FTK ‘s TGIF: End of term report- B minus…

Well who would be a Gooner? This week has seen one of Directors express a massive interest in another football team albeit in the States, with another ex Director seeking to get rid of her interest in our team and of course yet another defeat at Shite Hart Lane. I really do wonder if Arsene Wenger can sleep peacefully at night after days like this. This Club is set for changes, but some of them are not necessarily for the better I’m afraid, so let’s discuss these issues and more in this week’s TGIF…
Who will eventually own Arsenal Football Club? It seems that Alisher Usmanov is making moves in the direction that will eventually see him become the final owner if the juxtaposition of events this week have anything to do with it. He bought a further 37 shares at £10,500 this week which keeps his interest in club ownership alive. On Tuesday, Red and White Holdings released a statement which concluded
“At this stage; White retains all its options and does not wish for the purposes of the City Code on Takeovers and Mergers to reduce its future flexibility and accordingly no particular course of action is ruled in or out”
Retaining all options means that they could also sell out but with seemingly a massive number of shares being available for the right price
All around people are trying to create calm out the inevitable panic which is growing within Ashburton Grove. The Erstwhile Arsenal Supporter’s Trust have tried to ease emotions by stating
“The AST is not surprised at either of these developments and do not believe that they signal any immediate change to the current ownership balance at Arsenal.”
For once I have to state that the AST are either in receipt of share sensitive information that they dare not reveal, or quite frankly they know absolutely nothing  like the rest of us.
So the plot thickens… because this followed the revelation on Monday that Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith had appointed New York based Blackstones Banking Brokers to seek a buyer for her 15% of Arsenal shares. Blackstones’s have links in the far east and China, so with many Chinese Billionaires anxious to make a sound investment, could one of them be persuaded to spend between £84 and £100 million buying a tranche of shares which carry no rewarding dividend or influence on the board. The only value comes with their trading potential to any likely future owner.
Lady Nina has sound reasons for wanting to disinvest in the Arsenal, as readers of Vic Crescit’s blog will recall. But the timing to coincide with certain events represents stylish choreography at it’s best. For Alisher Usmanov will be very cash rich as soon as the flotation of the Metalloinvest is confirmed. Usmanov owns half the company which Reuters UK states today
Mettaloinvest: The Russian iron and steel firm half-owned by Alisher Usmanov could raise $1-$2 billion and may take a decision on the IPO at the end of the first quarter 2010.
(An IPO is an Initial Public Offering and represents the means to sell shares in a company.)
What could Alisher Usmanov do with £1 billion burning a hole down the back of his Bolshoi grand sofa? Well half of it could easily buy Arsenal Football club and still have enough change to buy Lionel Messi, Buffoon and Sergio Ramos. Not that any self respecting Gooner would want handouts from the Russian Oligarch, after all the nasty things that have allegedly been said about him. But the Gooner nation remains increasingly ill at ease and somewhat divided as another potentially trophyless season draws to a close. If Usmanov takes over the club after the floatation of Metalloinvest, are we really going to hold our noses and look the other way.  Jose Mourhino at Arsenal, David Dein as Chairman and Usmanov as owner after the World Cup is not so stupid a fantasy as you might think. Why?
The move by Stan Kroenke to try and buy 60% of the LA Rams NFL football franchise is a sound business strategy. Unlike Arsenal Football Club, he is guaranteed to make money as the NFL teams can never be relegated, and as such they have their fan base and media deals which guarantee revenue streams that are extremely lucrative. Compare that to the Arsenal, no major commercial enterprise overseas planned any time soon. To date no planned far east tours which would cement such commercial deals. So whilst Man United, Real Madrid and Liverpool hoover up the bottomless Asian market, Arsenal football club sits politely outside the canteen, feeding on any scraps thrown through the windows. Without a major change in Commercial strategy I can see no prospect in reducing Arsenal’s debt rapidly which would release valuable funds to buy the world class players that we need to support the young upcoming potential world class talent in our academy. Hence no real competition for Kroenke’s desire to own profitable sporting franchises. The money is to be made at the LA Rams, so hence the move.
So don’t expect trophies any time soon if we have to rely on free transfers and time expired old professionals. Arsenal under Arsene Wenger are now wedded to a policy which may have the undesirable consequences of dividing fans and selling our best players as they seek to improve their CVs. Not that our wage bill is any smaller than our rivals, and that is the disgrace. We spent over £100 million on staff and players that have turned in sometimes less than acceptable performances, but point this out and suddenly you are described as being disloyal. Well I am an ardent Arsene Wenger supporter, but I have to say that he is as much part of the problem as well as being part of the solution. He must now reflect upon his failure to deliver and seriously ask himself, whether not buying a decent Goalkeeper and additional Centre Back when the opportunity presented itself was a wise gamble to make. To have the likes of Vito Mannone as our number one keeper at the start of the season was frankly embarrassing. I can only conclude if Arsene does indeed know, then he is not letting on.
Finally our current Chairman Sir Peter Hill-Wood is alleged to have let slip that Arsenal officials had met with their counterparts from FC Barcelona and during that meeting assurances were given that FC Barcelona would not bid for Fabregas this summer. Now it does not take many cerebral connections to wonder why

  1. Is a player contracted to Arsenal Football club being discussed when he is not for sale?
  2. Why should FC Barcelona give an undertaking ruling itself out of acquiring such a desirable asset unless a deal has been struck
  3. Why Peter Hill-Wood felt the need to further increase our anxiety about next season being Fabregas’s last at the club, if we have a water tight contract and we do not intend to sell the player to Barcelona.

