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Beware of those bearing gifts

To read some reports over the last couple of days you might imagine that Uzbek shareholder Alisher Usmanov is contemplating giving money to the club to buy players. A generous thought but not quite as saintly an act as he would hope it is portrayed.

A spokesman for Usmanov told the Telegraph "The debt at the club appears to be an impediment to that [player investment] and we are ready to help address that if the board asks."

But that could only be of value if it were a gift. Providing another Abramovich style loan to replace an existing one doesn`t change anything - it`s still a loan. If he genuinely intends to make a gift then he doesn`t need an invitation to do so - just send a donation. If that were too uncomfortable then he could buy the property companies. They are nicely separated from the companies that own the stadium and football club so that about £100m+ of debt associated with the Highbury Square and Queensland Road developments could be removed from the books leaving the stadium and its bond funded 'mortgage` in the hands of the club. He doesn`t need the board to invite him to buy the property businesses he can put in a bid at anytime.

Usmanov`s irrelevant declaration that "Raising ticket prices is not the answer" at a time when the club has already announced that it will freeze ticket prices betrays his real motive which is to try to enhance his standing amongst Arsenal fans opposed to any extension of his influence. In much the same way as MP`s believe that writing cheques to repay the fiddled expenses the greedy, grasping freeloaders have stolen from their citizens is supposed to restore their standing. Fat chance.

This latest bit of public relations is more about helping Usmanov than the club. There is no gift available. Whatever he puts in he would want something in return. His 25% 'blocking` stake has, in turn, found itself blocked. He doesn`t have a seat on the board and is an outsider looking on while Kroenke`s relationship with Fiszman pays dividends. His acquisition of the Carr family shares makes Stan the largest shareholder. His inside track means that even the destiny of Lady Nina`s shares would probably not prevent him exercising effective control which is pretty much the case now.

In any event the club is not really in desperate need of more funds. Not that anyone would complain if more were genuinely generated. Though the property market remains unstable, the first 6 months of this year showed profit before tax at £24.5m up from £20m in the same period of the previous year. The fact that Kroenke has been encouraged to invest now, whatever impact the property market might have on the balance sheet for the second half of the financial year, suggests he is happy with what the figures tell him about the club`s current financial health and it`s long term prospects. There should still be enough in the kitty for Arsene to invest wisely, as he is wont to do anyway, and strengthen the areas of the team that have held us back this season.

While Usmanov is trying to make the right noises to appeal to supporters another report claims that Stephen Perry a wealthy owner of an Anglo-Chinese trading company had tried to buy the Carr shares. A 'source` said on Perry`s behalf "Perry is not anti-Kroenke, he just believes that four central shareholders and a rights issue is the right route for the club. He thinks control by one shareholder is a bad model for control of a football club."

Now that`s a sentiment I would endorse. Multiple ownership has served the club well in the past. Hopefully someone has given him Lady Nina`s number.

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The Journalist

Writer: Amos Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday May 13 2009

Time: 11:48AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Uncanny isn't it, that Usmanov has made these remarks, ooooh 24 hours before the shareholders meeting. What a coincidence.
Little Dutch
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13/05/2009 12:11:00

Can we take a gift of 50 mil and then get rid of him?
Report Abuse
13/05/2009 12:27:00

Official statement saying Pat rice is not retiring. Not sure how much it matters who is Wengers no 2. He will always have someone next to him who doesnt question his methods.
Report Abuse
13/05/2009 12:33:00

I would endorse one owner if the club was not solely linked to his personal wealth and a sound business model was struck to forward the Arsenal vehicle. I see the benefits in having the shares spilt 4 ways 25% each (roughly) as anything that would affect the club could effectively be vetoed 3 times and between 4 of them you would think they could come up with the right decision eventually. It just depends on whether Kroenke would be a Randy Lerner type single shareholder owner or a Mike Ashley type single shareholder....
Report Abuse
13/05/2009 12:34:00

I can just see Silent Stan sat in the RedSection in his Arsenal shirt with 27 Eboue on the back of it, necking pints next to Denis Wise.
Little Dutch
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13/05/2009 12:38:00

...stomach resting on the hand rail in front of him??
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13/05/2009 12:45:00

If selling to fatso the gangster with guarantees for the club's future will bring us competitive football, please let us sell to him. The flip side though, is the fact that its extremely doubtful that we the fans represent anything other than money making opportunities to him and Kroenke. Whilst I must quickly make clear that I am not a glory hunter, it does hurt to see just how far we've fallen behind the manure, chavs and poos when minimal investment would have seen us progressed. It is painful!
Report Abuse
13/05/2009 13:04:00

