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End of Season Event at The Emirates Stadium

End of Season Event at The Emirates Stadium

Over 100 AISA members were among the audience who met and questioned Arsenal chief executive, Ivan Gazidis, and former players Pat Rice, Perry Groves and Graham Rix.

Among the comments and contributions made by the quartet:

Ivan Gazidis

The key thing for the Club is to “build on this year’s achievements”.

Our record at home this season turned the stadium into a “stronghold”.

All of the attention at the moment is on transfers. The Club are “deep” in “many” conversations, and Arsenal are well placed.There is a long-term aim to make half of our first team squad home-grown.

The big question is transition. In response to a question about whoever follows Arsène Wenger as manager, especially in the light of Manchester United’s recent experience, he said the Club is preparing from top to bottom to be ready for transition when it comes. Arsene wants part of his legacy to be a successful transition

We are building an infrastructure for the next 10-15 years in all areas of the club (youth, facilities etc etc) and this will soften the transition – all will be in place for the replacement already.

Ozil was announced on the last day of the window, but the deal took “months” to complete.

In answer to the question "Will Financial Fair Play Rules (FFP) work?" he said nobody knows but the first test is this summer. It’s an “arms race under control” andt we will have to wait a couple of years to see the full effects.

Are pre-season plans in place prior to the New York friendly? Still being arranged. Players will need 3 and a half weeks off after the World Cup. There may be a local friendly but the first ‘proper’ game will be New York. Then the Emirates Cup, and  the Community Shield. May be a three day training camp in Austria.

Perry Groves

The performances of Aaron Ramsey was his highlight of the year.

0-2 to 3-2 in the Cup Final was a real test of “mental resolve”.

Santi Cazorla’s free kick was the most important goal of the season.

Technique is the most important thing in young players’ formative years, age 5-6 is when it is all natural and at that stage it needs be built up.

We will need a new manager with the same frame of mind as Wenger.

In answer to a question about the Gay Gooners, and Arsenal recognition of the group is it possible for players to be ‘out’. ”My step-son came out at 13/14 and nobody cared about his sexuality. With players 95% of players/fans would be the same."

Pat Rice

Highlight of the season... victories over Spurs

We need a second goalkeeper, a centre forward (round of applause), and a right back if Bacary Sagna leaves.

Wenger won’t buy for the sake of it, though. Only buys quality.

Team spirit is a key. Unity and euphoria comes when you’re winning.

There is always wrong info going around in the media about transfers. Ignore it.

English players in particular double their money requests when they learn Arsenal are after them.

Wenger makes a list of wanted players every year.

Graham Rix

Focusing on technique starts with kids at the age of 6/7 in Spain, but not until much later in the UK.

Believes that Arsenal should be looking on Luis Suarez (or a player like him) in the market at the moment

Questioned whether there was any point in fining clubs whose owners are billionaires. May work better to deduct points.

If a present day Arsenal player came out, the Club would give them total support. The problem will be something like Spurs away at White Hart Lane as fans pick on everything.


Thanks to David Oudot, Mark Andrews and Andy Kelly for helping to compile this brief summary.

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