Ivan Gazidis, Mark Gonnella, Raul Sanllehi were in attendance with members of the Fans Forum before today’s game against Watford. Here are some notes from inside the meeting from @the_cannon
Our reporter says, “The general feeling was obviously a few upset people and passionate questions/statements. The message from Ivan is that we do care and want fans to know that and understand our frustrations but are working hard to change.”
It wouldn’t be right for me to talk about the manager today, it wouldn’t be respectful to Arsene Wenger. I hope you understand.
Arsenal staff has doubled over last 3 years. Listing out all the recent recruits including Per to the academy who they believe has great qualities to move the academy forward.
Talking about the complexity of Sanchez swap deal and Aubameyang three-way deals. A lot of investment and change in the squad
Josh Kroenke wanted to be here today but had a charity commitment. Getting involved a lot at the moment trying to get a full understanding of everything Arsenal. Which is causing a bit of controversy in the US that he has decided to put things on hold and have moved to London in order to concentrate on Arsenal.
Ticket sales used to be 40% of revenue when we first moved, now only 20% because of all the other places money comes from.
Talking about knowing Raul Sanllehi from MLS days. Very well known in the industry. Mentioned he has overseen 8 manager changes at Barcelona. Played down the meaning of job titles with respect to ‘Director of Football’.
Saying Raul does a lot more than that across European football. Gives Arsenal a voice/position at the top tables in European football.
Extremely excited about this new project in my life. Very happy to be at the club, one of the top clubs in Europe. A club that everyone looks at. It was a no-brainier to join and very thankful for the opportunity. Someone asked me, ‘Why did I join Arsenal?’ I said, ‘Who wouldn’t!’
When Ivan explained the ideas he has got for the club and the people he wants to bring in, it was impossible to turn it down.
Talked a lot about the great people that Arsenal have who dedicate their lives to the club and there is so much love.
Raul joined Nike in 1996. One goal to bring football to the brand. Arsenal was the number on asset that was chosen at the time. Spent a lot of time at Highbury and has been following them since.
Ivan met with Raul secretly many times to arrange transfers of Cesc, Thomas Vermaelen, Alex Song etc. Raul mentioned Alexis too.
Question from Cape Town Supporters Club about not competing and others overtaking. Strong hint about manager.
Fair question. I have no interest in fighting for 5th, 6th, even 4th. We want to compete to win the league. Not going to go into change of manager, it’s not the right forum for that and it’s not respectful. Just because the manager hasn’t changed doesn’t mean there hasn’t been any changes, there have been many and a lot of investment. Recruiting the best people.
Absolutely convinced we can return but acknowledge we’re not in the place we want to be. In a difficult moment. Let’s understand we want the same things. Myself, Raul, Sven and Darren Burgess spend all there time thinking about how to achieve this, working very hard, very capable people.
Won’t take another 5, 6, 7 years to change. Things in football change quicker than that. Look at the fluctuation of Chelsea.
Couple of questions/statements from the room about players not putting in the effort on the field and also not acknowledging the crowd after a defeat
I understand your frustrations, I hear you. I have to tell you that the players do care though.
Ivan on finance:
We have to hold back cash for the security of the stadium mortgage with the banks. We’re spending everything we can. However you can see in last two windows breaking our transfer record we have money for investment.
FFP has worked. 6 or 7 years ago clubs across Europe made a total loss of 1.8 billion. Now it’s almost at break even. FFP still investigating transfers, eg Neymar. Clubs still getting banned from Europe, AC Milan may be getting one in the summer.