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50-50: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

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By ESPN Staff
Oct 24, 2008

Wenger calls for support from Gunners' fans

Arsene Wenger maintains there are plenty of reasons for Arsenal fans to be positive - and has reminded them of just how far the club has come.

The Gunners boss used yesterday's address to shareholders at the club's Annual General Meeting to stress his belief in a young squad which he feels are not ''getting the support they deserve'' from their own supporters or the media.

Arsenal again showed their undoubted potential with a superb result in Europe this week, thrashing Fenerbahce 5-2 in Turkey to take a significant step towards qualifying for the knockout stages of the Champions League.

Wenger's men resume their domestic campaign at West Ham on Sunday, when they will be looking to keep pace with leaders Chelsea, having slipped four points behind after already losing two Barclays Premier League games - at Fulham and at home against Hull.

The French coach has long championed the ability of his up-and-coming side in the face of calls for the Gunners to match Manchester United and Chelsea by spending big rather than continuing to rely on the talent of tomorrow in the quest to land a first trophy since 2005.

''We have been very consistent. Through the years we have always been at the top level and we always want to win trophies - but the most difficult thing to achieve is consistency,'' said Wenger, who won the double in 1999 and 2002, as well as claiming the club's last league title with an unbeaten campaign.

''For example, there are only four teams around Europe who have been in the Champions League for 10 consecutive years and we are one of them.

''I agree we have not won the title for four years, but if you look at the history of this club, for 25 years we did not win the championship - and there are also massive clubs who have not won the league for 30 years.''

Wenger added: ''I believe this team needs a strong guide to go through difficult periods, because at the moment I do not feel that, either from the media or our supporters, this team gets the support that it deserves.

''I want to be that guide and I want to get this team to deliver not next year, but this year.''

Despite the need to service their long-term debt following the move to Emirates Stadium, Arsenal have some £60million in reserve should Wenger chose to strengthen his options.

However, with a total wage bill now in excess of £100million, the manager remains determined to only spend the money on the right man at the right price rather than just attacking the January sales when the transfer window re-opens.

''We want to win at the end of the season and if we feel that signings are needed in January to accomplish this, we will do so,'' he said.

Arsenal's new board member Stan Kroenke attended yesterday's meeting, and was alongside Wenger on the top table as chairman Peter Hill-Wood addressed the floor.

The American sports tycoon - who holds around a 12% stake in the Gunners' parent company - accepted the offer to become a non-executive director in September as ties with the Kroenke Sports Enterprises group were strengthened.

However, chairman Hill-Wood maintains the board - who are party to an internal 'lockdown agreement' over selling any of their shares, now worth around £7,600, until 2012 - see no reason to look for any other outside investment.

Since the departure of Keith Edelman, Arsenal have been without a managing director.

Hill-Wood confirmed an appointment would be made ''fairly shortly''.

He said: ''We have been working hard and we are still working.

''Our view is that it is a very important appointment so rather than make a quick decision, we feel it is more important to make the right one.''

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