AST AGM – Stan Kroenke vs Usmanov + some very interesting stuff

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Geoff normally lets me go to full-blown club AGM on his behalf, they’re pretty boring so I wasn’t really sure what to expect of the AST’s version. I arrived at a rather swanky building, greeted by none other than my good friend Peroni… I knew this was going to be ok.

Firstly, Nigel Phillips ran through the accounting side of things…

Key Info:

  • Wage bill is fairly low when compared to turnover, but don’t kid yourself, the kids aren’t going without their shreddies
  • The £110million you see in the cash reserves is bloated by season tickets and is used for operational expenditure like playing Diaby.
  • £25million sits in a secured account to pay down debt. This is a contractual requirement.
  • There is a transfer proceeds account that has the Ade and Toure money in it. We have £35million available for transfers.
  • 70% of net sale proceeds must go into the playing squad to avoid a firesale Leeds United type problem.
  • This rule is bypassed by Arsenal when they give out huge contracts extensions.
  • It is estimated that £15million of our wage bill is for paying our expensive commercial team who don’t do very much.
  • AST have asked Arsenal about buying out bad commercial deals, apparently it’s ‘not the Arsenal way’ and it’d be ‘expensive’
  • That 6.5% raise in season ticket prices raised an extra £3-4 million. Hardly worth it for the strife it caused you have to say? Just sell a Diaby and you’ll raise the same revenue.
  • Arsenal announce 60,000 capacity every game to convince fans the ground is full… on average, the ACTUAL gate for games of a non-essential nature have been 5000 short of capacity.

John Cross of the Daily Mirror, a self-confessed Gooner was introduced by Tim Payton and told some stories about the Arsenal, the best bits were as followed…

  • Arsenal are the best in the league for Press Conferences
  • Journo’s used to have a banter with Wenger, he’d talk about anything and the relationship was good. They’d even forgive his faux pas if he asked!
  • This year, Arsenal have scaled down press conferences… this is Wenger’s doing. He feels the criticism has been harsh on him and rumours about his personal life haven’t helped things.
  • Journo’s don’t write the headlines of their stories.
  • Arsenal fans tend to only focus on the negatives, forgetting all the amazing press coverage they recieved during the invincible season.
  • The feeling is that last week, Wenger was under prepared for his meeting with reporters. People were fair with him and they had to ask the tough questions because it’s clear the unhappiness at the ground is no longer the minority
  • Wenger is out of touch with the supporters, he genuinely believes 4th is some sort of trophy or at least worth one.
  • Thierry Henry used to phone up when he received bad press coverage!
  • Arsenal now require a sign off for all interviews, something many journalists do not agree with.
  • He agreed that there is a ‘cheating foreigner’ mentality amongst some sections of the media.

We then moved swiftly on to the big news of the night… Stan Kroenke and his buyout ambitions.

As part of the agreement, no acquisition debt will be put on the club. That said, he has to own 75% of the club to legally do that anyway.

Stan has always Championed supporter involvement, something the AST will remind him of in the coming months.

Gazidis has actively been keeping the AST abreast of all the things going on.

The rules of the takeover are as followed…

  • You must make a mandatory bid after you pass the 30% threshold
  • You then have 28 days to make an offer. Realistically, if you’re a shareholder, expect that offer in 2-3 days (It’ll be 90 pages long)
  • There will be three choices, accept, reject, do nothing
  • The offer price will be £11,750 per share

The vibe at the AST is that most minor shareholders won’t sell up. Most of the people who would have sold have already done so, the remaining people owning shares are holding onto them for sentiment. There is also the feeling that the offer document almost declares that Stan doesn’t think he’ll be buying more than his 62%. To take the club private, he’d have to buy up 90% of the remaining shares, which equates to a 93% holding. Usmanov not selling will put paid to a total buy out.

Stan will be loyal to the board short-term, he’s had to be, they’ve sold him their shares. Long term, the feeling is the board will take a new look and we’ll bring on some of the expensive commercial team who by then, will have made an incredibly large comical ball of elastic bands… you know, due to the inaction in their roles.

