Wenger feels the weight of the present as fans make point at AGM

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For the first time in the club’s history, Arsenal’s minority shareholders voted down a resolution at an Arsenal AGM prompting a card vote on the issue of re-electing chairman Sir Chips Keswick and non-executive director Josh Kroenke, son of owner Stan.

With the backing of majority shareholders Kroenke Snr and Alisher Usmanov, both Keswick and Kroenke Jr were eventually re-elected, but not before the dissenters’ initial no vote caused a significant delay in proceedings.

The significance of the symbolic gesture was not lost on manager Arsene Wenger who later took to the stage to plead with supporters to back his players on the pitch. The manager was handed a new two-year deal by Kroenke in the summer despite a traumatic season that saw fan frustration reach new levels.

“It’s an immense privilege to speak here for a 21st time. I dedicate 99 per cent of my life to making you happy. Looking at what happened today, that’s not easy,” Wenger said.

“A football club is about the past, the present and the future. In what we see now, the weight of the past and the weight of the future has been kicked out of the game.

“The weight of the present has become heavy. It’s the only one thing people want. Win or out. It’s acceptable but I always guided this club with one idea – that the club is always, for me, about values.

“When I look at photos of the 1930s, 1950s and 1960s [Arsenal] have not always won but there’s some pride for the sense of belonging to this club.

“I will never betray the people who create these values. Arsenal is a highly respected club, not only because we won the last game but because we represent something that is exceptional.

“The present for me is about style of play, winning trophies, winning every game. Don’t think I don’t know. It’s essential.

“I just ask you one thing. Be behind the team. We accept the verdict at the end of the season but there’s something special in this team. We have a chance.”

Wenger stayed behind to sign autographs for fans after the AGM was brought to an abrupt end by Sir Chips Keswick who chose not to answer a number of questions posed from the floor. Stan Kroenke lived up to his ‘Silent’ moniker by refusing to speak, perhaps because he felt he’d said everything he wanted to in an interview with the Telegraph.

Tim will be sharing his take on today’s proceedings for Arseblog News later this evening. Keep your eyes peeled for that.

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95 Comments on "Wenger feels the weight of the present as fans make point at AGM"

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A Yank in King Arsene\'s West Stand
A Yank in King Arsene\'s West Stand

I do think it’s time for a new manager, but Arsene is clearly the only person involved with the running of the club that upholds and respects its values. These people are shocking.

Looking forward to reading Tim’s report later.

Declan M

Shame one of the rabid fans didn’t bite Stanley.

IamaGoober

Arsene talked with great passion about the club values, but literally out of all of the people on that stage, he is the only one of them who actually stands to represent any of those values and identity.

Although I think he should’ve stepped down as the Arsenal manager back when we won the FA Cup against Hull in 2014. But this AGM has really brought home for me, the fact that when Arsene does eventually call time on his Arsenal career, the marble halls of Highbury and the legacy of that whole era, also go with him.

With this faceless American ownership, and gutless, classless board in charge, we are a true shadow of our former selves. And I’m sure all of the great innovators that helped pushed this great club to where it is now, would be so ashamed to see the sad state of affairs behind the scenes, regarding the new soulless corporate ownership, and how they literally have zero interest in anything else other than the money.

Like it is so sad to see it right there in front of your face.

John C

He’s never once said what these values are so how he represents them i don’t know

IamaGoober

The main value which Wenger has always conducted himself with is, class.

John C

He’s a pathological liar and completely unable to take responsibility for his actions, that’s far from class.

IamaGoober

I disagree with that. I wouldn’t say he’s a pathological liar, or that he is completely unable to take responsibilities for his actions.

Just out of curiosity, where you able to provide me with some examples just for context?

As I said, I am not a ‘Wenger in’ fanatic, I think he should’ve gone a long time ago. But I do think that he does personify the values of what it is to be an Arsenal man, and he conducts himself in an appropriate way to be manager of Arsenal.

He’s just lost his touch now because he is too old and the game has moved on, nothing more, nothing less.

