Ivan Gazidis and Raul Sanllehi address fans forum – report


Ivan Gazidis, Mark Gonnella, Raul Sanllehi were in attendance with members of the Fans Forum before today’s game against Watford. Here are some notes from inside the meeting from @the_cannon

Our reporter says, “The general feeling was obviously a few upset people and passionate questions/statements. The message from Ivan is that we do care and want fans to know that and understand our frustrations but are working hard to change.”

Ivan Gazidis

It wouldn’t be right for me to talk about the manager today, it wouldn’t be respectful to Arsene Wenger. I hope you understand.

Arsenal staff has doubled over last 3 years. Listing out all the recent recruits including Per to the academy who they believe has great qualities to move the academy forward.

Talking about the complexity of Sanchez swap deal and Aubameyang three-way deals. A lot of investment and change in the squad

Josh Kroenke wanted to be here today but had a charity commitment. Getting involved a lot at the moment trying to get a full understanding of everything Arsenal. Which is causing a bit of controversy in the US that he has decided to put things on hold and have moved to London in order to concentrate on Arsenal.

Ticket sales used to be 40% of revenue when we first moved, now only 20% because of all the other places money comes from.

Talking about knowing Raul Sanllehi from MLS days. Very well known in the industry. Mentioned he has overseen 8 manager changes at Barcelona. Played down the meaning of job titles with respect to ‘Director of Football’.

Saying Raul does a lot more than that across European football. Gives Arsenal a voice/position at the top tables in European football.

Raul Sanllehi

Extremely excited about this new project in my life. Very happy to be at the club, one of the top clubs in Europe. A club that everyone looks at. It was a no-brainier to join and very thankful for the opportunity. Someone asked me, ‘Why did I join Arsenal?’ I said, ‘Who wouldn’t!’

When Ivan explained the ideas he has got for the club and the people he wants to bring in, it was impossible to turn it down.

Talked a lot about the great people that Arsenal have who dedicate their lives to the club and there is so much love.

Raul joined Nike in 1996. One goal to bring football to the brand. Arsenal was the number on asset that was chosen at the time. Spent a lot of time at Highbury and has been following them since.

Ivan met with Raul secretly many times to arrange transfers of Cesc, Thomas Vermaelen, Alex Song etc. Raul mentioned Alexis too.

Question from Cape Town Supporters Club about not competing and others overtaking. Strong hint about manager.

Ivan replies:

Fair question. I have no interest in fighting for 5th, 6th, even 4th. We want to compete to win the league. Not going to go into change of manager, it’s not the right forum for that and it’s not respectful. Just because the manager hasn’t changed doesn’t mean there hasn’t been any changes, there have been many and a lot of investment. Recruiting the best people.

Absolutely convinced we can return but acknowledge we’re not in the place we want to be. In a difficult moment. Let’s understand we want the same things. Myself, Raul, Sven and Darren Burgess spend all there time thinking about how to achieve this, working very hard, very capable people.

Won’t take another 5, 6, 7 years to change. Things in football change quicker than that. Look at the fluctuation of Chelsea.

Couple of questions/statements from the room about players not putting in the effort on the field and also not acknowledging the crowd after a defeat

Ivan replies:

I understand your frustrations, I hear you. I have to tell you that the players do care though.

Ivan on finance:

We have to hold back cash for the security of the stadium mortgage with the banks. We’re spending everything we can. However you can see in last two windows breaking our transfer record we have money for investment.

FFP has worked. 6 or 7 years ago clubs across Europe made a total loss of 1.8 billion. Now it’s almost at break even. FFP still investigating transfers, eg Neymar. Clubs still getting banned from Europe, AC Milan may be getting one in the summer.

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33 Comments on "Ivan Gazidis and Raul Sanllehi address fans forum – report"

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Raul looks like he can actually win a staring contest with his lazy eyes and bring us Oblak on the cheap as a result!

Jean Ralphio

Things have been positive in that back room changes have made a difference. Before Sven came in I don’t think we would have signed Auba. Let’s hope this summer we can at least make the right acquisitions in defence. I don’t think a new manager can get the best out of players at the moment. It isn’t always the answer. Having said that, something positive has to happen this summer for on pitch success. We should give the back room staff a chance. Gazidis has a point.

