Winning is not everything to Arsenal, claims commercial chief

Commercial officer's comments likely to infuriate fans

According to Arsenal's chief commercial officer, winning is not everything to the Gunners, comments that are sure to infuriate fed-up supporters.

Arsenal have gone seven years without any silverware and with the team languishing tenth in the Premier League after their worst start to a season under Arsene Wenger, the prospects of that long trophyless cycle coming to an end any time soon look slim.

The situation has been blamed on Arsene Wenger's apparent unwillingness to splash the cash on transfers and Arsenal's inability to retain their top stars. In recent years Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy have departed, while this summer captain and leading goal scorer Robin van Persie switched to Manchester United.

Some fans have gone as far as to call for the head of the manager who has led the Gunners for the past 16-years, while others want a change in management behind the scenes.

The views of chief commercial officer Tom Fox are only likely to increase support for those demands with his comments appearing to indicate an air of malaise over Arsenal's decreasing competitiveness on the pitch.

"Arsenal Football Club is not only about winning," he is quoted by United Arab Emirates-based Sport 360 as saying.

“We have a large and engaged fan-base around the world who want to feel as if they belong to the club, and want to feel proud to belong to the club. That’s my primary business.”

 “Obviously nothing instills pride in our fan-base more than winning, but there’s many things we do that make our fans feel proud.

“Developing young talent and finding those players in the marketplace make our fans feel proud.

“Whether it’s Serge Gnabry, who is a 17-year-old player in our reserve squad, whether it’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, whether it’s Theo Walcott, we look at these young players and have faith in our manager to develop them as the players for the future."

Fox, who has worked for Nike, Gatorade, and the NBA in the past, insists there is much for Arsenal fans to be proud of, including the 60,000-seat stadium that was filled with boos at the weekend after a 2-0 defeat to Swansea.

“The fans come to a stadium that the club built really at a time 10 years ago when the board decided to build that stadium.

“Everything was going our way, it was Manchester United and Arsenal.

“But we made a very bold decision and we built that stadium on time and on budget — that makes our fans very proud.

The commercial officer also pointed to the recent £150m sponsorship deal with Emirates, of which it is understood £70m has been earmarked for Wenger to spend in the transfer market.

“When they see that we can attract — even though we haven’t won a trophy in seven years — one of the top global brands in the world for the type of money and financial commitment they’re making, that makes our fans feel proud.

“So our brand is defined by more than winning.

“Football can be a fairly mercenary commercial environment.

“Football clubs go into the market and they really do business with whoever wants to pay them the most money.

“By the time this current shirt deal expires with Emirates, they would have been on our shirt for 13 years.

“That says a lot about how we run the football club and what’s important to us as a football club."

Arsenal play West Brom at the Emirates this weekend where anything but a win is sure to produce a reaction from fans expressing what they think is important to the football club.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea