Jul 052012

It has been quite an eventful 24 hours for Arsenal Football Club. First, Robin van Persie announced on his personal website that he would not be signing another contract. That alone is perfectly reasonable – a man approaching 29 who has one big contract left in him is entitled not to sign a new one with his current employer. In fact, anyone is entitled not to sign a new contract – that is their whole premise. They have an expiry date.

The nature of the statement was what (rightly) caused a lot of anger, and the transparency of his failed PR move has backfired badly on the club captain who probably thought that his position as the best player in the squad (or even the league) allowed him to step so far out of line. Arsenal then responded with a curt statement of their own, essentially saying ‘that’s fine, but you’ve got a contract, so you’re going nowhere unless we say so‘. I’ll cover this whole saga in another post later on, but I want to deal with today’s events – Alisher Usmanov, and Red and White Securities’ open letter to the board.

Now, whatever side of the Kroenke/Usmanov fence you come down on, there are a couple of very important things to realise about this letter:

  • Open letters are PR exercises. Nothing more, nothing less. The letter wasn’t intended for the board, but for the fans and the media.
  • The timing has been very deliberately calculated to coincide with the van Persie statement.

Now that I’ve got the out of the way, there is one other crucial thing I want to get across. Usmanov’s tactic here is akin to John Kerry’s in the 2004 US elections – essentially ‘support me, because I’m not that guy‘. ‘That guy’ in 2004 was George W Bush. Today it is Stan Kroenke.

This is a very deliberate tactic. Many fans (myself included) are wary of Kroenke, because even if his intentions are good, they are so clouded in silence and mystery that we still have no idea what the long term strategy actually is. Ivan Gazidis is a brilliant talker, but without actually saying anything of note, so we are largely in the dark. Some fans go a lot further than that, being actively against the current setup, and that is the feeling Usmanov is trying to capitalise on, by presenting himself as the viable alternative.

It is a clever strategy, because by basing his arguments on not being someone else, he deflects attention both from his past (which I’m not going to go into, but do a quick Google if you’re curious) and his own plans for the club, which have yet to be aired either. In fact, the only paragraph that alludes to his plans is on page 4:

“So what is Red and White’s vision for the club? It is simple. A debt-free club, with a big enough war chest to buy top talent players who can hit the ground running…..Together they can help the club win trophies…[which is] key to the commercial success of the club – they increase the value of the players, the value of the brand, attract the best sponsors and maximise the value of our commercial contracts.”

(note the use of the term ‘war chest’, a fairly obvious soundbite for the media to pick up on)

While all this sounds laudable, it is a little pie in the sky. Essentially, they are saying that the way forward is to invest, win things, and then everything and everyone is worth more, which in itself is perfectly logical. But this is coming from a company that already owns 29.96% of Arsenal. If they think it is as easy as putting some money in to increase the value of the club (and therefore that shareholding), then go ahead and write a cheque.

That might sounds flippant, but frankly, so is a lot of that letter. It is a PR exercise at its worst, trying to capitalise on unrest by switching allegiances from the current board to Usmanov, aided by the mystical promise of large sums of money that realistically we know aren’t going to be forthcoming. This is a man who wanted dividends, remember – he wants to take money out, not put it in. Even if he does brilliantly and raises the value of the club, he wants to suck that money out afterwards. That’s about all we know about his plan.

Before I cover the absurdity of the plan a little more, I want to reiterate a point. Usmanov is attempting to polarise the fanbase by making us believe that if we are anti-Kroenke, we are pro-Usmanov. This is categorically NOT the case. I’ve lost count of the number of pro-Usmanov arguments that begin with a criticism of Kroenke. Similarly, I’ve seen a lot of arguments where it is stated that ‘Usmanov couldn’t be worse, so why not?‘.

Couldn’t be worse? Really? I think we are all in agreement that certain things at the club could be a lot better, that there are certain policies and decisions that we don’t agree with. But to say that there is no way Usmanov could be worse is naive in the extreme. Let’s take another look at his plan:

“As a top club, we should, at the very least, match if not beat the offers that other clubs make to try to lure our very best players away.”

“To have a fighting chance of success, which means winning trophies, we need to match them in every aspect, including, if not first and foremost, financial.”

I’m sorry, but this is laughable. Manchester City have limitless funds. You don’t match their strategy, because they can always take it a step further. If we really could afford to offer van Persie £200k a week, City would just raise the bar further and offer £300k a week. If they want a player, they can afford to pay more for him than we can, with or without Usmanov’s ‘benevolence’. Creating a strategy based around competing with ‘and beating’ their financial offers is doomed to fail from the start.

And Usmanov knows it. Don’t be fooled – this isn’t a man who is going to take over, plough half a billion in just to see his ‘beloved’ club succeed. If that were his plan, there is nothing to stop him executing it right now. Yet it seems many are lured by this enticing prospect, despite the seeds being sowed in populist fiction.

It is also easy for him to criticise the board, just like it is easy for any politician in opposition to criticise – they don’t have to come up with a concrete and viable plan of their own, just verbally dissect the one in action. And a politician is exactly what Usmanov is – not a kindly old charitable gentlemen, but a PR-driven brutal politicking businessman. If he were a fan, as he claims to be, we would see him in more positive times. Where was we when we were winning games, signing players and getting over the finish line to claim third (whatever you think of that ‘aim’, it was the target of the day)? We only see him when the chips are down, when players want to leave, when targets aren’t being hit. Whenever Arsenal is in the news for the wrong reasons, up pops his head with another bit of PR spin.

But of course, he would never do anything to destabilise the club at a delicate time, would he?

“We are part of this club and naturally want the best for it, but our investment is less important than the fact we are loyal supporters and will never do anything that will destabilize or create conflict at the club.”

Vomit-worthy. That line is actually in the open letter, which of course was not intended to destabilise the club in any way. Oh no.

Here’s where I come back to the point I was trying to make earlier. You do not have to be pro-Usmanov if you don’t agree with decisions made by the current board. You can disagree with both. I cannot stand the prospect of Alisher Usmanov ever becoming a significant part of Arsenal Football Club – I simply cannot see that ending well – but that doesn’t mean I am wholeheartedly behind Kroenke. I am very wary of the man.

But Usmanov is unashamedly transparent, and frankly when I look at this letter all I see is a collection of outrageous lies and half-truths. I thought van Persie had set the bar high for coming up with a statement that relied on the gullibility of the fans, but I think in less than 24 hours he has been trumped.

I have no interest in being polarised or patronised, thank you very much Mr Usmanov. Cut the crap.

  164 Responses to “Usmanov’s attempts to polarise outdo Van Persie for transparency”

  1. usmanov is wayy richer that the man city owners so we can up the ante financially with ease.
    do ur homework before you put up shit like this.

    • That isn’t the point. The Man City model is about taking a sleeper club, making them massive, regenerating the area around the ground and making a long term profit that way. In essence, it doesn’t matter than they lose money on the club itself, and indeed it has become a bit of a plaything such that a loss doesn’t bother them.

      The problem is that people assume the same of Usmanov. Yes, he is rich, but why do people suddenly assume that because he is rich, he is just going to donate that money to us?

      Fanciful in the extreme. His wealth is irrelevant if he isn’t planning on using it.

      • Pete, your bias is showing. The point is we are not, as a club, able to keep or attract top talent. Most supporters, and rightly so, do not hold in high esteem the current regime and their obvious limitations and starkly limited ambitions.

        Stop supporting a failed policy. Usmanov has always stated his firm intention of using his wealth to further the club, but you are supporting only those who have demonstrated a clear unwillingness to spend their own?! That’s not fanciful, it’s falsity and because you are clinging to this falsity, I believe you are
        biased, for whatever reason, but you should know it is hurting the club.

        • Please read my post again – you’re falling for the presumption that you have to support either Kroenke or Usmanov. I am not wholeheartedly backing the current owners or ownership structure at all. I am, however, wholly against Usmanov, both because I believe his stated intentions are lies and the fact that I want him to have nothing to do with what remains a classy club.

          Does that make me biased? Absolutely.

          • Well, at least you’ve admitted your bias. However, you should know, now that bias has clouded your thinking, that you are merely advocating the continuance of a failed policy.

            A mining oligarch vs. a franchise owner and business associate to a company(walmart) that is among the worst with regard to worker exploitation, job loss, low wages, and international corruption and bribery, etc.

            Mate, the current regime taint as classy as you might think. Review your position, eventually you’ll have to, yes things are that bad.

            • I really don’t think you’re reading what I’m writing. I am NOT advocating for no change.

              I am anti-Usmanov. That does not mean I am pro-Kroenke.

              • Pete, your position is seemingly threadbare and reactionary, change is going to happen. The current regime has played its hand, they have to go.

                There is an Arsenal standard and when you are no longer up to it, it is time. Usmanov’s largesse can only help as we cannot keep/attract what is required.

              • I agree that there is an Arsenal standard, and I would be keen for the club to stick to it, so that it is healthy and classy for my children and grandchildren, over and above a quick and dangerous ‘fix’.

                For me, Usmanov does not represent what I would wish Arsenal to represent. You disagree, and that’s fine. You may even be right that change is coming, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

              • ok, Pete, i understand what is you are saying. But, this ‘quick and dangerous fix’ is really just irrational thinking. How can someone be so niaive as to believe that a shining white knight will come in and rescue the club at this point. What did you think was going to happen when the club can’t keep/attract talent and goes trophyless for years and years with no sign of progress? I’m saying don’t let irrational fears stand in the way of progress, and again, kroenke taint no saint.

                If usmanov can come in and clear the debts, stop raising prices, buy what’s required, and bring in the hardware, which he’s stated every intention of doing, why not, let him have a go. These jokers currently in charge clearly have no ideas beyond milking the club, players, and fans, not good enough.

              • No club has infinite resources, Not city, not chelsea. They may start off as so, but they surely keep off players where they know the other team pays handsomely as well. If this were not the case, then why haven’t players moved from chelsea to city, or from united to chelsea.

                Usmanov’s vision for Arsenal should be regarded as the Arsenal way in the modern day. Arsenal will get the best sponsorships from the companies he’s affiliated with, and still run as a proper club, but we’ll be able to keep hold of our best players without worrying about the likes of city snapping them up because we’ll be able to pay them well, while nurturing young players, and dipping into the market when absolutely necessary for real quality players.

                Kroenke on the other hand is a billionaire who finds himself at the lower end of the billionaires spectrum having secured his wealth from his marriage. He has no idea what it is to work for money so naturally he has no idea of how to optimize and utilize resources in the best way. He is the one who will take money from Arsenal.

                I don’t know what Usmanovs true intentions are, but judging by what i’ve seen from stan kroenke, the fact that Usmanov is already a shareholder, the fact that he wants Arsenal so bad, and the fact that he is much wealthier than stan makes me inclined to want to try usmanov, and hope that he is as much a gunner as he says he is

          • The manner in which you have bashed Usmanov completely sold you out. Stop pretending not to be pro Silent Stan, we only have two options now and I believe it’s better to choose than stay confused.

            Do you support the silent so called self sufficient Manner in which the club is run? The only reason why we are in the top four is because Wenger is a genius, and I bet you if Wenger leaves today or in 2014 with things the way they are… Don’t want to be a messenger of doom.

            The second option is what Usmanov stands for. He has the money and wishes to invest in the club to refurbish the armory with enough warheads to sink The Middle Eastlands not to talk of our next door noisy Russian neighbors.

            We have to accept it, this is the time for sugar daddies and we have to accept and live with this reality. Banks no longer have money, governments are bankrupt, USMANOV is the way forward.

      • I think that’s not as valid a point as is the national origin of the owners. Apart from Chelsea the other nouveau riche clubs like PSG, Malaga and City are owned by billionaires from the middle east. These guys are interested in using sport to prop up the profile of that area, they want to make sure that they work on the long-term sustainability of the region once the oil money starts declining, say 50-60 years from now. Sport is a great way to do that. Hence the World Cup bid, the Barca Qatar Foundation sponsorship and the Etihad Stadium. City is only valuable as a vehicle to attract tourism and investment to the Middle East. Remember they not only have a ton of money, they are also the ruling political class there!
        Arsenal have benefited from that somewhat as well with the Emirates Stadium but you are absolutely right in pointing out that there are no assurances whatsoever that Usmanov is just going to pour money in and expect no return. It just makes no business sense. In effect, I agree with you Peter, just not totally on the why.

        • very good point, I keep reading comments about how Usmanov is richer than the head of state of an oil rich middle eastern country…wow Stupidity abounds, the fact of the matter is the current policy has kept us in ok condition and with adjustment it will win us trophies.

    • Where did you get the idea that Usmanov has more money than Sheikh Mansour from? Please, go and do further research. And Usmanov’s idea is idealistic at its best. All these money flying around is like a Bubble, the Boom goes before the Burst.

  2. oh and besides that good article chap

  3. So you believe cos usmanov isnt an arsenal fan then he wouldnt make us stronger?
    If so i taught vanpersie was an arsenal fan and besides he is richer than the sheiks

  4. Fantastic article, the best I’ve ever read on Usmanov in fact, you underline the key points in his letter and hit the nail on the head when it comes to explaining his reasons. He has quite deliberately said specific things in order to get a large portion of Arsenal fans on his side. Hardly any of them know who this guy is, they just know he’s a Russian billionaire with loads of money, who they instantly compare to Abramovich. Why do they want this guy to own the club? Because they complain we don’t do enough, that we don’t spend big money, that we’ve once again lost one of our best players because we lack ambition… so what dose Usmanov do, he tells them EXACTLY what they want to hear, then they come flocking to his side, backing him and making noise for him. This guy is a corrupt, drug trafficking, Russian gangster, he’s a convicted felon who was only released due to his fellow gangster friends and huge bags of money… why do they want this guy to run such a great club? Because they want instant success, they see Man City buying and winning and want the same, and when they see it’s possible they’ll do anything for it! But at the end of the day these people aren’t the owners, they aren’t on the board and they aren’t paid to make decisions, they’re fucking clueless and think that buy chucking money around it’s going to end up good – when it won’t! I absolutely adore this club but it pisses me off how many fans are manipulated by the media and people like Usmanov, when the reality is they actually haven’t a fucking clue! Just like this prat in the comments above me.

    I could literally rant about this all day, great article, let’s hope Kroenke can bring success the Arsene/Arsenal way.

    • Spot on.

      • My thoughts entirely, it amazes me how gullible some of our so called ‘supporters’ actually are.

    • 2006: “I hope Kroenke can bring trophies the Arsene/Arsenal way”
      2007: “I hope Kroenke can bring trophies the Arsene/Arsenal way”
      2008: “I hope Kroenke can bring trophies the Arsene/Arsenal way”
      2009: “I hope Kroenke can bring trophies the Arsene/Arsenal way”
      2010: “I hope Kroenke can bring trophies the Arsene/Arsenal way”
      2011: “I hope Kroenke can bring trophies the Arsene/Arsenal way”
      2012: “I hope Kroenke can bring trophies the Arsene/Arsenal way”

      Am I awake? Or I still dreaming…?

      • Is it only me who is hearing the following conversation in my nightmares?:
        Robin: “Well Darren, you´re my agent – what do you think I should do?
        Darren: “Robin – its up to you but there is a major shareholder at the club who thinks it would be better for you health if you moved on. He knows you are injury prone, and believes there is a strong possibility that if you play for Arsenal next season the next injury could be career threatening! And then there´s your wife and family …………..”
        Robin: “Don´t leave me much option does he? Pity, I loved playing for Arsenal.”

      • Arsenal True fans…
        2006….RVP injured
        2007….RVP injured
        2008….RVP injured
        2009….RVP injured
        2010….RVP injured
        2011….RVP injured
        2012….RVP fit….nothing won so he wants to leave…so lets blame everyone at Arsenal and bring in a convicted russian felon….that sound like a real sensible idea….give me strength Arsene, give me strength!!!!

        • stop exagerating his injury record and using it as a stick to beat him with. he wasnt avalable very often agreed, and thats why he was rightly rewarded with peanuts compared to other footballers of the same abilty or less.
          people might disagree with his judgement but he’s got a point. we do lack ambition. over the last four five seasons there was always a point where we could have used not significient but small push in the transfer market. cesc situation, almunia, defence, robin’s injury, TV’s injury etc are just a few examples of the negligence and lack of ambition shown by the board.

          • Peanuts? He makes around 100,000 each week, and that deal was signed before he had proven he was worth that. Switch on.

      • You’re not asleep, but confused. Kroenke did not own Arsenal outright in 2006 (and a few more subsequent years.)

    • It is a choice between a nasty looking Russian oligarch and an American business man who gives not one shit about the Arsenal. Before you dismiss the Russian oligarch who claims to be an Arsenal fan, who certainly wants to possess a famous football club and wants to bask in the glory of winning things … TAKE CARE. And better still analyse the clubs Kroenke (and / or his son) own or control in North America :

      Denver Nuggetts – NBA // Colorado Rapids – Soccer // Colorado Avalanche – NHL // Colorado Mammoths – Lacrosse (!) // St. Louis Rams – NFL. Now Arsenal FC.

      They appear to be genuinely well run with sound finances. But do you imagine they win much ? Sorry …. Look Again. They tend to be goodish mid table clubs which are not allowed to piss money around. My guess is Kroenke milks those clubs and milks those fan bases. My guess is that will (continue to) happen at Arsenal. Remember Kroenke is not an Arsenal fan. He is a business man who does NOT do an Abramoviz at Chelski. He married a member of a Walmart founding family. He knows xxxx all about ‘ soccer.’ He probably knows xxxx all about lacrosse. He seeks greater and greater personal wealth and a good return on investment.

      • “who certainly wants to possess a famous football club and wants to bask in the glory of winning things ”

        I don’t think so. many people forget the comments Usamov first made when he started investing in Arsenal. He saw it as a cash cow, and actually advocated that shareholders be paid dividends from the incomes!

        Think about it, before he needed to do a P.R. campaign his plan was clear. take over Arsenal and take its rich profits and pay himself massive dividends. Now, he is subdued that rhetoric, but if you read carefully in no circumstance does he say he is actually going to invest money in the club outside of buying enough shares so that he can do whatever he wants.

        • spot on mate!!! i searched in vain for where he actually said he would pump in xxxx amount of money into the club. Stan might might be doing nothing, but this this will do “something” and that’s the scary part

        • Fact of the matter is that every company should pay dividends, it’s not unusual to expect that. That said, i think it’s quite clear to mr usmanov by now what is needed to run a successful club. I honestly hope he gets a chance to showcase his vision for Arsenal because stan is not interested in the success of this club

      • The situation @ arsenal is simple…a choice between the lesser of two evils….both kroenke and usmanov are two businessmen who care about one thing and one thing only….THE BOTTOMLINE. Its just that usmanov is towing the aggressive line and kroenke is playing it cool. They are both bad for the club on the long run. I’m pro-arsenal and I’m pro-progress and pro-ambition ….which we clearly lack because someone(whoever that might be) let things at arsenal degenerate into a bidding war of greed. The people who let the likes of usmanov and kroenke in certainly had bags of money standing in the “arsenal way” Sigh

    • ????

    • My thoughts entirely. It amazes me how gullible some of our fans are.

    • Kurtis,

      I have no doubt that we don’t know much about what Usmanov would do beyond his statements. I don’t know much about him and as a fan, my interests may not entirely tally with those of the owner (be it Kroenke or Usmanov). However, it would be great if we had some key interests in common with the owner. Kroenke has not in the few years he has been around, come out clearly to tell us what his interests are and how they tally with ours. Consequently, as a fan, i desire both the trophies and the long term stability of the club. However, by losing our key players every summer, i don’t know anyone who believes this brings us closer rather than farther from the trophies that we as fans desire. The key question is not whether Usmanov is the best guy but what do the current board intend to do to address this issue? That for me is the question that Usmanov raised that i am most keen to hear Kroenke & Co answer.

  5. Your prejudice against Usmanov is blatant and smacks of ignorance and arrogance

    • Interesting. My ‘prejudice’ is actually based on research about the man.

      • Please show your research in more (x100) details, thanks!

        • are your fingers broken that you can’t type the chap’s name in to google yourself?

          If you believe that Usmanov’s J’Accuse is anything but sewer-level self-aggrandising 8ull5hit, then you must be stupider than you type. Why didn’t he pipe up when he was denied a seat on the board earlier in the summer when he acquired enough shares to merit an invitation?

          Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe Kroenke is the answer either, but he’s the lesser of two evils certainly when it comes to the other bloke. Any cursory research should turn up lots of information on your solution to our ‘problems’.

          A player won’t sit down in the penultimate year of his contract to discuss a renewal, wow, what is the club and Wenger doing? Surely if that happens, all they need to do is taser the player and arrange an extraordinary rendition, torture his ass, and then hope he signs? Our ‘captain’s’ statement just puts him in the same bracket as our ex-captain and slightly above the execrable nasri.

          • “are your fingers broken that you can’t type the chap’s name in to google yourself?” Dude, nothing to do with my fingers, it is a norm that the people who claim certain statement should provide the prove to support his statement!!! Why should I go find the prove that which go reverse with my opinion??!! You are the only one who must be stupider 100 times than you had typed!!! LOL…..

            “Why didn’t he pipe up when he was denied a seat on the board earlier” Oh man, neither you nor me didn’t know what is really going on in this incident. Please don’t simply said and judge all this base on your own opinions!!!

            But what I done more logical, demand for just as simple as URL ONLY…!!! If the people who claim the statement can’t show even URL that pin point me to correct prove, then only one conclusion can be made is: All this are just his opinions!

            Got it??

