Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Buy yourself a piece of Arsenal | Usmanov won't get my sympathy

The dust has yet to settle on a whirlwind of goings on at Arsenal in the last 36 hours.  There are still many unanswered questions and ifs and buts to do with Stan Kroenke's deal to further his interests in our football club. I do though hope all those loose ends will be tied up when a letter confirming an offer to all remaining shareholders is sent out.

Mr Kroenke has offered all remaining shareholders £11,750 in cash, the same amount he paid for Danny Fiszman and Lady Nina Bracewell Smith's shareholding in Arsenal Holdings PLC. All small shareholders do not have to accept this offer - it won't be the one and only chance you have to sell your stake - and I believe personally that having supporters with their own money invested in the club is important for the future of Arsenal under Mr Kroenke.

As a member of Arsenal Fanshare, I will be voting not to accept the offer for my stake. Arsenal is too important to me to have one person owning the club. If you live in the UK and can spare a minimum of £10 a month, why not join up? I love the fact I own a small piece of the club I love, plus it's a nice little investment.

And if you need the money back at any point, Fanshare members will be able to purchase your shares meaning real supporters continue to own a piece of Arsenal.

The culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has said he wants Mr Kroenke to keep Fanshare up and running.

The Arsenal Supporters Trust held a meeting last night which discussed the takeover issue. A statement issued at its conclusion said:
"AST meeting votes unanimously that it will campaign for supporter ownership and urge all shareholders to keep their shares.
"AST members agree Arsenal is too important to be owned by any one person. AST wants to work with Stan Kroenke.
"AST is encouraged to hear Red & White plan to keep their shares. Demonstrates their previous statements about long term commitment hold true."
It appears to me that Red and White, the company owned by Alisher Usmanov, has gone on some sort of publicity drive trying to sway the support of Gooners in their favour. Last night it was revealed Red and White had offered Lady Nina £13,000 each for her shares in an attempt to prevent Mr Kroenke taking his stake to 62%. It was a move which failed.

At the AST meeting, it was revealed that Mr Usmanov had offered to dilute his stake holding in the club to Fanshare if Mr Kroenke did the same. The American was not agreeable to this and the deal didn't happen. This offer was made a year ago but appears to me as another attempt by the Uzbek to paint himself as the good guy in this situation.

I believe that Mr Usmanov is best off keeping his shares if he is interested in the future of Arsenal Football Club. It will also offer us the plurality of different shareholders with the club.

Anyway, I'm sure there is more to come in the coming days on this.

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