It's that sort of desperation that Usmanov will look to feed on. I'm relaxed about the current situation, insofar as I believe there to be an apocalyptic situation. The manager has work to do in the summer and he cannot repeat the same mistakes as last summer, but he can do it without this odious *****. He's already making public pronouncements about Arsenal spending money and what kind of money they should be spending and so forth. Is Wenger really going to want to work for a man who is obviously hellbent on interefering in that way? What the ***** does Usmanov know about football to make statements like that? He is obviously of the "throw money around on any thing that moves" school that pollutes so many football fans today. I've not made my mind up about Kroenke largely because of his silence, but Usmanov's attempt to come across as a knight in shining armour are embarrassing. Did you ever see that Simpson's episode where Mr. Burns suddenly becomes aware that the public hate him and mounts a huge PR campaign to make himself popular, but in doing so comes across as twice as evil?
Little Dutch
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13/05/2009 13:18:00

Does anyone know how much revenue was lost by not winning the Premiership, Champions League and the FA Cup?
Sir Henry
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13/05/2009 13:21:00

I don't, but I guess there are accountants at about 500 English football clubs cranking adding machines and asking the same question right now.
Little Dutch
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13/05/2009 13:28:00

But we haven't fallen behind ManU, Chavs or Liverpool! Financially we are behind ManU and will be for sometime still but we are closer than we have been. We are only behind Chavs to the extent that (and while) Abramovich continues to support them. That isn't going to be at the same rate as the last 5 years. As for Liverpool we are ahead of them financially and everyone else in the UK. Winners of the FA Cup get £2m - losing SF's £500K. CL winners get just over £6m losing SF's just under £3m and the difference between 1st and 4th in the PL in terms of prize money is about £4-5m. In terms of prize money alone it's not really significant. The real income comes from televison rights and sponsorship. The more successful the club the more revenues it generates from these sources. As it stands Arsenals revenues are not (yet) significantly affected by winning (or not winning) these trophies as long as they continue to compete and matchday revenues can be maintained.
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13/05/2009 14:10:00

Every time I read some quote by Usmanov about Arsenal in the press, it's always embarrassing (to himself). It always smacks of some primitive, desperate PR move, dishonest to the core. He's so obvious. Galling to have such a lowlife own so much of our club. If he's so unhappy with the club, then why doesn't he just sell his shares and go away? Interesting comments on the official site from Gazidis defending AW, saying how untrue it is that Le Boss is not open to listening to criticism, etc. AW will be attending a Q&A session with the shareholders on Thursday, I hope they have a video of it on the official site like they did last time. // Anyway, there's something I don't think we gooners have failed to fully appreciate: the consequences of building a new stadium. This is something I have to keep reminding myself of, esp. when I lose all perspective. Over the years I've read too many articles about (and witnessed for myself) the decline in fortunes (some short-lived, some longterm) of clubs that have built new stadiums all over the world. It's not at all uncommon to see teams with new stadiums steadily go down the table as a result of such an enormous drain in investment on a club's resources. None of our rivals have had to go thru this dramatic, expensive project. So while I often use this blog to rant and rave and vent, I am aware about one single objective fact: that given such a hugely complicated investment and drain on the club's resources, Wenger has in fact worked a miracle by keeping us in the top 4, esp. with a team of so many callow youths who are not learning alongside veterans like the kids at United are. I just think he could've made it easier on himself with some of his decisions. But there's also the whole area of injuries which he could not legislate for and which seems to be a constant, never-ending plague for us. Until we have some kind of reasonable break from this plague of injuries, I don't think we can win anything, regardless of who we bring in or sell. Anyway, here's an excellent analysis by one of the most thoughtful, reasonable blog writers among gooners I know of, I just wish he wrote more often. It's a fantastic comparison between Arsenal's and Man Utd's period of transition once Abramovich arrived at Chelsea:
Report Abuse
13/05/2009 15:15:00

We don't need his money unless he wants to just give it to us for free. Prediction 2009-2010 arsenal to win the Fa/Carling cup runners up in the EPL. Two Arsenal players in the England team and England to win the world cup.
Report Abuse
13/05/2009 15:18:00

AG..u almost had me there till u got to the England world cup bit. nice thots Jaelle...I havnt written anything about Arsenal since the Chelsea FA fiasco..I think we all understand why Wenger embarked on this "youth project"...moreso the success of applying it with Fabregas must have spurred him on...but like I have said in the past it was waaaay to much of an experiment. One of the major reasons why we missed out on trophies or couldnt compete properly is that 1. Players like Ade/RVP have lost their mojo at crucial times. 2. Diaby/Denilson/Song should not have been relied on as much as they were...this isnt hindsight talking, i've said it before...Silvestre was a very wrong buy and we should have gotten Alonso/Barry (Alonso preferably) early on when they were obviously available..
Report Abuse
13/05/2009 15:38:00

