Let’s make Arsenal fully owned by the supporters!

A supporter owned Arsenal FC by JC

At a recent speech at MIT Sports Conference in Boston, Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke told the audience:

“For me, being an individual owner, I have to have some sort of reality involved. If you want to win championships then you would never get involved.”

It should serve as a stark reminder for us fans that for Stan Arsenal FC is just another business venture where the bottom line is maximising the return on his investment. Unlike for fans, watching great attacking play, a striker scoring a hatrick or us beating the Spurs doesn’t get Stan excited. What excites Stan is receiving a report that the profit margin has gone up.

Well fellow Gooners, if you’re feeling frustrated like me at seeing the club owned by a very wealthy foreign businessman who sees Arsenal FC as a business opportunity, who rules the club, takes out as much from the profits as he can, while fans are charged the highest ticket prices in the world and ignored… it turns out that it does not have to be like this.

Arsenal FC – owned by and for its fans

A football club is a special type of organisation. It is not simply a business providing a service to consumers. Fans are emotionally connected to the club. The club is its fans. The point is that a football club can be set up in different ways and it does not have to be structured as a profit maximising corporation. There are alternatives and a football club lends itself perfectly to being structured as a non-profit member owned cooperative organisation. That doesn’t mean the club doesn’t make any surpluses. It just means that any surpluses, rather than being paid out to a few external wealthy shareholders in the form of dividends, are instead invested back into the club to help achieve the club’s goal of winning trophies. And it’s the fans who can have influence over what should be prioritised.

The way a supporter owned club works is that any supporter of Arsenal FC can make a payment to become a member. Membership gives them a joint share of the ownership of the club and one vote in decisions. The board of directors would be appointed by members and responsible to members with a clear mandate of fulfilling the club’s sporting goals, not maximising returns.

The facts

In fact a lot of other clubs around the world are run this way, including some big name clubs.
In Argentina every football club is owned by its fans.
In Germany a majority control by a single entity (person, or company) is not permitted by the league, and is the German law for clubs.
Shares of Borussia Dortmund are traded on the German stock market and are largely held by fans.
Panathinaikos F.C – Vardinogiannis family agreed in 2012 to transfer its 54.75% stake of the club to the “Panathinaikos Alliance” group. Each member will have one vote in decision-making procedures, regardless of how many shares each individual holds.
FC Barcelona, Athletic Bilbao and Real Madrid are fan owned. They aren’t doing too bad for themselves!
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fan-owned_sports_teams

Making it happen

If fans had been asked, the club could well have been set up this way in the first place. Considering Arsenal’s estimated fan base globally is 100 million, there is plenty of opportunity to raise the equity needed and provide every fan a chance to be a shared owner of the club.

Currently the club is a private profit-maximising corporation with two owners: Stan Kroenke, who owns 66.64% of shares, and, Alisher Usmanov who owns 30.05% of shares. At 31 March 2012, a single share in Arsenal had a mid price of £16,250, which set the club’s market capitalisation value at approximately £1 Billion.

Could Arsenal FC be converted into a supporter owned club now? Could fans raise enough equity to buy out the current shareholders? iI there enough support for the idea and could fans exert enough pressure to make it happen?

These questions need further exploration, but one thing is for sure that we must never forget – it’s the fans who have the real power. Even the threat of boycotting matches and the possibility of 60,000 empty seats and the resulting losses in revenues would leave the owners trembling. The club is nothing without its fans, and we must not forget that. The club should be controlled by its supporters, for its supporters, with its central mission of being a successful football team, rather than making wealthy foreign businessmen even richer. It’s an idea that I’m sure would resonate with fans the world over. There is an alternative. Let’s make it happen and take back control of our football club.



  1. Boycott Boycott Boycott.. I did my part, i haven’t watched the last 2 matches. I know i’m one person, but if we can all take action for what’s happening to our beloved club it will make a difference.

    1. Count me in as well. I have not watched the games against Watford and Barca.

      After the loss to Swansea I lost all my hopes. I said this before the only thing that fans can do to make a change is to boycott the matches. Trust me instead of complaining over and over an see no changes, 3 home matches being boycotted by fans then you will see major changes.

  2. Arsenal fans are so easily bought it’s ridiculous. A decent run until the end of the season that will secure us fourth and all of a sudden everyone is excited for the next season.Ivan will then come out to say how we can afford just about any player we want,and everyone is rushing to renew their season tickets. Win a couple of meaningless pre season friendlies and wow the team is good enough. Yaya Sanogo bags a hattrick in the Emirates cup and all of a sudden we do not need a new striker. Wilshere plays a few minutes in pre season and suddenly he’s the man to make a difference next season. Same old same old Arsenal

      1. You have to try and be hopeful of the following season. If I couldn’t do that I would just give up altogether. Whether hopeful of new signing, or hopeful that we can start the way we should be starting. Hopeful for a full set of players or to be over injuries. For some hopeful Arsene will move upstairs and pick real winner, for others might be hoping Arsene falls down a stairs. I just mean you have to try and keep hopeful because without any? What would be the point on going on living (fos)

        1. Hoping Arsene move out the building rather than upstairs……..another kroenke in the making

    1. True talk Gunner!

      Then there is a big section of the fans who think we do not have to win trophies. They think we should be grateful to be among the privileged few who make it into top 4!

