Tag Archives: usmanov

Arsenal Board Must Act

Arsenal’s ownership is an oxymoron.

The Premier League is awash with money, in fact, it has never been more affluent. Thanks to the TV rights deal that dwarves the other big domestic leagues, all Premier League clubs have larger fiscal muscles than their European brethren.


Our club are part-owned by Alisher Usmanov – an oligarch who is ranked amongst the richest people in the world, and Stan Kroenke – an American whose portfolio is amongst the largest in terms of sports teams. We also have Ivan Gazidis who was awarded a bonus for a season which is the worst placing in over two decades. 




On their own, Kroenke and Usmanov could financially back any team to the zenith of sporting achievement. They could completely transform the outlook of the league should they choose to.


Instead, with a backdrop of torrents of currency, they both choose to stand idly by as other clubs push on.

It is ironic that these ridiculously rich men who spent ludicrous amounts to garner our shares, now do nothing more than lasciviously eye each others stash of our club.


Perhaps our current problems in the Boardroom are magnified in part due to our past ownership?


The setup was always led by Arsenal-DNA. Although the loyal Ken Friars is still part of the makeup, decisions are now not made with Arsenal at heart.


Our club no longer have a hand on the tiller that is primarily concerned with the progress of our club, and it has now come to a point where it is harmful.


The good work that was put in during the late 90’s and early 2000’s gave us a headstart, one which was vital to capitalise on. The chasing pack was closing in, but we didn’t stretch our gap, we simply treaded water.


Now we stand on the precipice, caught between the ignominy of being just another member of the flock that grasp towards the top, and rekindling our groove and making ground on the distance we lost.


Manchester united may be saddled with debt, but they have crucially continued investment in recruitment. They have also shown little patience for mediocrity.


Manchester City have embraced the funds of their owners and player purchases continue unabated.


Chelsea too have dug deep in their pockets and regular silverware has been the produce from their spending.


Then there is tottenham and Everton.


Our North London neighbours have spent well and have a new stadium to look forward to. This new home has the capacity to propel them to regular contention for honours. They have not had the income of their more illustrious rivals but it has not stopped them. Of course there are many variables that may yet take them off course, but they are primed to continue their rise from where they were a decade ago.


Everton are under the stewardship of new owners. They now have the resources necessary to take them higher than erstwhile European place challengers. Ronald Koeman lost his way, but their spending spree in the summer is just a signal of what they are now capable of.


This is now the time for us to act. We have the potential in our sponsorship deals and our gate receipts to muscle in on the show that is seemingly going on without us of late. We could also overtake all and sundry if our owners acted like owners should.


At this moment we are merely a trophy on a wall, a conversation starter in auspicious surroundings whilst swilling brandy amongst the hoi-polloi.


Our previous Board members who are long since departed from the club showed how it should be done. Hell, even the dubious roubles of Roman Abramovich are evidence that not all takeovers have to be negative.


We need Usmanov and especially Kroenke to put their pennies into their new shiny piggy bank. The trouble is, they have not invested a brass farthing since becoming involved.


And it has worked in a business sense. Share prices have nearly doubled since 2007.


Maybe it is a nostalgia that blinds us. Football is a business now, but surely owners want their toys to be bigger and better than everyone else’s?


Right now, Kroenke has left his new plaything out in the rain to gather rust. We have a Chief Executive that received a bonus for a fifth placed finish so there is no incentive for improvement, which only adds to our woes.


Competition should see the strongest survive, and we are now limping behind. 

Usmanov Vs Kroenke

Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov recently made approaches to Stan Kroenke regarding his majority shareholding, in a bid to oust the American and take the reins of the club.


As we all know, it was entirely unsuccessful.












The Soviet-born steel magnate currently has just over 30% of the shares at Arsenal, but ever since he and Red and White Holdings Ltd started making their interest felt, Usmanov has been outspoken regarding his own views surrounding the way the club handles investment – or a lack of.

Now, Usmanov has carried his aggressive business leanings into his football interest, with a bid for Kroenke’s large lump of the club. Kroenke rebuffed Usmanov’s advances, but his statement regarding his future with the club ruffled fan’s feathers with its ironic taste. The American maintained his long-term interest in Arsenal and how he wants to ensure Arsenal are a force not only in the Premier League, but Europe.


Seeing as we are further away from this ill-timed statement than ever, Kroenke could have worded this confirmation of longevity a bit better.


The bid from Usmanov was rumoured to be around the £1bn mark, which not only would give Kroenke a bountiful profit margin, but it also serves to highlight how well Arsenal have performed on the business side of things, as the club was valued at just over £700m when Kroenke took over.


The main thing to take from Usmanov’s sudden moves for power is that he remains open to negotiations. As the mood sours towards the KSE group – much like at their other shareholdings in the NFL, NBA, MLS and NHL – could fan power tilt things towards Usmanov?


Perhaps, but it would help if Kroenke actually turned up to games to taste the negativity towards his ownership. Usmanov was once viewed as a megalomaniacal, power-hungry chaos-bringer, but such is the way Kroenke has handled his ownership thus far, Usmanov’s enthusiasm is now starting to look like a more favourable option.


Kroenke’s lack of investment in the club – whether you believe Wenger refuses to spend or not – and his insistence on taking millions in annual payments for ‘consultancy fees’ only add further to the vitriol aimed at him. Usmanov meanwhile, sits in the shadows and waits for his opportunity.


The Board at this current moment in time need to make some big decisions, managerial and in business, but the ownership of the club has not been fruitful for Kroenke in terms of opinion from fans and experts. It seems as if Kroenke has bought these clubs that now sit on his wall like busts of his latest kill on safari, so he can boast of his financial prowess. There is no sporting interest, there is no thirst to make ‘his’ club greater than they ever have been. He just wants a trinket.


Usmanov at least wants Arsenal to prosper and operate on the plain that the European giants currently do. The way Roman Abramovich has overseen the transformation at Chelsea has shown that the business model Usmanov is offering can work.


Now, the chessboard is primed for upheaval. The big moves have been made, but the game itself might drag on for quite some time yet. Fan power, if organised in the right way, could well prove to be pivotal.