Willie Young

A new manager is needed. The right appointment will get more out of the current squad and improve performances. One win in Milan doesn’t make things rosy again.

Damo Dinkum

FFP has worked? Really?


Ivan Gazidis is a first class bullshitter.

I remember when he told us when we moved into the new stadium, it would enable us to at reach the level of Bayern and Madrid. How’s that plan going?

Instead we get beaten at home by FC Ostersunds.

Catalyst for bullshit.


Yeah but we won 0 – 2 at Monaco in the round of 16 a few years back


He knows that for us to get to the next level we need a new manager in. If it was his decision Arsene wouldn’t be at the club right now.

I really don’t get all the hate towards Gazidis, he wants to do what us fans want – change the manager.

sixteen swans

Gazidis and the board are a greater impediment to the club than Wenger. What’s more they have so little respect for the fans – they think they’re so far above us. All the while they really are phenomenally shit at what they do.


If you think Gazidis and the board have anything to do with what happens on the pitch you’re deluded. Or are you going with the whole “Wenger can’t buy the best players” excuse? Yawn. It’s getting so very old.

Wenger, and Wenger alone is responsible for where we are right now. Nobody else. He is more then happy to take the plaudits when things are going well but can’t think of enough excuses when things turn sour.


For the thousandth time, the guy was not calling the shots on the footballing side. Sure he might actually be a bullshitter but lets not use the wrong arguments to prove that. On his side of the equation, the commercial side, things look much better. And there has been significant funds available over the last few seasons. He didn’t make the decision to spend them on Xhaka and Mustafi or on paying the wages of Walcott and Welbeck.


FYI we’re generating less commercial money than most top clubs. Forget the more successful ones, even Liverpool generate more than us!!!


That’s mostly Wenger’s fault. How will you attract big sponsorship and commercial deals if you can’t even come 4th let alone compete for the CL or PL.

Dennis’ first touch
Dennis’ first touch

Ivan definitely contributes to the dysfunctional nature of the club because when things are in the shitter he disappears and lets Wenger take the heat…you might argue that he does not hold all the cards but whenever he has a chance to show leadership in times of adversity he is nowhere to be seen. Ironically we win away to Milan and Ivan suddenly reappears in a public forum…coincidence??

Finally commercially Arsenal are only doing well relative to the past not necessarily relative to other top clubs


I think he said that back in 2013 not when we moved into the new stadium. I don’t think ivan was with Arsenal back in 2006 07. Nonetheless, what he said was just some crap.

James Markwick

Gazidis was not at Arsenal when we moved to the new stadium…not sure what you are remembering


People remember what they want to remember and what is convenient to the particular narrative they want to promote.

me 2

The bottom line.
Improvement of performance is the bottom line of any changes in structure.
Thirty three points behind the leaders with nine games to play cannot in any shape or form be construed as an improvement of performance.
All i see is a decline at Arsenal – a deterioration of the team quality and attitude, discontent among the fan base and negative feelings.
The appointment of Sven and Raul mean absolutely nothing when the root cause of all the problems remains at the club and has the final say on everything.
I find nothing particularly positive about this.
Arsenal will only grow and improve once the manager is gone…


I disagree with a lot of what you’ve put and not because you are necessarily wrong either but because some of it feels simplistic and I don’t mean to be rude or patronising when I say that. I agree that Arsene needs to leave but I’m not convinced that things will magically improve. If Josh and Ivan can keep their nerve then we at least have a fighting chance. I don’t want to wish my life away, but can’t wait for the start of the new season to find out whether the “kroenke haters” or the “wenger lovers” have won the battle.

Jimbo jones

Ivans ability to answer a question in a way where he says absolutely nothing is something else.

Thomas Lambert

He could almost be prime minister. I think Mrs. May and him would have wonderful long conversations about nothing


He doesn’t need to say anything really…all the media leaks and sometimes what he doesn’t say…say everything


Agree with everything but, “However you can see in last two windows breaking our transfer record we have money for investment.”