            “Why didn’t he pipe up when he was denied a seat on the board earlier in the summer when he acquired enough shares to merit an invitation” Simple, the Kronke already publicly told everyone that he not won’t give Usmanov a seat even though he has about 30% of Arsenal stock. Go back read some news before comment something you not really know about it!!!

      • Research? Please share…? I’m easy, anything will do, like URL that contents relevant info or pdf to download…

        Or… no research actually? Just own analysis on the letters?

      • I don’t see why people are so concerned about his past. How do you know Stan has a squeaky clean image or a past of a saint? Every successful businessman has a shady past and Usmanov’s past is just as shady. As for his plans for the club, he is under no obligation to present them publicly as long as he’s not the majority owner. Why should he? He’s no dumb amateur in the world of business, as one of the richest men in the world, I’m sure he will have the best team working to ensure Arsenal is successful. I’m sure he could just write a check as you suggest, but would you write a check to your friend who publicly insulted you?

        Your argument is flawed and laughable and smacks of blatant and blind prejudice. Nothing is based on research as you state. How can you tell if he wants to take money out of Arsenal, isn’t he the one talking about making it debt-free and providing a warchest? What basis have you to state that his plan to compete with City is “doomed to fail”. And just because Dein sold all his shares doesn’t mean he’s the devil, so did all the others. Your article is childish dislike of the man and nothing more.

        There, I have just concluded my argument without a mention of Kronke. IO am not a champion of Usmanov or his taking over our club but I’m just annoyed at people talking out of their asses and bringing up weird shit like his past in arguments. What difference does that make to how Arsenal is run?

        • Usmanov has stated in the past that he wanted to introduce a dividend model for shareholders.

          This letter is a pitch for public opinion without a plan to back it up. Why should he present a plan to us? For the same reasons we want Kroenke to present his plan – it affects our club, of which they are supposed to be custodians.

          Every successful businessman has a shady past? I’d dispute that, and add that there are certainly different levels of ‘shady’.

          • All I’m saying is given the current board’s unfair stance again him, any plans that Usmanov may have for the club are or will be considered irrelevant by them. Since this letter was aimed at the fans rather than the board, it has been worded in such a way that it speak out to us, which explains the terms “debt-free” and “war-chest”.

            As a custodian who owns 29% of the club he is not given any respect whatsoever by the current holier-than-thou bunch, he has no choice but to garner support of the fans. I can see why he’s doing it. I don’t see anything wrong with the scenario of him working with Stan. Just because the past is murky, the prejudice and the hatred accorded to him by the board and the writer of this article is uncalled for.

            • ‘Just because his past is murky’?

              Sorry, but I’m struggling to get past that.

              • Okay, I’ll break it down for you. You are behaving as if you have been personally affected by his actions in the past. As far as Gooners are concerned he is a successful businessman, one of the most successful in fact, who will bring something to the table in the endeavor to make Arsenal a force.

                I fail to understand what exactly about his past offends you? How will that affect his business strategy at Arsenal? You say he has stated in the past that he wants to take money out. How about the fact that he has also stated on record that he wants to clear the club off its debts and that he’s in it for the long term. If you dispute his statements you can also say the same about Stan. What’s worse, he being the majority stakeholder hasn’t even outlined his plans.

                People saying Usmanov should sell to fanshare are deluded and impractical. How can he afford to when he’s trying to gain control of the club? That is not an issue here, the issue, my friend, is that people simply can’t see beyond his past and perhaps unfairly, that clouds their judgement.

              • I think we’re going to have to agree to disagree here, because we’re polar opposites with our view on this one.

                I don’t need to be personally affected by someone’s history, to want nothing to do with them, or for them to have anything to do with something I love. That’s like saying that a footballer who has killed a kid while drink driving should be merrily hired by another club, because ‘it didn’t affect them’. Past matters.

                I have no interest in seeing beyond his past, because it will forever be relevant to me.

    • Well said. A poorly written article as if it comes from the board or Gazidis, the people who said they don’t care if we don’t even get into CL.

      • How is the article poorly written? Compared to most of the Arsenal content out there it’s erudite and states it’s argument clealry.

        You can criticise the current setup and still not want to see the club be sold to Usmanov. It’s not that hard to follow. If you are going to criticise the quality of someone’s writing you should provide evidence of it. Instead, I suspect that you simply disagree with the author and are therefore making a simplistic statement in reference to the quality of his writing rather than taking the time to refute the content of his actual argument.

        Because no one wants to come out here and state some of Usmanov’s past I’ll allude to a few things you will easily be able to find on the internet.

        – He has been previously imprisoned for extortion and bribery. He has since been exonerated. Given the extent of corruption in ex-Soviet states it might be difficult to get a clear understanding of the story.

        – In 2011 a newspaper he owned in Russia published an article that revealed voting fraud on behalf of Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party during parlimentary elections. Usmanov fired the editorial staff responsible for the article and gagged the magazine.

        There is much more than that available and I implore you to go look for it. I don’t want the man anywhere near the club even if it meant winning the CL. I suspect many people don’t undertand the history of this club. It’s always been well run and has acted with my dignity than many other clubs. I’d like it to stay that way.

  6. A bizarre article! Without going in to detail and debating the merits (or assumptions) in your article, the fact remains that the more discerning Arsenal supporter is finally understanding that Mr Kronke has no interest in football or Arsenal and his ownership is merely a revenue generator for his other sporting interests in the States!

    Usmanov (like it or not) represents the only other alternative option at this time! So what are the differences? Usmanov is at least a supporter. He has a box and attends many games. Kronke attends no games and pays himself a £1.3m salary from Arsenal! Usmanov’s fortune is even greater than Abramovic’s! Kronke’s isn’t! Usmanov may well bring David Dein in to the fold…the man who attracted (and kept) big players and who was the perfect foil for Wenger! Kronke wont! (Remember the board ignoring Dein was why Cole walked out)!

    So in short, Usmanov beocmes the lesser of two evils and like Abramovic he doesn’t need the money Arsenal can generate to fund other ventures. I would love a Barcelona style “ownership by the people” with an elected president, but let’s face it that is never going to happen in England!

    So cynical timing or not..the popular opinion is turning. Patient Arsenal fans were prepared to give Kronke a chance and he continues to ‘cock a snook’ at the people who have had Arsenal in their family blood for generations and we will not accept it!

    • But there is the assumption – you assume Usmanov is the lesser of two evils without knowing what his plans are. He has talked in the past about taking dividends out of the club, which is a big negative. The concept of ‘it can’t be worse with Usmanov’ is a very dangerous one, in my opinion.

      Dein is not involved with R&W anymore but even if he was – this is the man that sold his entire shareholding for a massive profit.

      • You will find they know very little about either very wealthy and very unsavoury individual. It is nearly all hot air. Tell them to look up Kroenke’s other sports clubs !!

      • i can’t see anything to like about stan either. he tookover last year and soon after that cesc,samir and clichy left and RVP is almost gone. all being poorly handeled. which speaks volume of mismanagement and lack of ambition by the team stan. the loss of qualty from the team because of this is another long debate.

      • and thats a problem? a man making money for himself as the arsenal players are doing? pete, do you have the faintest idea what stan’s plan for arsenal is?

    • He is not an arsenal fan, he supports man utd.

      • Please explain why Usmanov doesnt just buy Kromke out?
        If, as you state, he is just a business man, then everyone has their price.
        Could it be just hot air from a CONVICTED felon?

