Arsenal’s Annual General Meeting on Thursday 27th October, left supporters more frustrated and bemused than ever before, leaving many to wander what was the point of it all. This is meant to be the platform for fans to have their questions answered by those who have the final say on every aspect of the club. It has, however, seemingly degenerated into a political exercise with the main focus being to avoid answering those who truly love this great club.
Thursday had been billed as the day Stan Kroenke would dispose of his Silent Stan moniker by standing up and addressing the AGM. Yet his lack lustre two minute speech only served to enforce it further. Like all great speeches it started with a joke: “I’ve been asked to say a few things, I’m not sure why but people seem to be interested.” Well at least I hope it was an attempt at comedy as I can’t believe anyone can be that dim. But just in case, let me enlighten you Mr Kroenke: we’re all interested in what you have to say because you own our club, and it would be nice to know exactly what you intend to do with it! This “brilliant” opening line was followed by the usual pronouncements of support for Wenger and how this is the only club he ever considered investing in, leaving us all pondering the same question, “tell us something we don’t know, like what you intend to do with our club.” Unfortunately those present were prohibited from asking Kroenke any questions in yet another show of complete disrespect to the fans, the very fans who have incurred a 6.5% increase in season ticket prices and upon whom the club’s existence relies.
Those with questions could only pose them before the event to Peter Hill-Wood and Ivan Gazidis and were not permitted to ask any follow up questions. Therefore rendering the whole question and answer session a pointless exercise as both men could simply reel off answers that had been prepared for them. And even then the answers were pathetic; nonsensical reposts with the sole aim of avoiding actually answering the question. Although Gazidis (the man who has received a bonus for all his splendid work, most notably allowing Nasri to enter the final year of his contract and effectively hold the club to ransom) did attempt to steal Kroenke’s prize for best joke of the day; as he suggested his target for the next year was for Arsenal F.C. to have 10million followers on facebook. That utterance alone was well worth his £1.7 million pay packet.
Ultimately yesterday’s AGM was merely an exercise in futility. The only man who spoke with any passion about our club was Wenger himself as he urged the fans to get behind the team, but even he let slip that the most we can aim for is a top four finish. His admission simply highlighted just of how far we have fallen behind the top teams, from Invincibles in 2004 to scrapping desperately to make the top four in 2011, hardly the most rousing endorsement of our self sustaining model.