Is Governance the Problem at Arsenal?

Who owns Arsenal and how is it governed? Although many fans would answer that Arsenal belongs to us, the truth is that we fans are just consumers of goods and services from the club we love. We are very important to the club but this gives us no element of ownership. Good governance would normally include ensuring that decision making bodies are representative, decisions are transparent and both bodies and decisions are accountable. It is for you to judge how well Arsenal does in these terms.

Firstly actual ownership of Arsenal is the prerogative of shareholders as a whole. Currently this means that 66% are owned by a company called Kroenke Sports and Entertainments (KSE) which is wholly owned by Stan Kroenke a US billionaire who owns a number of sporting clubs and franchises mostly in the US. 30% is owned by a company called Red & White Holdings (RWH) which is jointly owned by Usmanov and Moshiri. The remaining paltry 4% is owned by a constantly decreasing number of older fans and their families.

The current situation emerged from a volatile and active Board disagreement on the new stadium. This led to a lock-down on share disposal from the Board initially and ultimately on the death of Danny Fiszman to the sale of his shares to Stan Kroenke who then exceeded 30% shareholding and had to make a formal bid to all other shareholders. This had been pre-agreed with all Board members and other major shareholders. The primary effect was to make Stan Kroenke effective sole owner of Arsenal and as a secondary effect put David Dein who had recently been removed from the Board completely into the wilderness. As a consequence he sold his shares to and briefly led RWH who garnered at that point just under 30% of the remaining shares.  This RWH share position is important because if Kroenke were to obtain a further 9% support then he could change Arsenal to a private company and this could involve all sorts of shenanigans as any Man U supporter will tell you in the light of the Glaziers following exactly this process. So Usmanov currently has an impregnable blocking vote on that.

There is one other aspect of share ownership that must be covered before we move on. Arsenal Supporters Trust (AST) who have as their members a large portion of the small independent share holders, sought to agree with Kroenke at the point of his bid and Ivan Gazidis as CEO that they would set up a Fanshare scheme to enable ordinary fans to have an opportunity to buy shares and so participate in ownership of the club. It is noteworthy that the nearly half a billion £ Kroenke has paid for his shares has not given a penny into Arsenal coffers- only new shares being issued would do this. In spite of intensive effort and pressure the issue of new shares was never agreed by Kroenke and the Fanshare scheme is going through the long, sad and arduous process of being wound up. So much for real attempts at involving fans meaningfully.

Day to day running of the club is of course the responsibility of the Board which is elected at the AGM by the shareholders (ie Stan Kroenke). The Arsenal board is currently very small, comprising only 6 persons. Two non-executive Directors are Sir Chips Keswick, a banker, and Lord Harris of Peckham a carpet retailer and Philanthropist. Neither are shareholders of any significance. There are two employees namely Ivan Gazidis as CEO and Ken Friar a very long standing employee of the club. Finally there are Stan and his son Josh Kroenke who attend with that 66% majority in their bag. The board meets monthly and all are wined and dined well at each match including away matches with luxury travel with the first team. No mean sinecure. The only major earners on the board are the two employees. Both Kroenkes and Sir Chips, who is chairman, draw a standard fee of £25k although Lord Harris donates his to charities. Neither agendas nor minutes are public documents so transparency is almost nil.

Real matters of governance concern would be that the board is in no way representative of the fans. It has no women although they are increasingly present at the stadium. It also should be noted that any skills set analysis would find the board very narrow and inadequate. There is good management and business skills but experience at top playing or coaching level is entirely absent.

When talking of the board the elephant not in the room is of course Arsene Wenger. He probably rightly has avoided siren calls to join but has zealously guarded his right to select and train all footballers on staff. He also expects the primary say in transfers in and out of the club although we have no knowledge as to what parameters may be set by the board eg specifically on total cost or value. Arsene in particular seems willing to let the buck stop with him in these areas.

Perhaps the best way to assess Arsenal governance performance is to consider issues and I have chosen three but you may well have your own and it would be interesting to see your cases and views in comments.

  1. For two years there has been a strong fan reaction to the news that a wholly Kroenke owned company has been paid £3 million each year for unspecified services commissioned and approved in particular by the two non-executive Directors. Now in principle I am not opposed depending on the services given and their true value. There are aspects of marketing and match day experience in which the US is a world leader but the problem is we are not told anything useful and so it is zero marks for transparency. Of course if it is just a means to pay Kroenke and avoid paying the nearly half again to RWH that a dividend on shares would entail then there are entirely new issues emerge.
  2. For several years local Islington Citizens supported by a number of fan groups and Arsenal blogs have been trying to persuade Arsenal to adopt the London Living Wage for it’s own staff and when the opportunity arises for external contract staff. This is clearly morally right for a company in Arsenal’s financial position and there are strong arguments that it would positively enhance the match day experience. And all at less cost than the Kroenke company fees. But in spite of being raised at the last three AGMs accountability is so poor that the policy still awaits a final board sign-off. Perhaps Stan Kroenke whose other half is not only better but also richer being a Walmart inheritor, where staff pay is notorious, has an undesirable influence here
  3. Arsenal are very rightly proud of the work they do as Arsenal in the Community. But it is extremely difficult to find a way of suggesting innovation. The FA has got itself into all sorts of foolish financial difficulty but there is a singular clear and pressing difficulty in developing youth and grass roots football. Could not Arsenal under the auspices of Arsenal in the Community set aside £5-£10millions to train and employ 25-50 new fully qualified coaches which could be offered to local schools and local cubs to build a new approach with the ‘Arsenal way’.

