The Arsenal AGM: Where Truth Goes To Die

There were about 500 seats set out in rows for the AGM, and most of them were filled. I’d estimate over 300 people there, of which I’d guess 100-150 were bona-fide shareholders in their own right, a little over 100 were there as members of Fanshare and the rest were members of the press and assorted hangers-on – the rest of the Board who surrounded Stan Kroenke, for example, none of whom own a single share.

Next year Fanshare will be gone and a few more small shareholders will probably have sold to one or other billionaire, so there will be fewer attendees. However, I tend to think that those small shareholders who are left are probably the ones most likely to turn up and want to ask questions, so it will still be in three figures for a while yet I expect.

But while small shareholders can still attend, their right to say what they want to say and get answers to questions continues to be whittled away. Let’s be clear: A shareholders meeting is held for one reason only – Arsenal as a public company have a legal obligation to hold one. They don’t want to. It’s an inconvenience having to explain yourself to a bunch of people you have little or no regard for, but that’s the law. As long as Kroenke is only a majority owner rather than the sole owner, public AGMs will continue to be held. We can be thankful that Alisher Usmanov has so far chosen not to sell to Kroenke, because as I’ve explained before that would be the end for small shareholders at Arsenal, and a swift end for the remaining accountability. At the moment the Board have to come and face the crowd and explain themselves; if there were no small shareholders the scrutiny would be much less than it is.

As things stand, they face the crowd for as short a time as possible and do their best not to give away anything that resembles a fact, never mind a truth, but at least they have to go through the motions. Rather that than the totally unaccountable syphoning of the Glazers at Man Utd, or the faceless autonomy of a Sheikh or oligarch.

So what happened at the meeting? I won’t go through it blow by blow, because the pattern – already a familiar one from previous AGMs and other meetings under the current regime – becomes immediately clear.

The first agenda item was to approve the accounts, so they decided that in order to do that, the first order of business was to answer the first question of the day, the one as it happens submitted by me. It read:
“It’s reported that Arsenal paid KSE £3m for advisory services. Was a competitive tender issued for these services and can you tell us specifically what the services were, why they were needed and whether such fees will become an annual feature?”
My question, like all the others that followed, was put up on screens around the room so everyone could read it. The answer was read out by Chairman Sir Chips Keswick, and we weren’t afforded the luxury of being able to read along with him. However, The Daily Telegraph live-blogged the event, and I assume recorded some of the speeches, so their website gives this as the answer read out, and from memory I’d say it’s accurate:
“The £3m fee to was proposed by myself and Lord Harris in respect of wide range of services offered by Kroenke Sports Enterprises. They have an extensive experience and it is of upmost (sic) important (sic again) that we use it to best advantage, There was no competitive tender – they were available to us, so competitive tender was not needed. We are entirely satisfied. In terms of future fees, it will depend on the services provided.”

My question had four parts. How many were answered?
Was a competitive tender issued?
“No.”
(Not a great answer, but a truthful one.)
Can you tell us specifically what the services were?
The closest to this is that there were ‘a wide range’. If it was so much you’d think an example might be possible.
Why were they needed?
“ ”
Will such fees become an annual feature?
“It will depend on the services provided.”
The services that you can’t tell us about? The wide range of things that you can’t name? It’s almost Pythonesque levels of absurdity to answer questions in this way. It would be funnier though if it didn’t involve £3m of ordinary people’s hard earned money being given to a man who is already richer than all of us added together and then multiplied by 1000.

So two members of the Board who own no shares between them proposed that the company they purport to run on behalf of all shareholders, pays £3m to the majority shareholder, who allows them to sit on the Board, for services that can’t be defined but have never before been needed in 127 years of Arsenal history.
And there are people who actually say that there is no need for regulation of the activities of people at Arsenal, no need for accountability.

How do the Board members sleep at night when they stand there and spout this utter nonsense? There is no way they expect us to believe it. And don’t give me any crap about it being ‘his club, he can do what he wants’, or ‘no one would care in any other form of business’, I’m not interested. If that’s what you think then you’re part of the reason this happens.

However, back to the meeting and, as I say, the pattern was established. Questions were answered in a generally long-winded way with little substance. If the question had several parts one might be addressed, the others would be ignored.