Stonroy

@Iamagooner. Not a pathological liar but certainly delusionary. He said people only look at the present, not the past or the future. I think he seems to be forgetting about the last 12 years then…

Pedant

Look at the comments if we win or if we lose. ‘Our greatest manager ever’ to ‘Wenger out’ in the space of a few days. His overall point is right, we are very affected by the present moment.

But, if you remember:

We have won three FA Cups in the last 4 years (with three Community Shields).

Tottenham have won 1 League Cup in the last 10 years, 1 FA Cup in the last 35 years and ask yourself:

http://www.haveyoueverseentottenhamwintheleague.com/ see the clock ticking on the link.

Ignoring the doubles, Invincibles season Thierry, Dennis, Patrick etc etc.

We are very fickle.

Kwame Ampadu Down

That’s just not true pedant. It’s different people saying those things after a win to those after we lose, I don’t think people are fickle. Most people have made their kind up.
The problem is the extremists on both sides of the debate are shouting so loud they drown out any of us who want a reasoned debate.

Paul

The previous comment was saying that we forget the past yet only mentioned the last 12 years! Just after we were hamstrung by using lots of money to buy our stadium. Looking overall as a fan for close to 50 years we are doing well, even now. Though many fans were spoilt by the early Wenger years and hurt by huge amounts of foreign money coming to Chelsea and City.

You are right though, there are too many extreme views.

Paul

I guess no-one is going to rush on after a match to comment and say that was ok. Or we were close. The ones rushing on are the extremists.

Let the moderates rise up and post first.

Nas

I totally agree… the support should be endless… talk disappointments at the end of the season not mid way when all we need is to support the team… how would u feel if ubwere an arsenal player reading the comments its very dishesrtening theres a sea of negativity around arsenal u guys should support a small time club to understand what arsenal are and the the suport they deserve

IamaGoober

I think you’re taking his words too literally. He obviously meant, there is a greater focus on the present now then ever before. And to a degree what he said is correct. The average fan isn’t really concerned with future necessarily, nor the past. We, the fans, live in the here and now.

But that’s Arsene, a philosophical statemen.

btw

Short memories, petulant and arrogant comes to mind. How many years have you managed?

Isaiah Rankin

Sadder still that football used to be an escape from the bullshit, now it’s just a part of it.

Clueless, nepotistic investors treating your club like a big red and white ISA, World Cup Finals brought to you by modern slavery, Michael Owen’s voice…it’s fucked mate.

DB10\'s Air Miles

@Isaiah Rankin
Absolutely spot on, unfortunately.
Football’s dying, money’s won…… pound sterling for the cup!

IamaGoober

@Isaiah Rankin

I totally agree mate. It kills me.

Dave M

…but come on mate, think about Arsenal’s values…
The magical club that does everything in such an upstanding moral way. Especially capitalism – we’re VERY VERY good at that

Dave M

“Shame one of the rabid fans didn’t bite Stanley.”

This comment didn’t get enough likes…BRILLIANT!!

goongot

let Marco Silva be our next manager.

Shambles

Good. Although i will never be able to understand this “we’ll accept the verdict at the end of the season”. At the end of which season?

Teryima Adi

Last season of course and the last before the last for the past 12 years. And make the failure mild with a shake of FA cups.

Silent Stan\'s Content Mustache
Silent Stan\'s Content Mustache

2075.

Me So Hornsey

He was judged at the end of last season. And he knew the verdict.

So much so that he skipped the end of season lap of honour for the fear of being booed.

So lets cut the crap. Wenger’s a decent man that loves Arsenal no doubt but he is also not immune from the bs at times.

He’s basically telling the fans they’re too spoilt and to put up and shut up in a typically classy but clever way.

Danny

Yeah but… had our fans been a bit more supportive over the last 8 or so years, our players might have played with the confidence and freedom needed to win the league. You can’t perform with a monkey on your back, let alone 30 odd thousand of them. Wenger recognises that and that’s why he asks for support. Imagine the Emirates rocking every week…. We’d rule the world!

