Dec 192008

Another busy day at boardroom level with Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith wasting no time in producing a stinging response to her exit from the club, claiming she was ousted and knows nothing of the reason why:

‘I can’t understand why I have been removed in such a ruthless fashion. I had no intention of selling my shares and was no threat to the lockdown agreement between the directors. I have also had no proper explanation as to why they wanted me out so much. It is very difficult to accept, especially after what my family has done for Arsenal for so many years. I am extremely upset at what’s happened and the way it has been done.’

Ouch. These are very strong words from a woman clearly unhappy at the way this has been handled. Any thoughts that this was a mutual split have now gone, and possibly along with it any hopes that a remaining member of the board would buy up and secure her substantial share slice.

The hope remains that she holds on to her shares for the time being, a wish that is backed up by her closing comments:

‘I’ve never had a thought of selling my Arsenal shares, and I still don’t.’

On the one hand, this statement is reassuring, but as Arseblogger points out, this should be taken with a pinch of salt as her pleading ignorance to the reasons for her departure don’t make a great deal of sense. Either way, however, it would be a crazy time for her to sell. The value of her stock has dropped horrendously, and having owned those shares for so long she’ll know that this is a particularly low point. Besides, having made the above statement, she’ll look incredibly disloyal if she goes back on it.

That said, it would surprise no-one to see her made offers far above the market value, and I would hope that along with Usmanov, whose move is inevitable, someone from the existing setup tries to convince her that the Uzbeki needs to be kept away.

It is unclear who her ire is aimed mostly at, whether it is the remaining Fiszman, one of the two new arrivals, Kroenke and Gazidis, or a combination. Obviously, with new blood on the board, changes were inevitable, but it seems that once again, it hasn’t been handled in the neatest way. But at that level of such a huge organisation, can it ever?

On the the football, and the Champions League draw has been made, with us been paired with Roma, so we’ll be playing them for the first time since the 2002-3 season, where Henry’s hattrick in Rome in the opening match of the second group stage was eventually overshadowed by three home draws that put us out.

It isn’t a bad draw to be honest, we’ve got a good record against Italian sides recently so I’m pretty happy with that. Elsewhere, there’s some brutal ties for the rest of the Premiership – Liverpool have Real, United meet Mourinho’s Inter, and Chelsea face Juventus. Three Anglo-Italian ties should be very interesting.

Enjoy your Friday.

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