Examples, which I’ll paraphrase:
Do Arsenal support at least looking into safe standing?
It’s a difficult issue. It’s out of our hands really.
Do Arsenal support taking any Premier League matches abroad?
It’s a difficult issue. We haven’t seen a full proposal so we can’t say.
Do Arsenal support the London Living Wage?
It’s a difficult issue. It’s political. We don’t want to get involved.
You said last season you didn’t want to arbitrarily reward some away fans with free/reduced train travel, then arbitrarily rewarded some with a voucher – why?
It’s a difficult issue.
How is it fair that longstanding season ticket holders didn’t get Cup Final tickets and newer ones did.
Yes that does seem unfair, I can’t really defend it, but it’s a difficult issue.

I am paraphrasing these into a tiny percentage of the words Ivan (it was generally Ivan) used. Some answers lasted five minutes without saying anything more concrete than “It’s a difficult issue”. Obviously some things are difficult issues – you can’t give everyone a Cup Final ticket when so few are allocated and you’ll never please everyone, but what Ivan didn’t mention on that topic is that they have lost or discarded all the season ticket records from Highbury, so there’s no chance of long-standing holders being given priority, however unfair he accepts the current situation is.

People say Ivan should be a politician. If he was, and appeared on Question Time or Newsnight or (even better) Have I Got News For You, he would end up having it fairly forcibly pointed out that he rarely provides a proper answer to a question. He’d be pinned down much more than we are able to do when he is on a podium with a script and a microphone and we are sitting in rows. He is the king of waffle. He’s too clever to believe everything he says, he’s just playing the game for Kroenke, as most of them are now. When Ivan speaks for long enough you are left with the dispiriting impression that truth itself has disappeared. You are waffled into a comatose state, unable to comprehend the words being spoken after a while, because while they’re words that individually you understand, when they’re all together they lose meaning. It’s like a team becoming less than the sum of its parts. Like all the cogs in a clock whirring but not connecting, so the hands fall limply and uselessly down.

I am depressed now. There was more that happened at the AGM, more to explain, more to talk about, more to poke fun at because of the absurdity of it.

Maybe later. In the meantime, have a nice day.

Twitter: @AngryOfN5

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42 thoughts on “The Arsenal AGM: Where Truth Goes To Die

  1. It’s true of most AGM’s held for publicly quoted companies that they don’t really want to have to explain themselves to a group of people some of whom only attend for the opportunity to be openly hostile and antagonistic towards them but have an obligation to do so. Paying lip service to such folk is about as much as you could realistically expect from any board of directors (who are for the most part obliged to attend and as executives of the company would only be described as ‘hangers on’ by those openly hostile and antagonistic towards them). Still they met their obligations and explained what they had to explain. If small shareholders really believe that the payments to KSE, who clearly do possess the sports marketing expertise Arsenal have lacked for many years before Kroenke came on board, are not justified they can hold the directors personally responsible and sue them for failing in their fiduciary responsibilities. The fact is that Arsenal’s commercial growth has been faster and more fruitful since KSE became involved and the growth in commercial revenues far greater than the payment(s) made so far. It never ceases to amaze me that small shareholders waste so much time asking trite, banal questions that aren’t really anything to do with the proper running of the club. Does the club support safe standing? Should they take PL games abroad? Should Arsenal force its sub contractors to pay their staff more than the legal minimum wage? Is it fair that there aren’t enough cup final tickets for everyone who wants to go? Just kids playing at being shareholders really.

    • The rest of the Board are hangers-on because they own no shares. They sold to Kroenke, they sit there at his behest and they do what he says – even if what he says is “Give me some more money”.
      What is the point of trying to sue? They would just fabricate some services they say were provided.
      Commercial revenues going up is nothing to do with KSE, it’s to do with the long-term deals with Emirates and Nike having ended. Overall commercial performance is still poor by any reasonable standard.
      The AST commissioned papers on Arsenal’s governance; Arsenal refused to acknowledge any value in them, never mind discuss them. As you say, it’s a shame for supporters and shareholders who are actually interested in having a well-run club that most of the questions at the AGM aren’t to do with corporate governance, but that doesn’t give the Board the right to behave as they do.