Kwame Ampadu Down

The Emirates where we have won all our games this season? Of course our fans could be better but they are certainly no worse than any of our rivals. You could argue they’ve more supportive actually : can you think of another big club in England where Arsene wouldn’t have been sacked because the fans would have turned on him so much the board had no choice? I certainly can’t. Talking about our fans is like refs & injuries : a distraction from the real reasons we haven’t won and no more than that.

clins

this is the kind of thing i would never understand . we’ve been doing that for 12 years and it doesnt change a fuking thing .

SB Still

I’ve been supporting Arsenal for 20 years now (phew I’m getting old!).

So only know the club managed by Wenger and was a major supporter of him especially during the high octane clashes with Fergi (the local bully, who bent the system).

Last was the first time that I thought it would be better for him to go. However very clearly of all major players we have at the top of the hierarchy, he is probably the most decent and dedicated.

The Kronkes are the ones dragging us down and Wenger is the only one who can put up a fight.

Maybe if Wenger took up the role of Director of Football and we get a new manager in?

David C

I get what you’re saying, but the problem with Wenger as director is we won’t change our Barca-lite tikki-tacka playing style. I’d love us to hit teams quicker on the counter, we’re one of the fastest teams in the league yet we continue to walk the ball up the pitch and pass it side to side allowing the opposition to get back in their own half.

We’re just too predictable right now and I’m not sure Wenger as director would change that. Also, so-so in transfers lately…

kveb

Did you watch the last game?

The Loon Ranger

I’m just sick of hearing this every damn year. Judge us at the end of the season he says, I don’t doubt that he believes in what he’s doing but it really is time for change. Every mid table team knows how to put us on the back foot. And being mocked by that fat git from Watford didn’t help

baz00r

Agreed. I dont know where that style of football has gone, we used to play that way under Wenger in the mid 00’s and now its just laborious ticki tacka with no urgency and its just boring to watch.

Zyrth

Too true. I still remember back in 2002(?) when we faced Liverpool at home and got a red card early, we managed to trash them 3-0 with only 3 actual attempts. All from our usual plays; tight at the back, win the ball and ping the ball quickly over to the other end and score. Our invincibles can’t keep the ball well, but boy could they counter attack fast.

Andy Mack

Not 2002.
1990 and 2006 we beat them 3-0.
But 2000 (December) we lost 4-0.

A different George

Tikki-takka? Is that how you think Alexis plays? Or Lacazette? Or Giroud, for that matter? The famously metronomic Ozil, always so predictable in his sideways passing? I don’t mean to be rude, but I think you have not watched enough football to understand what is happening on the pitch.

Martin

Ozil predictable? The most creative player in the country with more assists and chances created than any other player. It’s you that doesn’t watch enough.

GooonerMike

You clearly have no understanding of sarcasm whatsoever…..as in none….zero….

Dave M

You totally missed his point. We force Ozil to play slow, we miss Laca’s runs, we make Alexis drop deep and we rarely get a glimpse of those players in space because all too often wenger would rather the team hold up the play and maintain possession that hit them hard and fast, which suits those players best and its when we look the most dangerous offensively and the most sound defensively. We see it on very rare occassions and we all of a sudden look great again and then before you know it (usually after we score a goal) we try to control possession and slow the game down and we lose all our momentum, curtail our own flair, shut down our own space and set ourselves up to be hit on the counter and Bob’s your uncle it’s tied up again. Story of about 1000 arsenal games in the last 10 year. The game has evolved, but Wenger is so self obsessed with his passing-possession-“[not so] beautiful game” that he has fallen behind the world class managers in the sport

Diarra

We haven’t played played tiki-taka since Arteta stopped playing

Zyrth

Tbh, were neither tiki taka nor counter attacking football. We’re just too slow and rely on the individual brilliance of Sanchez, Ozil, lacazette, and giroud to win games for us.

Our midfield is a right mess. Slows us far too much to counter, and lacks the nous to defend too.

Faisal Narrage

I wonder if these comments would be made if we had lost the last two games.