I have to say that for me the questions and principles that were posed in the opening paragraph are sadly evidenced that Governance at Arsenal is a long way from good enough and we as fans have to try to bring all the pressure we can to get improvements.

Vintage Gooner

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75 Responses to Is Governance the Problem at Arsenal?

  1. chas says:

    Cheers, VG.

    I’m quite happy with Kroenke’s £3m, especially if it’s a way round giving Jabba a dividend. 🙂

    I thought Arsenal did pay their directly-employed staff more than the London living wage? Contracted out services may be a different issue.

    I like the sound of your third point about coaches, but can’t really see it happening in the real world.

    Thanks again.

  2. Gööner In Exile says:

    So let’s assume we adopt the national living wage early, would we the fans accept paying more for that ticket?

    In all of fan demands for more openness I find it all a bit inward looking, and doubt there would be much quibbling if we were winning the League and Champions League every season.

    What about instead of affecting the fans by increase in cost we suggest that players have their wages reduced, after all they are the biggest cost in running our club and the reason our ticket prices increase regularly (although not as regularly as others having only been increased three times since our move to the Emirates).

    Should we have a footbally presence on the board? Well only if they are trained in the ways of business, you rarely get board members at any Plc that are experienced at the coal face (Tesco was perhaps the last proponent of such thinking with all the board being made up of staff that had worked from the shop floor up, but that is now a thing of the past, their board at that time was 5 or 6 members).

    Are our board on a gravy train or do they bring skillsets from big business and finance which are undoubtedly required in the modern football arena.

    Harris has been in business for years, opened educational establishments (one which I used to audit) in areas where he aimed to give the youngsters a step up in Technological skills against their peers.

    The £3m paid to KSE could be for numerous things, but one of the reasons i thought Kroenke bought the club was to further his ticketing company (the club have introduced TicketFast and have taken a lot of the ticketing in house) some of the costs have probably been for this.

    It’s £3m it’s less than 1% of our turnover, I am afraid it is insignificant, as you say far more would leave the club coffers if he decided to pay dividend to achieve the £3m, firstly the club would have to pay dividend on all shares (RWH and Fanshare) and then there would be an extra £500k of tax to pay, so if he wants the £3m it’s being taken in the cheapest way for the club.

    I also wonder whether it is actually to do with Nina Bracewell-Smiths sale of shares, the money for which was in loan notes in KSE, which paid at a set interest rate this was beneficial to her in terms of tax and more than likely her children when her estate is taxed, this was done at the request of NBS not by Kroenke who was happy to pay cash.

    All in all I don’t think we are that harshly done by, our wage bill as a club is high, it includes those Matchday staff, most appear to be under 21 and wouldn’t qualify for National Living Wage anyway. They are employed for three/four hours every other week to man the tills at the food halls and in the armoury, this is not their regular employment, when I was younger several of my friends had two jobs, working 9-5 in an office and taking bar work in evenings to top up their income, it was never at the same rate of pay as their main job, this is what probably 95% of our Matchday staff do. Or they are at college etc and this is again just a top up to help them get by.

  3. Eddie says:

    chas – unbelievable! One cannot get tickets for the games yet some are constantly complaining about ticket prices! what’s that about?

    VG – I am looking forward to reading your post tonight, thanks

  4. Rasp says:

    Thank you VG, that’s a very thorough and well researched article.

    I am tempted to bury my head in the sand and adopt the “that’s all way out of my remit” approach.

    Although I have called for there to be someone with footballing knowledge on the Board (Bob Wilson would be my favoured candidate) I do accept GiE’s point that first and foremost, Board members should be experienced at running big businesses.

    I’ve been a long time critic of the Arsenal PR – often because we don’t advertise the good things we do rather than for when we shoot ourselves in the foot with an ill judged statement.

    I have no problem with Stan’s companies getting paid the going rate for services and I definitely wouldn’t want Usmanov in charge of The Arsenal.

    If we are really about to give Alexis a £40m contract (and hopefully Ozil to follow next), then I see that as a statement that we are willing to compete with the big boys and so conclude that we are being run pretty well as a business and a football club.

