Arsenal debate – Should Usmanov get the chance to help the Gunners?

Is Mr Usmanov Arsenal’s saviour? by TN

There is great debate amongst Arsenal fans concerning Mr Usmanov and his role at AFC. The main two arguments surround whether or not he should be given a seat on the board and the possible further injections of funds that Mr Usmanov may offer, allowing us once again to compete with the likes of United, Chelsea, City, Barcelona and Madrid.

It is worth noting that Mr Usmanov’s wealth far exceeds that of Mr Kroenke, Mr Usmanov’s wealth is estimated as 18.1 billion USD, for other comparison, Mr Abramovich is worth around 12 Billion USD.

There can be little doubt that Mr Usmanov has endeared himself to a very large percentage of the Arsenal fan base with his recent comments, in particular with the current board’s policy of allowing our top players to leave, lower standard replacements and the existing wage structure. It would almost be like having a fan on the board if Mr Usmanov was offered and took up his seat.

In a survey of 1,000 Gooner’s from around the world, albeit the vast majority being from the UK, 71.1% answered they would prefer Mr Usmanov as the sole owner of AFC, as opposed to 28.9% for Mr Kroenke.

A seat on the board?
If I had put nearly £200 million into AFC, or any other business, I most definitely would want to have a seat on the board and I think the consensus view would be that the current board should at least offer Mr Usmanov that opportunity. However, within their open letter to Mr Hill Wood dated 5th July 2012, Red and White Holdings state
‘As you all well know, Mr Usmanov has never sought a Board seat at the club. Indeed Mr Usmanov does not hold a board seat in any of the companies where he is an investor’

The question I posed was, should Mr Usmanov be offered a seat, many think he should, but according to his own letter he would not personally take it if offered. But that does not preclude the possibility of his representative sitting in his place. Surely if the board don’t personally like Mr Usmanov, a representative of his should be welcomed?

Greater Transparency?
Within their letter, Red and White Holdings raise a number of issues concerning the transparency of AFC finances. To date, as far as I am aware, AFC have not made public the information requested by Red & White Holdings, a definite case of non transparency.

It is claimed, when talking about the financing of the stadium, ‘..a good part was funded by a loan from Deutsche Bank AG to KSE, UK, inc…the status of that loan and whether it is still outstanding has not been clarified by Mr Kroenke.’

I should point out KSE, UK, inc is actually an American company, registered in Delaware, and the loan to which Red & White Holdings refers totals £394 million. KSE UK Inc are a holding company, set up by Mr Kroenke, simply to hold the shares of Arsenal. .

Furthermore, within their letter, Red and White Holdings dismiss the current financial model as being there simply for the benefit of previous shareholders. It states; ‘The self-financing model was created to suit the major shareholders at that time, all of whom subsequently sold their shares.’

Interesting that the self-financing model was solely for the major shareholder’s benefit, not the club! Why has that changed is the question that immediately springs to my mind? If Mr Usmanov was on the board, maybe we could get the truth concerning the ‘self-financing model’ ie whose benefit is it really for?

Additional Funds for Player investment ?
Red and White Holdings further suggest that additional funds be injected into the club by Mr Usmanov and Mr Kroenke via a Rights Issue. Personally I cannot see anything wrong with that as it would give our manager funds to compete, on a level playing field, with other top clubs. The only information missing is the size of the Rights Issue ie how much money Mr Usmanov is suggesting he and Mr Kroenke put into the club.
A company undertaking a Rights Issue to raise funds is standard business practise.

So at this point, you have got to think Mr Usmanov gives us the possibility of ‘a fan on the board’, greater transparency and possibly an injection of funds for players. I say possibly, because the Arsenal board would still need to give their approval for the Rights Issue.

But of concern to the opponents of Mr Usmanov is his background.
Mr Usmanov is charged with being both a gangster and a racketeer. In particular, charges against him relate to a very vicious rape, torture, heroine trafficking and the disappearance of individuals. I must say that whilst researching for this article, I have read many unsavoury things concerning Mr Usmanov. But in the interests of fairness I also need to point out that Mr. Usmanov received a full pardon, rightly or wrongly, from Mr Gorbachev, for the activities he served 6 years in prison for. And although there are very serious charges being laid against Mr Usmanov, he has not actually been convicted of any, not that I can find.

