Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Peter Hill-Wood: "I do not see Spurs posing a problem for us this season."

By Mugais Jahangir.

Arsenal Chairman Peter Hill-Wood in an interview to The London Evening Standard made some critical statements. He started off by expressing his confidence in Arsenal winning the Premier League this season but then he also mentioned that not winning a trophy for the last 7 years is not a cause of worry. That statement has not gone down well with many Arsenal fans. Not winning a trophy must be a cause of worry to the board, that's what fans would like to believe. Unless and until it is a cause of worry, the board won't change their approach and just continue to look for personal profit. You might wonder whether this is what Robin van Persie was told when they had a meeting. Clearly such a statement would never lure a player to stay for another year.
Here's his full statement:
"We have a pretty good chance of challenging for the Premiership. I don’t see why we cannot win it this year. It is not a worry to the board that we haven’t won a trophy since 2005. It would be lovely to win but it’s not that easy. Liverpool haven’t won the title for 20-odd years. We’re very ambitious and want to win but, if you don’t have billions of petro-dollars to throw around, you’re going to have to do it some other way. That’s what we’re trying to do — with skilful selection of players. As for Walcott, he did not accept our offer so nothing is happening."
He also revealed that Arsenal FC cannot spend money on players like Chelsea or Manchester City. That is pretty understandable. Arsenal has never been amongst the big spenders. 
"Arsene has money to spend but there’s a limit. We can’t spend £50m on one player. At a certain level, we can’t compete. I don’t think Stan Kroenke is going to put the sort of dollars in that Abramovich or Sheikh Mansour are putting into Chelsea or Manchester City. That’s not the way he thinks clubs should be run. Luckily, Arsene understands that. He got an economics degree from Strasbourg University so he’s certainly no fool. He knows how a club should be run. That annoys a lot of people but clubs have to be sustainable. We’re not going to go bankrupt in the way one or two other well known clubs have. The Glasgow Rangers example is something we’ve all got to guard against. They spent far more money than they could afford. We’re ambitious enough but we’re not going to end in the same plight as Rangers. That is a fact of life. So my advice is don’t get miserable about it.
He was also asked about the criticism from the fans. This is what he had to say:
"What those fans shouted did not influence me one little bit. I was disgusted to hear them because Arsene’s been absolutely outstanding. He is still outstanding."
On rumours of Arsene Wenger leaving the club:
"You occasionally hear rumours of him going somewhere. I do not think that is likely to happen. He’s very happy where he is. He has a very good job in that we don’t interfere with him. We agree with most of the things he says and he agrees with most of the things we say. I have seen some really successful Arsenal managers but Arsene has revolutionised the club. I would say he has been a bigger influence than Alex Ferguson on Manchester United in the way he has changed the traditions of the club and the outlook of the Premiership."
On David Dein's departure and how it affected Wenger:
"I don’t think David Dein’s departure has impacted on Arsene at all. Arsene has a very good relationship with Ivan and it’s very businesslike. He and Arsene get on very well."
Peter Hill-Wood had asked Arsene Wenger whether he wanted to leave the club:
"I asked Arsene whether he wanted to do that and he said, ‘No thank you, I’m very happy’."
On Tottenham Hotspur and the Emirates Stadium: 
"I do not see Spurs posing a problem for us this season. Their new manager may be a great success but they have to find a stadium. That’s going to be very difficult. Finding a site and financing it is a major problem which we know all about. I was very nervous and didn’t see how the hell we could finance a new stadium. It’s worked out very well. Quite a lot of equity went into it and payments from Nike and Emirates helped enormously. We’ve got a stadium debt of around £230m now, which is a 25-year bond at a fixed rate of 5.5 per cent. The success of the stadium is due to Danny Fiszman and Ken Friar, who did a spectacular job. Danny was a genius and I don’t think we’d have achieved what we have without him. It would’ve been crazy to have gone to Wembley (as desired by David Dein). I hate Wembley anyway. It’s a bloody long way away. And I would absolutely not have wanted to be a tenant of the Football Association."

On Alisher Usmanov's statements after Robin van Persie refused to extend his contract: 
“He’s said that before. It was nothing new and I didn’t think it was particularly relevant.”
On Usmanov getting on the board"
“It’s not entirely in my hands. I don’t think Stan Kroenke wants anybody else on the board. I have met Usmanov but I don’t think he would fit in, that’s all.”
On his retirement: 
"I’m going to carry on until I get completely senile and then my colleagues will say, ‘It’s time you went’. But, at the moment, they haven’t got to that stage. I’m not indicating that I’m complacent but, generally speaking, the club are on a very sure footing and the potential is there."


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