ARSENAL manager Arsene Wenger can understand the "fear" of Arsenal fans, but called for a sense of perspective as he looks to get their Premier League campaign back on track with victory over bottom club QPR tomorrow.
Chief executive Ivan Gazidis, chairman Peter Hill-Wood and majority shareholder Stan Kroenke were all heckled at the club's annual general meeting yesterday 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.
Wenger used his address to calm an increasingly heated atmosphere, later expanding on his comments during a media conference that qualification for Europe's elite competition ranked third in his list of "five trophies" behind the Premier League and Champions League.
"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 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 defeats against Norwich and Schalke. "We understand you do not always agree with what we do," he said, "but (it is) still very important 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. After what has been a testing spell after international break, Wenger will be hoping his players can provide the needed rally against QPR.