FTK Blog: How will you react when Usmanov has control of Arsenal?

Alisher Usmanov has taken another step towards having the option of being in control of Arsenal Football Club by increasing his stake to 27% by buying 22 extra shares on the 1st of June. With Stanley Kroenke more occupied with his NFL franchise and working out how to avoid having to dispose of his NHL and NBA franchises by having his wife own the St Louis Rams. He is in the dilemma that before he can transfer the NFL franchise to his wife, he will have to own it outright, and this would breach the rules for a short period of time. This has lead to some calling for the NFL to block Kroenke’s bid of total ownership. This block could mean that perhaps Kroenke appetite for Arsenal shares would return and the relinquishing of his interest in the NFL franchise would leave Arsenal a viable proposition. However I doubt that being the case as in strictly business terms, ownership of the ST Louis Rams is a better acquisition as the captive franchise and merchandising revenue streams is effectively a licence to print money. NFL franchises cannot be relegated so season in and season out, they represent a good earner.
I can see a scenario whereby this  years’ AGM could result in a coup by Red and White Holdings buying Lady Nina’s shares, and the current board being faced with the prospect of the largest shareholder at Arsenal football club being in overall control whilst not having a seat on the board. Not a stable climate for Boardroom decisions. What would your reaction be to Arsenal Football Club being owned by Usmanov after all this time. In the current banking climate, a Glazeresque buy out seems not on the cards, and with the financial rules for the Champions League coming on stream, the incentive to finance any deal by increasing the debtedness would be contrary to enabling the club to achieve its ambitions of winning that competition. So how exactly would the relationship between say Ivan Gazidis and Usmanov change given that the controlling interest could slow down the decision making process at the club?
Would fans be split yet again? Would there be protests ala the green and yellow of Old Trafford? Or would the opportunistic infusion of funds which could be turned into equity Abromovich style be enough to buy the support of the majority of Arsenal fans. Would they in effect hold their noses whilst accepting the cash? Arsene Wenger would not change his buying strategy dramactically, however the wages to turnover ratio would take a further hit if he brought in big names on even bigger salaries without somehow increasing the income of the club. Surely some commercial venture could be found that would generate the extra £75 million required to secure the services of a player like Stephen Gerrard or is this thought too fanciful.
For what it is worth, I am against any Usmanov or Kroenke  buy out for that matter. A plague on both their houses. Neither shareholder has the club’s interests at heart, as the purchase of the club would be merely a vehicle to make more money. A business opportunity nothing less. Yet if it does happen, what on earth can be gained by repeated protests at matches when our team needs fewer distractions, not more.  The sale of Lady Nina’s shares will introduce a destabilising complication if a third party enters the fray. We could see the introduction of the club paying share dividends as a compromise to not being taken over, which would mean even less money for transfers. I would have been a lot happier if Usmanov had just stayed where he was, but in reality with the share price saying stubbornly around the £10,000 mark with these transactions, this is the only way for Usmanov to recoup his investments should he sell his holding to another player. I am heartily sick of the way that the future of the club is so uncertain in ownership terms, but like you, I am going to have to wait and see…

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