Like i say this isnt hindsight talking...Wengers' main reason for not spending is not to stiffle the growth of his young players..surely he had the funds...he just thought he had enough..I think he had toooo much faith in his players thats all..funny enough it seems to me he is still going to be bullish and may repeat this same experiment next season - his buying experience would mean conceeding to the fact that he has failed --Wenger isnt the type to conceed defeat easily.
Report Abuse
13/05/2009 15:42:00

Having said that though i am glad we had a manager who had the balls to use a Gibbs the way he did and who stands for principles the way he does..too bad tho, the world doesnt always reward such men.
Report Abuse
13/05/2009 15:45:00

Next seasn..he has to decide what to do with RVP/Ade/Diaby/Silvestre/Denilson/Song..methinks we have seen enough of Diaby/ more comments for now..i'm done
Report Abuse
13/05/2009 15:47:00

number 14 forgot the CL we will be in the final, (just had my rose coloured glasses updated). jaelle good mail, I concur fully except we will succeed trust me.
Report Abuse
13/05/2009 15:56:00

paul_ownz bit disappointed in your comment re Ledley King, how could you mate make a mockery of his behaviour? Just think if you had to play for the scum it would make anyone get drunk and P#ss their pants. I'd rather be hung by the googlies than even enter their ground. Poor lad.
Report Abuse
13/05/2009 16:06:00

I gather Eboue's contract runs out in june. how come we don't hear about his renegotiation? we only hear about theo and robin? is he doing a flamini and leaving for 0?
Report Abuse
13/05/2009 19:18:00

I doubt that is true. Eboue signed a 'long term' contract in May 2007. Not quite sure how long that would mean but more than 2 years I would guess.
Report Abuse
13/05/2009 19:30:00

The thing about Vital Arsenal is that you get intelligent, reasoned, and balanced debate. Most will not shout you down when your view differs from theirs, and as a result, you always sign off, better educated about the subject. LD, you're right, I'm wrong. Considering the fat gangster is desperation masked as reason.
Report Abuse
13/05/2009 19:40:00

This guy just does not get the club, and every time he opens his mouth, its more evidence of that. Arsenal have embarked on a sustainable business model that has been re-iterated countless times by the current Board. Usmanov can feel differently, he has every right to, but these are things one must consider before making a major investment. Does he fit into the way the club has operated, and the answer is NO. Who even listens to the crap he spouts? In one way, its good that he opens his mouth during the off season, as it gives us a proper target to face our disappointment at, instead of aiming for Wenger.
Report Abuse
13/05/2009 20:13:00

Is it the funny ciggies or is Catermole really as good as he's currenly looking against Manure? Looks like a pretty decent defensive midfield with his work rate, and reminds me of Flamini, little skill, but terriffic work rate.
Report Abuse
13/05/2009 21:17:00

LD wrote:"Did you ever see that Simpson's episode where Mr. Burns suddenly becomes aware that the public hate him and mounts a huge PR campaign to make himself popular, but in doing so comes across as twice as evil?" I can think of four off the top of my head, but it's a valid point and I hope Usmanov isn't around as long as the Simpsons.
Report Abuse
13/05/2009 21:53:00

Best explaination of what Usmanov might be up to (from the Guardian): "Arsenal directors will discuss at a board meeting today how to respond if Alisher Usmanov offers a multimillion-pound cash gift to the club, but they will reject investment through a rights issue. As revealed here yesterday Usmanov's Red & White Holdings company will formally demand at its next meeting with Arsenal's chief executive, Ivan Gazidis, that investors inject funds into the club to pay off some of its £400m debts. Usmanov believes that a rights issue is the only way to provide transfer funds for Arsène Wenger. But there is a strong suspicion at Arsenal that Usmanov's challenge to his fellow shareholders is an attempt to engineer himself a larger stake in the club. If the rights issue is not fully subscribed then it would lead to a dilution of the equity holdings of existing investors, permitting the Russian to grow his share."
Report Abuse
14/05/2009 04:52:00

usmanov is a bad business man who has lost almost half of his wealth during this economy crisis, the only bright spec left on his portofolio, is arsenal, thats why he so desperately wants to be "in"
Report Abuse
14/05/2009 16:26:00


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