    …. although …. I’d love it if there could be a way for supporters to be more involved – in terms of share ownership and in some aspects of decision making.

  5. stevepalmer1 says:

    Morning Vintage, you surely have been doing your research that’s for sure.When reading your post and seeing who has what shares, i did think that i read some where, that Rangers football club had some Arsenal shares, whether they have since been sold maybe you know.

    I believe that the reason they had shares in Arsenal, was because we had financial problems many years ago and some body in the club had a friend at Rangers, must have been top people from both clubs, and The Rangers man arranged for his club who must have been sitting pretty at that time, to buy some shares and give us the money to sort ourselves out.

    It was a long time ago that i read that story, but if i remember right, i think we paid their money back and let them keep the shares. As i say a long time ago. Seeing how you seem to know a lot more than me, perhaps you can throw some light on the subject. Thanks for the in depth post \mate

  6. ‘morning all, nice to hear from you again VG.

    I have a question. What’s wrong with the governence of Arsenal?

    We have a billionaire American owner with vast experiece of running sports franchises and who has never sold a single one of the huge number of shares he holds in those sports franchises His son who is obviously being groomed to take over from Stan when the time is right.

    Three long term “Arsenal” men in Lord Harris, Sir Chips Keswick and Ken Friar, all three steeped in Arsenal tradition and history.

    Those five individuals bring between them all the busines and sports management acumen neccesary in today’s football world. They also represent something that for me is far, far more important stability.

    VG mentions that there are no women on the board, so what? It may be politically correct to have one, but is that enough of a reason when we are well served by the existing board?

    On a day when it is reported that Arsenal are about to offer Alexis a £40 million pound contract quibbling about a paltry £3 million in fees for proffesional services only goes to show how little we have to complain about.

    Perhaps we should alter the Arsenal motto by adding two more words….Victory through Harmony, Stability and Continuity. 😀

  7. Morning Houston, we have a problem

    Vintage Gooner had also sent this article to Untold Arsenal who published it before us, with the same title and so it hasn’t appeared on NN in our name. We would have liked to have attracted a wider discussion which would have occurred if the post had come up on NN.

    I can change the title and republish it and ask you all to move your comments or leave it as a discussion piece just between ourselves.

    What d’ya fancy?

  8. Hi Peaches, whatever you decide will be fine by me, I’ve copied my comment as a precaution. I don’t know how to remove it anyway so could you do it if necessary?

  9. Rasp says:

    I say re-publish and delete this post after having copied the comments across – I can do my own 🙂

  10. OK Rasp – what shall we call it?

  11. Does Governance need improving at Arsenal?

  12. Rasp says:

    Is the Governance of Arsenal in the interests of the supporters?

  13. Vintage Gooner says:

    Iam entirely happy you rename but I hope we don’t lose posts.

  14. RA says:

    That is a super Post, Vintage, and you have neatly set out some of the history of wheeling and dealing that has gone on in recent years vis-a-viz the shareholdings, and the directorships of Arsenal PLC.

    I suspect that the point you are trying to make as to who owns Arsenal has a twofold answer. The legal owners of the club are the shareholders, and over the years these shares have been sold to different individuals from time to time, and no doubt that process will continue as from the viewpoint of Usmanov and Kroenke the shares in Arsenal are a commercial asset that is growing in value and probably, at some future time when it suits them, will be sold to realise that value.

    Commercial? Why, yes. There is no pretence at loving the club for its own sake – it is a trading matter to them.

    The other owners, some might say the ‘real’ owners are the fans. Now this does not give them any legal ownership, or any control over the direction of the club, but they are moral owners, investing their time, love, pride and support on a life-time basis and not a relatively short lived commercial timescale.

    You mention [corporate] governance – that is normally defined as the responsibility for the handling of money and the conduct of commercial activities. In a wider sense it may, for example, be extended to include some of the matters you raise such as the Living wage. It is important to emphasise that Arsenal does subscribe to that as far as its own employees are concerned but has up until now held to the position that they cannot be expected to ‘run’ a contractors business for them, and in any event the UK politicians are extending the scope of this, entirely welcome wage requirement,in statute law in the near future.

    I am conscious of spending too long on this, as football is what blogs are for, and even important related matters like this have a short attention timescale. 🙂

    There has never been any formal qualification requirement to run an organisation, and there is certainly none to be a director – although in recent years organisations like the UK Institute of Directors has introduced qualifications such as the Chartered Director to address the issue and attempt to bring good precise to the fore.

    In practice, however, most of the large and well run organisations, like Arsenal, appoint suitable professionally qualified senior staff to operate in the sphere of both due diligence and [corporate] governance and the statutory and stock exchange rules governing due diligence are clear, and there is a growing demand for standardisation of the rules of governance.

