Tag Archives: Ivan Gazidis

Ivan Gazidis gone…what now for Arsenal?

Talk on social media is that Ivan Gazidis has decided to take AC Milan up on their job offer in Italy.

So with Gazidis seemingly out the door at Arsenal, what does this mean for the club who recently got rid of their manager for 21 years.

Were it 12 months ago, I would be extremely worried as Gazidis leaving would have empowered Wenger further. But in the last year, the Frenchman has gone, replaced by Unai Emery, and the power shared out with the appointment of Raul Sanllehi.

My theory on the plan is a simple one.

Arsenal will not replace Ivan Gazidis as CEO. We will no longer have one man overseeing the entire operation of the club.

As Head of Football Relations, Sanllehi will have full reign to look after the footballing side of the club. From first team to youth, to transfers and contracts, he will head the team. With the likes of Emery, Sven Mislintat and Hugh Fussey reporting to him.

For the other side of the club – the business and commercial side which Gazidis over saw – we will bring in a big hitter. A Head of Commercial Revenue.

It will be there role to oversee the underperforming commercial department. To bring in new revenue to the club. To oversee the finances of the club.

With the families links to Sports in America, do not be surprised if this is a big NFL hitter.

Knitting it all together will be Josh Kroenke who has taken a much more “hands on” roll at Arsenal in recent months.

As vice-Chairman, he will oversee the monthly board meetings which will become a lot more than the whiskey and cigar club that they are now. It will be up to him to ensure that all sides of the club are working as one with a common goal. Making Arsenal successful.

He will still leave the day to day running of the club to Sanhelli and the new Head of Commercial Revenue, but they will both report to him and he will have the final day on any difficult decisions.

I think we will also see David O’Leary officially join the Arsenal board. The Arsenal legend has been seen in the directors box at nearly every game last season.

Just as Gazidis was showing us what he could do, he is gone.



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.


Ivan Gazidis sticks two fingers up to crying journalists

The “fall-out” from the appointment of Unai Emery has been hilarious.

Journalists and ITK’s across the country (and beyond) trying to slate the club, and Ivan Gazidis over the appointment.

They have attempted to highlight a messy process, one which Ian Wright called “like being in a Sushi restaurant”. I have seen people moaning about Arsenal talking to 10 possible candidates.

The reality is, Arsenal did not leak what was happening, and no one on the outside knew what was happening.

This resulted in journalists and Twitter attention seekers literally making stories up for clicks, for attention. And it was this that made it appear the recruitment process was messy.

Whether it be Max Allegri house hunting, or Mikel Arteta “all but signed”, these outlets literally created the appearance that Arsenal did not know what they were dong, with fabricated stories, than have the cheek to then write that Arsenal did not know what they were doing, based on how many of these fabricated stories were out there.

Ivan Gazidis, in discussing the appointment of Unai Emery, put a sword into the heart of every journalist and Twitter ITK that pretends to have inside knowledge.

Gazidis on appointing Unai Emery:

“I know that [Emery] came as a bit of a surprise & perhaps there was one or two rewrites necessary [in the press]. Those who know won’t speak & those who speak won’t know

Gazidis on the process:

“We formed a three-person committee lead by me with Sven Mislintat & Raul Sanllehi. We wanted progressive, entertaining football, a personality that fits Arsenal’s values & a record of developing young players – pushing players & demanding more from them.”

“We analysed & looked through, on the basis that every coach in the world would be interested, & made a long list of eight coaches, all of whom were interested & who took place in extensive, in-depth interviews with the three of us. None of them withdrew their interest.”

“We interviewed Unai on the 10th of May, as part of that process, making a unanimous recommendation to the board on the 18th of May, with a 100-page dossier that supported his candidacy.”

“We met with London-based members of the board this week & then flew to Atlanta to meet Stan & Josh Kroenke. All of the board members were energised by the recommendation & enthusiastically supported it.”

“Unai has a competitive passion, detail & a love for football that made us feel this fit was exactly right for Arsenal.”

So there you have it.

Nothing was linked. It was a tight circle of people who know. And those that knew did not speak. The appointment might have “come from nowhere” but Emery was actually interview 2 weeks ago, and recommended to the board last Friday.

All the talk of Arteta being offered the job, or Vieira being called Monday for a “token” interview is clearly made up rubbish.

Gazidis, Mislintat & Sanllehi did everything right.

They spoke to plenty of people. Made a decision. Kept it quiet. They have done a good job.

And journalists and ITKs are a little upset that the club did not leak anything to them, and are taking out their upset on the club.

PS: Fair play Emery for conducted his press conference in English. Another 2 fingers up to the press who clearly do not have a clue.