Ivan Gazidis gets backing of Arsenal fans

It may come as a surprise to some, but Ivan Gazidis has been Arsenal’s Chief Executive for less than 10 years.

In November 2008 Gazidis accepted the post of chief executive of Arsenal, a post he formally took up from 1 January 2009. He succeeded former managing director Keith Edelman.

South-African born Gazidis moved to Manchester at the age of 4. He attended St Edmund Hall at the University of Oxford, where he was twice awarded a blue playing football against the University of Cambridge in 1984 and 1985

He graduated with a degree in law in 1986 and in 1992 he moved to the United States to work.

In 1994, he joined the founding management team of Major League Soccer, becoming in 2001 its deputy commissioner. He oversaw MLS’s key strategic and business decisions and its marketing arm, Soccer United Marketing, of which he was president.

Many fans have been justifiably critical of Gazidis’ role at Arsenal. His arrival was in the middle of the trophy drought, and with Arsene Wenger keeping an iron grip of control, many questioned what he actually did at the club.

Some of the criticism was unfair.

Many saw him as Stan Kroenke’s crony. They labelled him a “yank who knew nothing about football”.

That last comment probably showed how little people knew about him. As we have seen he was born in South Africa (not America), grew up in Manchester (supporting Manchester City as a child) and spent 15 years working the MLS before joining Arsenal.

With the recent AC Milan interest, and everything that has happened at Arsenal in the last 12 months, it is worthwhile stepping back and taking stock.

Whilst Arsene Wenger was at the club, there were constantly two schools of thought.

The first was that Wenger restricted Gazidis. That he could not flourish. There were reports he wanted Wenger gone a year or so ago and was talking to replacements, but the Kroenke’s put a stop to this by offering the Frenchman a new deal.

Whilst there were others that saw him as part of a problem. As a sheep. Doing whatever Kroenke or Wenger demanded, and protecting them.

The truth was probably somewhere in the middle.

During his time at Arsenal, we have seen ticket price rises. £126 for a top end “normal” ticket is way too much.

But he has also overseen a discount to away fans; not just the £30 Premier League cap but a further £4 per game deduction. He has also kept League Cup game costs to a minimum.

Whilst our Category A tickets are extortionate, our Category C tickets are very good – you can watch Arsenal play in the Premier League for less than you can watch Leyton Orient in the Conference.

With Gazidis, it always feels like he gives with one hand, takes with the other. He would probably make a good Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer.

He has also overseen a period at the club where we sold our best players, targeted top 4 rather than trophies, and was more interested in net spend than success. Although in more recent years the wallet has opened a bit more – with us breaking our transfer record twice in 6 months.

Gazidis’ background is commercial activity.

Under Wenger, it was a simple set up. Arsene ran the football side, Gazidis the revenue and commercial side of things.

As a commercial executive he has struggled.

A lot of the deals signed whilst at Arsenal have been average. Often record deals at the time, they are quickly gazumped by other sides, ultimately making the deals look poor.

The commercial revenue has held us back over the last 5 or 6 years, and we are still too reliant on stadium income, hence the high ticket prices.

We currently lag a long behind Manchester United in terms of commercial revenue. £161m a year to be exact. To bring this into perspective, this gap is larger than Arsenal’s entire match day revenue.

In terms of signing new players, £161m is the difference between 2 or 3 £50m+.

Since Gazidis’ arrival, and prior to this summer, Manchester United have had a net spend of £475m. Arsenal just £150m.

How much more could Arsenal have achieved over the last 9 years had we had an additional £325m to spend on players?

Our poor commercial activity has held us back, and Gazidis has to take the blame.

For Arsenal to become competitive again, we need to close the commercial gap on those above us, starting with the new kit supplier deal where there is a £45m difference between us and man U, and a £30 difference between us and Chelsea.

The feeling from many fans is that Gazidis is doing a better job these days than previously. this go’s hand in hand with the positive surrounding the club.

Gazidis moved himself from Highbury House to the training ground, and he was him who became executioner for Wenger. It was also Gazidis who oversaw the recruitment of Sven Mislintat and Raul Sanhelli.

This summer, he oversaw significant personnel changes at the top of the club in preparation for then manager Arsene Wenger’s departure, the backroom staff changes and the recruitment of Unai Emery.

Having got to the top of the Arsenal tree, he is now king maker. He lives and dies on his own sword.

it is for that reason  was surprised with the AC Milan news. He pushed for the changes at Arsenal, it did not make sense for him to leave after his ideas have finally been implemented.

Ultimately, Gazidis’ is now on a clean slate.

With Wenger gone, he can start again, draw a line in the sand. His future is now determined by himself.

He leads us back to glory, people will talk about him in the same vain as David Dein. He continues with poor commercial deals which in turn leads to poor performances on the field, the whispers of what he does will circulate again.

The next 2 or 3 years will be how Gazidis is judged.


3 thoughts on “Ivan Gazidis gets backing of Arsenal fans

  1. Pingback: Ivan Gazidis gets backing of Arsenal fans - TACTICS FC


    You seem to cast the net of Arsenal Fans quite wide. But let me correct you. Not all Arsenal fans back Gazidis! I for one don’t. He started in 2008, and happily sat there and allowed the club to plunge into under achievement and celebrated failure. Which for me is completely unforgivable. I don’t care if he did a great job this summer but this comes a good 9yrs too late as Wenger showed his inability to truly manage this team as early as in 2003 when he threw away a 10pt lead to gift Man Utd the league title.

    But you are the same guy who said about 10mths ago that Wenger is the right guy to take us forward, then in May 2018 he guides us to a successful 6th place and is rightfully removed but fickle fans would celebrate his last game because securing 6th place and a place in the Europa League is what world class Wenger is supposed to do!

    Gazidis can jog on for all I care and plenty fans will agree with me. We need a CEO who actually gives a damn about this club and has passion for the Arsenal. So someone like George Graham, Frank McLintock, Charlie George for example as having someone like them peppered in senior roles at this club can help bring back the right attitude and ethos at this club.


    1. keenosafc Post author

      The fact you name Graham, McLintock and George as people you want as CEO shows you know nothing. These are ex-footballers. They do not know how to run a football club, how to fun a business.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.