But does the old saying apply here ie “there is no smoke without fire”

Clearly on the one hand we have Mr Usmanov as our potential saviour whilst on the other hand Mr Usmanov has rather a chequered past, and that’s putting it lightly.

So is it any wonder that we are seriously divided on the issue of Mr Usmanov? There are Gooner’s who see Mr Usmanov as our route back to the ‘top table’ and former glories, while there are other Gooners whose conciousness for their ‘fellow man’ will not accept Mr Usmanov at any cost.

But if we are to take the moral high ground and keep Mr Usmanov out, what about Mr Kroenke? Mr Kroenke, may not have been accused of rape and torture, but he has destroyed small businesses and American communities with his shopping plazas and Wal-marts, is that morally defensible?

So the question must be, do we continue to press for Mr Usmanov’s having a board seat? Or, do we support Mr Kroenke & the board in isolating Mr Usmanov because we have a greater sense of morality at our club?


Reading vs. Arsenal will be on

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58 thoughts on “Arsenal debate – Should Usmanov get the chance to help the Gunners?

  1. artillery1




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  2. Gundam

    Wouldn’t wanna be run under him… might be worse than the fat blood money russian at chelsea … he might actually have players mysteriously killed, or managers… bad move

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  3. artillery1

    Online poll!





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  4. tomm

    I really don’t care if he is a gangster so is abromavich all I care about is the arsenal and the way we play football .. if he invests in new better players I will love him because this business of selling our most prized assets ever season has gone on too long

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  5. Gunnerineverylife

    I say yes he should but unfortunately Kroenke the silent leech says no he shouldnt.

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  6. Spendah

    how is usmanov taking advantage of the situation when hes been saying the same thing for the past 4 years?

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  7. artillery1


    Todays Victory MEAN at least 5th place in Such crisis! :)

    I dont see any Reason to not to win,

    But IF Ramsey on Wing n Gervinho as ST…. THAN U KNW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :P

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  8. Indy gooner

    Hopefully then we can finally get the transfers we’ve been waiting for!!!

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  9. nickw

    He owns 30% of the club and has no say in how it is run, that to me is ludicrous and Arsenal are cutting their nose to spite their face by not taking advantage of such a wealthy owner. The problem at Arsenal is the people who run it put their own egos and interests ahead of what is best for the club and I include Wenger in that.

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  10. goonner


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  11. shadgunner

    At least allow the man,a place on d board..he owns 30 percent stake for gods sake…allowing him,to put money in,is a different matter..coz he would definitely want something back in return..but if he is on d board..Stan n gazidis wont always have their sh*t ways!

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  12. Junduk

    Wengers always says that clubs like PSG, ManShi.y and Chelsh.t are all about money… Same thing is with Arsenal only the other way around… They are also all about money but in a completely wrong way…

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  13. Hass

    If we kept Song and played Wilshire in midfield with him this season, we wouldn’t have lost many games, to balance the book they sold the next best player after Van Persie.

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  14. tanvir nabil

    we have everything…money, top players in the market, a solid manager, and a somewhat solid team… the only thing holding us back is those money-hungry fothermuckers to whom arsenal is only a cash-cow…

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  15. goonerbri

    Anyone heard if the ig day game is called off? just heard that the planned tube strike is gong ahead. there nothing on the website yet.

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  16. John Legend....

    Thέrέ is more τo this issue than we think or know. However, I want USMANOV on seat, right at the middle of affairs.

