Arsenal have now returned to London for the final part of pre-season, with their tour of China and Sydney complete, and chief executive Ivan Gazidis was pleased how it went down.
The tour generally seemed to go pretty smoothly, bar a disagreement between Wenger and the officials in China, a mild illness that went through the camp and the disappointing result against Chelsea. That last part likely won’t bother Wenger or Gazidis though, as results at this stage are largely meaningless.
Arsenal travelled further than any other Premier League club in pre-season, and so Gazidis was impressed with how many fans the club managed to gather even this far afield, telling Arsenal.com:
“The welcome from the fans in Sydney and here in China has been incredible. Everywhere we’ve gone there has been hundreds and thousands of fans, 200,000 plus in attendance at the games.
“But also we’ve been reaching out in all the places that we’ve been. I think we put on over 100 events altogether with our players getting out and about and meeting with our fanbase in all these different places.”
He then went on to talk about the efforts the Londoners put into their charity and community work on these tours and on a weekly basis throughout the season. It’s one of the things that fans should be proud of and Gazidis was keen to highlight this.
“We’ve done work here in Beijing with migrant children in Beijing. We’re doing work in places as difficult and far flung as Iraq and Syria, Somalia, Indonesia, building football pitches and giving the programmes that go around that infrastructure, those football pitches, that helps us support people to great social outcomes.
“So we’re taking what we do locally and bringing it around the world and I’m very proud that that’s a part of what this club does.”
Finally he talked about the remainder of pre-season, with Arsenal playing their final three matches in London:
“We’ve got games on Saturday and Sunday at Emirates Stadium and that will be the usual fantastic event that is serious preparation, all the players getting a chance to work some more on getting ready for the beginning of the season.
“But also it’s always a fantastic, festive atmosphere, so that’ll be a great event for us and then of course the week after that the Community Shield, we play Chelsea again and then straight into the season.”
Mostly the fans will be used to hearing this sort of thing from Gazidis and the Arsenal PR team. These sorts of statements about how well everything went never really come across as entirely sincere, but in this case it does seem there are positives to be drawn from the tour.