    Finally, in the competitive world of football, the call for so-called transparency is never going to be formalised let alone agreed, as to keep what some would call the ‘nosey’ fans happy would also entail giving other clubs possibly sensitive information, and, if you ask ‘do other non-football organisations like M&S give out such ‘transparent’ information to their customers’ the answer would be a decided no.

    Incidentally, what business is it of any none shareholding fan to query the payment of what is a relatively small sum of £3m in respect of management fees to an outside party? The legality of such a payment would have been audited and ‘approved’ by a firm of accountants and any discrepancy would be pounced on by HMRC.

    Fans are not required to be directors, auditors and taxmen or are they? 😀

    I will shut up now.

  15. RA says:

    precise = practise —- it’s not me, again.

  16. RA says:

    It’s all gone quiet……… 🙂

    I am not sure it is a good idea to ‘pinch’ another Blogsite’s Post, is it?

    Anyway, in case you have not done so yet, how about;

    Who Really Owns Arsenal?

    The word ‘Governance’ is a killer – who would be bothered to read a Post with that in the title?

    Of course I could be wrong? 🙂

  17. Sorry I walked away for a bit 😳

    9 comments on Untold Arsenal RA so you could have a point. We didn’t pinch it anyway, Vintage Gooner sent to us as well as Untold.

    It’s not just about who owns Arsenal but if there were a different makeup of the Board whether things would be done differently.

    ?????????

  18. GoonerB says:

    Afternoon all. Should I comment or is the post about to be zapped into cyberspace and reconstituted while I am in mid comment mode?

  19. GoonerB says:

    Ok, will give it a go. Great post vintage. The accountancy side of things is not my forte but I will chuck in my tuppence-worth. After all even Chas commented on my Arsenal/Spurs tactical bolleux post the other day with the insightful comment “Excellent analysis, GoonerB, thanks very much” before swanning off to await for Kitty morning to come around again…..so I have no excuses 🙂

    Personally I don’t think we are too badly run but there could always be improvements. The transparency thing is a difficult one as there are so many areas that if made transparent could weaken the club and subsequently adversely affect it.

    Many fans for instance “just wanted the truth” about whether we had limited finances after the stadium move to help in their acceptance of us not competing with our rivals for the same players. Should the club really have said “yeh we don’t have a pot to p–s in”, or should they have maintained the illusion of us still competing at the top level so as to not dissuade certain players to come to us.

    There are maybe other areas that haven’t been looked after so well where accountability could be more relevant. The injuries for instance. For me I would say that on the balance of probabilities we have spent some of the recent years not doing something we should have been or in carrying on with practices we shouldn’t have.

    It seems we sat on our laurels for a while without looking properly into a key area that the stats were suggesting we needed to look at. The club being a closed book on this type of issue looks more like a cover up.

    Those are just 2 examples. I agree with GIE about Stan’s £3m (although a reduction in players wages GIE I think is a non starter for many reasons). Even as a non wormy accountant it looks an insignificant amount in the big scheme of things. The protests seem to be more on a moral outrage basis than true financial reflective basis to me.

    I am probably in the camp that feels Usmanov is just a bit too shady and dodgy to be a good candidate to run Arsenal, so Kroenke certainly seems the more suitable candidate. I do wonder, however, whether Usmanov as the sedcond biggest shareholder is important in putting the breaks on Kroenke to a certain degree, and not allowing Kroenke full and complete control. Are there potential pit-falls in this maybe as Vintage pointed out in the ability to make Arsenal a private company?

    Finally I like your last (point 3) bit Vintage. I think something like this should be looked at but I would take it further in a kind of quid pro quo idea where we invest in the local community but in a set up that is a kind of partnership.

    It seems we (and others) are having a difficult time in getting our promising youth players over the line in their development with the current set-up of the youth and reserve leagues. I think investment by Arsenal in local coaches training local kids better (many of whom will be Arsenal fans) could bring positives rewards to the club further down the line.

    In addition to schools e.t.c, I would also look a lot more at working with the semi-pro through to lower league pro sides in the area as partners, i.e if we invest finances in training development and facilities (to help develop players the Arsenal way) we get initial refusal on quality young players. Just a thought anyway…..actually, sorry is that another post in itself? 🙂

  20. GunnerN5 says:

    Morning all (8:45am here).

    Vintage, I’ve served on several different boards, and currently remain on two. Here in Canada there are specific laws that the BOD’s have to ensure that the company comply s with – if in a court of law the company are found to be in breach of these laws then board members are among those who are held responsible. So, yes, sometimes a board member enjoys perks but they also have to keep a keen eye on the business dealings and the bottom line.

    I have zero accounting education, although I excel at mathematics, but the reason I’ve been chosen to act on boards are business knowledge, an eye for detail and people/management acumen.

