Yesterday’s annual AGM for Arsenal shareholders to address the Board descended into farce, as Stan Kroenke lived up to his nickname of Silent Stan by not saying one word to the supporters in the whole two hours of the meeting. At one point the shareholders voted out chairman Sir Chips Keswick and director Josh Kroenke — only for owner Stan Kroenke to reinstate them.
To start with, Ivan Gazidis tried to soften up the fans with a video detailing the Gunners achievements (and profits) and the Chief Executive was booed and heckled as he tried to explain that the club had ‘over-performed’ when compared to the spending of other big clubs, and used the examples of keeping Ozil and Sanchez as proof that the Board were not just financially motivated.
Then the Boards front-man Arsene Wenger was again presented as the heart and soul of Arsenal and talked about the values of the club, although even he seemed frustrated with the negative attitude of the majority of fans at the meeting. He said to them: “The only thing I can say is I dedicate 99 per cent of my lifetime to try to make you happy. Looking at what happened today, it’s not easy,”
“I feel that a football club is about the past, the present, the future. On what we see now in the evolution of the game, football is ahead of society. Society always follows the way of the game. And what is for sure, in our game, the weight of the past, the weight of the future has been kicked out of the game.
“The weight of the present has become heavier and the only one thing people want. The present. That means for me it is here and now. Win. It is acceptable but I always guided this club with one idea – a club that is first about, for me, values that have been created by the past.”
But the supporters feel that they have lost any respect that Kroenke and the Board have for the fans, and ahead of the meeting the Arsenal Supporters Trust had written a long plea to Kroenke asking him to make good on his promise to interact with the fans and tell them about his aims and objectives for the club going forward, but as I said the Silent One did not say one word, and it was left to Sir Chips Keswick to show his disdain for their request by saying; “Read the Daily Telegraph and you’ll find out [what Kroenke thinks],” and he was roundly booed when he told the crowd to “write in if you have a problem”.
The problem is that the AST wrote a long and reasonable letter ahead of the meeting, and their requests were totally ignored! This Arsenal Board have always been aloof and secretive, but now they have lost any connection to the fans at all….