Gazidis: Leaving Arsenal ‘hardest decision of my life’

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In an interview with the official website Ivan Gazidis says his decision to leave Arsenal was the hardest of his life.

As he departs the club after almost 10 years as chief executive, the 54 year reflected on his time at Arsenal, the years he spent talking a lot and saying very little, and declared that planning for his own succession was part of his job – unlike, for example, saying anything last season when the club was going through its most turbulent time in years.

“For the last 10 years I have been privileged to dedicate myself to this great club,” he said.

“Arsenal is entering a new chapter and I have done everything I can to ensure that it is strongly placed to take on that challenge. This includes world-class facilities and outstanding leaders in every sector who carry the values of the club, including, of course, Unai Emery, Raul Sanllehi and Vinai Venkatesham in whom I have enormous faith.

“We have rebuilt the off-field capability of the club, which is necessary for prolonged success in modern football, we have recently concluded new primary partnership deals that, together with the new league broadcast deals, secure our medium term financial future, we have updated our stadium and rebuilt our training facilities so that they are now world class and we have transitioned to a new football structure that is capable of taking the club confidently into the future.

“Given this platform, I know many will think this is a strange time to be leaving but I believe it is the right time for me and for the club. Change and succession is not only inevitable for a club like Arsenal, it is necessary if it is continually to keep moving forward.

“One of my primary responsibilities as chief executive has been to make sure that there is good succession planning in every position in the club, including my own.

“Although it is very hard to do – the hardest decision of my life – I believe that, after 10 years, it is the right time for me to step aside to allow new leadership, energy and ideas to take the club forward into this exciting new era.

“I believe in the positive force of change, both for me and for the club. While this is the most difficult and challenging course for me, I am excited to see what the future holds for this great club.”

There have been countless tributes paid to Gazidis from Arsenal fans across Twitter in the wake of the announcement. Here’s a round-up of some of the best:

Gazidis officially takes up his post with Milan on December 1st, and leaves Arsenal at the end of October.

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Bobby P

I would imagine it was the hardest decision of his life.
Getting paid for doing nothing for at least the last 5 years must have been well cushty.

Pedant

Arsenal are bound to get someone in to try to replace all the great things Gazidis did, rather than not getting anyone new in and just moving a couple of existing employees up to do their jobs and his and save all the money he was paid?

If Arsenal did do that it would imply that he was not that effective at his job and was getting his salary for doing little or nothing.

Dr Zebra

I nominate the Inanimate Carbon Rod!

Goontang

More money? Where do I sign. Sounds pretty hard.

Goontang

You also must have a lot of traffic to the page blogs. Having trouble loading the tribute posts from Twitter.

viegunner

I can see them. It’s a fine selection. I liked the one especially, where the guy is seemingly lost for words, almost as if he didn’t care at all

Naija Gunner

?

Nketibag

Don’t underestimate swapping the London smog for a Villa on Lake Como either..

Exiled Gooner

“Given this platform, I know many will think this is a strange time to be leaving but I believe it is the right time for me and for the club.”

Google translate from corporate bullshit into English tells me that this means:

“Milan, for reasons best known only to them, drove a dumper truck full of money up to my house that left me unable to see due to the cartoon dollar signs in my eyes.”

Irrational Gunner

In the good old USA, we would call this guy a “tool”.

Jorin

We knew it was coming, but I still can’t believe it. For a guy who could actually get results under his own name rather than Wenger’s, it feels foolish to wait for a decade and then leave when there’s a chance to make a mark.

Makes no sense. But not much of what Ivan said made sense anyway. Best of luck in Milan. You’ll not be missed.

Sànde Class

Very conniving if not smart move this because Ivan will not only have a strong negotiating hand now, but he also won’t be in the limelight IF the changes he’d wrought go south! Atleast that’s how I’m able to make sense of all this. 😛

Gooner Sam

Which is the biggest risk, staying with Arsenal to see out his transformation or get shed loads of cash and backing in Italy where there is Juve…..then everyone else. Like the Arteta appointment, it smacks of a lack of ambition to me

GunnAlex

Tra Captain Buzzword

Pedant

As usual, a very well drafted statement that makes everything seem a lot better than it was or is.

But that was the problem with Ivan, great words not great actions.

Geoff

The statement was bloody awesome, brought a tear to the eye, shame none of it fucking happened!

Sànde Class

Ha ha ha, well done!

thw14

There were previous suits who matched words with actions and are still slimed on a regular basis by fans. They get paid plenty for the privilege, so that’s fine, but if you listen to some, executives have done nothing but drag Arsenal through the mud.

Almost makes you wish for the good old days when the club was a guild/artisanal collective that styled itself the “Bank of England club.”

Ivan Drago

Those twitter links not showing up for anyone else?

aberinkula

Mate.