      Believe or not, these guys exist…the reason Arsene and Kroenke are not leaving any time soon.

  3. Wow! Lovely piece.
    Lovely idea too! Though I think a course like this will need substantial support and influence from someone in the upper echelon of the club. Then we also need the most influential AFC fan groups (do they even exist?) to agree on the idea (would they?) and strategies. Unitedly they can provide a headstart by kick-starting a serious campaign to that effect.

    A bit OT though.
    Ex-players have been talking recently.

    Quote from Emmanuel Petite:

    “Should he stay as manager at the club? I don’t know,” said Petit. “It’s probably the time for him to stay but in a different role at the club.
    “Maybe he could be supervising but I think they need someone new that will lead to new players coming into the club.”

  4. Arsenal fc is a victim of chronic capitalism and the sooner this kroenke fellow leaves the better.The guy just confirmed that he was here to make money and not to win championship(shd have been both).the easiest way to handle this and reclaim our club is to boycott for a while and effectively deny him revenue streams ASAP and the guy will give up…PLAIN AND SIMPLE!!!

    1. @kempski
      He never said he was here to only make money and not win trophies. He said he wouldn’t have brought the club if winning championships is all it was about…

      1. Regardless of what he said his intention is not to enable the club to compete at the higher levels as he takes cash from the club but adds nothing by way of real investment, He’s NOT the only culprit though the rest of the baord are as complicate in this as Silent stan
        The idea that the author is prpomoting is a great idea if there was any cohesion between the fans groups and someone who had enough capitol to back it up into some action, sadly we live in a world where 80% of the worlds wealth is controlled by 20% of the worlds population and silent stan is one of those 20% he aint going anywhere any time soon and thats the sad fact.

  5. It was tried in England without any great success. Liverpool tried to do it but it came to nothing. Man utd infamously talked about getting control but then decided to make a new manu, they set the new club up but then still went to old trafford and supported the team. So it just ended up as some kind of hobbie. Wimbledon went the same route but they had better success I think, they created MKdons I think or else it is the other way round. Either way they stuck to their guns. I don’t think there would be any point in growing a new Arsenal and calling them Gunners, and nicknamed the Arsenal.

    1. I’m not suggesting to set up a new club. I’m suggesting that we can have a different ownership structure of the current club. A fan owned model is perfectly workable and there are plenty of precedents out there. The challenge would be how to transform the club into the new fan owned model, and to achieve that comes down to whether you can get the required level of support. I suspect this was the main problem with any previous failed attempts at other clubs.

  6. Keep dreaming mate!
    That’s never gonna happen!

    There’s an Arsenal fan, Who is a Billionaire from Africa,
    ( Oil industry) Who publicly stated in the past that he is willing to buy Arsenal fc… at any cost!…
    But the powers that be,won’t even entertain him.
    I can’t remember the man’s name but his main interest was to make Arsenal fc the best team in the world.

    So what chance has the average joe got?
    When most have family and kids to support!
    What about writing a ‘Dear John’ letter to Mr Piers Morgan,
    The biggest and Moaniest Gooner on the planet? ?

    Let’s be honest here, most Gooner’s are as deluded and as egoistic as mr wenger himself!
    Can you imagine how it would be if the fan’s owned the club?
    Hahaha… There would have to be a vote count for every single decision of the day!

    In general…. Man-kind is never happy with what they have got!…. Until it has gone!

    If our Striker’s would have been putting away half of the chances, that were created…. No one would be discussing the over- dramatic topics of late!

    Go figure! ?

        1. Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote has reiterated his desire to buy Premier League club Arsenal.

          The Nigerian commodities businessman is worth an estimated $18.4billion (£11.69bn), far in excess of current Arsenal majority shareholder Stan Kroenke (£4bn) and minority owner Alisher Usmanov (£9.28bn).

          Speaking back in May, Dangote toldBloomberg that “I still hope, one day at the right price, that I’ll buy the team.”

          In a new interview with BBC Hausa, the 58-year-old believes that the building of a new oil refinery will give him enough wealth to make a bid for the Gunners.

          “When we get this refinery on track, I will have enough time and enough resources to pay what they are asking for,” said Dangote, who has supported the club since the 1980s.