    Now being a lifelong Arsenal fan my take is that we are an exceptionally well run club, perhaps among the best in the world. We are blessed to have a majority owner who employs people with the required skill and knowledge for their position and then leaves them to manage their segment of the Arsenal business.

    The 3 million that Kronke sometimes receives is nothing more than a pittance in comparison to our profit and should be of no concern to us supporters.

    Call me old fashioned but my belief is that my role is give Arsenal my full support and I do that with my heart and soul. Even at my advanced age I still arrange my personal life around Arsenal games and have done so for the past 6/7 decades.

  21. chas says:

    Thanks for the mention, CW. 🙂

    Your comments are always intelligent, inspiring, insightful and insomnia-inducing incessant.

    Long may they continue. 🙂

  22. GunnerN5 says:

    Oops I just realised that I never answered the question.

    Well.

    If governance at Arsenal is a problem then I think that the vast majority of the worlds football clubs (and fans) would just love to be as badly governed.

  23. RA says:

    NO – Blast and damn — Wormy, don’t comment — oh, well – too late. 😀

  24. RA says:

    Chas.

    Like you, I think that Wormy’s comments are always intelligent, inspiring, insightful soporific wonderful rubbish worthy of a thesis a kick up the taxi with a lauden cum latte. 😀

  25. chas says:

    RA
    I realised after posting my comment that it seems as though I’ve no idea what insomnia means.
    I suppose I just got carried away with the alliteration.

    Thank heavens the pedantic Pole isn’t about else I’d be in big sh*t.

  26. RA says:

    I do not wish to be either a dissenter, or a contrary devil going against popular tide of opinion, but I do not understand the righteous outrage levelled at [Uzzy Uzmanov] on the grounds that he is in some way reprehensible.

    Neither do I put him forward as a fine example of virtuous manhood.

    It is difficult to be judgemental about someone I know little about, other than some potentially politically inspired propaganda.

    {For the above comments please substitute any other name you would prefer in the first paragraph [ .. ] } 🙂

  27. RA says:

    You would have got away with it Chas, if you had not mentioned it – or put ‘the pretty, pedantic Pole with the stunning pulchritude’. 😀

  28. RA says:

    No – I don’t like that;

    Better if you had written – ‘the eye boggling pulchritude of the pedantic Pole’ my first suggestion was probably more tautology – and this one is nearer your desire for alliteration.

    I’m talking bollix – right? Apologies! 😀

  29. chas says:

    RA
    You’re right that my dislike of Jabba is a little irrational..

    The truth is I can’t stand any of the Russian oligarchs.
    I also dislike his posturing to ingratiate himself with certain dissenting sections of our fanbase.

    If he became the sole owner of the Club, I’m sure I would warm to him more. 🙂
    Then again, who owns the Club is of little concern to me; unless it puts the Club’s future in jeopardy, of course.

  30. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Nice Vintage

    Forgive me for asking my friend, but with a name like Vintage how old are you? I only ask because your writings bring to mind a smooth talking gentleman wearing a cravat? Certainly not a tiresome geriatric retelling me the story of how in there youth they worked in a furnace, which now explains why they resemble an Iranian diplomat.

    I have no time for those that run the Club Vintage. From Hillwood senior onwards they all disappoint

    If Hillwood senior was such an Arsenal man then how come he could afford those fat Cuban cigars? That money, benefiting the corrupt and henious regime of Castro, could have been used to purchase Kenny Dalgleish

    His son was no better. Born with a silver spoon in his mouth, he kept the spoon.

    Dein and Fizman were worse. Sending there kids to private school, dining in fine restaurants, and having sex. I once saw Dein when he was giving a speech at my daughters school. Whilst all the other plebs fawned on him, I hissed “You dont impress me Dein. I recognize those shoes, a thousand bucks worth of Gucci and they look shit on you. Your greed meant we lost out on Maradona, forcing us to buy Helder” He looked shocked at that. An obvious sign of the mans guilt.

    Now we have Kronke? He just sits there watching the share price. The only time he gets distracted is when paranoia sets in that someone has noticed hes wearing a wig, meaning hes distracted all the time.

    Some will say “Dont talk shit Terry, your just jealous of there money. If you were in there position you would grind out every penny”

    Yes, this is true. But I have very demanding children and come from a comfortable middle class background. All this makes me hungry and appreciate the desire for house extensions, owning three cars, and holidaying in Borneo.