GoateeOfPires

I think that is the point. I could be wrong, but if it is its genius!

kinghenrythe14th

To help out folks like you, here are the twitter links once again

And the best one is:

Ivan Drago

Ah, I see. By “tributes” I was expecting some tweets calling him a prick in various comical ways

Stephen

You’ll find original signed statements of adoring fans inside the trophy cabinet under the lid at White Hart Lane.

Eandy

The tribute part has me in stitches 😀 😀

Matty Cakes

What’s Italian for ‘blah, blah, blah’?

Bren

Merda, merda, merda

Lula

A multi-millionaire leaving for more money.
Was unable to do much for the.first eight years here, then when things.finally change giving him a bigger role he leaves.

You won’t be remembered well by this club. And that you won’t care means you are no great loss.

But the club is in the hands of multi-billionaires that don’t care about it. The Gazidis issue is not the issue we should be worried about

Homer

IMO that’s A harsh comment, Lula. As I stated above, he shan’t be missed that much. But Gazidis was there for the years post Emirates build when things were financially challenging. So there was some stability and all that. No offence meant here, but you, like Blogs in his main post for today, complain about the new ownership. You criticize him for being a billionaire who doens’t care. So what’s the solution? A billionaire that mouths the correct talking points? How many “true Arsenal men” are billionaires that you and others would accept? So let’s have some names. Oh, right.… Read more »

Stuart B

I don’t hear anyone “bitching” Homer. Rather, I hear fans expressing concern about an owner who is clearly motivated by financial performance of his asset, rather than football performance. You have detailed some transfers, however transfers are unavoidable for any large club, and the fact that we made some recently doesn’t detract from the fact that the owner is solely concerned about the increasing value of AFC. Gazidis was a CEO that took orders from AW and the owner, which made him CEO in name only, despite his significant salary. And you’re mistaken about the financial stability after the stadium… Read more »

Kwame Ampadu Down

Arsenal fans bitching ? The ones who constantly bitch about anyone who doesn’t agree with their narrative or who makes any comment that they deem ‘negative’ & who dismiss them as not real ‘supporters’. Agreed. It’s really absurd.

sambo

Flamini

Dave Crawford

I think you are totally wrong on some of that. Sanchez and Ozil should have been sold not indulged. Take the money and reinvest. He had no balls

02ba

Take ya yank mate with ya

Mr Eko

I really don’t understand why Arseblog so bitter about this. You’ve been leading the anti-Gazidis movement for the past few months. He finally decides to leave for a better offer (as most would). And you’re still here trying to paint him like the villain.

Pedant

Give us the reasons we are missing on why Gazidis did well and we should celebrate him.

TCGNR

What a classic post, from Buscemi right into the blank space. Well done.

No Longer Laughing Stock

Oh well, two down one to go. The toughest one admittedly, but yeah.

ChrisM

Only one of the hardest because it’s basically one of the only decisions he’s apparently made in a long time.

Don’t let the door hit you in the arse area on the way out.

surreygooner

The decision was so hard but the extra cash made me harder!

Kampala gooner

Looking down with my foreskin abscent the resemblance uncanny to that picture above.

Tas_Gunner

Yeah sure,Hard…
http://gph.is/1nc5TZu

Make Arsenal Great Again

I’m concerned that we’re making too many changes too soon. Let’s hope it works out

Stuart B

This man’s title was Chief Executive Officer. In any corporate institution that would mean he is top of the tree and has the ultimate say on all the important strategic and operational decisions, and also has ultimate accountability for success and failure of the club. However, the reality is that for all of the years when he and Arsene were at AFC together, Ivan took his instructions from AW (and, latterly, the owner) and had no accountability whatsoever. Any self-respecting CEO would resign under these conditions, but not Ivan, who was content to be CEO in name only and pick… Read more »

Merlin's Panini

Looks like he’s disappeared up his own tunnel area and popped out in Milan.

atom

honestly it’s kind of amazing how much attention it’s getting that a guy who’s primary remit is simply administration and business is getting this much attention for leaving the club & that fans have this strong of feelings towards him.

Homer

Gazidis’ pledge years ago to make Arsenal competitive with the Bayern Munichs … he’s pretty much failed at that. Arsenal now are a creature of his making. And the men’s first team is way off the pace. I read here and there that the club’s advertising and sponsorship revenue isn’t what it should be. (And, why the fuck are we taking money from Rwanda … at least I hope we’re not.) So, thanks for facilitating mediocrity and failing to challenge Arsene until it was WAY too late, Ivan. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out. Though, to… Read more »

MeSoHornsey

A million is a big pay rise. But I hope he’s prepared for his Lamborghini to be trashed by the Ultras when things aren’t going great.

santori

I think (yet again) some people here have got some foggy thinking. Sure Gazidis leaves for money. Why not? AND his achievements at the club must be measured from the business end of things, not footballing triumphs or failures. That would be Wenger. Was there enough money for Arsene and company to spend? Yes. Did we improve on stadium/kit deals? Yes. Did we manage better commercial revenue, not so much. BUT as far as footballing is concern, he can only do so much with Wenger in charge and with the Kroenke’s parsimonious otherwise. Whether he is leaving at a good… Read more »

