh ask exactly what i asked in the last article and i came here to see if there was any mention of the Arsenal attacks at the AGM.

  7. Ok I agree that the majority shareholder has put litle into the club
    and has eveen taken 3 million out of the club but how much have the players taken?

  8. @omgarsenal, it’s scandalous the way Walmart exploit people. A friend who works for Asda, owned by Walmart, has been made redundant in an extremely underhand way and she has employed a lawyer to fight her case.

    I have heard that club employees do not receive the London living wage. A disgrace considering our club seems to believe in doing things the right way, a myth it seems.

    On a footballing note here’s a piece from Guardiola’s book about how he planned Arsenal’s defeat. Very illuminating. I hope we study the opposition as thoroughly.

  9. I was also at the AGM and finally got my picture with Arsene that I’ve wanted for a long time, I also went looking for you Tony but was sadly told you had just left. I was able to attend thanks to my membership of the fanshare scheme (a laudable initiative of the AST which will unfortunately be wound up soon). I will likely be doing a write up on my experience and why I will be joining the AISA instead of the AST very soon. In my opinion, the AST has chosen an unnecessary path of confrontation which has antagonized the ownership of the club. Some of their leader’s hearts might be in the right place but it seems their heads aren’t.

  10. @Chapman’s Ghost,

    Seeing as this is an Arsenal fan site, I’d be more interested in reading about what went wrong with Pep’s preparation that led to Bayern’s 4-0 loss to Real Madrid in the semi-final of the UCL. We’ve also had a lot of game match days where Arsenal have knocked other clubs out of competitions and played very well indeed. Our run to the final in 2006 was full of such match days.

  11. @Omgarsenal

    While I sympathize with anyone whose existence is as described in part by the article you’ve linked above, I think that article would be better presented to the American lawmakers to make laws that would prevent the exploitation of such people as described in the article. Kroenke is not the sole owner of Wal-mart and has not broken any American laws (such as is in the public domain).

  12. @duduspace, apparently he deals with that very game in his book so you can read it if you like.

    Having read up on the AGM meeting it seems like it was a lot of waffle and obfuscation. Not Wenger’s fault I might add, rather the people who are in charge. Still it was interesting to learn that those in “charge” will back Wenger if he has a plan and keep quiet if he doesn’t which seems a rather strange position. I can understand their trust in Wenger but I think that rather implies that nobody else but Wenger has much idea about what goes on on the pitch, or cares that much unless we start tumbling down the league which is highly unlikely. This is more worrying when Wenger calls it a day, just who will be appointed then? I think we could do with a few ex Arsenal players in high places.

  13. I agree CG, I rather lack any confidence in our BoD to get the next appointment right. Further the subtext I picked up on was that they probably don’t have much confidence in themselves either which is why they are desperate to keep Arsene in position as long as possible.

    Regardless of if you or I believe Arsene is the best man for the job it’s worth bearing in mind that either now or at some point in the future Arsene would rather like to retire, and being the loyal fellow that he seems to be he may be persuaded to stay on longer then he would otherwise wish to.

    So really they do need to get their act together and consider the future before it turns around and bites them in the backside.

  14. @CG and @Andy

    I think its important to remember that Arsene was precisely employed to run the football side of the club. Apparently the boards position is to support him in every way in doing that. It is called delegation of responsibilities and is what drives every environment with the intention to attain meaningful progress. It begs the question why the club should employ Arsene and pay him that much if they already knew how to run the football side of the club. If however Arsene performs below the standards agreed between him and the board that employs him or he becomes unable to fulfil his duties, then questions will of course be asked. Until such a time as that happens however he should have the full backing of the board in fulfilling his duties.

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