  7. In this light where do we stand? Football is a beautiful game that is crowned with winning trophies. We have failed to do so for the last seven years, Sincerely we desire a change. We buy players (weak) who lack drives, physic and mental ability to be successful at a price that. We can get players with drives for success pay them more than they deserve and at the end when they are fully ripe they walk away. We truly need to change to win things

    • I’m certainly not going to argue that we have issues. Building a squad over a long time to see them constantly trickle out when at or approaching their peak is maddening. I don’t see Usmanov as a magic bullet though.

      • Magic bullet?? whatever. , mate anything is better than shooting yourself in the head season after season, give change a try.

        • Is Stan responsible for the foot-shooting?

          If it’s not him, then it’s the board of the last 7 years, right? But that board were also significantly the same in the 7 successful years before that as well?

          So if owners are to blame for the last 7 years, they should also be credited for the success of the previous years, right?

          So were they incompetent, or competent? Or is it just that changing board members are not gonna translate to on-field success?

          I suspect it’s the latter.

          There are too many fans feeling so frustrated (7 years without a trophy, bad, sure, but really, you’re pampered) that they grasp at any change even if they aren’t solutions.

  8. PR exercise indeed,but by who?

    I would definitely question the authenticity of this ‘open letter’. As has been pointed out, it in no way destabilizes the club and further polarizes our fan base. To that end I’d say it has achieved it’s mission, wouldn’t you.

    • Precisely – it is working, which is a bad thing ™. The point is that while the letter itself is fairly transparent, snippets of it have quite clearly been designed for the media to pick up on.

      Tomorrow, we are likely to see these snippets in print, out of context. And then the whole thing spirals out of control, which I suspect was the plan.

      • You rightly point to the transparency of the letter and yet your article seems to lend to it’s authenticity.

        Far be it from me to question the media but I’ve long though they have an agenda when it comes to us. After all we’ve been making them eat their words for quite some time, how many times have they suggested even stated that we’d drop out of the top four. How many of them felt like fools for ridiculing Wenger’s suggestion (it wasn’t even a prediction just a suggestion) that his team could go undefeated. Anyway as we know mention Arsenal and you automatically increase your hits or sell more papers. Afterall we’re a club in crisis and have been for the past 7 or 8 years, I mean we’ve won no trophies surely that’s proof.

        As Harry Allen once said to Public Enemy “Don’t believe the hype!”

  9. we need trophies, that is a bitter truth………………….how do we win them, by letting good top players leave the club!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! no way. Usmanov is the only option which is never as bad as American K

    • I’ll repeat my question from earlier – what makes you think he would inject money, rather than take the dividends out that he has expressed a wish for before.

    • Trophies be damned, the current board over generations have dedicated their lives to this club, as custodians of a beautiful thing that every single one of us has gained a lot from, shall they be cast aside to bring in a man of dubious connections and someone looking to do the polar opposite of what has sustained us for so long?. your children will support arsenal, hopefully they’ll still play in red and be competitive and carry along clubs long and proud history, these things matter to some of us more than trophies.
      Re. Usmanov, he is initiating a hostile takeover, lest some of you think dein, is in the picture somewhere, he was given the boot by the usmanov’s after he helped them invegle themselves into the club. that is the sort of man whose promises you sem willing to believe in your thirst for trophies.
      Think it through, boss, because it is always the fans that lose the most,when this goes tits up. look at rangers and cardiff city.

    • Money is rarely ever ‘injected’. They are accounted as ‘loans’ and for most but the richest people, they expect repayment.

      Sure, you might argue Usmanov is rich enough to forget these loans and turn them into effective donations, but how sure are you?

  10. Excellent analysis. Keep up the good work!

    • Dear fella, I also would like to agree with you, but I want to know what is the research (he claimed that he did) that support his analysis.

      Then I demand the research info since I’m very eager to agree with him. :)
      But he not reply me. :(

      Can you explain why he didn’t share the research info?

      • I did reply. Google is your friend. I’m not going to post any research into the background of Alisher Usmanov here. A quick Google will tell you why that is, too, particularly if you put ‘Schillings’ into the same search.

        • Did his background is relevantly translate him that he is not true Arsenal fans? I don’t see the connection between this… How can you assure he is not going to invest $$ in Arsenal business? I admit that I also cannot assure he is going to invest $$ in Arsenal, but one thing has been solidly proven is current owner was not (and will not) invest the $$ (that earned under Arsenal)!!! Change needed!!!

          • See this is the point. You say that we should bring in Usmanov because Kroenke isn’t piling money in.

            Imagine that Usmanov were in charge, and was also putting no money in – would you then want Kroenke in?

            • Can you 100% sure that Usmanov will putting no money in? Cannot right? Then just try it!!!

              The situation now just like we got 2 road to choose: one is surely dead road, one is dark and unknown road. So, your stand now is choosing dead road, but I’m not! Because I want Arsenal alive!

              Please… Never Try Never Know… LOL…

              • No, I can’t, I never claimed to. The point is that we don’t know what would happen, yet people assume things will get better.

                They might get better, they might get worse. But nothing I have seen from him, even today, has encouraged me one bit.

              • Agreed, that’s why I prefer to unknown rather than stick with the dead wood owner (which has been proved with past 7 years), at least we got chance to bounce back which much better than Kroenke policy has been proven totally failed.

                That’s all my point about.

              • How can all of you who want Usmanov to take over the club be so naive! All you say is why not give him a chance.
                Let me ask this.
                Say he takes over the club, milks the club amd doesnt spend money on players llike Kroenke. If Usmanov latches onto Arsenal like an Octopus, What will you do next.? How the hell will you drive him out of the club? Do you guys have an answer to that. I bet you dont.
                A single owner is always risky, it is good to have the shares split among 2 major shareholders, that way no owner can dominate the club and eat it.

              • If Kroenke is a ‘deadwood owner’ for not injecting money, I think many clubs have had successes with ‘deadwood owners’. This is not salvation.

                Arsenal is an Institution, independent of any single individual.

                Any owner who looks at it as just another bank account to take out or indeed, put money into, I will reject.

  11. Usmanov wants to distribute dividends to shareholders – our current board doesn’t do this. That’s money that comes directly out of the club – why would such a rich fan of the club want to take money away from the team? I don’t like it.

    Plus I don’t want to be another Chelsea, buying trophies in a classless manner – yes I want our transfer policy to change, yes I want us to buy more quality but I don’t want us to lose our identity.

    • 2006: “yes I want our transfer policy to change, yes I want us to buy more quality”
      2007: “yes I want our transfer policy to change, yes I want us to buy more quality”
      2008: “yes I want our transfer policy to change, yes I want us to buy more quality”
      2009: “yes I want our transfer policy to change, yes I want us to buy more quality”
      2010: “yes I want our transfer policy to change, yes I want us to buy more quality”
      2011: “yes I want our transfer policy to change, yes I want us to buy more quality”
      2012: “yes I want our transfer policy to change, yes I want us to buy more quality”

      yes, keep dreaming until the owner is changed…

      • Surely you’re mistaken? 2006 was the year right after we were in the Champions League final.

        2006 was also only two years since Arsenal won the league with the old transfer policy.

        And what about the transfer policy do you want changed? The policy where we mould incomplete players into great ones? The same policy we have today that produced the Invincibles?

        Together with your mistakes about the years above, I get the feeling you’ve not really been a fan since 2006.