A few more tid-bits…

Stan cannot write a cheque for Arsenal tomorrow. He’s paying for the shares he’s bought out of cash flow.

Usmanov being involved keeps the fans involved. If he sells, we hand power to a single man who let’s be clear, we have no idea about. Being American and wearing a silly hat does not mean he’s going to be great for the club. It’s also worth noting that Usmanov was prepared to dilute some of his shareholding to the AST if Stan matched his share offering one for one. Guess what? Stan said no…

On the topic of Fanshare, since its inception, 50 shares are now in the hands of the AST. That’s £500k of hard-earned put in by Arsenal fans. Is there a club in the world that could muster that sort of support for part ownership? Not very many… that is an incredible achievement and one you should all be proud of. Too much slagging goes on about Arsenal fans… generally from the people who don’t put their hands in their pockets.

Peter Hill-Wood was given a ribbing from all sections of the AST yesterday. His comments should absolutely not be tolerated on any level and there have been many examples of people who have been caught out digging out the fans and their fates have always been the same… removal. I fully support the removal of Peter Hill-Wood from club and hopefully it’ll happen sooner rather than later. His comments were out of touch, unprofessional and wholly expected. Move him on and start a fresh… bring back Dein, the time is right.

Many people say Le Grove and the comments section is out of kilter with what ‘real’ Arsenal fans think. Well, I’ve always staunchly disagreed with this idea. If you go to the ground, you’ll know what the vibe is like and people aren’t happy. It’s no longer a minority. As was pointed out to me, a minority want Wenger out, the majority are unhappy with him and want him to change. This was a view shared by fans spanning generations. That was clear from last nights meeting. So don’t listen to people telling you that you’re a bad supporter for being concerned.

Overall, the event was very interesting, the most important thing to come out of it was that the AST will be recommending that all small shareholders and Fanshare owners do not sell out. Fan involvement is essential to the future of Arsenal. We need people speaking up for the club at all levels, by going private, we lose that power. I’m not pro either party taking over, I’m pro keeping our club special, I’m pro fan involvement and I’m pro for long-term stability and a return to winning ways.

Matt Scott of the Guardian made a very interesting comment about dissenting voices. It’s pertinent because many fans think it’s disrespectful to disagree with the club, the manager or the board…

‘As Arsenal fans, speak up, don’t become what you perceive Pat Rice to be to Arsene Wenger’

Absolutely spot on, this club is where it is today built of the back of fan loyalty, we have a right to an opinion… don’t ever forget that.

Hopefully the way things are playing out, we’ll keep our voice at the club.

That’s a healthy position to be in.

See you in the comments!

P.S. It was great to meet some of the good guys from twitter prior to the event and it was fantastic to have few beers with the AST members, the gooner journo’s plus two prominent figures from the Gooner. I also met Maria, one of Arsenal’s most prolific fans.

To say it was an orgie of Arsenal would be an understatement… I’m off to shower down.

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572 Responses to “AST AGM – Stan Kroenke vs Usmanov + some very interesting stuff”

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  1. Jimbo

    Keyser – you see, here’s what doesn’t make much sense – you say Wenger only signs players with significant upside. Fair enough. Yet you say he wouldn’t sign players with significant upside when he realises he’s bollocksed the summer, and fucked up his squad. Why? How do you know this? Now you’re just passing your judgement, and telling me it’s Wenger’s. That doesn’t work, I’m afraid.

    As for the Champions League, yes, that was a great run, but the league is meat and drink, is every season, was that year. He fucked up his league season, a great cup run is fine and dandy, but if he’d buggered the league we’d have been in real trouble. Just ask Portsmouth.

    As for the board? You bet, they have a responsibility here too. But that’s a different topic, and it’s why I’m delighted that I think their demise is now well underway.

