How Could Usmanov Be A Worse Owner For Arsenal Than Kroenke?

This is a question people have asked me when I’m cautious about accepting Mr Usmanov as owner of Arsenal. Stan is useless, they say. Usmanov is bound to be better. Look what Abramovich has done for Chelsea.

Yes. The problem here is that we don’t know what Usmanov would do until he is put in a position where he can do it. Until then it’s all talk. As I highlighted a few blog posts ago, Usmanov has talked about his vision, but not actually promised anything. Bear in mind also that at the moment there is a certain balance because Kroenke is restricted in what he can do by virtue of the fact he has less than 75 per cent of the total number of shares. If he sells to Usmanov, the Uzbek will have about 97 per cent of the shares; he will be able to do exactly what he wants.

So here’s a very brief random list off the top of my head of how Usmanov could be worse as an owner than Kroenke. Stan has not done (and in some cases can’t do) any of these:

1. Usmanov could start taking money out of the club by way of dividends or management fees (as at Man Utd)
2. He could sack the manager and install any idiot – Harry Redknapp, Mark Hughes (other clubs have seen fit to employ these no-hopers) – or he could just pick the team himself (Abramovich sometimes seems to be halfway to this).
3. He could sack the Board and install any bunch of idiots – Dennis Wise, Ken Bates – both of whom have had boardroom jobs – Piers Morgan . . .
4. He could pile debt onto the club (also as the Glazers did at Man U).
5. He could sell the freehold to the stadium to one of his own companies and rent it back (other clubs have done the same).
6. Ditto the training ground.
7. He could raise ticket prices 20 per cent a year, or any amount he likes (Man City have raised prices a lot, to try and boost the balance sheet ahead of FFP).
8. He could force the remaining small shareholders, including Fanshare, to sell their shares to him, take the club private and reduce accountability to fans from minimal to absolute zero (Abramovich again, and others).
9. He could change the home kit to white shirts and blue shorts and the away kit to blue shirts and white shorts, or whatever combination he likes (Cardiff’s owners have changed the colours).

Some of these, or variations of them, are far less likely than others, but they are all perfectly possible.
You may say, “Why should he do any of these? He’s a fan.” Well he says he is, and from information I have he has certainly attended more matches this season than Stan Kroenke, both home and away. But so what? Everyone on the Board, and the ex-members like David Dein, claims to be a fan, but it hasn’t stopped them selling their shares for profit to themselves and no benefit to Arsenal, even Peter Hill-Wood, whose family have led Arsenal from the Boardroom for about half its existence.

I take any claims of fandom with a large pinch of salt, particularly as Red & White have put out communications saying ‘we’ are Arsenal supporters, while Usmanov’s 50-50 partner in Red & White, Farhad Moshiri, is known to be a Man Utd fan. So I don’t know who they’re talking about with this ‘we’.

The fact is we don’t know how Usmanov would behave as Arsenal owner. Maybe he’d be fantastic; maybe we’d win trophies every year and pay peanuts for season tickets. Maybe. But could he be worse than Stan Kroenke? Oh yes.

Follow me on Twitter: @P_h_i_1


13 thoughts on “How Could Usmanov Be A Worse Owner For Arsenal Than Kroenke?

  1. As we currently sit, both Swansea and Wigan have won more trophies than we have in the last 8 years. I cannot see how Usmanov could be any worse then Kreonke. Silent Stan has done nothing for the club. Not one instance of Kreonke owning benefit is apparent. Usmanov is worth billions, why would he have any thought of taking money out the club ? The Glazers are mentioned a few times above, they have taken money out of the club and Man Utd have strolled to the Premier league title….if there is any sort of weird correlation, please Mr Kreonke take some money out of the club so we can at least challenge for the title. This battling with a far inferior team for fourth place and still no silverware year after year is frankly getting very boring. Bring on a Russian revolution….

    • Sorry, but what a myopic comment that was. First of all, football is not all about trophies, and allowing any sort of gung-ho methods to achieving those trophies. The Arsenal is a club of class, not one that throws millions at anything in a pair of boots. If you want such a club, please, Chelsea is on the other side of London. It is well documented that we are/have been in a phase of financial restriction, so Arsene, try as he may, can only get us so far. We’re a well run club, and we will get our fair share of trophies in due time. Football is in cycles, ours ended in 2005, but will soon come around again.

  2. Nothing ventured nothing gained. What can be worse than stagnation ? We’re going nowhere fast under Kroenke. Usmanov has a passion for the club that is absent with Kroenke. More importantly, unlike him, he’s willing to invest heavily, and might even pay off the stadium for us*.

