Arsenal Breeze It At The Seaside But Is Stan A Breath Of Fresh Air?

Blackpool 1 – 3 Arsenal

0 – 1 Diaby (18)
0 – 2 Eboue (21)
1 – 2 Taylor – Flectcher (52)
1 – 3 van Persie (75)

It was a day of milestones, all at once expected, unexpected and jaw-dropping. More on the unexpected later. As it was Cesc and Jens Lehmann reached 300 and 200 first team appearances, celebrating the first win since Orient were efficiently removed from the FA Cup.

Victory was necessary, Manchester United having won the previous day. Victory was necessary for confidence, it had been a torrid previous six weeks. The gap at the top is ‘as you were’. The coming weekend is going to be crucial as Arsenal’s game in hand is played when Liverpool visit The Emirates. Win that one and pressure returns to United.

Crucial. The word that will be used to describe every weekend between now and the end of the title race.

Blackpool started brightly, beavering away but it became quickly apparent that they were going to be the sort of opponents Arsenal love playing against. A high defensive line, designed to squeeze play, compress midfield. Perfect for pacey attackers and runners from midfield. Arsenal proved the point.

Eighteen minutes in, Diaby rumbled a Blackpool attack in midfield. Within a minute, the ball would be in the back of the net as swift movement and interplay between Cesc and Robin van Persie found Diaby ambling into the Blackpool penalty area, unmarked and giving the move the finish it deserved.

Lessons needed to be learned by Blackpool but they weren’t. Within three minutes, Eboue attacked down the right, interchanged passes and positions with Wilshere, stormed into the area and emphatically finished past Kingston. Would that Arsenal full backs would always show this endeavour. Would that they were always able to show this endeavour.

Diaby could and perhaps should, have done better once van Persie had broken the offside trap, the chance snuffed out by the weight of Blackpool numbers. Nasri was then released by Cesc, beat the offside trap and Kingston but not the woodwork, the ball bouncing off the outside of the post to safety.

Blackpool started brightly in the second half and might have scored more than Taylor-Fletcher’s solitary reply. Adam found his range of passing and drove the hosts on from midfield. The returning Lehmann might have conceded a penalty, Koscielny definitely did. Well, aside from the continually inept Lee Mason failing to award it. Payback for Everton, perhaps?

As it was Theo Walcott’s return provided the perfect antidote to slack marking and a high line. Creaney had been turned inside out, upside down and round and round. His marking might well have been the same as Diana Ross although she turns a lot quicker on stage than he did when the ball went past him from Cesc’s deft touch. van Persie’s finish was as unerring as Walcott’s cross.

At which point the match report gets curtailed. Suffice to say, Lehmann did well on his return whilst the remainder of the team coped with their rocky spell. Bob Wilson observed how impressed he was with the German’s reflexes, noting that some of the younger keepers struggle to get down to stop shots so the 41 year old did well.

There are some interesting provisos attached to the offer from Kroenke. KSE has confirmed to the current Board that there is no intention to follow Aston Villa and Manchester United out of the public share arena although there is a get-out clause,unless Arsenal’s PLUS corporate adviser advises at any time there is not sufficient liquidity in Arsenal Shares to maintain an orderly market in the shares)“.

Crucially, Alisher Usmanov is not expected to sell his shares. In order to wholly own the company, Kroenke would need to purchase that holding, triggering the threshold whereby all shares must be sold to him. What this means is unclear. Usmanov can block matters and become a nuisance but overall, if Kroenke owns 62.89% he has no obligation to take any notice of Red & White Holdings.

This is almost ‘fluff’ around the edges. The final two assurances given are the ones which have been at the forefront of any discussions,

— it is their current intention that, if the Offer becomes or is declared unconditional, they will continue to support and adhere to the self-sustaining business model hitherto pursued by the Board of Arsenal;

— the Offer will not be funded by way of any debt finance (banks loans, payment in kind loans or other debt or quasi-debt interest bearing obligations) for which the payment of interest on, repayment of or security for any liability (contingent or otherwise) will depend on the business of Arsenal.