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  17. RT

    I will not say I don’t care about Mr.Usmanov’s past, but as stated by fellow Gunners Abramovich isn’t exactly innocent I assure you – do you honestly think the Sheikh got all his money legally? Pft come on we’re talking billions here no matter what crime committed they’re all ‘gangsters’.
    But Kroenke is guilty of something different, the potential ruining of our prestigious, world-class Arsenal!!!!! Lets weigh them up:

    He attends 1 game a season? Usmanov can be spotted there much more.
    He hasn’t put a penny of his own money (our money) towards our progression. Usmanov vowes to clear the leftover debt of our stadium AND provide Wenger with any funds required, but still doesn’t believe in over-spending.
    We’re a sensible club and will never end up in debt – he will clear out the deadwood and catapult us to compete for the PL because HE’S HAS PASSION! And I’d rather someone who sees our beloved club as a football club than a money making scheme.

    Usmanov is the 27th richest man in the world. He will not suck our Arsenal dry for money simply because he doesn’t need to!!!!
    I say Usmanov AND Dein back in, and us back to our winning ways.

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  18. gunnerst.

    While Usmanov is keen to help finance purchase of new players, selfish kroenke spent 80 million dollars on himself, buying a property.

    Lady Smith said kroenke has no passion for the club. He only has passion for himself.

    kroene get out!

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  19. RT

    Also this is Lady Bracewell Smith’s fault for selling her shares to Kroenke allowing him to be majority shareholder.
    Even Dein himself sold his shares to USMANOV in an attempt to keep Arsenal the way they were when he was there, what does that tell you?
    Since he’s gone it’s just been about profit, that’s why they’re blocking him off refusing to give him a seat.


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  20. Anish Gupta

    the sole reason i’d want usmanov on the board is because he is one of the richest individuals in the world and does NOT need arsenal’s money, he can rather bail the club out when they need cash to close a deal( eg: mata etc) and probably recover his investment with time.

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  21. mo

    I WOULD give him any seat he wants at arsenal would u know like to see arsenal like barca,united,city, madrid and chelsea why not i would love to see arsenal one of the top club like that am sure u do as will.

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  22. Billy

    What about if Usmanov offered Kroenke dobble value for his shares? And Usmanov then a 98%er?

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  23. TrueGunner82

    Worth $18 billion… What harm would it do to have him on board, he isn’t affraid to invest, he was going to put £100 million into the transfer kitty last summer if he was granted a seat in board, but the bald c*nt (Gazidis) said “no” because he though usmanov would ruin the club and get us into deeper debt. Well you know what, F*CK YOU GAZIDIS.

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  24. TrueGunner82

    By the summer transfer window, i want pep guradiola to replace wenger and Usmanov in the board.

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  25. Invincibles nice (1)

    I undertand when people refer to our heritage being better, but would a murdering rapist smack dealing gangster put any sort of blight/smear on our great club, or would anyone care seems to be the question.

    I for one would bite the hands off someone offering our club the type of team investment which manc currently enjoy.

    Obviously id prefer if we could rival all comers in being purely self sufficient, but with these mancs psg’s and che’s thats never going to happen, combine that with the greed and miserly attitude of our current owners and it doesnt look promising in the least.

    Must admit that i didnt realise Usmanov to be that wealthy, i believed it where Kroenke the wealthiest.
    I cant see another PL team turning down the chance of a super sugar daddy and the worlds best footballers to boot, maybe manu, then again thats prob what they thought they where getting with the Glaziers.
    So it may go without saying that we are truly missing the biggest trick of all.

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  26. Arteta8Cazorla19

    Yes anyday over that idiot american stan kroenke who only thinks of earning money and stupid Ivan Gazidis!!

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  27. usmaNOW

    Criminal!!! I tell you who the criminals are:
    The ones who sold out their shares to Kronke in return for seats on the board and made a huge profit along the on back of the club!

    The ones who have put the club on self sustaining model & sold our best players rather than dip into their own pocket to further the club

    Worst crime of all, ones who have allowed the club to fall so far behind our main rivals that now the club has joined the ranks of also ran!

    Dont care about Usmanov past records…only care about Arsenal future trophy records!

    KGB OUT!

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  28. Nick

    Usmanov should definitely have a place on the board given his size able investment. It will not happen though. When it comes to money and ownership it’s a huge male member measuring contest. Spent Stan would never allow someone wealthier than him on for fear or political wrangling amongst the members and the power struggle that would ensue. That’s business at its core.

