Ken Friar has been appointed life president of Arsenal after deciding to step down from the board and retire from his executive responsibilities.
He has provided the Gunners with 70 years of service. He started working for the club in a part time capacity as a 12 year old. His association with the Gunners as a full time employee began when he was 14 years old. He began working for Arsenal in their box office in 1950 and rose up the ranks to become box office manager before assuming the role of club secretary in 1973.
The 86 year old became the North London club’s managing director ten years later in 1983. He remained in this role until 2000 when he assumed control of the club’s new stadium project along with his close friend and fellow Arsenal director, Danny Fiszman.
He and his team completed the vastly challenging stadium project on schedule and remarkably, stayed within budget. Mr. Friar was awarded an OBE in 2000 for his services to association football in Britain. He has also received the Freedom of the Borough of Islington.
He is an Arsenal legend and for his immense contributions to the club, is the most deserving recipient of the title of life president.
Announcing his decision, Mr. Friar said:
“Every day of my working life has been at this great club and I have treasured them all. It has been an honour and a privilege to see the club grow whilst maintaining its core traditions and values.”
“Society, football and the club have all changed radically over the years but Arsenal has remained a constant force. We’ve won and lost many football matches but we have always recognised that as a club we play a really important role in our local community and beyond. I know that will continue as we move forward.”
“I made this decision several months ago before the pandemic arrived. The club is in the hands of good people in Stan and Josh Kroenke, the board and our staff. They understand what we stand for and what we mean to our many millions of supporters around the world. I look forward to finally being able to watch our matches purely as a supporter without the inevitable concerns and stresses which come with management and board responsibilities.”
On Mr. Friar’s decision, club owners Stan and Josh Kroenke said:
“Mr Friar epitomises everything we strive for as a club. He is always looking forward and has a relentless desire to make Arsenal stronger and better.”
“We thank him for everything. Seventy years working for one organisation is extraordinary. The support, counsel, and wisdom he has shown us and so many hundreds of people during his time at the club will never be forgotten. We are sad that he has decided to step down from the board but fully understand. He will always be a big part of what the club stands for and we’re delighted that he has accepted the invitation to become our life president.”
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