Arsenal will give 'every drop of energy' to win the Premier League title Arsene Wenger assures supporters

 

Arsene Wenger today addressed angry Arsenal supporters, telling them the Premier League title was the priority for the club and that the team would “give absolutely every drop of energy to achieve that”.

Wenger was speaking at Arsenal's AGM, which could perhaps have come at a more opportune moment than the day after defeat in the Champions League, a lacklustre display that followed on from a 1-0 loss to Norwich in the Premier League at the weekend.

The meeting at the Emirates Stadium was a hostile affair with Wenger among those to take to the stage to face questions. He immediately apologised for yesterday's 2-0 defeat against Schalke acknowledging there was a "lot of dissatisfaction", but said Arsenal fans should not "go overboard".

The Frenchman went on to say that the players bought in the summer, including Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla will be a success, that qualification for the Champions League was more important than winning the League Cup and FA Cup and told supporters: "We have to be united to achieve our goals."

Wenger said: "This team started in a very dynamic and promising way. We hit the wall in the last two games, which was a bit unexplainable, but the attitude and focus of the team every day is fantastic.

"We have some good news with players coming back.

"I believe this team can deliver and I am optimistic we will have a good season and the players will show I am right.

"My job is to deliver a team with the resources we have, and I have never complained about that.

"I want a club to pay players from its own resources, there is no shame in that."

 



Speaking about the importance of Champions League qualification over the need to end the trophy drought that has not seen any silverware return to north London since the 2005 FA Cup, Wenger said:  "For me, there are five 'trophies' - the first is to win the Premier League, the second is to win the Champions League, the third is to qualify for the Champions League, the fourth is to win the FA Cup and the fifth is to win the League Cup.

"I say that because if you want to attract the best players, they do not ask 'did you win the League Cup?', they ask you 'do you play in the Champions League?'."

Wenger ended his address with a call for unity: "We want first to win the Premier League, that is what we are here for and that is what we want to fight for - believe me will give absolutely every drop of energy to achieve that and will do that again this year.

"It is still important that we keep our strength and stay united for the good of Arsenal, sometimes you can forget that."

Wenger's speech, which ended with a rapturous round of applause, went more smoothly than that of chief executive Ivan Gazidis and majority shareholder Stan Kroenke.

Without a trophy in a seven years and with the summer departure of captain Robin van Persie to Manchester United, there have been questions asked over Arsenal's priorities - with financial success seemingly prioritised over success on the football pitch.

Yet Gazidis defended Arsenal's philosophy, arguing that it stands them in good stead ahead of the implementation of Uefa's Financial Fair Play regulations which are due to start taking affect.

Gazidis said: "In the next two years, we will have the financial resources to sit and compete among the leading clubs in the world, which is an extraordinary achievement.

"Financial success is relevant because it supports our football vision... the money we make is made available to our manager and he decides how to invest those funds.

"Arsene has done a magnificent job against the spending of our major competitors."

Flanked by chairman Peter Hill-Wood and Kroenke, Gazidis added: "Our ambition is shared by everybody at this table, the whole board and by everyone in this room.

"It is all about football, to compete at the top of the game here and in Europe to win trophies and do it in a way which makes fans proud and reflects our values, and also protects Arsenal for the long term."

Gazidis faced a rough ride during his address with one shareholder accusing him of "ruining the club with your financial policies". Arsenal fans also called for more meetings with Kroenke, known as 'Silent Stan' for being very much in the background, and there were questions over the role of second-largest shareholders Red & White Holdings, backed by Uzbek oligarch Alisher Usmanov.

With heated exchanges between the top bench and the floor Gazidis at one point needed to call for order and moved back towards pre-submitted questions.

Kroenke, an American tycoon, whose group also owns US sports franchises Denver Nuggets of the NBA, Colorado Rapids of Major League Soccer, Colorado Avalanche of the NHL and NFL side St Louis Rams, addressed a question on whether dividends were to be paid to shareholders: "This club is run through the board. I have always been respectful of that process.

"Aside from that, as majority shareholder it is clear we have a record in sports around the world and you can look at our record with our other clubs.

"We have never put any debt on this club for acquisitions (during the takeover) and never said money was not available to spend.

"We acquire through our own resources."

Kroenke, who completed his takeover of Arsenal's parent holding company in 2011, added: "I have one regret with Arsenal and that is that I did not get involved earlier.

"We have a record of reinvestment in our other clubs and it is there for everyone to see."

Hill-Wood was the last to address the meeting and needed to deflect questions over why it costs £13.90 for fish and chips at the Emirates and the make up of the age and gender of the current board.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Night job: Pacha nightclub DJ, Joan Ribas, is the new kingmaker on the island
news
Arts and Entertainment
Nicole Kidman plays Grace Kelly in the film, which was criticised by Monaco’s royal family
film'I survived it, but I’ll never be the same,' says Arash Amel
Life and Style
Retailers should make good any consumer goods problems that occur within two years
tech(and what to do if you receive it)
Life and Style
healthIf one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada