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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