FTK Blog: Et Tu Brute ?

So hands up if you are now confident about the rest of our season? There are grounds for optimism is one looks at the final run of fixtures. Man City, Stoke City and possibly Blackburn apart, the next set of fixtures appear easier than those of our rivals. Yet this year for Arsenal has been a process which would be defined as one of catharsis. Catharsis is defined as a purification or purgation of emotions such as pity or fear through artful expression. The fear and nervousness was there for all to see against a mediocre Liverpool team. I can only hope that the catharsis leads to a  positive outcome. But today I have to confess that the travails off the field in the Boardroom and in the Spanish media seem only to deepen the sense of pervading gloom around the concourses of the Emirates.
What I am about to write does not please me. But I believe that the club is knowingly walking a tightrope between success and utter failure. The tensions are mounting yet it seems that there are elements at the club who stand to gain what ever the outcome. In the Boardroom there is a standoff, and recently the Arsenal Supporters Trust have clarified the situation.
Stan Kroenke is within a few shares of reaching the 30% ownership threshold at which he has to bid for the remaining shares in Arsenal. It is deliberate that he has stayed just below this level and the AST does not expect this position to change in the coming months.
Stan Kroenke’s near 30% holding has principally been acquired in three main blocks from ITV (10%), Danny Fiszman (9%) and the Carr family – Richard, Clive and Lady Sarah (8%)
When agreeing to buy from Danny Fiszman and the Carrs in March and May 2009 respectively, there was a private agreement between Stan Kroenke and the sellers over a deferred payment schedule for the agreed sums. The amount to be paid and when was fixed when the deals were agreed at £8,500 a share with Fiszman and Richard Carr, and £10,500 a share received by Clive and Lady Sarah. The total consideration was almost £90m.
>Because there were deferred payment terms agreed, the normal practice was applied whereby the sellers who are waiting to be paid have a charge in their favour registered over the shares. In effect it is a “security” of payment – similar to a mortgage on a house. As and when the shares are paid for these charges are released.
To date Stan Kroenke has paid almost £70m, with the £20m still owed all being due to Danny Fiszman. The AST anticipates this will be paid in two further instalments in the next four months with all transactions being completed within the first year of the agreement. 
So Stan Kroenke is acting in a calm way and there will be no moves to take over the club anytime soon, so it really amounts to whether Usmanov is keen to take on Kroenke, and from where I am sitting, it would seem an uphill battle, so if you excuse the pun, a trade off seems likely. At some stage Lady Nina will also want to dispose of the shares burning a hole in her Vanity case. This is the only unpredictable element in these scenarios so watch this space.
The Fabregas transfer speculation is now more worrying for several reasons. There is no doubt that our World Star will end up at Barcelona at some point, it is only a question of when. I have in the past stated that I would not blame Cesc if he decided to leave given the lack of decent signings by Arsene Wenger. Yet I would only be content if his move were done openly and honestly for all to see. Again I would only be content if Arsenal had won major honours with the player. The fact that a radio station Cadena SER whose integrity in Spain is equivalent to the BBC. has claimed that Fabregas has held covert talks with Barcelona and wants to join them after the world cup is devastating. There is talk of a five year deal which is further circumstantial evidence of the advanced nature of these discussions and the accuracy of the radio’s sources.
The reason why I believe this current round of comments and speculation, is that the Catalan club has now been to moved to officially deny the claims. A tactic only done when there is the fear of UEFA sanctions should Arsenal football club decide to lodge an official complaint about the club allegedly making contact with one of it’s players under contract. The worst thing about this mess, is that I believe that Arsene Wenger may see benefit in allowing the speculation and the talks to continue, for by so doing the discomfort of Joan Laporta will increase, and more pressure could then be brought to bear upon Presidential hopeful and campaign favourite Alfons Godall who appears to be too  over confident in securing the services of Fabregas for less than a King’s ransom.