In other words, the debt-loaded model of the Glazers has not been followed. Yet in confirming that the self-sustaining model of business will continue to pursued, KSE is making no commitment to investing in the club. We need to be quite clear about this. So far, the only beneficiaries of any investment in Arsenal that Stan Kroenke has made, have been the shareholders who have sold their shares to him.

The club has seen no funding. No debt has been paid off and reading the official notice, none is intended to be.

With no promise of this in the future, the clamour for Wenger to spend is not going to be sated by the owner’s money being put at risk. No guarantees of a £50m signing. No guarantees that Arsène is going to be forced to spend any moneys at all. In other words, this is business as usual.

The question is forming, why is Kroenke doing this? He has been in a co-ownership situation before with a ‘sporting franchise‘. Quite what relationship he has with Usmanov, if any, remains to be seen. If he pays a dividend, which must be more likely with a single owner that plural shareholders, I dare say that Red & White and KSE will have a very cordial relationship.

Perhaps this is motivated by a desire of the Board to see Usmanov blocked from owning the club. This might be a permanent realisation of that dream; it might just be a temporary barricade on that particular road.

One thing is for certain. If Arsenal becomes owned by one or two individuals, the model of plural ownership as we have seen it, is gone. Whether that is permanent or not remains to be seen but appears highly likely.

And this is where the doubts about motivation arise. KSE has other sports interests and there is no question that Kroenke is a fan of sport. But this is not an act of philanthropy. He is investing his money to earn a return. If successful, he has seen that the business model can generate returns.

Whether that impacts on the playing side remains to be seen. At this moment in time, he is the lesser of two evils. There are too many unanswered questions, answers that are not going to be forthcoming in a short space of time. Until they do, we are struggling to make a good judgement over whether KSE’s offer is good for Arsenal.

The problem is that by the time they come, it might be too late.

’til Tomorrow.

157 thoughts on “Arsenal Breeze It At The Seaside But Is Stan A Breath Of Fresh Air?

  1. Yogi,
    A very interesting and well thought out post as usual.

    I think that although no talk of further investment in the team is specifically mentioned … I honestly don’t think that that necessarily means that there’d be no new investment for players and / or the team. As you say Kronke is a businessman with a clear idea of how the business of Sport works and, therefore, he must know that success breeds success and that everyone wants to be associated with the winners… when those winners can be shown to have done things more or less the right way, as we are, then the urge to be associated with a brand like ours would be enormous and very profitable for him and Usmanov too.

    I think that what he means by keeping to the self sustaining model is that buying a big name for loads of pounds is not going to happen and in any event may not be really what the team needs (IMHO the team don’t need a huge name player but that’s my opinion). I think that there has to be some judicious pruning and an injection of some new blood and that process will need money and investment in the summer but I don’t think that it will be a ManCity or Chelsea kind of money or anything near it …

    On Kronke… I know next to nothing about the guy other than what one can glean from press releases and what not on the internet… but I still feel able to say that he appears a very canny operator given the way he was introduced by Dein (the board were mostly hostile to him at the outset) and then turned the whole fiasco around to become almost an insider … and now majority shareholder. If I’m not mistaken Kronke has said that Dein misrepresented the position and state of the Arsenal Board to him when he bought the Granada shares… If that is true, how likely is it that Kronke would want Dein back?

  2. Alex Ice Cream…

    You are just repeating an internet trope. We have not really stagnated at all commercially because of the board. We are tied into long term deals that were front loaded at the time to give us the money to build our stadium. what would you have done at the time? Especially given the difficulty we had convincing the bankers that the Stadium was a very viable and credit worthy project. People have such short memories… remember the crazy interest rates that RBS imposed on us that were only renegotiated when the stadium was finished and seen to be a success. Our board deserves every true fan’s respect for the way they have conducted things on the whole. Liverpool need a stadium, Spurs need a stadium and none of those teams have delivered… and of those teams who have built comparative tin cans like Southampton and Coventry… the have often suffered relegation.. none of you moaners ever acknowledge any of this. It annoys and staggers me the amount of ingratitude and, to be blunt, stupidity there is about what has been achieved these last six years amongst some Arsenal fans…. it’s as if all that matters are baubles. Jeez.