    The result is that we lose out big time. Now, I don’t care how much money Usmanov would flood the team with, it doesn’t mean I want us behind like Citeh and over spending on players, selling at a loss and managing the huge egos that come with that type of activity. We all want prudent spending from the board on true quality players but that doesn’t mean always going after the highest priced flavor of the month but rather the ideal players that fit into the Arsenal way of playing. I would totally favor “splurging” on Falco because of the epic quality he brings but I’m not interested in a ridiculous signing like Neymar. Or we move on the players who are obviously tailor made for Arsenal like Hazard, Reus, Gotze, etc before they reach that feeding frenzy from clubs we all despise!

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  29. Terry Norman

    A slight correction in article.
    Within the section ‘Greater Transparency’, Red and White Holdings, were referring to the loan KSE UK inc took to finance the purchase of Arsenal shares, rather than the stadium as stated.

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  30. Sunnypa de gooners

    I for one i will like to see mr usmanov have a seat and be the owner of our great club arsenal football club i luv him.if he have a seat in the board he will gave wenger money to spend on good players.they did not give wenger money and they told him to manage player he have that is why wenger always defend the like of ramsey,gervinho,chamach,squillachi and all the floop players.let usmanov in and have a seat and be the owner of our club Afc.if comes he will gave wenger money and we can conpete with big club.usmanov is the man for the job.

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    what ever it takes let ys succeed we dont even no if theese acusations are true so y shod we judge him on thees

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  32. davidrusa

    This article is interesting in many ways. I had, in an earlier mail, urged for caution in how we deal with any so called-investor. I didn’t know of Usmanov’s transgressions at the time. Many people who support Usmanov do so mainly because he is with David Dein but if I may recall it seems David Dein is also the person who first interested Kroenke in Arsenal FC. Whatever happened between Dein and Kroenke is none of my business but I think we need to be careful how we jump on any band wagon. Lest some of you have forgotten or don’t remember the Arsenal Board initially never welcomed Kroenke. He was one of the factors that caused a rift between Dein and Peter Hillwood. I remember vividly Hillwood saying of Kroenke that ” he and his money are not welcome here. It seems the situation changed when Dein dumped Kroenke for Usmanov for whatever reason! It seems it was a choice between two evils, an American and a Russian. Obviously tyour guess is as good as mine. Kroenke became a darling! Hence fans don’t be taken for a ride. Would I mind if my club was owned by a man with a criminal background? Some with no serious morals would say no but the old Etonian gentlemen can’t compromise their principles for pieces of silver. This is the difference between well-bred people and those who are not Perhaps this is is a barrier difficult to break and the debate may go on endlessly with no resolution between the two views.

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  33. George kaingu kombe

    Gunners lets fight fr Usmanov to attain the said slot-seat-am sure dis man wll fight borne n fresh to bring glory back at the Emirrates stadium,This club deserve more than the current status,wenger u hav gone astray just admitt n pave way fr the sake of club,safe journey wenger we dont nid u any more.

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  34. Oguntuase Amos

    Well, I know people without sense of normality would not care even if a criminal owns the club. A man who paid agent to manipulate his record at Wikipedia will do anything for money. Let Usmanov perishes with his money, we do not need a criminal.

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  35. GP

    Yes he should.
    I heard a fan last week say that Usmanov is disrespectful because he criticised the club publically when we sold RVP.
    Wow.. Yet this same fan was having his say on this very public forum….Unbelievable
    If you went halves with someone on a pizza you’d rightfully want your fare share, but we have idiots that think someone should spend millions of pounds for part ownership of a football club and not have any say in what happens to that club.
    If fans were honest with this situation, the answer would be simple. But they find ways to side step the obvious.
    I complain all the time because my local council do’nt give me what i pay after paying my council tax.
    We all want value for money.Usmanov has paid for the right to be involved.

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  36. Steve

    Usmanov would be so much Better than Kroenke. And not only because of the money; but also because of this man, David Dein!!!

