You’d be forgiven to think that it was already a done deal, given he’s been a farewell tour about as long as Elton John’s, but Ivan Gazidis finally made it official. In an email to staff, he announced his departure from Arsenal, set to take up a position with AC Milan starting December first. Thus, his ten year term as Chief Executive of the club in the most corporate manner possible: a reply all message.
Here’s reportedly what he said:
It’s been an amazing privilege to be able to be a part of the journey these past ten years. We’ve lived many ups and downs together and you have all achieved so much in modernising the club in every respect and positioning it for an even brighter future.
I am so excited to see what that future holds for all of you. I am your biggest fan and supporter and will always be following and cheering you all on from wherever I am. You can achieve anything! And you can do it while keeping and advancing the club’s strong progressive values.
Thank you to each and every one of you. I know what you give every day and how much you all care for this wonderful place we call the Arsenal.
With best wishes always, Ivan.
Ten years is a long time in football and Ivan oversaw a lot of flux at the club. From the last stages of stadium financing and some desperate trophy-less years, to numerous FA Cup wins, to crashing out of the Champions League and the last acrimonious moments that saw an end to Wenger’s 22-year run as Arsenal manager. In part, Gazidis was an important player in setting up the new structure at Arsenal to replace the massive vacuum left after Wenger and that the team hasn’t fallen apart but seems to be afloat early in the Emery years, is a good endorsement as any.
Though why he’s leaving after finally wresting the power structure to his preference, is in itself, an odd question we may not get answer to.
His role is now in the hands of two individuals, Arsenal’s Head of Football Raul Sanllehi and the former Commerical Director Vinai Venkatesham, who was promoted to Managing Director. Two very vague terms for “we run the show”, I guess. How they manage the club and work with Unai Emery’s vision for the future of the team remains to be seen. Whether good or bad, this is now a more modern set up for Arsenal and that’s on Gazidis.
So long, Ivan. Enjoy Italy.