Smoke & Mirrors Cloud Arsenal Takeover
The world of Arsenal continues to fill the back pages, until the end of the Abramovich revolution following Chelsea’s exit from the Champions League or United cracking under the pressure following their exit from the Champions League.
Stan Kroenke found himself having a mixed reception yesterday. The AST meeting continued to rightly pursue the path of plurality of ownership but somehow this was contrived to be spun by others as popular support for Red & White Holdings.
Some of this is explained by many still associating David Dein with Red & White despite the fact that they fell out some time ago. Dein retains an almost deific status with some, villified by others for selling his shares to Red & White Holdings.
Bizarrely – and without even trying – Usmanov found himself popular amongst some Arsenal fans. The foundation of this is his apparent refusal to sell his shares to KSE despite no official announcement yet.
There was an apparent offer some time ago from Red & White to ‘donate’ some shares to the Arsenal Fanshare Scheme – a worthwhile pursuit in the ownership of Arsenal – provided that KSE matched them. Kroenke declined to accept which means he is the bad guy. We don’t know the details of this offer nor KSE’s reason for declining.
These two things, it seems, are being construed as Red & White Holdings commitment to plural ownership of Arsenal without factoring in reports of the Uzbek’s stung pride.
Yesterday it emerged that two bids for Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith’s shares were rejected as she was committed to the deal with KSE. Had she changed her mind, Red & White would have been required to make a bid for Arsenal Holdings as well. In short, Usmanov wants to own the club as much – perhaps more – than Kroenke does. This small fact seems to have been lost in the smoke and mirrors.
A real commitment to supporters of the club would be a permanent seat on the Board, a real opportunity to make a genuine contribution to the future of Arsenal Football Club. Even with the necessary caveats, surely this is as desireable as owning the shares?
The PR battle is going to decide the hearts and minds in this takeover. A massive step is being taken by KSE with a slew of stories in the past twenty four hours concerning transfer budgets. Of course, a takeover means that more money is being pumped into club.
This is Arsenal though, we don’t go in for such common touches. We have a takeover where the new owner is not pouring millions into the club. Quite simply because he does not need to shore up the finances, the key difference between Arsenal and other clubs whose ownership has changed.
It has not stopped the stories of how Arsène is going to have a transfer war chest this summer and be told to spend it. The value of this ‘fighting fund’? £40m, a very close relative of the £35m available last summer.
In all of this, football seems to be forgotten. It might not be such a bad thing in that it allows the players to get on with their pursuit of Manchester United in relative peace and quiet. Harmony was in short supply at half-time on Sunday if reports are to be believed.
Cesc had apparently given Abou Diaby a piece of his mind following his needless booking just before the interval. He was then joined by Robin van Persie, who being Dutch offered his opinion on the matter.
Such incidents are portrayed negatively in the media. They are in fact, quite the opposite. A willingness by the senior members of the squad to bring others into line is a sign of accepting the responsibility of their position. It also puts a nail in the coffin of the lie that the players are too nice, unwilling to rock the boat.