Date:Sunday September 9 2007
It goes on and on, doesn't it. And it feels like i have been here sooooo many times before.
I refer, in my first sentence, to the continuing takeover shenanigans at Arsenal, and in my second, to the refusal of a story to just naff off and crawl under a rock (à la the Vieira to Madrid, Henry to Barça, Cesc to Madrid stories that we endured, ceaselessly, year upon year, that just wont go away, much like a fart in a spacesuit...).
I'm sure you'll have read Simmo's piece covering Double D's hand in 'convincing' Arsene to stay on at the club. My thought pretty much echo Simmo's here, in that I have enormous respect for what Dein brought to the club during his time at Arsenal, but that I am finding that respect rapidly being eaten away by what just sounds like poor attempts to sidle up to Gooners and get them onside. Frankly, David Dein's press releases are embarrassing in the extreme. To David Dein I say - we know and remember what you did for the club (we as fans do not forget), you don't need to remind us and then seemingly dress up current situations to make them look as if you are still a major player in the machinations and behind-closed-doors decisions at the club. Perhaps you are, maybe you are not. But to so blatantly introduce yourself into the equation of Arsene's signing of a new contract is more than a little embarrassing.
But the point remains that Dein was removed from his position following the infamous Kroenke situation. And he made his position untenable with that. Much has gone on since then, a lot of water under the bridge. Including meetings between Silent Stan and the Arsenal board, and a supposed 'cooling' on Kroenke's part towards an expansion of his current holdings in Arsenal.
And of course, there's also now the selling Of Dein's shares to Red and White Holdings, the company set up by London-based financier Farhad Moshiri and Alisher Usmanov, a man who, if the stories of his alleged past are true, makes Stan Kroenke look like Mother Theresa.
For those of you who read the piece by Craig Murray, posted on his personal website, you will know what i speak of. Those of you that didn't, let's just say that Craig Murray did not exactly paint mister Usmanov is a very pleasant light - Murray pulled no punches in what he said, so much so that Usmanov instructed his solicitors to have the story removed from Murray's site, so alas it is no longer there. However, if you googled the name of the gentleman who Murray was referring to, along with ', potential Arsenal chairman, is a', perhaps you will find transcripts of it somewhere else on the interweb.
I was out last night, and got talking to someone who was from Uzbekistan, the country where Craig Murray was British Ambassador, before returning to the UK. He had nothing but high esteem for Mr Murray, and it was his opinion that if Murray said those things about Usmanov, there could well be something in them. Murray spoke out about human rights abuses in Uzbekistan, much to the dislike of the Uzbek government, and the British government also, leading to his removal from his position in Uzbekistan. Mr Murray, it would seem, is a man of integrity, who has high morals. This person i was in conversation with certainly thought so.
And this is the man who could desire to own Arsenal FC. Frankly, i think we can do without this kind of ownership, thank you very much.
I would rather do without trophies, if they were to be achieved through tainted money. Look at what a hard time we have given the SW6 Moscow State Circus because of their owner. Arsenal, all throughout my life, has been more than just a football club, it has always been an institution, 'The Bank Of England Club', 'The Arsenal'.
This is what makes me so proud to support Arsenal - they have a certain behaviour and dignity about them which makes you proud (aside from PHW's 'we don't want his sort' reference to Kroenke, which was a bit naughty, but meant with the right intentions of the club, i think). This emanates down from the very top of the club, right from the board, who have been Arsenal's custodians for many years, to Arsene Wenger, a man of great integrity and honesty, down to the team, who play the game the right way. Sure, the board are not perfect, but they are certainly not devils.
The strange effect of the Dein-Usmanov event has been of a somewhat thawing towards Stan Kroenke, in a kind-of 'well, he actually wouldn't be that bad, compared to THAT guy!' way. Suddenly, Silent Stan's stock appears to have risen in the eyes of some Gooners (© who knows!?!).
But that doesn't mean i would be pleased if Kroenke were to launch a full-scale takeover of Arsenal. I think we are doing fine as we are, thank you very much, with a manager who doesn't need to spend £30m on a star player, he buys them for £250k and makes them into £30m players. We have a board who have overseen a successful transition to a fantastic new stadium, which now feels like home to the team, after a period at the start of last season where everything seemed a bit new to them and us, and a bit alien. And according to Keith Edelman, who has said that we do not need financial investment anyway, as soon-to-be-released financial figures will show just how much of a galvanising effect Ashburton Grove has had on the finances of Arsenal FC, one that, far from impeding our ability to invest in the team, will be shown to have greatly enhanced it. I await those figures with interest, I am sure you do too.
These figures may well prove to one and all that we are not in need of a filthy-rich über-owner, and that the club are more than capable of remaining competitive at the very top level of the game, both financially, and in terms of honours.
For those of you that haven't seen it, do look at Arseblogger's posting this sunday, where there is a link to an interesting story on the News Of The World site, about how the storm clouds might be gathering at Man Utd, where the Red devils may soon find themselves in quite a bit of financial bother under the Glazers, and their attempts to re-structure the debt they accrued in the takeover at Old Trafford.
ps. I am steering clear of the financial mire in this article, as in my previous attempts at commenting on the finer workings of financial dealings and their ramifications, i have shown myself to be something of an economical plum. I shall leave that to the more financially-astute minded among you to raise those exact figures and facts, as my meanderings on that side of things will do you nor I no good, most probably.
Hope you've all had a good weekend. Wingers over and out...
Date:Sunday September 9 2007
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