Sorry I sound cynical, but this all feels like deja vu. Wenger is incredibly charismatic, and when the fans are in a good mood after 2 wins (and especially the rise of Eddie), and we all get our rose-tinted specs on and get gooey-eyed especially when Wenger talks in his very intellectual and introspective way.

Belfast Gooner

In think the politburo in East Germany was more open than Arsenal at present. Wonder if any of the dissenting voters ‘disappeared’ after the meeting!!

WengerOut

Wenger needs to show the fans that he can adapt. He needs to change. We don’t necessarily need a new manager, but a manager who’s willing to adapt.

Zakgooner

Board members out in force down rating this comment! Why would we need change?? I mean who actually wants to challenge for the league or the champions league!

Vedant

Very legitimate comment. Although the dislikes you got are from the people who as always were awed by the Wenger speech, not wanting to believe that those are just empty words we hear every year. You can call him a lot of things but he certainly is a good orator

Danny

Maybe the dislikes are from the people that recognise the major tactical adaptation that Wenger made last season? It’s nothing to do with being awed by the speech, the comment was just a bit shit.

Dave M

What is that “major tactical adaption”? copying and pasting the 5 man defense being used all over modern football for the last 2 years and playing the exact same slow tempo, possession football, pigeon-holing favourite players into the squad no matter if its out of position or messes up our balance. We may play a different formation, but we haven’t changed our overall tactics and we still never change anything in respect to the opposition we play.

nimble foot

are you saying you’ll only consider it a tactical adaptation if Wenger invents a new formation that has never, ever been used in the history of football?

Dave M

I’ll consider it a tactical adaption when we play a style of football that suits the team we have instead of forcing the players to play a system they are ill-suited to often out of position. I’d consider it tactics if we maybe adjusted to the opposition and occasion once in a while.Nice straw man argument though

Zakgooner

I mean yeah that adaption finally allowed us to compete for the league and the champions league for the first time in over TEN YEARS…..oh wait shit my bad we didn’t….

Zakgooner

A fuckin men

Andy Mack

It’s interesting that a businessman like Usmanov didn’t vote against the board, but some guys that haven’t run a big business did…

ScotchEggsRule

My interest in Arsenal, as a fan, is certainly not business. The leeches are in in full “suck” mode.

Andy Mack

Pretty much every PL club is owned by a businessman.
Pretty much every club has a vast majority of supporters that couldn’t run a financially successful business.

A Person

Chips Keswick , get out of our club.

Greg

He sure acted with the dignity and class we so like to associate with Arsenal today

Groverider

Dignity and class my arse. His merchant dynasty made its money in the opium trade, his inherited wealth basically comes from drug running, subsequently laundered and rinsed clean down the centuries.

Andy Mack

I know plenty of people that make their money from drugs.
It doesn’t mean they don’t have dignity or class…

Gunnerinsearchoftruth
Gunnerinsearchoftruth

“I don’t believe what you say because I see how you act.”

David Hillier\'s luggage
David Hillier\'s luggage

“I will never betray the people who create these values. Arsenal is a highly respected club, not only because we won the last game but because we represent something that is exceptional.”

I’m only reading quotes or paraphrasing, but compare how eloquent Arsene’s words are to Sir Chip’s “read the Daily Telegraph” when asked if Stan could address fellow shareholders. Granted the chairman is only a figurehead position at Arsenal with no real power, you’d still think the club would have someone with a little more class or ability communicate. Doesn’t feel like Sir Chip is following the values Arsene is talking about.

Will

Chips Keswick… You could fill the Emirates to the top with that man’s disdain for the commoner.

Doug

After the events today, I wonder if they will even hold this event next year?

DialSquareGoon

They have to as the club is still publicly owned by shareholders. Sketchy fellow though he is (to say the least), we have Usmanov to thank for that. His refusal to sell his shares means the silent clown can’t buy up the club, take it private, and cancel any and all future AGMs.

Andy Mack

You say that as though the AGM actually does something positive.
It wouldn’t make a blind bit of difference if it didn’t happen, like it doesn’t make a difference at clubs which don’t have them as they’re privately owned.

