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Gazidis defends ‘outstanding’ Wenger amid Arsenal crisis

Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis (left) in the stands with manager Arsene Wenger. Photo credit: Nigel French/EMPICS Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis (left) in the stands with manager Arsene Wenger. Photo credit: Nigel French/EMPICS

Thursday, December 13, 2012
7:44 AM

Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis has reiterated that the club’s board are fully behind under-fire manager Arsene Wenger and claims the fans should feel proud of the club despite recent struggles.

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The Gunners quest for a first trophy since 2005 suffered another blow on Tuesday night when they were beaten on penalties by npower League Two side Bradford at Valley Parade.

The Arsenal Supporters Trust have long supported the Gunners’ prudent financial approach, but believe the lack of spending has now gone too far - and that the defeat by Bradford was a symbolic moment with the team having decreased in quality year after year since 2009.

However, in a wide-ranging interview with the January edition of Four Four Two magazine, Gunners chief executive Gazidis insisted the club’s self-sustaining business model will pay off in the long term.

“If you do any analysis of performance against spending over the past 15 years, Arsenal is the one club which has outperformed its spend every single year over that period,” Gazidis told the magazine.

“That does not happen by accident; it happens because we have an outstanding manager who is an outstanding judge of talent and very experienced in how to manage a team.

“There are some real fundamentals at this club which I think our fans believe in - we stand on our own two feet and take pride in our achievements.

“We are not reliant on anyone else for success. That is the model our fans believe in, and for good reason.”

Last month, Arsenal announced an extension to the sponsorship deal of Emirates Airline, which will be worth around £30million a year.

Gazidis, however, insists simply throwing all of that cash at the team is not the answer for a quick fix.

“I am not sure what the alternative strategy is, it has not really ever been spelt out,” he said.

“I assume the alternative strategy is to spend more than the nation state of Abu Dhabi, more than anyone else, and I am not even sure I would describe that as a strategy, but it is the only other thought that comes to mind.”

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