Arsenal’s director Ken Friar, who has been an integral part of the club since the age of 12, has saluted the impact Arsene Wenger had on spearheading the club’s audacious Emirates Stadium project, which allegedly cost the Gunners a grand total of £390m to construct.
Friar, 83, believes that Wenger’s influence within the club in every aspect inspired the north-Londoners to stem away from Highbury and step into a new, modern chapter of the club’s illustrious history in a sleek, state-of-the-art arena in 2006, a standing tribute to ‘Le Prof’s’ glittering 22 year rein, which is due to come to an end once the 2017-18 campaign has run its course.
Having been of service to Arsenal for over six decades, Friar has witnessed many a leader grace the technical area throughout the eras, but Wenger, to whom he refers to as his ‘younger brother’, is a man who’s legacy will forever remain embodied at the Emirates, be it commemorated by renaming a stand or a statue within the grounds of the venue, perhaps.
Speaking to the club’s official website – via Evening Standard – Friar earnestly expressed:
“I don’t think we could have built the stadium without the success he had,
“We had to raise an awful lot of money, we had to do many, many other things, acquiring other properties that were part of the jigsaw puzzle. It wasn’t just the stadium.
“He helped enormously. His stature helped with the local authority. It certainly helped with commercial partners and with the banks to have a man like that in situ which identified the stability.
“I asked him to take a holiday and he said ‘well I had one in 1983!’
“I shall miss Arsene like losing a younger brother. I’m very, very fond of him. He’s a remarkable man. Not only did he buy into the values, he increased them every day.”
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