  31. RA says:

    Oddly enough, Chas, I was thinking more of Lucky Rasper than you in my comment about Sir Henry Norris Kroenke Usmanov. 🙂

    And your final paragraph at 2:52 is exactly how I feel — and barmy Terry would probably like a feel too! 😀

  32. GunnerN5 says:

    Team news: Bellerin, Ramsey and Walcott

    Arsène Wenger has revealed the latest team news ahead of Saturday’s Premier League game against West Bromwich Albion:

    on Bellerin…
    Hector is back in full training.

    on Ramsey and Oxlade-Chamberlain…
    Ramsey should be available on Monday, and maybe Chamberlain as well.

    on Walcott…
    He is doing well, he could be a bit ahead of schedule but still you count a few weeks more while Rosicky, Wilshere, Welbeck will be later.

    on if Koscielny is in right state of mind for Saturday…
    I will talk with him. It’s a big game for us. I have not talked to him yet, but I will talk to him to see if he’s completely recovered and focused.

    Copyright 2015 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to http://www.arsenal.com as the source

  33. RA says:

    Now you have me confused, Terry, did you not say in a previous comment that Dein/Usmanov/HillWood (delete as appropriate) was born with a silver spoon/nipple in his mouth, and ended up with the spoon in his ass?

    Or maybe you said, ‘Your greed meant we lost out on Borneo, forcing us to buy the cigar smoking Hilda who wore a wig’ — any way, the long and the short of it – and I never mention little Coqie – is that you have to clarify everything before Wormy gets back with his cravat wearing dromedary and the pair of Dein’s shoes stuck up his rectum.

    Being married to you must be wonderful – or so elegant, enticing Eddie, the Pole with sole. 😀

  34. GunnerN5 says:

    Ramsey and Ox available on Monday – I wonder if that means they could play against Dinamo on Tuesday or will that be too much of a risk?

  35. RA says:

    As regards Dein’s shoes, I was referring to Wormy, of course, as no self respecting camel would have a pair of common Guccis stuck where the sun don’t shine. 🙂

  36. RA says:

    Thanx for the info, GN5, and I hope all those you mention would be available even if only on the bench.

  37. Rasp says:

    Hi Redders,

    When I wrote earlier that ……. “I definitely wouldn’t want Usmanov in charge of The Arsenal” ….. I meant because I don’t like the idea of the club being the plaything of a billionaire for whom money has little value. I’d far rather we existed on the income we generate, in that way we shouldn’t be vulnerable to the rug being pulled from beneath our feet 🙂

  38. Shard says:

    Thanks VG

    Arsenal are a big club, run as a business, and has in recent years taken a leap into being run like big business, along with most of football.

    In terms of that side of things, Arsenal seem to be very well run, or governed. In fact, combined with the managerial talent of Wenger, Arsenal are arguably governed better than most, if not all, clubs.

    Where Arsenal have a problem is in the fans wanting the best of botj worlds. To enjoy all the benefits of being a modern big business, but also have the accessibility and openness of the local community club of yesteryear. This is probably not unique to fans of Arsenal either. However, despite there being some who seem to have no other reason to exist than always saying ‘not good enough’, Arsenal are probably more open with fans than other clubs.

    Fanshare was not started when Kroenke came in. The fact that such a scheme already existed showed how Arsenal tried to gt fans involved. It has now shut down because it doesn’t make sense. With the current ownership of shares so heavily in the hands of Kroenke and R&W, it makes no difference whether you get more people buying a fraction of a share or not.

    That is not to say Arsenal can’t do better. Some have pointed to the PR side of things, and I don’t disagree. But in some cases, especially in the recent past, the media has had an agenda to be negative about Arsenal, and I’m not sure any amount of PR can stop something like that, because the reasons for that were quite clearly not sporting nor legitimate.

    Arsenal will also soon have to change/add to the board. But this needs to be a good decision for the right reasons rather than simply for show. It’ll happen.

    On the ownership issue, I am glad it isn’t Usmanov. Kroenke has a better track record and so far has seemed to be more conducive to our way of doing things. However, he’s no angel either and as such, I am also glad that he doesn’t have 100% ownership.

    We’ve all seen progress in recent years which has shown the ckub were operating to a plan. I would have been a lot more worried if Wenger weren’t there. Not just for his abilities, but also his standing in the game and love for the club which assured me that the board wasn’t making a fool of all of us. What happens after Wenger is tough not just on the sporting level, but potentially also on a larger level. But I suppose we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

    Ps. An interesting read on Kroenke

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2015-11-18/nfl-owner-stan-kroenke-wants-to-take-over-l-a-

    Offski. Laterzz

  39. RA says:

    OK, Lucky, I was only kidding anyway – but your explanation could be useful for whoever was an individual’s bête noire. 🙂

    ‘I definitely wouldn’t want Kroenke in charge of The Arsenal

    I don’t like the idea of the club being the plaything of a billionaire for whom money has little value. I’d far rather we existed on the income we generate, in that way we shouldn’t be vulnerable to the rug being pulled out from beneath our feet 🙂

    And in Silent Stan’s case – ‘vulnerable to the rug being pulled out from beneath his feet off his head’ might work well. 🙂

  40. Or the rug being pulled off Stan’s bonce.

  41. Two minds Redders, but with a single thought. 😀

  42. Rasp says:

    Stan’s wife is the 4th richest woman in the USA (Walmart heiress) and Stan is also a billionaire in his own right – so he has no need to plunder Arsenal, his investment is growing very nicely thank you 🙂

  43. Rasp says:

    I’m 100% behind supporting the French people at this time but wonder whether playing La Marseillaise before every PL game this weekend is a bit risky – I doubt it will be as well respected as at the International on Tuesday.

