Usmanov: Politics Holding Arsenal Back
Arsenal majority shareholder Alisher Usmanov has once again openly questioned the Arsenal board, asserting his belief that politics are holding the club back. This follows on from Usmanov`s investment vehicle Red & White Holdings releasing an open statement the day after Robin van Persie`s "statement for the fans" questioning the board on their strategy to take Arsenal forwards.
The Uzbeki steel and lumber magnate told Forbes, "Disregarding the series of trophyless seasons, you have to accept that a few of the current board of directors were at the helm during the greatest moments of the Arsene Wenger era.
"But the footballing landscape has changed. Our point of view on which direction the club is going today, and our disagreement with this direction, have been laid out in our open letter to the board.
"We do not consider just qualifying for the Champions League to be the chief ambition of the club, and with all our hearts we support the team and wish them well for the new season.
"Victory is absolutely not ruled out, but the current politics of the club`s management will leave Arsene Wenger and his team with fewer and fewer opportunities in the long run."
Usmanov has asserted once again that Red & White will continue to buy shares in the club, "We plan to continue to buy shares in the club. From the point of view of investment, this has already been a successful policy: the value of the club has risen from £300-400million to £700-800million.
"But this is not the point. I am a fan and I am not going to sell these shares at any time, since this is the club that I consider the best in the world."
Usmanov went on to describe how we became interested in being involved with Arsenal, ""Arsenal were one of the first teams I saw on television, and at that time I started supporting them," Usmanov revealed.
"I was introduced to David Dein by a mutual friend. At that time I was looking at a number of possibilities to invested in Premier League clubs, but the chance to buy a small shareholding in Arsenal outranked all other considerations.
"When I bought shares off David Dein I was happy with the opportunity to get to know the footballing legend which Arsenal represent. I was absolutely satsifed with this purchase and wanted to buy more shares in the club."
But he revealed that he hadn't realised the depth of the divisions within the club, ""At that time I never imagined the depth of conflict between the shareholders," he said.
"I was also disappointed, and very much regretted, that Danny Fiszman, who at that time ran Arsenal, dealt with me on the basis of totally unobjective opinions and assertions of a few individuals. Also, unfortunately, this entire myth-making, along with Danny Fiszman's shareholding, have been herited by the new controlling shareholder. " (Taking a potshot at the dead guy there, nice one).