    • ‘Dont want us to loose our identity’

      For over 100 years, football in London was about Arsenal versus the rest of the country. There were other clubs in London, but only 1 real club.

      Since we left Highbury, all that has changed. The Arsenal of recent years is not one that I recognise. It makes pitiful excuses about not being able to compete – often with a club from our own city!!!!! It exists to service clubs at home our abroad.

      Arsenal has completely lost its identity – the current Arsenal (woudlnt swap pretty football for trophies) is exactly the club Spurs used to be.

      In not saying Usmanov is the saviour. But the current regime is embarasing the memory of our great club year after year after year. Usmanovs proposals are not about losing our identity. They offer at least the promose of throwing off this disgusting forelock-tugging humiliation that characterises our club as it stands AND GETTING OUR IDENTITY BACK.

      • The best comment so far.
        Money out to rich fat cats who could care less about the club is an embarrassment to us true and loyal fans who fund these desired dividends, especially if we see a mediocre team, no silverware and our assets sold to teams who have somehow overtaken us. Nothing burns more that watching that goofy chimp Na$ri celebrate a title whilst i contemplate how much i paid to watch my beloved Arsenal limp into 3rd place.
        And whilst vilified (rightly and wrongly at times) from a lot of Arsenal fans, Wenger is the centre of that little universe that has held together a lot of the team. God help us all when he retires because it’ll come down to two rich prick vultures squabbling over the carcass of our once great club.
        Been a fan for 30 years, always will be a fan, and i if i was Chapman i would be haunting the shit outa some of these people right now.

      • How are the current regime sacrifing our identity?

        Let me start by saying I disagree heavily with lots of their policies.

        But I don’t quite agree with fans who attach their frustrations to vague things, like the ‘current regime’, without really pointing to what’s wrong.

        The same ‘pretty football’ has always been what Arsene was striving for anyway and that didn’t stop him at one time achieving trophies at all.

        Basically, for all its flaws, even a regime change is not going to change our fortunes. Arsenal is as much a victim of the changing power landscape (financially) in the league as anything else and I don’t believe any ownership can change that by much.

  12. You said what makes you think that Usmanov will inject money into the team? Let me tell you this, it is not the Usmanov that do not want to inject money into the team, it’s the board that are the one that are rejecting his money.

  13. Be careful about adopting a Russian criminal as your saviour !

    Don’t sell yourselves (like Nasri) to the highest bidder.

    • Spot on!

    • Fuck you man. Why do you try to ignore the fucking truth eventhough its painful in your eyes and ears? Eventhough you say he is a Russian gangster, Alisher has a heart for our sick, full-of-shit club. Fuck you man.

      • Sorry brother, Alisher Usmanov is a Man Utd supporter, look it up.S it would be interesting to know what kind of heart you think her has for our beloved (at least to me) club?

    • Hi, may I know what kind of crime Usmanov has committed? Could you please kindly show the evidence of it? Thanks in advance!

      • not being satisfied with a good roasted chicken, but seeking more, he is an oligarch and therefore by definition an asset stripper of the most corrupt water. will that do?

        • Oh yes!

        • I like seeking not only good roasted chicken, but better roasted chicken! LOL…

          Can you share the relevant report/url/(or what ever you have) that prove that he is oligarch?

          Thanks in advanced!

          • Hello…? Hello….??????
            Please share the prove…. please…. need it badly to prove me wrong….

            Or… you just said this is just your own opinions? Just like what Pete qouted? “No. I form my own opinions, thanks.”


            • Did you click on the link i posted?

            • Well, you haven’t proved you’re right either, so you’re not winning any argument here.

            • @ ATF & Alan, have either of you tried *ucking your mothers?

            • Arsenal True Fans believes that the world is all-perfect and that everyone who commits a crime or injustice will actually will get convicted by a court of law.

              Anyone who has know criminal record obviously has never done anything wrong!

              Russian oligarch’s are completely transparent and beholden to the rule of law of course! Because they were all forged in the righteous fire of the Soviet asset fire sales!

      • go on the internet the last time i checked google still gave answers, look the man up. its not so hard. get some info then form an opinion based on it. stop asking go and get it urself

  14. Are you one of the people that was paid by Ken Friar and co to be anti-Usmanov?

    Like the Red Action lot who got paid to create an Anti-Usmanov banner.

  15. There are fit and proper tests for anyone who wants to own a football club. If Usmanov passes that, then he is fit to own Arsenal football club if shares are sold to him on the open market. The utter bias in this letter is synonymous with that been spouted on the twitterverse by @arseblog, @gunnerholic and others. Because someone has done something terrible in the past (which they may have paid a penalty for, assuming they did do something wrong in the first instance), does that mean they cannot get on with things and live normal, productive and credible lives like the rest of us? Do we know what skeletons Kroenke has in his closet, or all the other board members at Arsenal?

    This blinkered outlook by many “pure” Arsenal fans is silly. If the board knows we are unlikely to compete for trophies when the season starts and that’s our strategy (as has been the case for the last 7 years – qualifying for champions league is a trophy), our ticket prices should reflect that. We should not pay the highest ticket prices in the land and then have to listen to rubbish like “qualifying for champions league is a trophy”.

    Now don’t get me wrong – I don’t agree with Van Persie. What he has done is absolutely contemptible and disrespects Arsene, the club and the fans. Usmanov however is a different matter. He makes salient points, and anyone who really wants our club to compete would listen to them. At least, he is telling us what he thinks and what he is going to do. What is Kroenke saying????

    • one word, recidivism

    • I bet Kroenke doesn’t even know what’s going on to be honest. Something has to change or the mighty Arsenal will slowly drop away.

    • the same one the former Mancity and Portsmouth owners passed? you’re having a laugh

    • As someone mentioned, Portsmouth is starting League 1 with a 10-point deduction. All the result of a series of owners passing the ‘fit and proper’ test.

      Usmanov does not make salient points. His points about the stadium debt ignore the fact that it would be highly expensive to clear the debt early due to penalties and his oft-cited point about making Arsenal financially competitive is well, rubbish.

      Remember, if Usmanov intends to make money out of the club, then any cash injection will not be an injection, but a loan. That stadium debt would be peanuts compared.

    • And you also agree with the point the blogger is making when you say:

      “At least, he is telling us what he thinks and what he is going to do. What is Kroenke saying????”

      Sure, Usmanov is telling us what he’s thinking, but a lot of people disagree with that. But that does not mean they agree with Kroenke either.

      And also, woe is the day when we decide the best owner is the one that talks the most.

  16. “Don’t be fooled – this isn’t a man who is going to take over, plough half a billion in just to see his ‘beloved’ club succeed”.
    Yeah Man Utd.

  17. “getting fans on his side” I’m sorry to say but no one cares about the fans – no one! Fans, to use the original article’s political analogy, are an electorate, an entity that needs to be fed continuous PR and spin in order to gain support to achieve authority and assume power. Just like an electorate, the alternative is as hard to attain as it is for the fans – don’t like the politician, then move country or, in this instance, change club allegiances.

    We are customers, or worse, consumers of a worst kind – seen as captive audience by men in charge, akin to drug addicts, unable to break free. And seemingly are increasingly treaded as drug addicts, with patronising contempt.