Point Percy at the porcelain

From a business viewpoint he was the twat who let Sanches run his contract down – we should have got over £50m for him. He also let Ozil hold the club to ransom and get a deal on £350k a week. He also let Wilshere run his contract down and leave for nothing (£15m+). And this is all in the last year! Looking further back he managed to let Van Persie leave for fuck all and to go to Man Utd and eliver them the title. He also let Walcot hold the club to ransom when he should have been… Read more »

Dave Crawford

Agree with absolutely all of that! Apart from RVP which was a pretty good deal

Flashmob

I don’t consider myself a person who could judge his performance well. But as the number of worldwide fans, the top infrastructure, top new leaders and the stable financials concern (despite our limited possibilities (at Gazidis’s level – as he is not the owner)) – I think his performance can’t be described as a clear-cut failure. In the last 10 years we should have to compete with MU, and billionairs at City and at Chelsky. I think if the circumstancies wouldn’ have turned that much in the past decade we would be at least 1 big step ahead – and… Read more »

santori

The other bullshit that people like to espouse back in the recent past was ‘top 4 trophy’. We should drop out of top 4 so we can win a trophy (ie europa) Look at us now. Two seasons out, no guarantee we can win the much less prestigious europa. Meanwhile same pundits that despised “top 4 trophy’ now see it as imperative. Emery does NOT have 3 seasons (if Neville or other pundits would deem to suggest otherwise) to right this club back into CL contention. We need to bounce back into it this season. Another season out following two… Read more »

shokim

What a politician you are, Ivan. Getting a multi-million contract in return must feel great. Stop with the crocodile tears.

Laca-Sead

I like the statement. However If he made sure there was good succession in place for his position, meaning he had an input in the decision making of his successor, it cannot be Josh Kroenke, as Josh would be an imposed figure and not a chosen one. If it was to be JK it would signify all the above statement is bullshit.
Could also be he was asked to consider his options, pushed out, which would signify he is an honourable man for keeping it quiet and put together a clever and inspiring statement. Or it could be… (kidding)

Sànde Class

If this was truly his hardest decision then I think I/we all should also truly aspire to become CEOs in one form or another. 😉

Jack but

Lol, the twitter pun, is best joke… What a relief for man who wanted out

Anthony

Aside from the huge chunk of cash Arsenal will save by not having him on the books, is this really newsworthy? I mean, he made a number of well articulated statements, but what did he actually do?

The tributes are perfectly fitting mind you.

Bye Ivan.

Gooner Sam

Ya da, ya da, ya da Gazidas. Actions speak louder than words, like leaving 2 months after you have started to implement a new model. Better off without him, done an ok job but hardly set the world alight

Twatsloch

He spent ten years battling Wenger and am antiquated club structure and when finally getting his way he leaves. Something not right about that. Could it be he realised that his vision for the club is never going to happen under Kroenke and rather than banging his head against another brick wall it’s time to go?

Paul Roberts

I can see myself struggling to remember his name at a pub quiz in a couple of years! 🙂

Nick

Yeah whatever

Ozenal

Several player bought who Wenger clearly didn’t want and were sold or loaned out after a year. I wonder who allowed that to happen?

If it happened under Emery again then the spotlight would have been on Gaz.

Fabregasm

I stand by my theory that Gazidis wanted Arteta, backed Arteta and then Jr. Josh arranged to pull the rug from under him. Not only did this destroy Gazidis’ credibility, he saw that he was never going to run the club in any meaningful way and told the Kroenkes to Silent the Stan off and got himself a new gig.
Very admirable guy. Got paid a mint to do very little and still walked out like a boss to get another high paying gig despite mediocre performance and being paid millions.
I wish I could be such a successful mediocrity.

Riku

Anyone else’s feel kronke- just given more work to two employees and pocketed Ivan’s g. (2 million salary) in his back pocket. The two employees already have a lot to do or we would not have finished sixth last year!….

Tungor_adams

Out of unbearable sense of deep empathy, I just created a support fund for to be traumathized AC Milan fans. He sayed whatever he felt was required to get season ticket holders to renew, now that his 10 year bluff has been called, the Milan Board wants him. It says something on what values prioritized by AC Milan.

BR Mile

AFL

Investment fund (Elliot) that bought football club (AC Milan) won’t be running the club for long. Idea is to stabilize and sell with profit. I guess they are better informed on Gazidis competence and capabilities than the average arsenal fan. There is nothing metaphysical about measuring CEO performance. It always shows in numbers and I guess those guys that employed Gazidis had a look at his results at Arsenal prior to luring him away. Disliking someone is legitimate and subjective feeling (shared by myself in this case), but objectively there is not much from a purely business perspective you can… Read more »