  2. Josip Skoblar

    Not Zidane… Much better than that! Hazard reminds me of Platini circa 1984-86. My favourite player of all times and places: technique, pace, elegance, lots of goals, winning mentality…

  3. Jimbo

    Hazard has been pretty flakey for most of the season. Brilliant last month or so, but on the whole he’s been inconsistent and a bit ineffective for most of the first half of the year.

  4. bernard (bade the gooner)

    josip skolbar,

    how can you put platini & pace in the same sentence? this is crazy

    platini was genius no question, but he had no pace & even was a bit lazy…

  5. Lurch LeRouge

    true DDM, although I suspect that Matt’s was a quick fired tweet to marshall a ralying call during the AST AGM and it got the sentiment across fairly efficiently, Pedro certainly looked to pounce on it like a whore to a nickel.

  6. Josip Skoblar

    bernard (bade the gooner)

    Platini had more pace than Zidane and Le Tissier put together!

    Seriously: watch again France Vs Brazil quarter final game of 1986 WC and you’ll see what I mean. Platini may be a fat bureaucrat now, but don’t forget he was once lean and fit

  7. Lurch LeRouge

    DDM, more than anything I think some of us just want to see Rice remonstrating more in -game when their link play gets too slow and tiptap.

    That’d be a great start for me.

  8. Jimbo

    You know what, I’ve said this many times, but I cannot accept that people essentially put the blame for Arsene’s failings on Pat Rice. Pat is a longer serving gooner than anyone at the club I can think of apart from Ken Friar. He joined Arsenal in 1964, for fuck’s sake, and he’s been here ever since apart from 4 years playing for Watford. He’s a man who deserves massive respect, IMHO – he may not be a leader, but he’s about as Arsenal as they come.

  9. Keyser

    Jimbo – I’m asking you to justify your opinion, it’s an open statement, why are they regarded as a panic buy as opposed to just your average tranfer business.

    If you bid a certain amount for Robinho or Baptista and fail to get your goal, what’s wrong with getting in players in the next transfer window.

    Your first statement you said they’d pocketted the cash anyway, they did and spent in January instead.

    Neither of us know the real reasons, unless Wengers’ given them to us, I just cant understand why youd highlight that window as one where he’d decided to buy in panic, yet he didn’t buy the hottest prospect in Brazil or a player who’d built up a very good reputation in Spain, but bought the players he did.

    It doesn’t add up, wouldn’t Arshavin have been the sort of transfer that would fit your argument ?!

  10. Keyser

    If we’d won the Champions League that year, that season would have been one of the most successful in our history regardless of league position, our league position and Tottenham closing in on us is factored with the efforts we put in getting to the final.

  11. Jimbo

    Keyser – It wasn’t a question, it was a statement that my interpretation of events doesn’t make sense. Then you gave your own interpretation of events. Fair enough, but just come out with it if you disagree!

    I see it as a panic buy for the simple reason that they were all players who would, probably, have been available in the summer, AND for the reason that January is normally a poor time to do business because the market is much more restricted. And because we’d obviously massively undercooked our squad. All of which suggests this is a panic buy.

    You ask what’s wrong with getting players in the next transfer window? Well, the transfer window’s half-way through the season, by then it might well be too late, you might well already have chucked away too many points. And besides, as we all know, the market’s more restricted.

    As for Arshavin, yes, he looked like a panic-buy as well, at the time, though in that case Wenger sailed far closer to the wind, so that’s hardly a clear-cut case. I personally DO think he was a panic-signing, but I suspect that if I’d said as much, you’d have pointed out that if Wenger WAS really panicking, he’d have got the deal done more quickly and efficiently, as he did with Diaby, Walcott and Adebayor.

  12. Jimbo

    Well we didn’t win the Champions League, so it wasn’t. And, what’s more, it could have ruined us – even if we’d won, there was no guarantee we’d be allowed in the following year. This is what happened to Liverpool, and yes, they changed the rules for them, so they’d probably have done the same for us, but you never know.

    And Tottenham didn’t close in on us at all – we caught them up. We were behind them going into the last game of the season.

  13. Keyser

    Jimbo – We could both state our opinion and still be way off, so I see this as more an exchange of ideas as to what the real events were.