    Revolution is the only solution – people(fan) power to rule, establishing dictatorship of fandom. And it is possible – just look at Bundesliga! Change starts at home and the long journey starts with a single step –fans are the only custodians and have to unite. This could be our Arab Spring.. I really hope so

    • I agree to an extent.

      I think a lot of clubs are coming round to the realisation that in the football industry, you have one of the most captive and loyal audiences you can find, anywhere. It is a shame that, because of that, they are cashing in so much (not Arsenal in particular, but football in general).

  18. I don’t understand how people are unable to see this for what it is, I guess there really is one born every minute; nice article and good to know there are people who actually prize integrity above wanting shiny things.

  19. Come on, wakey wakey mate. It’s all a PR excercise from BOTH sides. The drip feeding to the press about the evil Usmanov stems from the board and their allies in the press. This is the group that allowed anti red and whote flags into the stadium.

    The fact that it has come to light that Gazidis has “cold called” a Russian company HALF OWNED by their eternal nemesis shows you that the board is currently run by utter desperate and clueless wonders.

    Whilst I wouldn’t want any of these soulless business men to take over The Arsenal, the fact is it has now happened. At least Usmanov will have some sort of affinity with this sport of Football whilst Silent Stan wouldnt know an offside to a terrible half time pie.

    The current set up is garbage. As is the thought that this further destabilises the club.

    • this didn’t
      The comments about the competency or otherwise of the people who run the club i wont dignify with a response.

      • Oh look, more regurgitated Craig Murray blogging. Any other evidence or are we going to be going over the same text to get your point across. Craig Murray is a season ticket holder and apparently friend of some of the board so please give me something new there’s a good chap.

  20. Assumptive unsupported anti usmamov crap. He would change the policy and pump money into the club. It’s people like you that keep the current board and their policy of ‘as long as we maintain profit, then f&£k silverware’ in power.

  21. gunner, Sheikh Mansour is the crown prince of Abu Dhabi – the richest province in the UAE. As the sovereign of this small oil rich state his family’s fortunes have been estimated at over 400 billion dollars – all of the surplus investment funds of the state through Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Abu Dhabi United Group, Etihad Airlines and many other enterprises belongs to him. He can have Usmanov for breakfast financially, not literally ofcourse because he would puke violently on all that volume of food.

  22. Your assumption is that because you’ve rightfully deduced that this is a PR exercise (hardly takes a genius to work that out) that Usmanov’s promise to change the transfer policy/ wage structure is a lie. But maybe this is a PR exercise AND he’s telling the truth… ‘but he’s a criminal’ I hear you whine… So… The f&£k… What…. So is Kroenke for what his doing to our club.

    • I didn’t see an accusation of it being a lie, I saw someone saying that he saw no plan, no numbers, and no reason to believe.

      • A statement of intent is enough for the less cynical. As for kroenkes plans I’d say his track record this far is all the evidence you need

        • Ah, assuming its an either or and one must be chosen.

          Just as well Usamov isn’t Venky’s. Because their promises were so different….

  23. I agree that any increased involvement from Usmanov and co. must be met with caution but what could he do to disappoint? Not invest hundreds of millions? Charge us all ridiculous (and if you think they’re not you can surely afford to buy the club yourself) ticket prices? Allow our club to sell their best and not mount a title challenge? Yes that truly would be a terrible state of affairs wouldn’t it…

    Red and White have clearly stated that they want to incorporate a policy where the club’s debt is reduced by investment directly from themselves and Mr Kroenke but the board has shown no interest in this (I assume due to the investment being strictly to reduce the club’s debt and not benefit the board financially).

    There are other elements of the letter that I found fairly interesting. A lot of what was written questioned the way in which the board operates with little or no transparency and as a fan I do have to question why that’s necessary. Obviously it’s a PR move, but you seem to think that Usmanov attempted to disguise that fact. You need to have the fans on side to make serious changes at the club and outlining an improved business model can’t be seen as cloak and dagger, it’s just the opposite.

    I’m not anti-Wenger, I’m a 21 year old business student, the only Arsenal I know is Wenger’s Arsenal, but I believe that to accept the current situation and to resist change is to accept the end of the Arsenal that taught me to love football.

    • I think the ‘could it be worse?’ argument is dangerous, even if the current situation doesn’t seem all that promising (and as I’ve said, Kroenke has not convinced me).

      Liverpool are a good case of what can happen, and while United are winning trophies, and therefore seem immune as a comparison, the Glazers are bleeding that club dry. They should be financially conquering with the amount of gate receipts and prize money they’ve received in recent years, alongside their staggering commercial deals. But a lot of that is paying the Glazers off. Dangerous game.

      There are some good points in the letter, but that is largely because it is designed to say what we want to hear. The trouble is that is so transparently the case that the promises of change ring hollow.

  24. How do you see this issue regarding ownership being resolved. Mr Kronke owns over 60% of the club. He is going nowhere unless he feels selling up is in his best interests (with international TV rights revenues to be re-tendered in the next couple of years, this is not going to happen). Mr Kronke cannot just invest £100m into the playing squad without increasing his percentage holding into the club (as he would in theory be throwing £40m down the drain). Although Usmanov has requested that further funds be injected into the club via a further share issue, i would be very surprised if he would except a pro-rata injection which would not dilute Kronke’s holding, as his aim essentially is to gain control of the club through the Fans unrest (besides, by buying individual shares at artificially high prices, Usmanov has made this possible avenue of development financially unfeasible for Kronke).

    How do we not know that our self sustainability model is not actually being imposed based on the above stated ownership battle? Lets face it, we are miles in front of the of the finical fair play line given the fact that stadium repayment costs and all associate finance charges are not considered, with major commercial deals coming up for renewal owner the next couple of years, such a capital injection and increase in quality on the field makes commercial sense.

    If the above was the cause of project sustainability, the club would not what to advertise it!

    Personally i just hope that one of the above stated parties packs their bags and fucks off, unfortunately, i do not see this happening

    • Nice post. I really don’t know how this one is going to play out, but I don’t see it going well. Right now Kroenke has no reason to sell up, or indeed change his policies, and that marginalises Usmanov to the point where he is likely to get louder and more disruptive.

      I don’t see him being welcomed into the fold and it appears the board will be overly self-destructive with that much conflict, but at the same time Usmanov has been being at such high prices that he is extremely unlikely to sell either.

      Not pretty, no matter how you look at it.

  25. Agree mostly with everything you’ve said here . Many Arsenal fans seem to just want the money put into the club , they don’t care where or who. We’ve never been the sort of club to spend big . Arshavin was our biggest signing . Look how well that turned out. Plus Usmanov is at best shady , http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2007/09/alisher_usmanov/ . I found this article on him insightful. Probably not the best picture , maybe even biased but it still gives for good reading. We are not that far off , we’re not miles away from achieving something. I have patience and belief we can do it with the current system. I may be called naive for thinking that but oh well . I can’t be as cynical as everyone on twitter and on other blogs around

  26. I think the Arsenal Board are living in denial of the realities of the situation in football. I don’t like the idea of Usmanov owning the club outright, but the board wrong to alienate a 30% shareholder. They are currently placing all their eggs in the FFP basket and somehow believe they have a divine right to dictate how other clubs should spend. To expect other clubs’ spending to fall in line with ours is a huge mistake.