Doug

Thanks for the reply. Based on the refusal by the major players to answer any questions it seems like they don’t want to hold it period. Good to know there is an obligation

bdotm

Arsene. Speaks ever so well. Not a word out of place. I really like this man. The EPL this season and the Champions league next season? Blind faith?

Jdog

Good. The only chance to ruffle a few feathers and its seems like that was achieved. It won’t effect much short term, but it will magnify supporters feelings towards the current establishment. Word on Arsene, his abilities are up for debate but his desire to win football matches and make people happy is not at all questionable. There is something really nice and comforting about that. He probably wants as little to do with this political shit storm as the supporters.

Andy Mack

I think your comment should have said “It won’t effect anything.”

Rob67

No sympathy. Not for Wenger ; and certainly not for any of the others. Wenger whines about the 1950s but we were Champions in 1953.

We won’t be any time this decade. His talk of ‘values’ is specious and mendacious in equal measure.

As for the Kronke’s- a plague on them both.

Chris Kiwomya

As a fan (and yourselves too), I have invested more money into the club than all the board members put together, except silent Stan. The others, Josh Kroenke, Lord Harris of Peckham, Ken Friar, Ivan Gazidis and Sir Chips Keswick have all invested zero, but take out loads. What my dad would have called ponces. Time to move on boys.

KOJO

I SPENT LAST SEASON IN WENGER OUT MODE…THEY GAVE HIM A PAYRISE AND 2 MORE YEARS..THEREFORE THERE IS NO POINT IN PROTESTING AGAINST WENGER.KROENKE TOLD THE PRESS THAT HE HAS NO INTENTION OF SELLING,AND OWNERSHIP OF THE CLUB WILL BE PASSED ON TO HIS SON IN THE FUTURE.SO WHAT WE HAVE NOW IS A CLUB THAT IS RUN BY A DICTATORSHIP.SO ARSENAL FANS IF WE WANT OUR CLUB BACK,IT’S GOING TO TAKE YEARS OF PROTEST BECAUSE THE HIERARCHY ARE NOT INTERESTED WHAT THE TRUE FANS WANT.

Andy Mack

A dictatorship like $iteh, Utd, Chavski (even Spuddies) and all the other teams above us in the league?

Danny

ive supported the club my whole life and attended hundreds of games. I don’t share your view, so does that mean I’m not a true fan?

Lula

Urgh. How i detest Kroenke and his acolytes. Everything Arsene said was spot on. he deserves better than ho this will end for him, handing it.over to the board…

Chrispy

Values and £10m a year to uphold them………

Tony Hall

Unfortunately nothing will change until Kroenke sells up and fucks off (and not to Usmanov either) and Gazidis (wtf does he do exactly) and Keswick are replaced by people who love football and love the club. And if Arsene is still there at that time they should take transfer dealings off him, make him more accountable and get rid of the dead wood happy to amble along on a good wage.
Sadly it aint gonna happen any year soon so we are stuck with this for the forseeable future 🙁

bazza_wicks

when Wenger is left again to hang out the dirty washing on his own who will do that when hes gone, if usanov flogs up the great values the club have will be lost to silent stan for ever just look at his other usa investments in teams it pains me so much to think the worst scenario

Andy Mack

Are you referring to the LA rams that he’s investing in a new stadium for, and who top their table at the moment?

Damz...

Yeah the LA rams who he uprooted from ST.louis in 2015 without giving a single shit about the fans opinion. Thats why he’s investing in a new stadium in LA (not because he’s such a generous guy)

Pablo Pomreas

I might be naive but this is an honest question that I would love to discuss. If Arsenal, in our current state, are in a bad way – the ownership, the board, the manager, player contracts, recent years results etc, then what would be better? Are there clubs out there who do all these things vastly better? Is it as simple as, we need an owner more willing to spend, someone better to manage contract negotiations and transfers and a manager with fresh ideas?