      • The rest of the board are directors that doesn’t make them hangers on. Directors are executives and have the functions and responsibilities of executives. Hangers on are minority shareholders who believe the executives should march to their tune. Executive Directors are legally and personally liable for their actions in the best interests of the shareholders. They cannot fabricate anything and expect it to be unchallenged. They would have to show, if called to account for their actions, that the decisions they make are fair, reasonable and justified. Unsurprisingly those shareholders reflecting a majority of the shares held are likely to see their wishes reflected by the actions of the board but the board still has a fiduciary responsibility to be seen to act in the interests of all shareholders but the minority should never expect to prevail over the majority. Kroenke, appointed Gazidis, to oversee the growth in the commercial department which was woefully neglected by Dein and Co while ManU built a commercial juggernaut. Commercial development has everything to do with Kroenke’s executives expertise in sports marketing which is far more developed in the US than it has been here. The AST’s commissioned papers on governance was largely airy-fairy tokenism seeking female members of the board and a token ex player Bobby Charlton type ornament. That they expected it to be taken seriously is almost laughable – though the same paper as I recall did point out that the club was very well run and their suggestions were really just to meet politically fashionable governance thinking and wouldn’t really improve the running of the club.

      • Statement one: “Hangers on are minority shareholders who believe the executives should march to their tune.”
        Statement two: “Executive Directors are legally and personally liable for their actions in the best interests of the shareholders. They cannot fabricate anything and expect it to be unchallenged. They would have to show, if called to account for their actions, that the decisions they make are fair, reasonable and justified.”
        So the Execs are not hangers-on, but they have to account for their actions to the minority shareholders who are hangers-on? Got it.

    • I don’t agree that they were “trite or banal questions”, Amos. Shareholders are entitled to keep the Board and company accountable for their actions and asking for transparency about a £3,000,000 payment to one shareholder’s other businesses is far from trite or banal. I think every part of Phil’s question was worthwhile and very much in the interests of anyone keen to ensure that the club is well-run.

      Thanks for taking the time and effort of asking it, Phil. The only thing I might (respectfully!) say is that effectively asking 4 questions under the cover of 1 would always carry greater potential to see parts avoided, it almost gave them licence to pick and choose the parts they wanted answered. That’s not to say they were right not to answer in full of course but we all know the way that AGMs go.

      On the payment to Kroenke, I felt that it was only fair to first allow the club to explain its actions because there might well have been a perfectly legitimate reason for it. That isn’t being naive, just balanced and fair. The club has now had its chance and not taken it and one can only conclude that the reason it didn’t give more detail is because it has something it wishes to hide, i.e. it’s a dividend in all but name. Others might think it’s fine for the Board to siphon off money to Board members without accountability but I suspect they’re not the ones who have to scrape together enough money to pay the increased ticket prices.

      • The questions about safe standing, overseas games and living wages in the context of a shareholder’s AGM are trite and banal. None have anything to do with the running of the business and are a waste of time and/or an opportunity missed for more pertinent business.

      • Not sure if you have ever read the definition of the words ‘trite or ‘banal’ but I don’t believe that they suit what you’re trying to say. In any event, i’d suggest that asking the club questions about how much they pay their staff, future plans on supporter experience and whether they’re in favour of taking games outside of this country are very much the sorts of things for an AGM.

  2. Phil, the only way forward is an Association of Season Ticket Holders. Acting together, such a grouping can exert pressure on Kroenke, they can hit him where it hurts, in his pocket, and if needs be, they can get rid of him. Old stuff from me. But once everybody accepts that under Kroenke, the Club will never re-join the Elite, then the only course must be to persuade him to leave. And nobody is in a comparable position to AST in initiating the process. Yes, the BoD (that is, Kroenke) may withdraw its pitiful show of respect for the small shareholders. So what? Spreading the word around the Emirates, e-mails, posters, perhaps a couple of adverts will set the ball rolling. The key issue should be made the high ticket prices, a take-it or leave-it demand for either a 50% reduction in prices, or a vast increase in transfer expenditure. Judging by the Sports Minister’s latest statement, the move will have governmental approval. Wenger is a divisive issue, so his name should not even be mentioned.
    And no wonder you are depressed – that must have been the most disheartening AGM ever!

