Arsenal chairman Sir Chips retires at 80
Lifelong Gunners fan says club has had ‘a special place in my life’
29 May, 2020 — By Richard Osley
ARSENAL chairman Sir Chips Keswick announced yesterday (Thursday) that he is retiring from the role after seven years.
The former banker said he had already told the board of his decision earlier in the season and before the coronavirus pandemic shut down football.
The 80-year-old said: “It has been an honour to be the chairman of this great football club. Arsenal has always held a special place in my life and that will remain the case in the future.”
The return of the Premier League is now in sight after the top division’s clubs agreed to begin “contact” training. The team could be back on the field on June 17 to face Manchester City at the Etihad – one of the first fixtures to be postponed at the start of the outbreak.
Sir Chips, speaking to the club’s website, said: “I know Arsenal will emerge strongly from this situation and I look forward, like all our supporters around the world, to seeing the team in action as soon as possible.”
Club owner Stan Kroenke and his son Josh said Sir Chips had been the “perfect chairman”.
The up and down performances on the field have led to frustration among some fans with the set-up at the Emirates Stadium, and the Kroenkes have occasionally been urged to sell up.
At one stage, during a misfiring period, Sir Chips appeared at a horse racing meeting, joking with Sky Sports that he preferred it to football.
He has been a lifelong Arsenal fan, however, and sat on the board for 15 years, nearly half of which was spent as chairman. Arsenal won three FA Cups during this time.
The long-serving Ken Friar and Lord Harris will continue on the board.
Stan and Josh Kroenke said: “Our primary concern at this difficult time is the health and well-being of our staff and players. It’s also our intention to ensure Arsenal Football Club emerges from this crisis in a strong position. That’s what we’re working on every day.”
Arsenal’s manager, Mikel Arteta, was seen taking a session at the club’s London Colney training ground this week.
He was one of the first high-profile figures in sport to test positive for – and recover from – the coronavirus at the start of the outbreak in the United Kingdom.
Arsenal had already been put on alert after a Europa League match with Olympiakos at the Emirates and the news that came later that the visiting team’s chairman had contracted the virus.
The remaining league fixtures at the stadium are due to be played behind closed doors. with refunds now being offered to season ticket holders.