  44. I don’t understand the demand for “transparency”, when has any professional football club been transparent. Did dear old Sir Henry Norris do his deals at Hyde Park’s Speakers Corner?

    Do any clubs conduct their business in the full glare of the gutter press.

    I believe that what people mistake for lack of “transparency”, is in fact largely smoke and mirrors used to cover up their real dealings.

    Arsenal have always maintained a certain reticence in their dealings with the media and quite rightly so. Of late there have been too many newspapers with an anti-Arsenal agenda.

  45. Rasp, singing La Marseillaise before Saturday’s game could add to the emotional burden on our French contingent. Watching Giroud burst into tears would be too much my for my frazzled nerves.

  46. GunnerN5 says:

    That’s a good point Norfolk – maybe more so in the case of Koscielny as Wenger is already concerned about his mind set.

  47. We have a ready made replacement for Koscielny GN5, strikers are a bit scarcer.

  48. RA says:

    Norflok,

    As Chas’s unpaid aide, I am charged by him to fearlessly proselytise on his behalf, without being pusillanimous, on the correct usage of commas wherever they are found or in your case not found.

    It may well be acceptable for you, sitting in your thatched cottage on the Norfolk coast, just north of Wells-Next-the-Sea, or maybe the Broads, to write; ‘Did dear old Sir Henry Norris do his deals at Hyde Park’s Speakers Corner?’ when you know very well that it should be; ‘Did dear old Sir Henry Norris do his deals at Hyde Park’s Speakers’ Corner?’

    You may well thank your Rasper lucky stars that the great man, and well respected literary antagonist of the pedantic Pole, is not here to take you to task himself, and left me, his devoted minion to deal with the matter.

    Be off with you, or I will get Wormy to apply his patented worm elixir to your nether regions. 😀

  49. RA says:

    Just between us manly men, and in the strictest of confidence, I have to say that I love women. Yes, there it is, I do.

    Sadly women do not, on the whole, (and I use that word under advisement, with Terry about) love me back.

    Take my friend with benefits, The Fiend. She knows full well that the third Thursday in the month is the night we traditionally, well since September anyway, satiate our caring lust for each other.

    You, my dear friends, will readily understand my shock at learning, only this afternoon, that my burgeoning love must, alas, go unrequited tonight, and every other night as far as the Fiend is concerned, because, despite the lure of the pre-coital traditional double large pizza and four pints of draught beer – for her – she has declared she wants to show solidarity,or some such, and is buggering off to France via the Eurostar, or whatever.

    In fact she has just rung to say she is en route!

    Still, I have you, my dear friends (without benefits), unless you are all buggering off too?

  50. Le Coq Monster says:

    Thanks VG !

    Maybe there`s some poncey technical thingymabob which puts a damper on my next comment and maybe them likeable scumbag rip off ( I cant put a line through them last two, so just imagine one ! ) AA accountants will put me right, but is Kroenke not missing a trick here with his rich bitch wife being the Walmart heir ( obviously Stan wears a cheap and nasty Walmart heir piece ), couldn`t he get her to sponsor us for some ridiculous amount ?.

    As for the singing of La Marseillaise……..well , I`ve been singing it on my deliveries all week and with the Giroud hairstyle and fake French accent It`s a fcuking babe magnate !…..I`ve never shagged so many concerned sympathetic women in my life !.

  51. RA says:

    I have been cut to the quick, to be told that my prose on AA, which, it seems, unknown to me, she read on occasion, consisted of the froth of folly, the shipwreck of honor, the scum of prideful boasting and the lack of humility …. on and on.

    Women, eh? Can’t take a joke! 😦

  52. RA says:

    That’s so true, Le Coq Monster – you never have! 😀

  53. RA says:

    On that note, and with even Coqie Doodle Do rubbing it in too, I am off.

    Toodle pip, and all that! 😀

  54. Le Coq Monster says:

    I bet Redders fiend gets him the mood by putting on a recording of Countdown whilst reading a dictionary to him . 😀

  55. Well blast me bor, thass a rum un, Ah hint niver bin akoosed a messin wi commas afore. Luvly lidle things they be, alus flutrin roun them flars.

    Where, Redders, I think where you are going slightly adrift old chap is in confusing the apostrophe with the comma.

    The use of an apostrophe between th k and the s of Hyde Park’s Speakers Corner, is quite correct as the aforementioned Corner is part of Hyde Park. Whereas, Speakers Corner does not warrant an apostrophe as the Speakers in question is merely a plural and Corner is not a possession.