Utter lies. How many players did we sell to make up for that. We didn’t buy anyone the summer before we bought Xhaka, Mustafi and Perez. We’ve almost sold Perez back to La Coruna at a loss now(loan+option to buy). That means we bought only Xhaka and Mustafi. We had to buy Xhaka because we lost Flamini, Arteta and Rosicky. Not counting wage inflation we haven’t done much in the transfer market.

Everything depends on this summer.


So you think that it is his fault that money that is available is not used?
Has Wenger ever said that he does not have the money to buy the players he wants? The most he has said is that he can’t compete on players with City which no one can.
The simplest most obvious truth about Ivan Gazidis is that he is an administrator. His job is to run the club as an enterprise and the footballing side is not his area of expertise. So his job on the footballing side is to hire the best people he can to run that side. Until this season he couldn’t do that because Wenger ran the entire footballing side the way he wanted. Even now, Gazidis won’t be buying any players, his part of the job is to hire the Svens and Rauls to do that.


I didn’t blame Gazidis or Wenger. Gazidis is excellent at his job. Gazidis and Wenger can talk their way out of anything. That’s exactly why a leech like Kroenke loves them.

The problem is Kroenkes. They want returns without taking any risk. They have done nothing since coming into our club other than bring in some stats expertise and some advice here and there. My granma could have done that.

The owner of Arsenal FC doesn’t want to be the best in the business. He wants our club to be in the mix and he is content with that. He is profiting off guys inside the club who are punching above their weight. He doesn’t have that emotional connection to the club. You can trust guys like Friar, Gazidis, Wenger and maybe 1 or 2 more but guys like Keswick and Kroenke don’t give two **** as long as they get their money. They have zero guilt.
Winning CL is a distant dream with this owner.


Oh fuck off Ivan.

Would love to see the day when he actually says anything of substance.

David C

if ticket sales make up so little of the overall revenue now then why do they still insist on having the most expensive tickets in the world? They’ll probably say “we aren’t raising the ticket prices this year” but they should actually roll back the prices quite a bit as a thank you to the fans who stay loyal.

Now please go and smash Watford. Do it for the fans if you can’t be arse’d to do it for each other or the coach!


Hopefully Arsene can win the Europa League and go off on a high in the summer.
We really can’t afford another season with him in the Premier League.
Özil and Mikhitaryan and Aubameyang will be 29 going into next season.
We can’t waste their prime years.

Ideally we can get a new manager in this summer and he can do some work with the squad. And by 2019, we should be ready to challenge for the title.
The new manager will need two full transfer windows to fix the squad anyway.
It is imperative that we give him a headstart this summer.

If we let Arsene stay and he has another crap transfer window and another crap season, then we will fall further behind the rest.


“Let’s understand we want the same things. Myself, Raul, Sven and Darren Burgess”
Manager is not mentioned
Remember when Arsene said there will be a time soon when the manager has no authority and everything is already decided and handed to him?
I won’t surely be surprised if Henry becomes Arsenal’s next manager


FFP hasn’t work, just ask City and PSG.


Not sure on the full details, but if they terminate Wenger’s contract this summer, wouldn’t they still have to pay him? Is that something Arsenal are willing to do?

Yes there have been background changes but ultimately until those changes impact what’s happening on the field and NOT Arsenal’s bank account, then this is all talk.


Thanks for reporting on this Blogs. Had no idea this was happening.

“Won’t take another 5, 6, 7 years to change. Things in football change quicker than that. Look at Chelsea”.

Could be guff, could be an acknowledgement that the club will look for a coach with Conte’s profile instead of a younger man like Arteta or Vieira. Interesting stuff.


Ivan said it won’t take 5 6 7 years for change. That’s sounds to me that they are not yet ready to make change…. Meaning they are looking to extend Wengers contract. Omg


The biggest impediment to Arsenal progressing is Stan Kroenke. He admitted to the media that “he did not buy Arsenal to win trophies.” How can we have an owner like this who does not have any love for our club?