This is the final post and conclusion to a series of posts on Arsenal’s ownership by Akash (@Gooner_optimist). If you missed them, do take a look at Part 1 and Part 2 as they both lead up to this post.
To answer the MAIN question that I’ve been coming to in my series of posts, why not Usmanov? Why is the board so against his appointment to the executive board and takeover of the club?
At the moment, Usmanov has portrayed himself as some kind of savior to the Arsenal fans with his well or ill timed (depending on your view) public statements questioning the board’s ambition and stating what fans want to hear about “winning” “best players” “trophies”. He portrays himself as the hero, the one who is making the fans widely believe that he alone can put us on an equal platform along with Chelsea and man city.
A superficial view of these statements would make it seem like he’s just another well -wisher who only wants what we want and without explicitly stating it, promises to give it. But these also make me wary of him as these promises come from a position where he doesn’t have to keep them. It seems like a long winded political manifesto that gets someone elected but never really gets executed. Before I say anything further about that though, who exactly is Alisher Usmanov? What is his back ground?
For that I would like to dig deep into his history and the link I provide here has VITAL information on the Oligarch.. But to just put it in brief, the article exposes the murky history including doing time for non-political reasons (though he claims otherwise and managed to get his record expunged with the aid of friendly leadership). The article also exposes his strong connections with certain unsavoury types. Now we haven’t declared anything outright here because for one we can’t really compete with his fancy PR and legal team who have a reputation of going after any site daring to say anything against him which to this author just lends more credence to the veracity of such claims. His PR team has even allegedly gone to the extent of having his Wikipedia entry modified to remove information about his murky past and freedom of speech related issues and replace it with his philanthropic deeds. But even the Times, who uncovered this change haven’t been spared considering their web article on this is “subject of a legal complaint”. You can access a clipping of it here though on @AngryofN5’s blog. Noble indeed.
Now is this the kind of person you would want to run your club? Well you can counter me by telling that his personal life is of no concern and we shouldn’t really bother about that, when he is more than willing to invest in the club. Well here is the twist in the tale. This man who claims that he wants to take Arsenal to the next level clearly has cast doubts in my mind about his intentions.
One of the fears often expressed by most that are against the board is that they’re taking a share of the profits. Oddly enough, there is evidence to the contrary in several regards. Usmanov was the first and last person to demand that the shareholders take dividends from the profits generated, so basically a share of profits go to the shareholders instead of being directly invested back into the club like it does now (though Kroenke hasn’t committed verbally regarding how long this would continue). This proposal was shot down by the board at the time and before we can throw accusations about the current board taking in the profits, we can be assured that the profits generated by the club are invested directly back into the club. The club’s annual accounts (that are audited multiple times) clearly indicate that the board doesn’t take a penny out of the profits (beyond a nominal salary for being on the board)
Now my question is why is it that a man who claims to have so much desire to take Arsenal to the next level claiming to invest from his own pocket, request that board take dividends from profits generated? If his intentions are ONLY to help take the club to the next level, why is he looking to make money out of it? Also, if he really was so well meaning, as a shareholder with nearly 30% in the club why does he not already start keeping his promises of offering the investment he promises?
From the above points I’ve pretty much made it clear that on sheer appearance and PR work Usmanov may look like the savior to cure all our ills, but on the long run, this guy will take Arsenal to the cleaners. It’s pretty obvious with how the board is steering clear of his way (and has done so for a while now). And I would never want a person with such murky history to ever take over my beloved club. And despite the above points, if there are still doubts lingering over the credibility of the information then I direct you to the following links. One is a site owned by CRAIG MURRAY, a former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan who personally took up Usmanov’s case and came up with the information . and another link that shows what exactly did usmanov do and why he needs to be feared over taking over our club.
With this I think I have managed to burst a few if not all myths surrounding Usmanov. It has never been my motive, to take personal digs at the Uzbek. But after doing a comprehensive research on the billionaire who looks like the savior on the short run, but could be our slide to doom and gloom, I would never want to see this man running the affairs of the grandest and most English of all clubs.
Thanks for the guest post @Gooner_Optimist and I’m sure this might help open eyes of several people who were unaware of all this. I (@positivegunner) would also like to add this that as unpopular as Kroenke is, he is definitely preferable as an owner at the moment, if for nothing else but to keep away a man who clearly is against every principle and virtue that the club has ever stood for, especially that of integrity and class.
Stan might not seem even half decent for us at present and some people even despise the man, but what exactly has he himself changed in the way the club is run? If you look back at history, he is continuing a plan set in motion from a time even before he was involved with the club by people like Ken Friar, Peter Hill-Wood and Danny Fiszman and he hasn’t really altered that one bit. Now if people were expecting a billionaire owner to come in and pump money into the club, they can justifiably be disappointed, however, would the same disappointment and anger exist if this policy was continued under the old board with no majority owner? If Fiszman’s health hadn’t taken a downturn for the worse, forcing such a sale, and if the old board had continued these past two years with the same policy, would the complaints be as bad as they are now against “the Yank”? Would accusations of owning shares just to profit from them be made if the old board, the one that has been around for many successful seasons, stuck by the club’s self sustaining principles? Kroenke’s owned us for two years and it does seem like we’re stagnating under him but how much of the current situation is down to him? Did the two captains force their way out and force us into a rebuild because of him? Or did the ticket prices go up in the last 2 years that he’s actually owned us? Or was he in charge of the old commercial deals that hampered us until now?
He is definitely an easy target to go after but not all ills are his fault when the club is sticking to traditions of trying to achieve success while being self-sustaining that were established before his time here. It might seem like we’re swimming against the tide and it might seem easier to abandon it all for instant success that we’ve all craved for so long but I personally see this easy way out as less ambitious than trying to achieve greatness through sweat rather than oil. As clichéd as it is, the saying “it’s always darkest before the dawn” holds true. The next two years are going to see a dramatic change in our commercial income and this coincides with the introduction of Financial Fair Play Measures. This gives us spending power we have lacked and helps level the playing field to an extent thus ensuring that we will be able to genuinely compete without needing an external benefactor. If anything, Kroenke, Usmanov or the new consortium allegedly interested in buying us for a huge sum knows this well and they know that they won’t have to put in a penny. It has been a long, tiring, painful journey and there were bound to be hiccups along the way but should we really give up now after working so hard against the odds for the past decade?