    At any one point we’ve probably got tabs on 10’s on players at a time, if we fail with two bids on our priority players and the transfer window ends then January would be the next available option.

    Panic buy infers that there was a considerable amount of importance placed on Wenger buying in players that would make a discernible difference for the rest of the season, Adebayor was cup-tied in Europe, then there’s Diaby and Walcott.

    They just don’t seem to be players you’d expect to have had a massive impact right away. We didn’t pay over the odds for them and we didn’t force the transfer, even in Walcott’s case we were happy to pay Southampton for schooling him up to that point.

    When I state my opinion I don’t state it as fact, if you say it’s a panic buy and I don’t we just state what we think about the situation.

    The Arshavin situation is far closer for me, we knew we could force their hand because of Arshavin’s contract being up, and they obviously knew how much we wanted him by the end of the window.

  14. Keyser

    Jimbo – The Champions League still has to be factored in as to why we didn’t finish as high as we usually do in the league.

  15. bernard (bade the gooner)

    josep mate,
    i remember the game quite well, still platini was no pacer…. he did few good runs each game, but no more basically

    i still loved his game & pasion though (albeit my no.1 legend is – dare i say it – that little juncky maradona)

  16. paul mc daid

    Pat Rice is a legend,a quiet man who goes about his work with dignity,anyone taking cheap shots at Pat are clueless,truth be told,god only knows were Wenger would off led us only for Pats steadying influence.its Wenger who lost his way,not Pat Rice,and that is the problem at the club,Arsene Wenger has no boss.

  17. Josip Skoblar

    bernard (bade the gooner)

    OK, then…

    My no 1 legend is a trio: Maradona / Platini / Cruyff. I recently read that Cruyff’s favourite English teams were Liverpool (the 1970s one with Keegan and Co) and… Arsenal!

  18. Simon at Work

    Paul mc daid
    Well said re Pat Rice. In truth, I suspect Pat would relish giving some of the first team a bit of a bollocking, but Wenger probably forbids it. It’s the Wenger way or no way. So if you want to give anyone stick for this, it’s got to be Wenger, not Pat.

  19. SUGA3

    we are not seeing breaks like that very often, do we?

    is it because of the tippy tappy or because of the teams parking the bus?

    or is it both?

  20. SUGA3

    Lurch,

    dunno – on one hand, he is probably one of the last few Arsenal men near the team, on the other hand, we may need a few fresh ideas?

    either way, I would like an Arsenal man as no.2 and Rice seems to be set to go – who’s next then? Keown? Big Tone? who else?

  21. Simon at Work

    Lurch,
    On balance, I don’t think he will, he’s rumoured to have health issues, but I don’t think it really makes much difference who the number 2 is anyway. Even if they bring in Steve Bould or Keown or TA, Wenger will still forbid them to shout at his darling players. In a few months time, we’d be back to moaning what a yes-man Bould/ Keown/ Adams is.

  22. SUGA3

    On 14 July 2008, Winterburn joined Paul Ince’s backroom staff at Blackburn Rovers as defensive coach. Following the dismissal of Ince in December 2008, Winterburn was deemed surplus to requirements at Ewood Park. New manager Sam Allardyce stated, “I spoke to Nigel Winterburn today to say that, from my point of view, in terms of specialist defensive coaching, I think I can look after that area myself now.”

    cunt Allardyce, he hates everything Arsenal, doesn’t he?

    but it would seem like the answer to your question is ‘yes’…

  23. bernard (bade the gooner)

    suga3 that was some goosebumping one mate …..
    pity we do this less those terms. Though we had few great counter-goals of late, the second vs barca, the goal walcott scored at shakhtar, the third 2 days ago …..
    the problem we don’t have enough of arshavin/henry mentality, go forward, shoot on sight…. sometime you feel like the boys have mandatory minimum passes before shooting!!!!