I just think maybe we are

Always Arsenal

Just what is up with you people. I went to Highbury as a kid and 50 years later it makes me sick that (for example) 3 out of the last 4 FA cups aren’t good enough. When I was a kid the FACup was the biggest event of the year. There is only 1 team able to win the league title and 1 that can win the champions league. Arsene has given me THE best football I‘ve ever seen AND the invincibles. The disrespect some of you twats show to this man is awful. The spuds and Liverpool aren’t constantly hounded by their lack of trophies. You just listen to the press and do what they tell you. Hate to say it but you are the worst kind of sheep. I know I will get voted down but I’m 60, have supported Arsenal for a long long time and have earned the right. So you 10 minute fans who would welcome Maureen can bugger off. Could never follow anyone else. Just feel so lucky to have seen this great man’s teams.

pablo pomreas

right on brother

ramgooner

Now that’s a man who knows something about the past, the present and the future.

Nas

Wemger is pure class… the man spewks ehwts right and soeaks to the fans as a football man who understsnds the fans support… unfortunatley alot of fans dont understand what sticking through thick and thin is… its about pushing the men on even though ur 2-0 down not whinning to sack the manager being bullish about a comeback…wenger produced world class players yesr in year out and currently we have one of the deadliest offences in europe.. i have never seen a team with supporters with a negative attirude win a league.. to the real fans … supoort the damn team

Zombie Gooner

99%? Not committed.

Matt P

I have been ‘Wenger Out’ for 2-3 years. But I won’t dwell on it.
What we need moving forward is as follows:
– get back into the Champions League next season
– use that as leverage to sign 2-3 world class players
– start pinpointing Wenger’s successor

Not too much to ask for is it?

Leon

3 fa cups in four years. 20 years of european chamionship football. Record number of fa cups. Only team in the premiership to go a whole season unbeaten. But we havent won the league for a long time now. If arsene had an endless pot of gold like city chelsea and united in the league would he have done better? Right now there is a special team in north london looking like they could be challenging for the title without a huge pot of gold. Problem is its not arsenal. I say there needs to be a change right at the top that trickles down to whats going on the pitch. In the meantime support your team. Be as loud as the supporters at red star belgrade and lets see what happens. We could do a lot worse than wenger, like koeman for example!

Neil

What were the questions put to Chips that he didn’t answer….and why did Usmanov vote with the majority shareholder?

Nick

The next two seasons should be about finding a replacement for Arsene. Love him or loathe him it appears he’s one of the only ones at the club who actually cares. This is not the club I’ve followed for over 45 years.

Francis

I think if Arsène Wenger left arsenal it would be a disaster that arsenal will never forget in their life time. Stan Kroenke need to go or we will continue to be like Los Angeles RAMS his NFL time whom he owns. If Rams was a soccer team it would have been relegated long time ago.

I’m a diehard Arsenal fan I just enjoy the way the time plays however if we could win the premier league it would lift the spirit of all fans.

Mo farah

Mourinho is the only man who told the truth to Winger,specialist in failure

Dcgooner

Go follow another club if you agree with anything that scum of the earth has to yes. Yes he wins. But I’d rather lose for ever then be associated with someone that treats people the way that man treats players. Look at what he did with Luke Shaw this week.

DB10\'s Air Miles

What’s wrong with you?!

santori

Its what follows Wenger (considering those upstairs) that is worrisome.

Wenger has brought amazing stability at a high level of finish even if he has failed to deliver the title or CL for some time now.

BUT you can’t argue with CL every season except the last for two decades.

Liverpool have rarely achieved that consistency and have not won the title for a quarter century (never mind the fluke CL win by Benitez)

We’ve won the title 3 times, and 5 FA cups under Wenger (3 of them in the last 4 seasons)

Its not a poor minimum finish to achieve with a budget more limited than City or Chelski.

How we plan for post Wenger is the worry.

People like to throw any name as “better than” Wenger like Eddie Howe, Roberto Martinez, Jurgen Flopp, Ronald Koeman, Owen Coyle…as we have seen not so easy act to follow.

Whether this board can talent spot the succesor is probably why they are held hostage to the current familiar.

I suspect (strongly) Wenger will have a say in who follows because the board and Gazidis (predictably) will not be equipped to choose the right person

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