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Contemptuous Sir Chips Keswick should be admonished

Friday 27th October 2017
Arsenal chairman Sir Chips Keswick should be utterly condemned after his deplorable actions at Thursday night's AGM.
Arsenal is a club polarised. A divisive split boils over at the Emirates as the perennial Wenger debate rages on. Yet, the manager was the only person representing the club's hierarchy to leave Thursday's AGM with some credibility still intact.

Over a decade of chronic underperformance, along with a squad among the weakest Arsene Wenger has ever possessed, due in large part to a reticent transfer policy, has Arsenal supporters in despair. There appears no discernible craving for a change though. Enhancement remains a topic on the periphery. Chips Keswick's comments were symbolic of a club content with mediocrity.

''Thank you for your statement, madam'' was Keswick's patronising response to one female shareholder who queried his statement regarding the board's diversity - a board that is all white, all male, and with an average age of 65.

The Arsenal chairman's arrogant refusal to answer the question was just the beginning. He then proceeded to shrug off the crowd's protests - but to no avail. They didn't need an incentive to voice displeasure and continued to ask questions.

Erroneously, perhaps foolishly, believing he would get away with such a contemptuous disregard, Keswick was met with more jeers. And rightly so. Now realising he couldn't overcome the army of indignant shareholders, and more importantly the fans, Keswick halted the meeting, telling supporters to 'write in'.

Write in? Words are barely sufficient to describe the man's condescending attitude. These were the words of someone who clearly doesn't care for Arsenal football club and views such functions as beneath him. We now reach the crux of the problem: a supercilious attitude reigns supreme at the Emirates.
Fans are constantly ignored, their concerns routinely dismissed, their support taken for granted. The recent AGM served as nothing more than an insult to the 250 supporters in attendance. Such management is ruinous and irresponsible.

Although not as prestigious as Barcelona, Real Madrid and to a certain extent Manchester United, Arsenal remains a great club and deserves better. This information isn't new. The reckless arrogance that excludes from north London threatens to unravel this once-mighty side.

Ivan Gazidis, apparently, was doing 'a fantastic and first-class job' and more than justifying his £2.6 million annual salary. While the silent Stan Kroenke was pardoned because there was no obligation to address the supporters.
Keswick's praise for Gazidis comes after a year in which mutiny spread. Arsenal failed to achieve a top-four finish last season, now presented with the embarrassment of Thursday-night football. Then Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil both made their desire to leave the Emirates evident. The Gunners have also started this season somewhat poorly, making Premier League success nearly impossible. After nine games, they sit fifth, already nine points off the leaders, Manchester City.

The supporters who attended the AGM didn't expect anything tangible from the proceedings; however, the whole event stank of superciliousness, along with a hubris that has destroyed the very fabric of Arsenal; a club steeped in noble, idealistic footballing ideology.
Michael Jones

Football & political writer with a predictable love of everything retro. English Literature undergraduate at the University of Exeter, looking to pursue a career in sports journalism. For a collection of my work, visit. http://mikejonesmedia.wordpress.com

Follow me on twitter: @jonesmichael_97


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