Answers on a postcard please as my desire to remain polite about our Chairman’s utterances is being placed under considerable strain.
The concern expressed by Insiders about the fate of their club and the Tottenham result dominated the site. I think that this doom and gloom will be replaced by a more positive mood if Arsene Wenger buys early before the world cup at the end of the season. Please no more Nasri sagas please!!! The third Arsenalinsider podcast was produced, and Vic Crescit kept us informed about the ownership issues.
A thought… why can’t we ARSENAL FOOTBALL CLUB find a group of well heeled Arsenal fans who would be happy to invest in buying the club in very much the same way that The Red Knights of Old Trafford are prepared to do? Surely finding a couple of Billionaires and many celeb fans who would donate to a fighting fund to buy up the shares.  A percentage of the ordinary fans could also pay what ever they could each month, and secure the club’s independent future. A debt free Arsenal would be able to buy the players required to enable the youngsters to have the talent and experience on the training ground that would take them to the next level. Are you out there guys? If so, will someone start the ball rolling by creating a private equity group called the Cannons…lol
“He has shown how much we missed him”
Referring to the presence of Robin van Persie after a five month absence. Hardly rocket science though was it? All of the Gooners could have told Arsene Wenger this. The calculation that was made was flawed as the remaining strikers were unable to step up their performances.  We needed to reinforce our defence and attack, having found a holding midfielder in the shape of Alex Song. We didn’t so logically we paid the price.
Pre Wigan Media Press Conference
Arsene Wenger appeared agitated and very defensive, he reacted sometimes with irritation when pressurised by the press commentators. He is clearly not happy with life at the moment.
We showed a lack of maturity and concentrated on attacking when we knew that it was important to remain 1-nil.
We are waiting on Gallas and Djourou return from injury. We will strengthen the defense.
I will sit down with Sol Campbell, he is not only an important player, but he is also a winner and was ready to die on Wednesday night.  He is a big influence in the dressing room.
Arsene Wenger denied emphatically that Arsenal Football Club had not been in any official high level meeting about Cesc Fabregas and these were comments were based upon an encounter at a dinner and that Fabregas was a player under contract to Arsenal Football Club and Barcelona knew the correct protocol.
Arsene Wenger accused the media that there was a persistent campaign to get the best UK based players to join the Spanish league. He receives calls from Spanish players who want to come here. Arsene Wenger did not know if Hill-Wood claimed that Fabregas would not get into the Barcelona team. Arsene felt that Cesc could get into any team in the world.
Arsenal are going to try and get the maximum number of points until the end of the season.
He is going to try and keep the squad together.
Arsene Wenger rejected the hypothesis that failing to buy players hampered their prospects in the Champions League. He felt that the opposite was responsible and that the top teams had paid the price as the Premier league was too demanding, and by February and March they had either lost their best players or the players had become exhausted. Arsenal was the exception as they were beaten by a stronger team.
Robin van Persie may not be fit to face Wigan. His muscles were very tight after the game as he had been out for five months.  Vermaelen is out for three weeks with a calf injury, his season is over. There is a small chance that Arshavin will return against Manchester City.
Premier league must set criteria to ensure that the teams must provide the best pitches.
He feels that if players move to Spain, they are going in effect to a lower quality league. Arsenal have been loyal to young players in their development  and they must pay back the club by staying at the club.
The Players should respect their contracts and we live in a world where honouring contracts is important. Every week it is the same with Fabregas. I am asked every week if he is staying with Arsenal. Gallas? he is legally free to sign another contract if he wants, I cannot stop him. I do not know if he will stay or if he will go.
I said that I felt this year we must win a trophy, but the first challenge was to stay at the top. The real quality trophies The Champions League and Championship were more competitive and we have exceeded the expectations but we will assess the results at the end of the season and decide how we respond.
If we need the money we will use it… (in response to having £30 million to spend this summer)
The injury of Cesc, Ramsey and Gibbs were the consequence of bad tackles. Once those players are lost, we cannot rotate anymore. Other top teams have lost players through injury.
The Arsenal away lads who continued to support their team through yet another embarrassing defeat at Shite Hart Lane and yet again had to suffer the foul abuse of the scum support.
Glen Hoddle for his ridiculous observations about the manner by which Spurs beat Arsenal on last Wednesday. Suddenly Spurs are going to beat Chelsea and Michael Dawson is England’s best centre back. I am now convinced that all Spurs fans are totally deluded. Their white kit actually represents the strait jackets which are regular issue from the North London Lunatic Asylum. Watch out for more commemorative DvDs of that goal by Rose. Spurs to win the World Cup I say…
I am thankful that I support a team that even with this season’s misfortunes, the Gooner pride remains and I shall continue to come back for more. Just a small point, but the season was not lost at Spurs last Wednesday, it was lost at West Ham in October and at Sunderland and Chelsea in November, where if the squad had shown more desire to fight for the shirt, great things would have been achieved. Lets hope that we can sneak second place from the Mancs and end the season on a high by beating Adebayor…

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