Arsenal will be soon be Kroenke’s club

Stan Kroenke is manouvering his way to the top of the pecking order in the Arsenal board. Since his introduction to the club in 2007 we have seen him steadily accumulate shares, and this culminated him being invited to join the Board as a non-executive director in September 2008.

He has now taken a 20% stake – buying 8% from Danny Fiszman, and becoming second largest shareholder after Usmanov – spending £42 million – he is serious about this.

Kroenke took an 11.26% share off ITV in April 2007, and the Board were initally hostile – it was the beginning of a period of turbulence which saw Dein lose his position on the Board, and is still having repercussions today. Dein then sold his stake to Usmanov and suddenly Kroenke seemed like the good guy. The Board invited him in and is now setting him up as the defence against Usmanov and Dein.

This sale has come at a very important time – April 2009 is the end of the lock-down agreement set by the Board – they may now sell their shares to whoever they want. By increasing Stan’s share they are effectively blocking Usmanov. The situation was dangerous as Lady Nina is known to be unsettled and may sell her shares very soon.

Share in Arsenal

  • 25.0% Alisher Usmanov
  • 20.5% Stan Kroenke
  • 16.1% Danny Fiszman
  • 15.9% Lady Nina

Fiszman has given up his position as the second biggest holder, but still wields considerable clout. Usmanov seems unlikely to increase his stake; owning 30% would mean that he would have to launch a take-over bid – not likely at a time when his personal wealth is dwindling.

The lockdown agreement allowed Board members to trade between themselves – and this is the important part – it allows them to leave Usmanov in the cold. This is why Kroenke was invited onto the Board; to allow him to acquire shares. Kroenke is the Board’s choice to lead Arsenal.

The fact that Gazidis was appointed in January 2009, a man who has had contact with Kroenke in the MLS, is important. He may well have been Stan’s choice and hints further at the large scale shift in power within the club. The partnership with Colorado Rapids – Stan’s US football team also points to closer ties.

Personally I would prefer the Board to stay in the hands of the ‘old guard’, but Kroenke has made some promising comments:

“I will continue to work closely with my board colleagues to maintain the stable environment in which the club operates and to preserve the self-sustaining business model enjoyed by the club.”

This makes me hopeful that Stan is the right man for us. It seems inevitable that Arsenal will be in foreign hands in the near future, but Stan has experience in sports clubs and is a proven stable investor.

If he really is interested in maintaing Arsenal as a sustainable club then I am all for him.

Board changes at Arsenal

The most recent news coming from the Arsenal boardroom is that there are a few changes underway.

Lady Nina, who owns 15.9% of the club is leaving the Board, and the club, after a family association of over 50 years. She is now free from the lockdown agreement which the Board members entered into, and is free to sell her shares in the club.

As the third largest shareholder this is worrying, and it seems likely that she will sell, although whether to Board members, or to Red & White Holdings remains to be seen.

As well as Lady Nina leaving, Richard Carr who owns 4.4% will step down from Director, a position he has held for 27 years.

This is all part of the long term changes which began when Dein left the club, and new holders like Usmanov and Kronke have come in. It is not known the terms on which Lady Nina left but there are hints that there is some unrest at Board level.

As ever Hill-Wood wants to keep us stable and self-sufficient. It remains to be seen if this is possible.

Who owns Arsenal:
Directors’ collective shareholding 41.8%
Daniel Fiszman 24.1%
Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith 15.9%
Richard Carr 4.4%

Peter Hill-Wood (chairman) 0.8%
Lord Harris of Peckham 0.09%
Ken Friar 0.07%
Sir Chips Keswick 0.06%
Keith Edelman 0.04%
Others: Red & White Holdings 24%; Stan Kroenke 12.4%
Remaining shares: approximately 1,200 minor shareholders.

Table edited from the Telegraph

Gunnerblog has views and excerpts from Wenger’s recent webchat with fans here.

Also on Sunday against Liverpool wear Yellow! We want to commemorate the title winning season at Anfield 20 years ago, and REDaction has come up with this idea. Newsletters were passed out at the Wigan game, and Arsenal.com has endorsed it too, so it would be great to see a yellow stadium on Sunday.

