I’ll pass swiftly over the Liverpool game at the Grove yesterday afternoon. Others will analyse it far more expertly than me. Liverpool didn’t look anything like League winners on yesterday’s performance. Neither did we. Yet again we were undone by a long ball up the middle which both Gallas and Djourou both failed to react quickly enough. This allowed Keane (it would be him, wouldn’t it?) to run between them and equalise with a fierce shot. Robin Van Persie’s opener had been pure class. A great ball from Samir Nasri, an elegant turn, move and shot for an excellent goal to put us ahead. Generally though, although we dominated possession our passing was sloppy at times. Liverpool badly missed Javier “The Little Chief” Mascherano in the middle of the park. For me, he’s the best holding midfield player in the world and has been for a couple of seasons. I thought Emmanuel Adebayor’s first booking was harsh. I didn’t see the second as my eye was following the ball. I still haven’t see television replays but I thought he should have stayed based on the first not being a
yellow. The silver line was it woke us up and the crowd noise raised the team. We did better with ten than with eleven. Any remote chance we had of winning the League has now gone I think. We now need to concentrate on getting as far up the League as possible into the Champions League places. The draw yesterday means yet another mega six pointer at Villa Park on Boxing Day. Aside from Emmanuel Adebayor’s suspension we’ll also be without skipper Cesc Fàbregas for three-four weeks with a knee injury. Worryingly it’s the same knee he’s had problems with before. Oh dear. Back to the carrying on in the boardroom. The media has been full of speculation post Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith’s departure from the board. The only facts we have to hand are that she is no longer a director and Richard Carr (to whom she is related by marriage) has been dropped from the main holding company board although he remains on the subsidiary football club board. I won’t speculate too much as there’s already been enough of that. I will make one exception however. It seems to becoming clear that if you cross Danny Fiszman you’re out. Dein crossed him. Out. Keith Edelman crossed him. Out. Lady Nina crossed him. Out. It appears a pattern is developing. Edelman had very few shares of course, but both Dein was a major shareholder and Lady Nina still is. Dein decided to put himself rather than the club first and cash in his shares for £75 million by selling them to Alisher Usmanov. Personally, much as he contributed to the club in his time on the board, I shall never trust him again. In the end he put himself first rather than the club. If I’m frank I find the whole spectacle sordid and undignified. I’m all for openness and transparency. There are certain things that should stay within the family however. I along with ever other citizen of the Gooner Nation awaits the next steps in this saga with interest. Speaking personally, Danny Fiszman’s reassurances are starting to wear a bit thin. I’m no longer convinced that he’s in it for the long term. I don’t say that his isn’t, merely that I’m not sure. That uncertainty disturbs me, as does the increasing evidence of his “my way or the highway” style. The current situation with four major share “blocs” – Fiszman, Bracewell-Smith/Carr, Kroenke and Red & White (Alisher Usmanov and Farhad Moshiri) are not on the same page is inherently unstable. It needs sorting out. Soon. Fiszman has now said that there is now the early stages of a dialogue with Red & White. Good. That’s only sensible. The Arsenal Supporters’ Trust adopts the same policy of maintaining a dialogue with all big shareholders on and off the board Personally though, I’d MUCH rather Alisher Usmanov had NOTHING to do with Arsenal. Nothing at all. That Pandora’s box was opened by David Dein however and it isn’t going to be closed anytime soon. I do NOT want him or any of his allies or associates on the board however. I simply don’t trust him to do what’s right for Arsenal. I’m not the only person who thinks this. Corus Steel put a huge amount of time and effort into fighting Usmanov’s move to buy a substantial chunk of the company and get a seat on the board in 2004. He did however sell the stake he’d built up in Corus for a profit of £130 million. He’s also been involved in takeover battles in South Africa. All of this would have nothing to do with Arsenal IF David Dein hadn’t sold his shares to him at a HUGE personal profit. I had a long debate with a mate of mine after the game yesterday. His view is that it doesn’t matter who owns the club. I think it does. A lot. I’ve always the quiet dignity and continuity at the top at Arsenal has contributed a lot to our success on the park. We need to get to the days when the boardroom spends its time talking about the club’s development on and off the park. Soon. Unfortunately I don’t see that happening anytime soon. Difficult as it is in these trying times, keep the faith my fellow Gooners.