Kroenke breaks his silence, Wenger admits 'discontent'

Silent Stan calms Arsenal shareholders, as Wenger calls for unity and bravery

BY Jonathan Harwood LAST UPDATED AT 16:18 ON Thu 27 Oct 2011

AMERICAN billionaire 'Silent Stan' Kroenke, who took a controlling stake in Arsenal earlier this year, has finally broken his silence and addressed the club's shareholders for the first time. But it was manager Arsene Wenger who took the bull by the horns and dealt with the thorny issue of the Gunners' dismal summer and poor start to the new season.

Kroenke, who has been on the board for three years and now owns more than 60 per cent of the club, described Arsenal as a "wonderful club" with "a wonderful manager" and "a tremendous following".

His pronouncements were hardly earth-shattering and he signed off by telling the shareholders: "We love London. You had better get used to seeing us, because we will be around."

But Wenger, who is enduring the toughest period of his 15-year reign in north London, acknowledged that things were not going well at present, and he said he understood the criticism that had come his way.

"I can see a lot of fear and discontent among you," he told shareholders. "I can understand that because we live in a world where we fight with people who have extremely high resources.

"I believe the values we defend are highly defendable. We want to do things with class and be very brave. Courage is a quality I admire, because it is highly needed in the modern world.

"To stay at the top, top level we have to stay united. That does not mean I am not to be criticised, or the board - we accept that, but we have to show to the outside we are united. If you are not, then you have no chance."

Earlier Ivan Gazidis, Arsenal's chief executive, insisted that the Gunners were in good shape financially with the club's only debts relating to the stadium move. He said new sponsorship deals would be announced soon.

Gunners fans may be more excited by the news that Wenger is "confident" that Robin van Persie, who has been Arsenal's talisman this season, will sign a new contract with the club. · 

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