So the worst aspect of this sordid affair is the nagging thought in my mind that Arsenal Football Club may themselves be implicated in this tapping up saga of their own player. I have no evidence for this idle speculation, but when the Spanish radio station sources quote that a fee of £40 million has been agreed with the club, one does hope that Arsenal Football Club will come out fighting to refute this aggresively. The obvious next question is why isn’t Barcelona FC being reported to UEFA for tapping up? Could this be that Arsenal have conceded that keeping an unhappy player is not worth the effort and so cashing in is the best strategy. Especially as the likes of Aaron Ramsey seem to be ready to assume the Fabregas role.
Yet £40 million for a world class player that is about the deliver the best is frankly a rip off if it leads to a dip in our fortunes, and if that is the thanks that frustrated Arsenal fans can look forward to, then Arsenal Football Club had better be prepared for the inevitable  backlash. I could accept the loss of our best player, but the price would be nearer £65 million as Barcelona can afford it, and they should be expected to pay the true market rate. Does that make me a hypocrite after all I have just said? I would argue no, in that the sale must not take place at the behest of Presidential elections at Barcelona. Any sale of our most prized asset must not leave us at a disadvantage. We must also be certain that; that money was going to be used to bring in World Class players, rather than lining the bank accounts of the many average players currently in our squad.
But if we are then to buy in world class players, why the hell should we sell Fabregas? What message does that send to the fans? Are we servicing our debts or trying to win major accolades? The debt has another 10 years to run. I am certainly not going to wait another 10 years for success. If that means waiting that long for the revenues to increase once the loans had been repaid. I have called for patience from fans, not supine sycophancy! So what of Arsenal Football Club? If they are contemplating the loss of a crucial player, what of the consequences to our future title and Champions league aspirations? We all know that when Arsenal on song, it is Fabregas who is the conductor. I am not sure that I will tolerate more of “Trust Me” coming from Le Boss if Fabregas does leave the club in August.
The talk of a £30 million salary deal with the club, making Fabregas the highest paid player would do for a start. Yet I cannot help fearing the fact that Fabregas’s agent, one Darren Dein will be rubbing his hands in glee. From where I am sitting, The son of David Dein could be the unwitting architect of Arsenal’s future demise and descent into internecine warfare between rival factions within the club, as we lose our best player and with it our chances of winning the Champions League next season. Why is it that I am thinking that the sacking of David Dein all those months ago has been followed by arguably the most painful and divided phase that the club has ever witnessed? I cannot believe that either David of Darren Dein have either wanted or intended that the fortunes of Arsenal Football Club should have descended to such a low base, but it is my opinion that the consequences of their activities appears to give the impression that they are more intent at putting their own pecuniary interests ahead of the bigger picture. Surely this cannot be the case?
The next statements from Fabregas need to be seen and heard and listened to very carefully, not just written. We need to look straight into his eyes and see if therein lies the dull sheen of betrayal. The avoidance of eye contact, the furtive pauses in answering questions all add up to a conspiracy typical of a ancient Roman tragedy. The parties need to understand quite clearly what is at stake here. It is not the risk of Barcelona being punished by a transfer embargo, neither is it the risk of Arsenal being forced to sell a player below the market value. It is about destroying the hopes and aspirations of loyal fans around the world who have been patiently suffering the repeated humiliation of defeats and the frustration of no transfer activity.
So I am openly asking Arsenal Football Club to honest and transparent about these dealings. Either make a formal complaint and take the case officially to UEFA, or admit that the club and therefore Arsene Wenger is complicit and secretly contemplating selling him in one or two seasons time to Barcelona. Be big enough to accept and then suffer the wrath of the fans openly. For to allow the fans to lose our best player in such an underhand manner with suspicions of double dealings and hypocrisy would be a dagger between the shoulder blades of each and every fan that I have described. They will have already suffered too much in vain, they have remained loyal despite having to pay vast fortunes to maintain our club.  Someone in the corridors of power at Arsenal must have a conscience? Surely someone can understand that the current divisions between the fans is the most painful thing that the club has had to endure. For me as a committed Arsenal fan it is my role is to flush out those who treat the misfortune of these fans with utter disdain and contempt. So if the cap fits ….Et Tu Brute?

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