Wenger understands fear factor
Published 26/10/2012 | 08:18
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger can understand the "fear" of Arsenal fans, but called for a sense of perspective as he looks to get their Barclays Premier League campaign back on track with victory over bottom club QPR on Saturday.
Chief executive Ivan Gazidis, chairman Peter Hill-Wood and majority shareholder Stan Kroenke were all heckled at the club's annual general meeting on Thursday over Arsenal's financial strategy, in the wake of the £24million sale of captain Robin van Persie to rivals Manchester United and failure to win silverware since the FA Cup in 2005.
"There were concerns, of course, and there is no better moment than the AGM to express it," Wenger said. "It is sometimes emotional. I think as well, it's a lot guided by fear. Our fans fear that we will not be capable to compete financially to keep our best players and you know that subject - and you knew that would turn up, that is nothing new."
At an otherwise heated AGM, Wenger received a warm reception after his address which opened with an apology for the recent defeats against Norwich last weekend and Schalke on Wednesday night.
"We understand that you do not always agree with what we do," he said, "But [it is] still very important that we keep strength and that we keep united for the same thing - the good of Arsenal.
"First of course, we want to win the Premier League and that's why we are here and that's what we want to fight for."
Gazidis, meanwhile, claimed Arsenal would be able to compete with the world's biggest and best clubs as UEFA's Financial Fair Play regulations become more rigorously enforced.
Kroenke also felt the frustrations of supporters when asked whether dividends were to be paid to shareholders and then challenged directly by members of the Arsenal Supporters Trust for more meetings, a pledge from his £650million takeover in April 2011.
There were also questions on how the board were working with second-largest shareholders Red & White Holdings, backed by Usbek oligarch Alisher Usmanov, and issues raised over ticket prices and the cost of food at Emirates Stadium.