    • AST has what 800 members? The Arsenal membership scheme has what? Upwards of 250,000? AST has no power to organise more than a comparative handful Arsenal supporters. An association of arsenal season ticket holders can only exert any pressure if it can be sure that nobody else will take up the season tickets they give up. Once they give them up of course they will only be an association of ex-season ticket holders and as such why would anyone take any notice of them? Supporters should stop playing the victim game and enjoy the football for as long as they feel they can. If they don’t then they should make way for those who might. The club only has to ensure they can attract enough support to fill the stadium for most games. It’s their ability to do that that will determine the price of tickets.

      • Precisely. What they need to do of course is to have a credible threat to destroy the club’s reputation in a way that destroys significant amounts of income. Making questions at the AGM is something they have been doing for some time to little on no effect – but they dont seem to grasp that.

        New tactics are needed. But problem is galvanizing a large enough group around efforts that would inevitably involve deep sacrifice. Is there such a group. I doubt it. People just want to have their cake and eat it too.

  3. Phil said: “…How do the Board members sleep at night when they stand there and spout this utter nonsense? There is no way they expect us to believe it. And don’t give me any crap about it being ‘his club, he can do what he wants’, or ‘no one would care in any other form of business’,…”

    Phil, in any other business, the customers would leave if they felt ignored by the organization that they were paying money to.

    Therein lies the problem with football fans.

    If you understand that you are not willing to support another football club, then you should also understand exactly why football is such a good financial investment – and why ultimately things would not be different with any other financial owner…..including Usmanov who is not known for transparency in any other vehicle by which he has made his considerable amounts of money!

    The stable door has long been open and the horse bolted.

    AGMs in an public company are a form of Kabuki and I dont know why anyone would put themselves through the pretence. If you are not willing to shift allegiance to another local club, then they have you over a barrel. And they know it.

    This is not just the story of Arsenal. It is the story of english premeirship football overall.

  4. Great article!!!!

    Spot on about the poor Corporate Governance (lack of accountability and transparency is nothing short of a joke). The lack of diversity and Independence at board level resembles that of an internally-family dominated organization, and./or unquoted company based in a developing country. How the club is allowed to be run this way and undermine so many underpinning best practice recommendations is beyond belief. It’s refreshing and reassuring to know that there are people out there like yourself you willing to pull the club up on it, and for that my friend you deserve a great deal of merit.

    The fact that the board did not feel it necessary the requirement to define the scope & requirements in advance so that a formal invitation to tender could be issued for competitive and transparent purposes for the strategic services sought shows one or the other of

    1) Just sheer incompetence
    2) or perhaps more worryingly, and more likely- total disregard of Cooperate Social Responsibility to fans, and other the stakeholders (such as fellow shareholders).

    It tells you everything you need to know about the poor procurement process that we have at the club, which can equally applies to our inability to bring in players. Everything’s done on an ad-hoc basis, with no plan and no review to ensure that lessons are learnt.

    We’re becoming a laughing stock in the footballing world and the Business world. The saddest part of it is that the owner and the board are in on the joke.

    • Isn’t all this a bit dramatic?

      In fact when you have worked in any business situation where there are sister companies in related businesses, it is generally a no brainer to use that company and keep the revenues within the group.

      Even more so if we are talking about strategic advisory services, in which situation you can actually count on more privacy and insight from a related company than an external one.

      Now personally I happen to think this is all theoretical – that the unspecified services are simply profit taking.

      But that’s another matter – main point is if you really want to go down this path of expecting strategic services to be put out for tender with information given to 10 companies to come back with a bid, well that’s a joke.

      Last but not least, in my line of business we do deal with selling services in tender situations and personally I would not waste my time tendering for anything in which one of the “competitors” was an in-house or related company. They will have an edge in insight, speed and privacy that means they will be able to defend a higher price anyway. So we’d be wasting our time.

      • Let’s be clear: There were no services provided, other than the limited time that S and J Kroenke and their close associates and aides put into Arsenal business anyway. So no, I don’t really expect them to tender, because there’s nothing to tender for, but the question is a fair one. If the hypothetical circumstances were that KSE were really providing £3m of benefit then I’d still ask if they tendered, and if they replied with some good evidence that KSE had the expertise and everyone knew that, fair enough. No point wasting time and money on the tendering process.
        The fact they can’t even tell us what the services were, never mind why KSE are so good at them, demonstrates the whole thing is a charade anyway.