    *Then A.K.B.’s would have no excuses left to hide behind. It’s fear factor articles like these that perpetuate mediocrity and complacency. We desperately NEED CHANGE at the club, we should not be placing obstacles in the way of progress. Only ambitionless clubs do that. Oops. I forgot. That’s what we are.

    ” In Arsene we rust.”

    • “Nothing ventured nothing gained. What can be worse than stagnation ? ”

      What could be worse? Relegation. Bankrupcy. Oblivion. Ask Leeds or Bradford or any of the Sheffield clubs – they all have a natural supporter base bigger than most Premiership clubs.But look where they are now after throwing caution to the winds. Ask Portsmouth today if the one cup the bought was worth the mess it has created now.

      Some of football fans are about far sighted as moths in front of a flame…

  3. English football has become an ownership lottery. It never fails to amaze me that the Usmanov in crowd only think of Chelsea and Man City and forget about Blackburn, QPR, Malaga, Portsmouth…
    Surely there must be people with the brains and the time who can set up a cross football club think tank/task force/whatever to come up with alternatives and plans to enforce them?

  4. Phil, a half hearted attempt to balance the picture between the two key protagonists with such random and unsubstantiated points. Most can be levelled at Kroenke over time. The question for me is who wants to move this club on to the next level and who is happy to maintain the status quo. Kroenke has no appreciation of competitive sport. He owns clubs that are wholly indigenous. This culture gap and understanding of football is likely to damage this club of he ever digs his claws into the ongoing management of this club

    • ” The question for me is who wants to move this club on to the next level and who is happy to maintain the status quo. Kroenke has no appreciation of competitive sport. He owns clubs that are wholly indigenous.”

      Sensible soundning rubbish. Usmanov is on the board of CSKA Moscow – how are they doing? Answer the question instead of parroting empy nonsense.

  5. About Kroenke there are no doubts: he is not an Arsenal fan, his motive is profit, the Club’s decline has accelerated since he took over, his other sport outfits’ performances are at best mediocre, he would have owned AFC wholly but for Usmanov, his admiration for the Glazers knows no bounds, he has been Arsenal’s worst-ever owner.
    As for Usmanov, your point is well made: he might prove to be even worse. However the AST is perfectly placed to dispose of (or verify) many of those doubts which you have listed. In return for their support, written undertakings could well be elicited from him – such as fan-share, the principle of multiple ownership and so on. No owner can survive without the support of fans – and I’m sure Usmanov is smart enough to know that. I’d also say that if his motive was profit, amassing Arsenal shares at inflated prices would not be the smartest way of going about it. On the evidence, his motive is glory for the Club, reflected glory for himself. Nor will he (as owner) need to throw money at the Club in the manner of a Roman or a Sheikh. Arsenal have the revenue and resources to compete with the best provided they are devoted solely to that end and not primarily to profit..

    • In practice it would be far easier to squeeze blood from a stone than extract a legally watertight promise from a billionaire.
      However, I fully agree Usmanov might be the best thing ever to happen to Arsenal – might. For people to make so many assumptions about him is completely daft.

      • Don’t let us judge all billionaires by Silent Stan – didn’t Bill Gates give twenty billion dollars away? Certainly worth a try if no real ambition for the Club is shown by our owner this summer; I guess even the most placid Arsenal fan will be up for a fight. As for Usmanov, riding in to save the day, the people’s hero – that must be worth a few roubles to him.

    • If Usmanov want to “spend a few roubles to save the day”, he could easily do that at CSKA Moscow, where he is on the board. But last I checked, that club has won sweet FA in the past half decade or more. And Usmanov is not pumping them full of roubles.

      if you want to talk abour rich owners for Arsenal, feel free to suggest the guy who owns Anzhi or the Chelsea owner or the Man City owners. They actually put their money into the club in cash to buy players. Usmanov is a stingy-ass share trader who has never put a penny into Arsenal’s budget and is such a tightwad that he refuses to even make a bid on the team, instead sitting around like a vulture waiting to flip his shares for a profit. Dont discuss this cheapskate charlatan Usmanov with us – he is clearly here to MAKE more money from Arsenal and nothing more.

      • Ziontrain u make loads of sense.dy dnt kia.dy r all d same.usmanv cud av changd csk moskw but he didn’ arsenal he kias mor about ownershp dan helpin out.we r doomd.only wt aw do we av hpe

  6. Today i would welcome Usamanov, he is a Fan and is hurting like us. we may well regret it in future or NOT! it as assumptions, he will take money out? who knows, is Kroenke not doing that? why isnt Arsenal able to invest in players? looking at the top clubs in England well they are all Billionaire owned, we are waiting for their dalliance to come off, we have waited for 8 agonizing years.. Success on the pitch is what will increase the value of the club, otherwise we are facing a serious decline. Give me Usamanov, i will hug this ogre!

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