AGM starts with a round of applause for Arsene Wenger, as owner Stan Kroenke hands him a portrait to mark his 20 years of service (a montage of his face using the names of all 210 players selected during his tenure)
On the top table are Lord Harris, Josh Kroenke, David Miles, Sir Chips Keswick, Ivan Gazidis, Stan Kroenke, Arsene Wenger and Ken Friar.
Room were split over whether to keep Kroenke on as a director but after a second show of hands, he stays on as a director.
Chairman Sir Chips Keswick defends CEO Ivan Gazidis’ £2.65million salary and £1million bonus. “Ivan is doing a first class job in leading the club. We are very fortunate to have him as a CEO.”
Gazidis on wages: “We are now beginning to compete on wages with some of those clubs around us.” In his slide show:
He re-emphasised Arsenal’s self-sustaining strategy.
Arsenal’s revenue has risen by £123m since 2010-11- £61m of which is commercial, £55m is broadcast and £7m is match day income.
Arsenal’s commercial income has risen from £103m to £107m between 2014-15 to 2015-16. It stood at £46m in 2010-11.
He also pointed to continued investment in the women’s team. £35m spent on improvements to London Colney and Hale End as well as Club Level refurbishment, new floodlights and a pitch that has been entirely relayed and replanted.
Expenditure on salaries have climbed from £124m in 2010-11 to £195m in 2015-16. Player sales brought in £65m in 2011-12 compared to £2m in 2015-16.
Impressive stuff this from Arsene Wenger as he addresses the crowd with no notes at his disposal:
“A lot has changed in 20 years. It was always a big club and popular club but football has moved forward, changed a lot and we have moved from football that is very football to a world brand. Arsenal has become a club that is world known and world famous”
“We give chances to young players, committed to our style of play that is respected all over the world and people know what playing Arsenal football means and I believe that is important. We work on the style of play from youth level upwards and it’s important we continue to work on that. It is based on the guy waking up and going to the game thinking today I could see something special. It is important we have that desire.”
“I believe the team has the commitment, togetherness, hunger, desire and unity and we have a good chance to compete for the Premier League”
“If you look now it is 20 points which means the championship will be decided between 82 to 86 points and what we have learnt since the start of the season is every game is a fight and you need absolutely to be at your best to win. That means we have to be really focused on details, keeping the energy inside out club but even more inside our team as every single detail can get you points”
The Q&A session:
Gazidis on safe standing: Arsenal are open minded but cannot make this determination on their own. New legislation is needed for this to happen (in England). We will monitor Celtic with interest and if that is positive there will be more momentum for a further study into this topic.”
Sir Chips on Wenger’s contract: “We are confident about his ability to take us forward. We will sit down and discuss the future at the appropriate time but our focus is on maintaining the current run and competing for trophies.”
Wenger on his choice of captain: “I have a group of leaders, five in the team and we can rotate quite easily. Mertesacker was chosen before he was injured and he has real authority whether he plays or not and high standards of quality of behaviour. He is a real leader and respected by everybody. We have assistant captains – Koscielny and Cazorla.”
Gazidis on contract renewals: “We have a good track record in recent season of retaining our key players, developing young players and attracting new players, I can’t get into a discussion on individual players but can assure you will apply the same focus, rigour and diligence to members of our current squad and I think you can see the direction of travel.”