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May 19, 2009

Gunners chairman hits out at Wenger criticism

Shareholders who criticised Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and his players at a meeting last week were ''out of order'', according to Gunners chairman Peter Hill-Wood.

In the wake of a Champions League semi-final mauling by Manchester United which confirmed a fourth trophyless season for the north Londoners, the French boss suffered the wrath of some fans during the forum at the Emirates Stadium on May 14.

Wenger's youngsters were accused of lacking backbone, defender Mikael Silvestre was branded ''geriatric'' and striker Emmanuel Adebayor also came in for fierce personal criticism over his performances this term.

Reports this week have suggested Wenger could be tempted by a move to Real Madrid after he refused to rule out the possibility when quizzed on French television this week, but Hill-Wood remains unconcerned.

"I am not concerned about it," he said in the Daily Star. "Arsene is here and under contract (until 2011), and I am sure that is how it is going to remain.

"I think he is a big enough man to accept that a few people are not prepared to be reasonable.

"I think we all have to accept criticism, but you expect it to be reasonably constructive, rather than destructive."

And Hill-Wood also insisted the flak aimed his way was the last thing needed at such a sensitive time.

''Frankly, some of the questions were quite disgraceful,'' he added. ''There you have the most successful manager in our history and two or three of the shareholders made the most negative and somewhat hostile and sarcastic comments, which I think were completely out of order.

''I was very upset by the questions, I have to say. We, and he, kindly agreed to have this meeting and whether we have another one is a moot point.

''Arsene was very diplomatic and honest in his answers and deserves great credit for that. But I wouldn't have been anything like as polite if they had asked me.''

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