Arsenal CEO Ivan Gazidis, Chairman Peter Hill-Wood and majority shareholder Stan Kroenke were all heckled on Thursday at the club’s annual general meeting, where questions were raised about how the club was being run. Club manager Arsene Wenger was later forced to use his address to calm what the Guardian described as “an increasingly tense debate.”
Several angry shareholders accused the managing trio of being more interested in turning a profit than winning trophies. One even said the board was “ruining the club,” prompting Gazidis to respond that Arsenal’s strong financial position—it runs a surplus whereas most of the Premier League’s top clubs are in debt—means it “will be able to compete among the leading clubs in the world” once UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules come into effect in the next two years.
However, the room full of supporters was less than impressed with his assertion, the Guardian said, giving the impression they would rather see Arsenal “walk the walk instead of talking the talk.”
The tense scenes at the meeting also prompted Kroenke, the American billionaire who owns close to 67 percent of Arsenal, to issue his first public statement regarding his plans for the club on its official Web site. “The reason I am involved in sport is to win,” he said. “Everything else is a footnote. I can assure you no one is more ambitious than me ... We have an exciting future and our goal is to win trophies."