      • Think you’re missing the point here. The club is not 100% owned by Kroenke. Surely, he needs to justify the decision to use advisory services of a company that he also happens to have a material interest in, no? To a minimum, the nature of services should be defined in order to quantify and justify why this company was chosen above others. An ITT represents an opportunity to do just that. He owes it to it to his fellow shareholders to do so. To not do so is unethical.

        It’s not just a question of competitive advantage ( In-house vs Outsource trade-off) but moreover, It’s a question of transparency. Something the club continually shows total disregard to.

        It’s not over dramatic by any stretch. Everything that’s wrong with the club right now stems from the lack of Transparency and Accountability we see before us, with this being a very important example.

      • Absolutely – it is a charade. But so is a scenario in which the fans sit around while the club exchanges hands for the better part of a billion pounds – then run around demanding that the people who have put up that money NOT take anything out as a return.

        I would much rather the fans cut the crap and then we could have a real conversation about HOW MUCH of a return should the owners of the club get and when. I include Usmanov in this – he too is playing games pretending that he doesnt want a return on his money in attempt to get his grubby hands on the entire pot. So I really have zero sympathy for Kroenke taking cash out on the sly.

        This is not new either. Dein also took some huge “director compensation” out of the club – and more than that had his own son using the Arsenal locker room as a sort of %&$#&house in which he could more or less pick out anything he wanted.

        But again all of this goes back to the charade of “oh no – you can pay for the club, but dont take any money out”.

        This is not the Bundesliga – the fans there actually made sure they had some share of control. This is not the Bundesliga so it is laughable to expect a remotely similar outcome. Here in England, everyone ascribes to the libertarian principles in which everything that moves is monetised – so what on earth are you expecting as an outcome?

        As I said: kabuki.

  5. “So the Execs are not hangers-on, but they have to account for their actions to the minority shareholders who are hangers-on? Got it”

    Well you’ve almost got it Phil but still not quite there I fear. The executives have to account for their actions to all the shareholders whether majority or minority shareholders but as with most walks of life the majority will usually prevail and the tail should not expect to be able to wag the dog. Whether the minority see any purpose in ‘hanging on’ to their minority influence, and let’s be realistic it is a very, very small minority and cannot expect to have greater influence than sum of the shares it represents, is for them to decide but you can also see it for what it is. The executives do serve a more effective purpose in the day to day management of the club hence, in so far as they are hanging on do so with more productive purpose than those hanging on to the minority of shares represented outside of Kroenke and Usmanov’s holdings.

    • You could get anyone to do the job that the likes of Sir Chips and Lord Harris do. They have no stake. They are hangers on, pure and simple, regardless of who else owns what, regardless of the kind of business they purport to run. The only good thing is they don’t get paid for it, bar the £25k expenses doled out to each Board member, which Lord Harris turns down anyway. Pity he didn’t also turn down the idea of KSE getting £3m for services not rendered.

      • Everyone thinks they can do someone else’s job better than they can. I’m pretty sure sure Sir Chips and Lord Harris reckon they could write more informative and interesting blogs than you do. KSE were paid for services rendered you just don’t know precisely what those services were and even if they were explained to you in greater detail your prejudices probably wouldn’t allow you to accept that those services warranted such a payment. What is evident is that KSE has far greater expertise and insight into sports marketing and the maximising of commercial revenues than Arsenal did before he became involved in the club and that Arsenal commercial organisation is now far more effective at raising revenues. From your position you’ll never be able to appreciate the value of that expertise but that’s not likely to keep either Sir Chips or Lord Harris awake at night no matter how much it feeds your anger.

      • Do you actually work for Arsenal? Are you Tom Fox? Because no one else would try and claim some of the stuff you do, especially about commercial revenues.

  6. http://www.theguardian.com/football/2014/oct/17/arsenal-place-trust-arsene-wenger-army-statdna-data-analysts

    Arsenal bought StatDNA, the US-based football data analytics company with a massive workforce in east Asia, for £2.165m in December 2012 but, for the second successive AGM, Gazidis did not mention them by their name. Instead, he referred to AOH-USA LLC, which is how the limited liability company was registered in the States. AOH stands for Arsenal Overseas Holdings…..

