There are a lot of Arsenal supporters upset over Robin van Persie’s statement, which revealed he wasn’t going to sign a contract extension with the club. There were a few shareholders who weren’t very happy either, especially Alisher Usmanov and Farhad Moshiri.
Usmanov and Moshiri, who are the club’s second-largest shareholders with a combined 30 per cent, said they have deep reservations about Stan Kroenke, the majority shareholder, and the direction the club is going. In fact, van Persie’s reasoning for wanting to leave the club, were that he wasn’t happy about its direction club either. However, he didn’t really elaborate on his statement.
Some people feel van Persie’ nothing more than a selfish player who is interested in money only, while others feel he’s deserting a sinking ship and is right to do so since the club hasn’t won anything in seven years. Whatever the reason for the Dutchman’s imminent departure, Usmanov and Moshiri wrote a terse open letter to the Arsenal board that attacked its past and present directors.
The pair, who don’t have seats on the board, claimed that too many Arsenal players are leaving the club due to the money-first policy of the board and the supporters are the ones who suffer. Usmanov and Moshiri claim they’ll try to purchase as many shares as possible even though they’re currently going for approximately £17,000 apiece, and will do whatever is necessary to put an end to the Gunners ‘barren spell, such as keeping the best players at the Emirates.
If the 28-year-old van Persie ends up with Premier League top-cats Manchester City, he’ll be joining his ex-Arsenal teammate Samir Nasri. However, City could face some stiff competition from the likes of Paris Saint-Germain and Italian champions Juventus.
The lengthy letter sent by Usmanov and Moshiri was written on the stationary of their company, which goes by the name Red and White Securities Limited. It stated: “The real conflict seems to be between the supporters’ expectations and your vision for the club and at the heart of this is the policy of so-called self-financing. The self-financing model was created to suit the major shareholders at the time, all of whom subsequently sold their shares. The previous decision by the board to fund the building of the Emirates Stadium with long-term debt was, we believe, certainly not about self-financing.”
It went on to say: “As a consequence of this policy, which is dressed up as prudent financial planning, it is down to our manager [Arsène Wenger], and not the shareholders, to have to deal with the club’s tight finances, carry the burden of repaying the stadium debt by selling its best players and having to continue to find cheaper replacements. All of that, naturally, comes at the expense of performance on the pitch.”
The entire letter can be accessed here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/interactive/2012/jul/05/red-white-full-letter-arsenal-board
Arsenal hasn’t publicly commented on the letter as of yet and there’s bound to be many supporters who agree with Usmanov and Moshiri no matter how the club responds to it. These are the supporters who feel Arsenal is too interested in the financial gains of running the football club while the on-pitch product suffers. They also fear that more of the team’s top performers, such as Theo Walcott, may follow suit and leave the Emirates for greener pastures when their contracts expire.
The letter touched on that point when it stated: “This policy is leading to the loss of our best players, often to our main competitors, and even causes the players themselves to question their future at the club and the club’s ambitions. The situation with our captain and outstanding performer from last season Robin van Persie sums this up. Yet again we are faced with losing our true marquee player at the club because we cannot assure him of the future direction and give confidence that we can win trophies. Where are the safeguards to ensure that this doesn’t happen again and again in the future?”