    So, Redders me owld booty, stuff that in yer owld pipe an try you singing Dixie.

  56. LB says:

    I like Rasp am 100% behind supporting French people this weekend but the idea of singing the Marseillaise is bollacks. The only reason that it hasn’t been shot down if flames is because we all secretly like the tune, however, if the tables were turned would they sing God save the Queen, I very much doubt it.

    It’s Charlie Hebdo all over again, they print an image of Mohammed* on the cover of their magazine and surprise, surprise fanatical Muslims get annoyed. They bomb Raqqa and surprise, surprise; well actually there is absolutely no surprise at all that fanatics got annoyed. If you beat a dog, don’t be surprised when it turns and bits you.

    *No images of Mohammed were made in the writing of this comment.

  57. GoonerB says:

    Mmmm, double large pizzas and 4 pints of beer…….traded for some benefits provided to a large (mostly anglicised now) North American Chauceresque type character…..let me think…..decision made……standing by with my worming probes and ready whenever you are.

  58. Gooner B, if you have an extra long probe with a nasty barb please use it on Redders with my blessing. 😀

  59. GoonerB says:

    Comm-a-gain Norfolk 🙂

    I tend not to use the barbed one on a first date Norfolk. I don’t want to scare him off and then not be invited for pizza and beer again when his normal squeeze is out of town.

  60. GoonerB says:

    By the way the bits between the m and a, and the a and g in my 6.07 are neither an apostrophe or comma, but the little thingy separating the a and the word and in my example above are one of them, and now there is another one between the word comma and the word but, and oh dear now the word but and the word and, and now the word…. erm erm erm…….oh it(‘)s all too much for a poor humble wormer, I need to go and lie down in a dark corner.

  61. Terry Transplant says:

    Redders, technically this makes you a victim of those crazy Paris attacks.

    This is what those dasdertly terrorists don’t understand, there actions are ruining our sex lives. Reading through the last few days comments I notice a large amount of sexual tension. Poor old Kelsey was so bad for example, that I was afraid he would blow his cork, and now, to help us get our minds of it, we are been forced to sing the marsieles?

    Well, I won’t do it. I want real sex with a real women not some poxy national women

    Mind you, if I was going out with Redders and had to have four pints and a pizza as an aphrodisiac? Then sod the Marseilles, to get out of it I would travel to Uzbekistan, and sing theres, which is over 1000 verses long hahaha

  62. Shard says:

    It was a nice gesture by England to play the French anthem last and have everyone join in. But to play the French anthem before premier league matches seems a bit like simply hopping on the bandwagon to me, rather than a show of solidarity.

    Besides, solidarity is one thing, but when a sporting organisation starts purposely entering the political arena they are making a rod for their own backs. There will be inevitable questions about why France and French victims deserve such an exception but not victims of terrorism in other countries, now and in the future.

  63. Vintage Gooner says:

    A last general comment on my post before the blog finishes in worms and the ongoing ramifications of the Paris tragedy/atrocity.

    In reply to those who claim that Arsenal is well run they may be surprised that I actually agree with them. I think Gazidis and Wenger do an outstanding job at the head of top quality teams and there are very few areas that would not earn the accolade of outstandingly good.

    However the board should be held to delivering the finest principles as I specified; representative, transparent and accountable.

    I am a little disappointed that the discussion has frequently focused on the details of the issues I raised as I meant them to illustrate only the lack of board transparency and accountability. I was hoping others more knowledgeable than me would touch on football strategy, player investment and development and even succession strategy! I know virtually nothing of the board’s contribution in these areas and had hoped others may comment.

    Perhaps the best and but most cruel analogy I could make is that Arsenal stand each season poised to efficiently take fourth place but with neither the focus nor the drive to ever take the first place or even get very close.

  64. Gööner In Exile says:

    Vintage I think that GN5 tried to sum it up, the Boards role is to shape the policies and set strategies to then allow others they choose to carry it out, Arsene has main control over football decisions but he works within the parameters set out by the board. My assumption is the main aim of the Board is to create an environment where we can win things and compete, but not where we must win things. That comes down largely to budgets I believe.

  65. chas says:

  66. chas says:

  67. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Brilliant trumpeter.

    Eddie, can we have him perform at our ceremony?

  68. Big Raddy says:

    Where is the Surf Dude? Been MIA for a few days now

  69. Eddie says:

    Surfer second on the left in mankind ☺

  70. Eddie says:

    Didit? He is surfing, good weather for it.
    He is not better than Rep – when he was ill we looked after him, supported him, etc. Now he is better he us off

  71. Eddie says:

    Fooking predictor!
    DIDIT is not better than RvP

  72. Rasp says:

    ….. new post ……..

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