  7. Do you pour a fraction of this energy into investigating/criticising the finances of certain rival clubs? Their emergence is undoubtedly the largest factor is us not matching the achievements of the first half of Wenger’s reign, and I’m pretty sure if it’s impropriety you want a bonanza awaits (albeit most of the killer stuff is frustratingly elusive, mostly because there is no will from the authorities to look into it. See Scudamore’s response to the strong claims Chelsea are deeply involved in 3rd party ownership. He won’t even answer a question on it, despite clearly stating clubs here are not permitted to take part)

    Kenyon (just linked up with Athletico I see), Mendes and third party alone should be enough to amuse/disturb a person till sometime next decade.

    That’s what we’re up against, and I really don’t see how it doesn’t deserve the extreme scrutiny you put your own club under. It’s true, it’ll get you nowhere in the end no matter how much digging you do into other clubs financial arrangements (the slew of City players all signing contracts with apparently little or no wage increase, perhaps even a drop, is another that sure doesn’t sound right) but at least it might temper your dissatisfaction with how we operate.

    You think we could have a totally open q and a session without it degenerating into something wholly negative for the club on which the media would gorge itself? That ignores both the media and more importantly the way things currently are with fans, where both justified and unjustified complaints swirl and reverberate around social media.

    I have no idea if other clubs are even as open as we are; it seems doubtful, and you can be sure that the only time a club would be happy to do so would be if they were on a big roll of winning trophies. Because then, whether the club is run well or dodgily, fans will do very little complaining

  8. So Amos you obviously think that small shareholders should sell out to Kroenke then,you talk about them so disparagingly.Oh and that Arsenal membership scheme is not a supporters group, its a shitty scheme that you have to be a member of if you are not a ST holder and want to buy a red member ticket for a match. If Kroenke has done such amazzzzzing things for Arsenal commercially,how come the chief commercial officer has just decamped to Villa? Do you go to matches Amos?

    • What a lot of half baked conclusions you manage to reach! I don’t think small shareholders should sell to anyone and I’m perfectly happy for them to ‘hang on’ to their shares. While doing so they should also appreciate the limited influence this gives them and not play victim if their wishes are ignored by those holding a majority of the shares. Whatever the rights and wrongs of it that’s just the way it works and an unrealistically inflated sense of importance doesn’t really help small shareholders. Supporters themselves are more important and there’s probably a greater purity of purpose and as much power in simply being a supporter. It’s fair to assume that those members of the Arsenal membership scheme are in the main supporters and therefore if not a supporters group are a group of supporters. The difference is only that there’s no obligation to follow a party line or march to a tune dictated by a handful of activists who sometimes see such groups as personal fiefdoms. KSE have clearly helped to improve the commercial development of Arsenal so much so that even their commercial staff increase their personal value externally in much the same way as Chambers joining Arsenal earns him an England place. Yes I go to matches though it’s a pretty silly question to ask on an anonymous football forum.

      • “Purity of purpose”. Oh please. And still banging on about the incredible commercial department? The one that gave away 15 years of stadium naming rights for nothing when they renegotiated with Emirates. And yet they “increase their personal value externally”. Don’t make me laugh. Admit it – you are Tom Fox.

  9. Phil, I just want to say ‘Thanks’ as I have taken Kevin’s advice and linked on to your Twitter Feed and in turn this site. Excellent coverage of what reads – and no doubt was – a very depressing event.

    The deadpan way you described ‘Chips’ convincing ‘Stan’ that ‘Josh’ was the man for Board, leaves me chuckling still. We need all the laughs we can get these days. Cheers !

    Rob

  10. You’ve missed the point entirely Phil. Not that you have any real intention of seeing any point other than those your entrenched prejudices will permit you to see. There has been significant growth in commercial revenue (much of which isn’t yet reflected in published accounts) and that growth has come from a wider range of sources. Check it out – it’s verifiable – unlike many of your unsupported assertions. You shouldn’t reject any attempt to make you laugh – you needn’t be angryofislington permanently. Tell you what though. I’ll admit I’m Tom Fox when you admit you’re Alisher Usmanov. 😉

    • If I was Usmanov I’d be making more noise about what Kroenke was doing, but he’s probably distracted with the £3bn he’s lost this year.