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  37. skelator

    like i have said before just get usmanov to pay off stadium debt then desolve that injection of cash as equity its what chelsea owner has done to make chelsea effectively debt free even though he invested so it dosnt show up on ffp report then just let the club sustain itself as normal we are debt free and running organically like the board wants thats the best of both worlds and he can make his money back in the longer term maybe shares in the club increased slightly then wenger has the funds from clubs revenue instead of owners win win for all so wenger can still feel good bout the clubs self sustaining model works and we can win titles the right way.

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  38. Big Gun

    @Jonny LOL.

    It’s typical of men in his position (Usmanov) to be the center of a lot of attention and publicity from the media. We constantly hear stories of celebrities who did this and that without a shred of truth. The media and the newspapers love to blow things way out of proportion, and in a national crisis, someone has to take the blame and be the scapegoat – simply because if no one is brought to justice, it gives the public and reason to start asking questions – putting heat on the authorities and those in charge. I believe this is what happened with Usmanov, he was simply a scape goat at the time. The fact they had no evidence and was pardoned is testimony to that.

    I would rather have an Arsenal supporter on board who will buy players like Falcao, Fellaini and keep players like Walcott, Wilshere, Ox etc than have some yank who thinks a football is shaped like an egg and have him sell our best players every season. If anyone hasn’t noticed, this policy HAS CRIPPLED OUR CLUB. We need to be able to start offering competitive wages like the other big clubs, change the ridiculous current wage structure and buy in some tit good players, cause atm Arsenal does not look the slightest bit attractive to the best in the world. Players would rather go to bloody Spurs and Chelsea before us. I rest my case.

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  39. james

    I believe that he should have a place on the board. our owners are pretty much turning us into a bank which isn’t very good at all. Look at all these significant players wanting to join us. Huntelaar,ba,benteke all reasonably decent players and yet we won’t sign one single one of them. partly down to Arsene Wengers refusal but also down to the boards system which is ruin the club as quick as we can. Usmarov would give Wenger the backing to buy both world class and break through talent meaning that their is a talent as well as leaders

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  40. Kyle

    Personally, I don’t believe we should take morals into consideration when it comes to “choosing” a board member – it’s just business; cold-hearted business, and nothing more. I don’t feel there is anyone suitable to take over from Mr. Kroenke, nor do I believe he should have been in charge of Arsenal in the first place, nor Gazidis and especially not Peter Hill-Wood.
    This board has really run this club into the ground, and it’s Wenger who always has to pick up the pieces. Who do you think got us trophies, star players like Henry, and Champions League qualification for over a decade? Wenger. Not the board.
    The reason I don’t think Usmanov should be in charge is because he will, probably, run the club like Abromavic – a rich Russian who, when there is a dry spell of success, e.g Chelsea getting 6 points from 6 games (or something along those lines), the manager gets the sack. He will spend fortunes on players who care only about money, and not the club or who they play football with. He will make a group of individuals – we need a team. Only Wenger will get us a team, but it is time for the board to open up to the fans, get us more involved, as it seems we know better then those greedy, money-grabbing scum. We need a mirical. We need Wenger.

    Gooners til I die!

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  41. john

    The guy owns 30% of the club he goes to every home game he has a box he is more of a fan than these idiots who diss him if he cant have a say how the club is run what the f##%k chance have we got

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    get usmanov in.what really bothers me is if he gets fed up with waiting to invest with us and decides he wants to go and flex his muscle at another club………..

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  43. davo

    totally agree! get Usmanov in and Kranky Kroenke out!!! we are just a business for him and nothing else…he has no idea of pride and passion for our team, just what he can make from it! Usmanov would not just buy top quality players, he would be at the ground watching them play! where are you Mr Kroenke???

