Ken Friar is to end his day-to-day responsibilities at Arsenal after over 70 years, stepping down from the club’s board to become the life president at the Emirates Stadium.
Friar, 86, has worked for Arsenal since joining on a part-time basis at the age of 12 and is a beloved figure among staff and supporters.
He began his employment with Arsenal as a box office employee in 1950, progressing to the role of managing director in 1983. He was integral in the club’s move to the Emirates Stadium and is among the most revered figures in north London.
Such is the esteem in which he is held that in 2011 the northern bridge that connects the Emirates Stadium to Arsenal tube station was renamed the Ken Friar Bridge. His elevation to the ceremonial role of life president only further cements the affectionate bond between Friar and his club.
“Every day of my working life has been at this great club and I have treasured them all,” Friar said. “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.”
Friar’s departure is the latest major change at executive level for Arsenal, who saw chairman Sir Chips Keswick depart before Clifford and Chance lawyer Tim Lewis, a valued advisor to the Kroenke family that owns the club, joined the board.
Raul Sanllehi has also departed as head of football with Vinai Venkatesham the club’s managing director.
Arsenal’s board, as currently structured, is made up of Stan and Josh Kroenke, Lewis and Lord Harris of Peckham.
ARTICLE SOURCE: FOOTBALL.LONDON (we do not claim ownership of this article)