Last Thursday: The Arsenal AGM, the first to be chaired by Sir Chips Keswick was held at The Emirates.
Stan Kroenke’s speech follows:-
“It is a pleasure to be here. This is my sixth AGM and it is great to be back. I appreciate people re-electing me to the board. Well, it was close to unanimous!
“Anyway, it is great to be here and I would tell you we are pleased with the progress of the Club and that is made up of a lot of things, most importantly on the pitch.
“None of us up here [on the board], fans, players, or Arsène [Wenger] are happy until we have won championships and trophies. We have said that over and over again and are committed to that.
“Also, when you try to build towards that, it is very important for the Club to be successful commercially, and we are very pleased with the progress we have made in that area.
“We have come a long way, with the debts of the Club being paid down, the commercial revenues are increasing in a nice way. Certainly you guys are aware of the Emirates deal.
“We have more [deals] coming and are confident. However, nothing works unless we have success on the pitch.
“The reason we got interested in Arsenal [after years of approaches from other teams] was… the tradition, the image and the success of the Club and that to me has been established by none other than our manager.
“In our opinion, with the values he stood for and the things that we value in sport they were evidenced through him and through this club. So we are very pleased to be here and I couldn’t be more honoured to introduce our manager Arsène Wenger.”
Mr. Kroenke’s speech is reproduced courtesy of Arsenal.com
Arsene Wenger followed with a speech which can be read in full at Arsenal.com
It was later reported that Alisher Usmanov has increased his holding in Arsenal to 30%. He still does not have a seat on the board.
All of our players who had been involved in the round of international matches returned without any major injuries.
Friday: In an interview Arsene Wenger said
“Vermaelen is my captain so I rate him but it’s difficult to change the current pair, unfortunately when you have 20 good players, nine good players don’t play“
Saturday: Proper football returned to The Emirates after a seemingly endless Interlull. An ultimately comfortable win over third from bottom Norwich City saw The Glorious Gunners return to the top of the league after Liverpool had crept above us with a lucky away draw at Newcastle in the lunch-time kick-off.
Jack Wilshere scored his first ever league goal at The Emirates and what a sumptuous goal it was, I’ll not try to describe it, I’m sure it is etched in the memories of all Arsenal fans. A headed goal from Mesut Ozil, a rarity indeed, an absolute stunner from Aaron Ramsey and a tap in, after an intricate build up, by Mesut completed a fine afternoon’s work.
Sunday: The papers were stuffed full of praise for Wenger’s wonders, after Saturday’s performance, the question was asked “was Wilshere’s goal the greatest ever”? On any other day the same question may well have been asked of Aaron Ramsey’s slalom through the City defence which ended with another stunner by our Welsh Wizard.
Among our main rivals, Chelsea and Man City won, Liverpool and the fast fading Man Utd drew. Whilst in the also-rans, Everton and Spurs both won. A flare was tossed onto the Villa Park pitch from the away supporter’s end, during a particularly dire passage of play, perhaps in an effort to spark some life into the game.
Monday: More praise for The Glorious Gunners in the press, aren’t we the tabloid’s darlings for once. Flamini was ruled out of contention for the Borussia Dortmund game suffering the effects of a concussion caused by his collision with Norwich’s Alexander Tettey.
Tuesday: It was Arsene Wenger’s 64th birthday The only gift he had on his mind was a Champions League victory against Borussia Dortmund. A win for Arsenal would take them to nine points and a giant step towards the knockout stages.
“I won’t do anything to celebrate my birthday,” said Wenger.
“A good game for me is the best present. I get cards, phone calls but, honestly, if nobody reminds me I forget. Even when I was 25 or 30, I never thought it as a special day.”
Wednesday: Oh well! Wednesday dawned and the overnight news kicked in, Arsenal 1 – 2 Borussia Dortmund. There’s no point in re-hashing the game, by now everything that could be said has been said.
Arsenal players did not attempt to hide from the result, various of them commented, Ramsey “A draw would have been a fair result after the way we played in the second half, I felt like we were in control of the game but then we switched off for 30 seconds, we were in their box and 30 seconds later the ball is in the back of our net.
“I was disappointed as well with the way they scored their first goal, I got caught on the ball and that was disappointing. We were a bit slow to start but I thought after about 25 minutes we got into the game, we got our goal and then we took that into the second half.
“We were in control of the game, we didn’t look like we were going to concede, but then we did. That’s what happens [when you switch off].
“We showed good character getting back into game… and we created a few chances in the second half and hit the bar. On another night we may have taken the lead but we have to learn from the way we defended for the second goal.”
“They’ve got a good team shape and it’s hard to play through the lines. We wanted to get Mesut on the ball and play through to Giroud but they made it difficult for us. Fair play to them”. “There are three games left, and nine points to play for, so it’s still in our hands. We know what we have to do. We’ve got a difficult game away to Dortmund next. It will be a hostile atmosphere but we’ve been there before and I thought we were unlucky not to win there. We’ve got the players to do it, we have to regroup and show our spirit now.”
“I think we deserved better,” said Arteta. “We did the hardest bit, to score the goal just before half-time. It was when we had control of the game and created the best chances when we just got caught on the counter-attack. That was disappointing.
I don’t think we chased the game too much, we just gave the ball away at the edge of the box. We know that they are a very good side on the counter-attack and I think we had kept them really quiet, but we conceded the chance and they scored.
It’s going to be tough [to qualify], we knew it was probably the toughest group in the Champions League. We don’t think any differently now.
We’re still capable of going through but we’re really disappointed with the way we lost the game.”
Some pre-publication snippets from Old Red Nose’s book, titled oh so originally and incorrectly, My Autobiography (Telegraph sports writer Paul Hayward was the actual author so strictly speaking it is a biography not an autobiography) appeared in print, notably “Pizza-gate” got a mention, while according to Ferguson United’s victory that brought about the end of Arsenal’s 49 game winning run “scrambled Wenger’s brain”.
If you really want to read a mass of self-serving guff the tome is available from bookshops at the eye watering price of £25. I would recommend waiting until after Christmas when it will be available for 25 pence from all good charity shops.
Thursday: Some Portuguese bloke from the wrong end of Seven Sisters Road has been mouthing off about Arsenal. He reckons that we have had it easy so far this season. “We will see the big fixtures coming now for Arsenal. They have only played us so far and they have both Chelsea and Manchester City to come, and Liverpool”. He quite forgot to mention that we had beaten his sorry Spurs, but that would have spoiled the effect of his comment. I wonder what bad news he was trying to deflect attention away from.
The BFG acknowledged our defensive frailties “We know we are on a good run, but we know it needs more than just playing with full freedom and vision — we need to defend first and the we can switch the rest on. You have seen what can happen after that.” He had this to say about our record signing “Mesut does not need to adapt to our style because he is a natural talent. You could see that against Norwich, when we played such good football.”
Oliver Giroud insisted Arsenal will not let their defeat to Borussia Dortmund disrupt their superb start to the season. He went on to say
“We did well in the first half and came back into the game after a bad start. After the first half Dortmund were not as good, maybe tired, and we were really close to scoring a second one. But they kept going and scored on the counter-attack. It’s a shame because we could have done much better.”
Written by Norfolk Gooner