Kroenke Must Build On Fiszman’s Arsenal Legacy
I’ve spent most of this week feeling like I’m studying for an economics exam. I, like most other Gooners, have been wrestling with figures and trying to work out what the different permutations of share ownership mean for our club.
Despite many articles speculating on what Stan Kroenke’s Arsenal buyout means, we can only really go on the facts and the statements made on Monday morning which were all generally reassuring. What we do know is that it is not a leveraged buyout, which is hugely important.
This doesn’t mean that Kroenke Sports Enterprises (KSE) can’t dip into Arsenal funds to pay loans back, however there is very little to say that he will, or that he would even need to.
Kroenke has been part of the board for three years and has stated that he agrees with the self-sustaining model. There is no reason to suggest he would look to bleed the club to pay his own bills, despite the vast conjecture that has accompanied this deal.
It emerged yesterday that Alisher Usmanov will retain his 27% holding. He’s asked for assurances, as have the AST, on where Kroenke’s money is coming from and some kind of assurance that the money isn’t going to come from Arsenal funds or price hikes for example. It might help for Silent Stan to reassure the fans on this subject. The AST are also pressing for clarification and appear to have a good dialogue with Kroenke and Ivan Gazidis.
Whilst further clarity would be helpful this is another area where we should take Stan at his word for lack of any evidence to the contrary. In Monday’s statement he said he liked the Fanshare model and didn’t want to delist the club. Why should we think there’s any more to it?
There have been a few rumblings that Usmanov would have been a preferred option; he does have unimaginable wealth after all. This wealth may be a luxury but do we really want to sell out all of the recent off field achievements so we can have a spree in the market?
I’m proud of this clubs ethics and, whilst I’d have preferred to continue as we were, the untimely passing of Danny Fiszman (RIP) has meant otherwise. Kroenke has been vetted and trusted by the men who have taken the club on leaps and bounds in recent years.
Should Usmanov take the reins we’d be richer but we’d also be more like Chelsea and City. I for one have spent too long on my high horse about these two clubs and their financial doping to forget all that just because a rich Oligarch comes knocking on our door. In truth, no one knows how the era of the Oligarch is going to play out. What happens when Abramovich or Sheikh Mansour call it a day? What happens when Financial Fair Play rules come in? Aren’t we better being a bit more circumspect until we know all the pitfalls?
It seems as though some people saw a buyout as the equivalent of a lottery win and are disappointed that it seems to be a relatively straight forward business deal brought about by a tragic illness, not a gold plated revolution. This mood speaks of the short-termist agenda among some fans, an agenda that thankfully is far from the minds of those who run the club.
Finally, there have also been murmurs about David Dein coming back. Quite why we’d want him back I’m not sure. Of course, he was instrumental in founding the Premier League and was a great wheeler dealer but also, if rumours are to be believed, he didn’t agree with the stadium move and wanted us to get a billionaire backer – hence courting Kroenke and Usmanov in the first place. Anyone who wants Dein back should realise that our present would have been different had we adopted his view of the future and not Danny Fiszman’s.
As it was on Monday, there are still issues to iron out. Club ownership is a sensitive issue, particularly in light of the Glazers and Gillet and Hicks; there will therefore be no shortage of blogs suggesting what Kroenke might do to destabilise our club. Of course, he might do many things but it seems distinctly unlikely that he will do anything to harm the club and, for that at least, we should be grateful.
Kroenke was Fiszman’s pick to continue his legacy, a legacy that included huge efforts that have been nothing but beneficial to Arsenal Football Club (and have only come to the attention of some Gooners since his passing), then that is good enough for me – and should be good enough for any supporter of the Arsenal.