  3. The duplicitnous of the Arsenal Board members is matched only by the fickleness and gullibility of its ‘fans’. I would not put any faith in any of the stories about shareholder dealings over the last few years, even if you heard it from the horses mouth. The fact is though that every shaker and mover at Arsenal has been brought to the club by DD. He still attends games and don’t imagine that he does not have very lengthy conversations with every Board member and shareholder, as well as AW.

  4. Farkin ell what the fuck is ‘duplictnous’. Blind as a fucking bat, just pressing random keys. Cataracts, Alzheimer’s, paranoid delusions and fucked knees. Apart from that everything is going swimmingly.

  5. Frank, you seem to have a strongly positive view of DD. Wasn’t he in favor of Arsenal playing at Wembley? Didn’t he think we needed a billionaire patron to help us compete with Chelsea, ManU etc…? As a result he tried to bring in Kroenke but fell out with the board who ended up embracing Kroenke and then partnered with Usmanov’s Red and White but somehow fell out with them. Why did he sell his shares? How has he maintained these close relations with board members, shareholders and AW despite all this? It is hard to make sense of this. What is the story here and do you think there is a chance he will come back in some capacity? What would he bring to the club at this point? Genuinely interested.

  6. YW, why would she turn down a higher price from Usmanov after being pushed out of the board (and why was she on the outs with the board anyway?)? Perhaps Frank is right–no one will reveal what has really been happening.

  7. Limestonegunner, again received wisdom has it that DD suggested that we move to Wembley. Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t. But if he did, it was probably an idea worth considering in the context of a strategic discussion about increasing revenues. In fact if you work the idea through considering the enormous task of building a new stadium (which I would add was remarkably successful as a development project) it might well have worked. For me like him or not he was responsible for the modern Arsenal. Even brought DB10 to the club, as well as AW, DF, SK, AU etc. His vision for G14 may yet work and there is no doubt that SKs interest in ownership and development of digital content chimes with DDs views on world club football. There is more at stake here than meets the eye and I reckon it is going to be fascinating. Arsenal are really at the forefront of a massive change in football. Very exciting indeed.

  8. Still, a very positive message from her yogi. Plus most rich people want to be, well, richer.

    She deserves some respect for making a choice like that which, one assumes, was based on personal choice and integrity.

    Mind you, perhaps I am giving the super rich too much credit. I have no personal experience of wealth, nor of the pressures of family ‘honour’.

    Do we have to start spelling that wrongly now, by the way?

  9. Most of Lady Nina and her husband’s money goes to charity, that is why I named my horse after her or almost anyway.

  10. Yes, but your dog is named after a saying from Mao’s ‘Little Red Book’, what message can we glean from that!.

  11. The sky hack is trying to make another story out of Kroenke buying the club it seems. Usmanov never had a chance of buyingthose shares and if anything Dein looks even further out in the cold than he did after he sold his shares in his beloved club to the fat Uzbek.

    Looks like Lady Nina was always going to sell to Kroenke, or there has been some serious shmoozing going on!

  12. Nobody connected with football ever, ever tells the truth, or if they do it is buried so deep in lies that it is impossible to know it for what it is. Except AW and he just doesn’t tell you rather than lies. Good man. BUT the npress and media never tell the truth. Not ever. Never.

  13. I agree with that Frank.

    Don’t watch the news, don’t read the papers, not without assuming that you are being fed bollocks.

  14. Thatsa healty attitude to take where the news gathering/muck spreading outlets are concerned Bob.

  15. You can’t buy class, Thank you Lady Nina. Not only for not being greedy but also for going against the wishes of Le Groan’s biggest troll of all.

    Now he says he’s OK with Stan Kroenke…Make up your mind Dorkus.