  27. Usmanov cannot compete with Man City who are supported by a sovereign fund. Impossible. There’s no way Arsenal, even with Usmanov in charge, can compete with Man City. This is all a publicity stunt designed for fans who are financially ignorant, such as the many on this blog. Just stay the course, it will work out. Two years ago, Barca, Madrid, Man U, Man City and Chelsea outbid Arsenal for players. Today, Barca and Madrid and their local banks are broke, Man U has to issue shares (or hope to), to stay alive. Two years ago we would never have gotten Podolski and Giroud. Next year, Chelsea and Man City won’t be able to compete because of the impact on their Champions League positions. Just chill people. Van Persie leaving means NOTHING. Arsenal is in a fantastic position for the long term, and Usmanov knows it. He’s just trying his luck before his options run out.

    • Well, just google Alisher Usmanov net worth and also google Sheikh Mansour net worth and compare the two. Usmanove is about 5 times wealthier. What makes you say that he can’t compete?

  28. […] I would like to say a big thank you for all the comments and feedback on yesterday’s piece on the Red and White letter, ostensibly sent to the board, but actually written for our ‘benefit’. I realise that […]

  29. Nonsense article. Red and White have no say in the direction of the club. Why would they just invest money that Kroenke would have the power over? Why invest to enrich him? Nonsense!!

  30. Pete. You have good arguments in your article, and I can see why your train of thought would make sense to you and many others. However, I think your article is unfair to Usmanov. I think Usmanov has persevered on the sidelines for a long time without making such an elaborate public rant. He has thrown a few hints of his displeasure here and there in the past, but never this strongly. Who wouldn’t throw hints any way? Now that it has come to this (where he has had to do a letter), I see it as consistency on his part. His previous mini rants have always carried the same message that the letter now expounds on. There comes a time when someone gets tired. And one must make a move. And the move has to get well timed so that it can receive some momentum. It would be very daft for Usmanov not to take this as the chance to make his move and make it clear to the fans what he would want to see. It is clever, but it is also necessary. Timing is key. If he writes the same letter after the signing of podolski it’s stupid. If he writes it after van persie secures the golden boot it’s silly. If he writes it after the captain announces that he is leaving…then that’s brilliant.

  31. The most salient point of Usmanov’s letter is where he points to the board not being able to sell a vision of success to its top players. For me that is the crux of his argument. This board are useless, and Usmanov knows it. If it were working well I don’t think he’d have bothered to release this. He’s not only a fan (yes, he actually attends matches, unlike Silent Stan), he’s a businessman with an investment, and he wants to see that investment do well. You can’t criticize him for that. As for the letter being a PR exercise, well at least he understands the concept of public relations. It’s not something I’ve come to expect from Hill-Wood and his arrogant bunch of cronies.

  32. Brilliant article and sad to see so many complete idiots posting some proper inbred responses about it Pete. Ideally we’d have a situation similar to Madrid & Barca whereby the club is owned by thousands of different fans with a board there to serve the club rather than opaque businessmen & politicians that take advantage of the fans & leave them in the dark.

    • Great idea. Let’s do it. A million fans at 1k each is a billion. That’s enough to start buying shares. I’m in. Just need a bank account with a contract attached and we can get started :)

  33. For me it is simple. I could write a long article weighing up the pros and cons of different aspects of the situation. But, in the end, as with everything in life, whether we realise it or not, it comes down to a subjective assessment of what is right and wrong, morally! I am a lifelong Arsenal fa with my own pretty successful sports background. As a runner, I did everything to win, but, wait, did I really! I thought so, but, I have a moral compass. I wouldn’t take away someone’s freedom so that I could win a race. Such a thing would be cowardice and a hollow victory that could only be enjoyed by someone not fit for normal society, let alone with a powerful stake in society. The following are facts: Usmanov sacked the Editor of a paper that ctiticised Vladimir Putin’s reign as undemocratic, which it certainly is. This proves that he values his own interests more than right and wrong. Is he fit to run a football club that has enshrined decent English values for more than a century? I say no. If you think otherwise that is up to you, but, if you do, you’re concluding that football is more important than democracy, freedom and the rule of law, and, it’s not, is it?! Arsenal will eventually find success the true Arsenal way, and future generations will look back with pride.

    • Spot on assessment. This is exactly why I support Arsenal and not the blue mascara covered ho’s that Chelsea and Man City sugar daddies pimp out. If anyone wants to win that way, please, find the door in that direction.

    • Exactly. There are things that are more important even than trophies – even than a football club.

      There are players you don’t want playing for your team, no matter how good they are. Joey Barton and Mario Balotelli are examples. Similarly, there are owners who you don’t want running your club, no matter how rich they are. Usmanov is an example of that.

      If (when?) Usmanov owns Arsenal, I will stop going. And I’ve been a fan for forty five years.

  34. Bloody good article. Really it is nice to see someone step back and be against polarisation, rather than jumping on one bandwagon or another, and speak rationally. A point of calm in a sea of knee-jerk reactionary bollocks. Thank you :)

  35. Brilliant Article
    Agree with pretty much all of it. Never understood why people automatically assumed Usmanov is like Roman or Mansour. Sometimes, even billionaires invest in this for a profit.

    This might be a case of the devil you know…

  36. How can all of you who want Usmanov to take over the club be so naive! All you say is why not give him a chance.
    Let me ask this.
    Say he takes over the club, milks the club amd doesnt spend money on players llike Kroenke. If Usmanov latches onto Arsenal like an Octopus, What will you do next.? How the hell will you drive him out of the club? Do you guys have an answer to that. I bet you dont.
    A single owner is always risky, it is good to have the shares split among 2 major shareholders, that way no owner can dominate the club and eat it.
    Dont blindly come to conclusions.

  37. Great article, really good job and I’m totally with you. It’s easy to think the grass is greener, but we’ve got the makings of an excellent season. In terms of the board, I think the naivety shown by Gazidis and Kroenke in running the club has shown itself in many ways.

    That said however, when the wolves like Usmanov are at the door sniffing blood, I see no reason to let them in. Especially when I can see signs that already the current board are capable of learning from their mistakes and are working to ensure the solidity of the club for the future.

    I think Gazidis has already admitted that mistakes have been made and he is rectifying them as he is able.

    There is no doom and gloom, we are not in financial strife, we are building a squad for the new season and RvP will either be there or not, but that, inevitably will be his decision and will mark him out as a man and a professional.


  38. Some bizarre pro-Usmanov comments here – if anyone seriously wants Arsenal run in a manner similar to Chelsea/City/United/Liverpool then they must be insane. We could be doing better and but for a lack of player investment and some ill timed injuries (Eduardo) we could have won the title in the last few years.

    Before long we will have a sustainable and debt-free club with one of the best stadiums in the world, a great fanbase and some good young players

    Also RVP can get fucked – he’s only been sporadically useful until the last 2 years and is a great player but he should look at how Arsenal players do when they leave the club – looking at Hleb, Flamini, Overmars, Adebayor, Petit etc. Even the ones who won titles (Henry, Vieira, Nasri) were not enormous contributors to the sides they were in and Fabregas was always going to leave at some point, even if I wish he was still here.

    We need some change in how we are run but Usmanov is certainly not the answer and would go against everything the club has come to stand for.

  39. Nice read
    But the open letter has done it’s job, turning fans to pro usmanov, pro kroenke and pro neither of them. All this while these three parts of fans are turning on each other, when really we should be united supporting the team. Yes we can have different opinions but to make those opinions turning on each other, gooner to gooner: I’m ashamed!

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