          He was close to buying the 15.9 per cent stake that Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith eventually sold to Kroenke, but pulled out.

          He added: “There were a couple of us who were rushing to buy, and we thought with the prices then, the people who were interested in selling were trying to go for a kill.

          “We backtracked, because we were very busy doing other things, especially our industrialisation.”

          The Nigerian also believes a new approach in the boardroom will lead to more success on the pitch.

          “They are doing well, but they need another strategic direction. They need more direction than the current situation, where they just develop players and sell them.”

          1. This report was dated June 2015

            I hope that this Gooner above,
            is ready to splash the cash soon!

            1. Definitely. If the supporters themselves cannot own the club, at least make a businessman who is also passionate about the club do it. #KroenkeOut

              1. @sevenitti
                I don’t think the club should be solely owned by 1 person. I think shareholders all having equal shares, with a supporters group being among the shareholders. Governing over a board, who manage club finance and all aspects of the club.

    1. @FBG
      Realest of Talk Fatboy.
      Plus, Stan is stuck in, with intentions of expanding the AFC brand stateside.
      A few thousand butts boycotting matches would only be replaced by a few thousand more. It takes more than seat and kit sales to float a club of AFC’s magnitude. Investments in telecom, real estate etc, is what keeps the lights on and pay wages. In other words, AFC has to b a business in order to stay afloat as a team. And it’s been that way since 1893…Only now, it’s on a more grander scale.
      And by the way. Fans had a chance to buy shares in AFC. A few did. The rest were too busy buying jersey’s with their favorite players name on it. Most of whom no longer play for AFC. Priorities, I guess.

    2. Being owned by Nigerias’ richest man, one of the most corrupt nations on the planet, just because he’s very rich, doesn’t make him the right person for the job.

  7. The idea is good, but in reality – gathering enough money from fans to buy out Kroenke (and Usmanov?) is easier said than done. Although something like kickstarter and the support of some rich people supporting the idea (ironically) might make it doable.

    1. Yes, agree with you there. It would be interesting to actually sit down and work out the figures in detail. But could you imagine a global crowdfunding drive to convert Arsenal into a fan-owned football club. Don’t think that’s ever been tried. Now that would be something! 😉

    2. @sevenetti
      No way are the fans going to kick star a couple billion £’s. And wouldn’t them rich folk you speak of, want a return on their investment?

      1. That’s the thing – I agree with you, it’s nothing else but a theory. However – let’s put it like this

        Arsenal supporters group (fictional), lead by a rich businessmen buys Kroenke’s (+ Usmanov’s?) shares (66.64% of £1bln, as mentioned above), then lists all of his shares in Arsenal Supporters group onto the stock market, like what Borussia Dortmund is doing. This way, the rich owners of Arsenal supporters group will sell their shares to every fan who wants to own a piece. Furthermore, a principle of Arsenal Supporters Group will be that noone can own more than… lets say 5-10% of its shares, starting after the primordial owners sell off their shares.

        If there are people rich enough and passionate about this idea, it’s definitely something that can be done. But is it going to happen? Sadly – not likely.

        1. @sevenitti
          Big mistake. Once you float the shares on the open market, you make them vulnerable to speculation, which might mean an eventual hostile takeover of the club.
          What many here are failing to realize is, for this club to survive, a certain type of business model must remain in place managed by business minded individuals. I just don’t see emotional/passionate football minded fans being the ones doing this effectively…Not for this club at least.
          And for those who might see this as defense of Stan and his policies, save it. I’m only droppin FACTS…

  8. Get the Russian to organise a buyout. We Must get shot of the yank..Especially now he’s told everyone what he’s all about. Winning trophies is not his priority. Youngsters when playing kickabout in the streets or schools all want to be winners not also RANS and they are your future fans /punters.
    Out with Hamburger Harry and in with Vodka Vladimir.

    1. @cheeterspotter
      So you want Usmanov? There’s a reason why a few of the shareholders didn’t want to sell to him.

  9. I love the idea and would support it whole heartedly. Sadly it would never happen unless Arsenal became unprofitable for the rich and the powerful. Most fan owned clubs in the UK are ones that have been mismanaged by some owners, driven to the wall, gone or nearly gone into bankruptcy and then saved by a group of fans clubbing together to save something they really love (unlike the ones who drove the club into the ground in the first place). English football, at a lower club level sees this happen far to often, clubs bouncing from one financial crisis to another after some rich git has done with them. Better hope Stan’s plan isn’t to milk our club dry………

  10. Nice write up, Stan and wenger out, once before the richest man in Africa from Nigeria wants to buy the club’s shares…. He is a real fan of the club and ve full passion for the club. I know he ll kick wenger out.

Comments are closed

Top Blog Sponsors
JustArsenal Top Ten UK Blogs