Where are Arsenal heading? Transfers and Chief Executives

According to Arsene Wenger, Arsenal are close to appointing a new Chief Executive. The position has been filled by Ken Friar, the ex-Managing Director, since Keith Edelman’s departure in April.

The lack of leadership in this position perhaps explains why we have struggled to bring players in this season.

Wenger told Arsenal.com:

“It is progressing quite well. We are getting to the end of the story. I am involved in it and I am consulted for it but it is down to the board to make that decision.

“Having consulted me, they will take the responsibility to name the right person. I think the decision will be made soon but I don’t know exactly when.”

A rather large hole was created when David Dein left the club, and we need someone who can play his role in the day to day running of the club, and in transfer negotiations. The Board seem rather distanced from Wenger, and we have been in limbo since the depature of David Dein.

Hopefully a new appointment will help iron out difficulties and play a large role in Wenger’s relations with the board and in transfer negotiations.

Talking of transfers, it was disappointing to see that we hadn’t snapped up a last minute midfielder on deadline day, but it will be interesting to see what happens in the coming days, as we are linked with Ghana’s Steven Appiah, who played for Ghana last night.

He would be available on a free, so we coud sign him up straight away, but he has struggled with knee injuries, and we don’t need any more injury prone players. Also I’m a little worried that clubs such as West Ham have shown the most interest..

Also, a bit of fun here, check out this post by Block19er at Clockenders.

I’ve also been introduced to a news service called FeedZa recently. You can see their football section here, and vote for stories you like. They list a lot of sites and it makes interesting reading, but it needs your input! Have a go!

PHW prefers Kroenke as Arsenal push for stability

Stan Kroenke is likely to be invited to join the Arsenal Board.

The American investor has a 12% share in Arsenal. It seems that the Board have realised if we don’t get him on our side then we will have to face Usmanov, who owns 25% and is pushing to get a blocking stake in the club.

Hill-Wood had this to say:

“Contrary to what I said before, I now believe he may have a vital contribution to make to the future of this football club. I am not denying I said what I said, but I made those observations before meeting Stan. I have now got to know him and I have changed my opinions.

“When I hadn’t met him, yes, I didn’t think he was the right person to take control of Arsenal Football Club. Now I know him as a man who is very much steeped in sport. He is a sports man. He already has a link through our broadband rights and there is every reason to expect that we shall discuss further how his involvement can be extended,”

I think this is definitely a tactical move on Hill-Wood’s part. We would all rather have no interest from these people, but if you have to choose one, choose the one who looks less threatening.

With Kroenke on their side the Board may be able to more effectively fend off Usmanov, whilst keeping control over Kroenke.

This issue is a thorny one, we have seen the problems with foreign ownership at Man City this season, with Eriksson on his way out after the club’s best season in years. The Board will have to be very careful in how they handle this, because it could end badly.

Edelman Leaves Arsenal, Money Matters


Arsenal are the third most valuble club in the world according to Forbes, they value at:

1.Man United at £905m ($1,800m)

2.Real at £646m ($1,285m)

3.Arsenal at £603m ($1,200m)

Moving to Ashburton Grove has played a big part in this, and the man behind much of the move has been Keith Edelman MD at the club since 2000.

Keith has left the Arsenal after 8 years at the club. He had this to say:

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Arsenal. It has been a very exciting period for the business and I am proud to have contributed to the Club’s many off-field achievements over the past eight years, not least the Emirates Stadium project. Now that we have completed our second season at Emirates, I believe it is the right time to seek pastures new and embark upon fresh challenges.”

Peter Hill-Wood said:

“Keith has played a major role in the growth of the Club since he joined in 2000. In that time we have successfully implemented the move from Highbury to Emirates Stadium that has underpinned the future of the business and confirmed our position as one of Europe’s leading clubs. We are grateful to Keith for his crucial role in this transformation.

“Under Keith’s stewardship the Club has achieved record profits and the Board owes him a debt of gratitude for his contribution. We wish him the very best for the future.”

Ken Friar, the previous MD, now becomes Acting Managing Director. There are some conspiracy theories concerning Red & Shite Holdings, and Dein’s involovement, but I think the case is more that Edelamn has done the job he was brought in to do.