Arsene Wenger to be given transfer war chest as Arsenal chief executive apologises to fans for Bradford defeat
Published 13/12/2012 | 10:47
Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis has apologised to Gunners fans for the Capital One Cup humiliation by Bradford and promised that Arsene Wenger has significant money to spend, according to the club's supporters trust.
Gazidis met members of the Arsenal Supporters' Trust last night where he was pressed on the deepening crisis at the club.
AST spokesman Tim Payton said: "He said it [the Bradford defeat] wasn't good enough and apologised for the result. He also thanked away fans for their support and said Arsenal will put that right, and confirmed that significant funds are available for transfers."
The AST have long supported the Gunners' prudent financial approach but believe the lack of spending has now gone too far, and that the Bradford result was a symbolic moment with the team having decreased in quality year after year since 2009.
The Trust wants changes at board level, for Wenger to release some of his duties to others, and for the manager to spend some of the many millions available to him.
Payton added: "This is the most difficult time in Arsene's 16 years and both the club and himself need to change direction quickly if his wonderful era is not to end on a sad note.
"The Arsenal Supporters' Trust cannot fathom why £70million was left untouched this summer. Arsene needs to get over his distaste for spending and use the resources that after all are provided by the hard-pressed fans who watch the team.
"The AST believe a shake-up is needed. We would like to see new, younger blood added to the board, and they also need to exercise more control and direction over Arsene's football strategy.
"One man cannot direct all transfer targets, wages, coaching methods and manage the team at games. It's too much for one man."
Even if results do not pick up, Wenger's position should be safe at least until the end of the season but an increasing worry for club executives is that significant numbers of fans are not turning up to matches at the Emirates despite having bought tickets.
There is also growing frustration that players brought in since the departures of Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Robin van Persie have failed to deliver.
Even Arsenal's honorary vice-president Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith expressed that frustration last night, saying on Twitter - though deleting it soon afterwards, that: "Gervinho is a FLOP player".
There is also a fear that Theo Walcott may also leave the club - especially with Manchester United now linked with the England forward.