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  44. maxi pimpi

    @big gun. Bravo! “I would rather have an Arsenal supporter on board who will buy players like Falcao, Fellaini and keep players like Walcott, Wilshere, Ox etc than have some yank who thinks a football is shaped like an egg”.
    these yankees konw nothing about football. how can they call a game played predominantly with the hand football. and call football soccer punch. lols!!! look at the glaziers at man u. any body who don’t won’t Usmanov is rather naive and bais. how can you pay your tution fees and not receive lectures? or buy a car and not allowed to drive it? for crying out loud Usmanov has more than one third of Arsenal shares yet he is not aloud at least a seat and a say on how the board is run. that is day light robbery. he deserves his fare share. If it must interest you all mates to know that no billionaire is tootally clean. so that is not the issue.

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  45. Mogambo

    I think people are forgetting the most important point about the Usmanov debate, which is that for nearly 9 years I and many more gooners have ridiculed our chelsea friends/fans because they have bought trophies with a gangsters money and sold their soul. (such allegations are not proven I know but they are doubts there nonetheless) So would we now be willing to accept defeat by abandoning the high horse and subject ourselves to the same ridicule from other clubs supporters by allowing Usmanov onto our board and give him our clubs prestige history to do what he pleases!
    My personal opinion on the subject of Usmanov is that he is a businessman who is very astute with his money so I am sure he can get value for money and improve the fortunes of our club to no ends. Example being instead of signing Lilles Gervinho he may have said: ” lets double our offer and get Hazard instead”! My only worry is what if skeletons came out of the closet down the
    line when the world famour british gutter press start sniffing around the former Soviet block…

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  46. vp

    Another brilliant article addressing probably one of the most important issues in the club’s history.

    I can’t remember the club being so divided, how has it come to this and who’s to blame?

    The answer might be more simple that it may appear. The division amongst the faithful is a direct consequence of the lack of transparency and accountability of the board. What’s more, they do nothing to better our understanding, leaving us to fight it out amongst ourselves.

    Let’s use the most high powered positions in any given organization as examples- CEO and Chairman.

    Firstly, the reluctance of our CEO to take full responsibility for our investment decisions, by shifting part responsibility on an employee at operational level (Arsene Wenger) is a an important example of how the board DELIBERATELY evades its duty of accountability. This, not only allows the actors at the top to act with impunity, but also allows for high powered individuals to pursue personal agenda at the expense of the organizations strategic aim. We are not a Cooperation, we’re a football club, binded by an unwritten constitution to serve the needs of all members and act in the public interest. It is not only the shareholders that the board are accountable to, and they need reminding of this.

    Secondly, It is the role of our chairman to ensure that both the board and the members (us fans) move together in the same direction. This can only be achieved by promoting greater transparency . The fact that he speaks to us like ungrateful children who know nothing about economics, when we seek reassurance, does nothing to build trust and strengthen our bonds. Despite having full knowledge of the civil unrest amongst the fans, the board continually shows reluctance to add clarity to matters, often maintaining its position of concealment (i.e. the uncertainties regarding the loan referred to in the article).

    Usmanov has the right to have his voice heard and have some input in the club’s strategy.To deny any person of their corporate rights, irrespective to whether they have a criminal record, is totally unacceptable and only alludes to further suspicions of concealment. Furthermore, it would be extremely beneficial for us to have one of Usmanov’s representatives (Non Execs) on our board- the guys derived a fortune of 18 billion dollars. Furthermore, this would create more independence at strategic level and allow for closer scrutiny of executive decisions. This in turn would help realign the strategic interests of the club with that of the fans.

    The diversity and the make up of the board is another big problem. Any effective board should consist of directors from different backgrounds, age and skills/experience and should be reflective of the people it serves to ensure that everyone’s voice is heard. The effectiveness of the board, coupled with the lack of transparency and accountability are the fundamental reasons as to why the fans are getting pulled further and further apart.

    The Kroenke vs Usmanov debate centers around us having access to reliable and the relevant information. Greater transparency and accountability lie at the heart of this. The complex and unorthodox manor in which our club is governed mean that nobody really knows what’s best for the club. We can only make subjective intelligent guesses and opinions are inevitably going to differ. There is surely one thing that we can all agree on-The board need to show more corporate social responsibility!

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