      You’re quite good at missing the point yourself Tom – explain why the stadium naming rights were given away then, diminishing Arsenal’s brand in the process?

      • No you would still make just as much noise and ultimately just as impotently.

        You’ve already had the explanation for the Emirates deal – you don’t understand it because you don’t want to understand it. Being the commercial expert that you are no doubt you would have been able to do a much better deal in much the same way that you would be able to do Sir Chips and Lord H’s job better than they can. Why live in the real world when the imagination provides such satisfaction eh?

      • What explanation have I had for the Emirates deal?

        If you were at the AGM you’d be aware that almost anyone could do Chips’ job better than he did that day. And what was his other contribution recently? Oh yes, recommending that Arsenal pay Kroenke £3m. Bravo, a job well done.

  11. The explanation would have been the one given by Gazidis when announcing the deal with the Emirates. You may well not agree and could probably do Ivan’s job and those of the entire commercial team better just as easily as you could do Sir Chip’s job. As I said earlier other people’s jobs are always easy to do and no doubt Ivan, Sir Chips and the entire commercial team probably reckon they’d be pretty good at writing football blogs. But you should understand Sir Chips wouldn’t have arbitrarily recommended that Arsenal pay Kroenke £3m. That isn’t how board meetings work. An item would have been placed on the board meeting agenda by one of the executives (possibly on the lines of a KSE executive raising an issue regarding recompense for all the advice, time and assistance of their sports marketing expertise that needed to be resolved) and any solution needing board approval the board would have been obliged to discuss it. Assuming an agreement following board discussion was that adequate compensation for the time spent and resources employed amounted to £3m then for the motion to pay them to carry it would need a proposer (usually the Chairman) in this case Sir Chips and a seconder (Lord H). As professionals they would have been aware that the rules regarding disclosure of transactions between related parties would have obliged them to make their decision public knowledge and that their fiduciary responsibilities and personal liability would oblige them to ensure such decision stands scrutiny. You may find this helpful information when contemplating just how well you might perform as a Director of Arsenal Football Club, or other similar sized enterprise. 🙂

  12. The fact remains that Arsenal fans have the power, if they care to use it. It won’t matter a damn that Arsenal has cost Kroenke a billion bucks – or 10 billion, for that matter. Without customers, a football club is a liability, not an asset. As is probably the case with the vast majority of businesses. A painful process should an embargo become necessary. But very unlikely to actually need to happen. The mere threat of action will be enough. Initiating the process is simple. Getting everybody on board is wishful thinking. But getting the majority on board should not be a problem – and the majority will suffice. Provided, of course, that this season heads where most of us suspect – into nowhere.
    Let us assume that, come January, Arsenal are pretty much non-contenders for a major trophy, and further (as in last January), that no significant signing is made. The moment to start the ball rolling has come. The demand is made: season ticket prices must be halved. A token show of power. The 20,000+ season ticket holders who ARE on board, say, turn their backs to the game at kick-off. Something like that, anyway.
    How will the hierarchy respond? With great trepidation. Firstly, they will pretend not to notice, then they will bluff with threats, then the promises of a massive summer spend, then – their final card – they will fire Wenger.
    By this time, seeing the way the wind is blowing, practically every fan is on board. And the battle is won.
    The war is another matter, entirely. But for sure, any new owner will make pleasing the fans his number one priority.

    • “…The fact remains that Arsenal fans have the power, if they care to use it. It won’t matter a damn that Arsenal has cost Kroenke a billion bucks – or 10 billion, for that matter. ..”
      – I will just not that the business people have football fans well sussed out. Football fans are in general a gullible, spineless and easily replaceable lot – in this country 10x that and that’s why English clubs are worth so much. To boot, FIFA has a well secured defacto monooply on professional football – worldwide! All these add up to precisely why football clubs can exchange hands for the sums they do. And why those sums are secure. No, there’s not going to be any uprising.

      “…Without customers, a football club is a liability, not an asset….”
      – Indeed, football is not well suited to commercialisation on this scale. There are probably only a handful of the 92 clubs that can actually sustain any kind of profitability or break-even from their own footballing revenues.

  13. Pingback: Arsenal AGM 2015: Kroenke’s Grip On The Club Tightens | angryofislington

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