  24. Simon at Work

    Lurch,
    No idea, but Nutty Nige would be a great call. I don’t think he totally buys the Wenger schtick, unlike Keown, who seems a bit too much of a Wenger disciple to ever disagree with him. I can see Nige telling the players “look, don’t listen to everything the Boss says, it’s mostly bollocks”.

  25. Lurch LeRouge

    lol true Simon. Once Suga gets started there’s no stopping him!

    So i guess Keown or winterburn if Bould doesn’t want it, I don’t know why but I’ve never fancied Banfield for the role – probably because he never played for us i suppose and thats gotta be a requisite for a 2IC IMHO.

  26. patthegooner

    Pedro, in the content of the post you state:

    Stan cannot write a cheque for Arsenal tomorrow. He’s paying for the shares he’s bought out of cash flow.

    Whose Cashflow??? His or Arsenal’s?

  27. SUGA3

    Simon,

    NW is a funny dude, but is usually pretty pro-Wenger on ATVO, Kenny Sansom seems to be more of a ‘tell it as it is’ kind of person, IMO…

    Lurch,

    you said it 😆

  28. bernard (bade the gooner)

    dial square,

    if you think deep & hard about your sentence, you’ll find you are right

    DENILSON IS A NUMBER 2 …… (hope you got it there mate) 🙂

  29. Simon at Work

    DS
    Well, I’d rather have him in the dugout than on the pitch!
    For once, I actually think we’d be better off with someone from outside the club. The problem with promoting from within, or bringing in an ex player, is that they’re so aware of what Wenger has achieved for the club that there’s a danger they defer to him too much and don’t question him when he should be questioned. If we bought In an outsider, he’d find it easier to stand up to Wenger, I reckon.

  30. Lurch LeRouge

    Pat it depends on how fast NBS and DF require payment i guess.

    KSE have established that they tend to delay payment schedules.

  31. Lurch LeRouge

    If they can take the payment in instalments then it can be covered by established flows.
    He may very well not have the required cash in one lump sum and they are prepared to have it in parcels (to obviate the need for credit) – there might also be some tax benefit to this for NBS as she can spread the capital gain across a few years and lower her tax burden – i’m completely guessing here.

  32. Dial Square

    Fucking horrible you lot are, i suppose next you will tell me you won’t be cheering on our neighbours tomorrow

  33. bernard (bade the gooner)

    is true? roma are considering a 13.5 m £??? actually we might get that 40+ return after all ….

  34. bernard (bade the gooner)

    suga3,

    even the gunnersaurus runs better than denilson …

    so maybe better he helps pam the tea lady, or just go to spuds to play there as regular starter!!!! 😆

  35. Lurch LeRouge

    best contribution denilson could make to the club is as a makeweight for neymar, plus £20 odd million of obviously.

  36. patthegooner

    Lurch

    I really am not convinced by this. Initially I was pleased we were getting change, but ultimately the good old Arsenal has gone and surely if that was the case we should have gone for the richest man.

    His wealth is spread so thinly over so many sporting ventures, not only that but his attention is also spread thinly over all of those ventures. He has just bought the Rams too so to have two massive sporting teams in a short space of time seems a bit mad to me.

    It is going to be interesting to see how the fans take. I hope that nobody resets their pissed off at no success clock just because an owner now has more control. If we are looking at no success in 12 months time and nothing has changes, fan displeasure could be interesting.

    I have no choice though, so all I can do is hope that we see some change in the Summer. I really hope that Wenger gets pressured to spend that money or at least encouraged. And not just the 40m, it was 40m last summer, so surely more should be added to the pot this summer, its not our fault Wenger did not spend it.

  37. Lurch LeRouge

    Pat I think the pivotal move will be how he deals with the chairmanship. As you correctly identify, he’s well stretched and being a sporting aficionado Id be surprised if his chairman or Vice (if he doesn’t assume that role), isn’t a footballing man (DD for instance), leaving PHW in there would be borderline criminal negligence IMO.

    He may be cash poor, but its hard to ignore that we are 2 seasons away from being able to add a substantial amount of money each year to our revenue from newly negotiated commercial deals. Figures like £20-30m per year increase are being bandied about.

