There was an interesting interview in the Telegraph yesterday with Arsenal chairman Ivan Gazidis, in which he was asked mostly about Arsene Wenger. When asked about the thought process that drives Arsenal forward, in the last year of Arsene's contract, he said:
"There is not nostalgia on either side," says the 51-year-old Gazidis. "It's not what motivates us or him. The reason we have Arsène as our manager is because our board believes he can deliver success. The reason that Arsène is here is because he believes that he can deliver success. If either of us didn't believe that we would not be constrained by nostalgia or longing."
Which is great, because nostalgia is the worst, and is also the worst way to manage a sports team. Gazidis also touched on Arsenal's season last year and how the club feel about it:
"We have to be disappointed, certainly not satisfied, to end up second," he says. "We wanted more than that and I think that there were chances during the season. We are taking a long, hard, realistic look at why we fell short of our ambitions. You can't say second place is a disaster, but it's not what we are about."
That last line is a level of nuance that a lot of Arsenal fans could take to heart. Objectively, second place is great! But, last season, it didn't feel like enough. Gazidis also spoke a bit about the ownership of Stan Kroenke, in (predictably) positive terms:
Squad investment, he says, has never been restricted and is strongly encouraged by the majority owner, Stan Kroenke. He points out the arrivals of Özil, Sánchez, Petr Cech and now Xhaka in successive summers. "We have very high aspirations and care deeply," he says. "But we don't have an owner who storms the corridors on a Monday, who calls the manager and says, ‘Why aren't you starting this player?' and enjoys high-fiving 26-year-old athletes. To me, that's good."
He also takes a bit of aim at the Twitterers of the world:
Our renewal rate on season tickets is higher historically this year than ever. I don't use that to say all fans are happy, but most people are not engaging daily on social media and their opinions are much more nuanced than it might seem.
Overall, it was a pretty interesting read and on a slow news day, it's worth checking out.