    Look at the flipside of the coin, if AU comes in, we likely lose AW (for the best some will argue) and half the squad (the good half) – then become a mancity equation for 2 seasons at the crucial point when we need to renegotiate commercial deals…

    AU isn’t entirely without risk either no?

  38. Simon at Work

    Suga,
    I think you’re underestimating IG, there. He must have worked out pretty quickly that Wenger was such a control freak there was little chance he’d be allowed to make any serious decisions without Wenger’ s backing. He’s probably just biding his time until there’s a more supportive board in

  39. Simon at Work

    Suga,
    Sorry, damn iPhon
    I think you’re underestimating IG, there. He must have worked out pretty quickly that Wenger was such a control freak there was little chance he’d be able to make any serious decisions without Wenger’s backing .I think IGs just biding his time until there’s a more supportive board in place, then he’ll strike. No more Mr Nice Ivan!

  40. patthegooner

    Agreed Lurch

    The fact that he is spread so thinly will surely meant that a board that can breed sucess will be crucial and surely that does not include PHW.

    my views on what Kroenke is all about will be greatly improved if he gets rid of PHW.

    AU is full of risk, but if Wenger and a load of players left, then so be it.

    I am going to leave it until the end of the summer to form a real opinion on this, but for now I am pleased that AU is sat in the wings with his 27%

  41. Lurch LeRouge

    yeah I’d say there will be loads of pressure for him to spend Pat.

    I trust Keown in his assessments of AW’s 5 year plan is at an end, i really can’t see a future for large chuncks of our squad now.

  42. Lurch LeRouge

    we still need a keeper of some description with coco out the door, and no mannone isn’t the answer – a senior player prepared to play backup (read 20 games a season) makes sense. Buffon is ideal.

  43. Lurch LeRouge

    true but thats why i’d say GB Suga, share his experience and compete for second position with fab

  44. Paulinho

    Chelsea have playing good football here – far better than the shite we’ve served up at Old Trafford in receent years.

  45. Gooby

    #

    #
    SUGA3 says:
    April 12, 2011 at 13:52

    Gooby,

    not spending the funds available on players and continue with the dross – now that’s limited thinking!

    back 2 work…
    —–

    you missed the point mate, i was talking about ownership

  46. Simon at Work

    Things That Wind Me Up about Arsene Wenger – the first in a long -running series.
    1 If he’s such a genius at player recruitment, why did he buy Mexican Carlos Vela rather than Mexican Hernandez?

  47. LAzer

    Utd going to school us at the Emirates in the sort of winning form they have been in.

    Those cunts are so easy to hate.

  48. SUGA3

    Gooby,

    no, I didn’t, I know exactly what you meant…

    and I believe that if you have the funds and the needs, then not spending does not only constitute limited thinking, but is also negligent…

    and I think Usmanov would put more pressure on the manager to assemble the squad to piss all over he rest!

  49. SUGA3

    Vela was GROSSLY mis-managed and I fully expect him to flourish wherever he goes – I like the little dude’s sheer joy of playing football!

  50. Simon at Work

    Suga,
    You’re probably right about Vela being mismanaged, but how many of our players is that true of, do you think? How many could actually do much better away from the Wenger regime?

  51. dennisdamenace

    BREAKING NEWS: David Blaine’s 40 day world record for doing nothing in a box has been broken by Fernando Torres!!

  52. zeus

    50m DOWN THE DRAIN.

    Vela has more talent than Javier (who is a bit of a Van Nistelroy/Inzaghi – offers nothing outside the box) but there is a fight in the Manc Mexican that we have NEVER seen in Vela.

    In truth, I would take Dos Santos over Vela now even.

  53. Dial Square

    Hate to say this but its good to watch two teams of men playing football. I dont mean that in a gay way.

  54. zeus

    How is it that Valencia can return so quickly and be relatively unaffected by niggles and we have to do w/out our boys for over a year.

    And even then, there seems to be a problem with fitness.