  16. YW, that’s very encouraging from Lady Nina.
    Frank, thanks for that. I’ve always liked DD and wish he had been chosen to head the FA. Talk about an organization that needs to join modernity…

  17. Whatever one’s views on ownership, and I am at one with those who would have preferred a plurality of the same, it must be a good thing to move out of the uncertainty that has surrounded the Board over the past couple of years.

    It is hard to see that any other outcome was possible, given the health of Fiszman and the sideling of Lady Nina, than a takeover from either of the two majority shareholders.

    Come on Stan. Wear the colours. Lead on. Show us the vision to build on what we have achieved over the last 100 years.

  18. I have no knowledge of what ‘sideling’ means and deny that it contains any sexual suggestion at all, much less that lady Nina would have any interest in such an act, should it even exist.

  19. One can only hope for the famed discretion of the contibutors to this site, Frank.


  20. We go on to win the league this season..
    ..People would say Stan is a business genius, bought the club at the right time.

  21. I think CBob meant Lady Nina sideling as what is known in the horse-world as saddling?

    Dig yourself out CBob

  22. Just watched Liverpool totally destroy Man City, weve got our hands full on Sunday.There a bit patchy away from home and were awful last time out against West Brom. Have to say Suarez looks an exceptional footballer.

  23. Paul N, I agree m8 Tevez is a huge loss and city are grinders in many respects. They rely on a physical presence and a bit of guile from Silva or Tevez. But Liverpool moved the ball incredibly quickly especially in the first half.

    Our rubbish defence has conceded as many goals as Citys who have the magnificent Kompany and the unbelievable Joe Harte, how is that possible.

  24. Suarez does look quite exceptional. Him and carroll make a good pairing up top. City looked lifeless. i thought it was funny that Balotelli gets subbed in around 16 minutes for Tevez, then gets taken off at about 75 minutes. big useless lump that guy.

  25. ‘The culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has urged Arsenal’s prospective new owner to retain and strengthen fans’ involvement in the club’s ownership structure’.

    Culture Secretary? Fans?

    HHHHHHaaaahahaaaaaaaaahaaaaaaahaaaaaa…uuuurrrghghhh….frakihhhhhain…hell….hhhahahahahahahahahahahahahahaHHHHHHHHaaaaaaaHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH…oh dearie me

  26. Change of manager seems to have been the biggest plus for Pool. Suarez is full of skill, thats the truth. Should be an exiting match and I think one that will bring out the best in our team.

    Can you believe that BRF? only one team has a better defensive record than Arsenal and yet people will stil be saying that we lack in that area. Dumb as rocks some people.

  27. Can’t say I’m surprised about Suarez. Hated him because of what he did against Ghana in the WC but there was no doubt the guy would make it in any league in the world. He reminds me of David Villa. Quick, skillful and buckets loads of guile.

  28. I see some twat from the Grauniad is trying to shit stir that Kroenke might use AFCs money to finance the debt, even though there’s zero evidence of that whatsoever. Typical

  29. Henristic, I felt the same way about his handball to deny Ghana. The way he celebrated Gyan’s miss in the tunnel, I thought showed poor taste. Then, to hear that he bit a player while at Ajax! Good player but I would have real qualms if he was on my team!

  30. Matt Scott has no qualifications and no knowledge when it comes to his column about Arsenal, Dexter. Just ignore the cunt.

  31. Shoulder of lamb is very nice if cooked well, Limestonegunner. Shoulder of long pork, raw? Naaaah not for me. I agree with you, the player is dodgy.

  32. so we are in the hands of a yank. well at least the team might employ the old shoot on site policy now.

  33. Frank m8 your right Matt Scotts a total plank. By the time chubes like him, Woolnoogh, MCCarra, Dunn, Cross, Winter, Custis, Hayward, Dickinson I could go on, realise whats going on in the premier league and draw breath in between mullering Wenger for not buying Cahill for £30 million, Stan will have sold the individual right to our home matches worldwide on an Arsenal platform or have used the threat of doing so along with the Glazers and Fenway Sports to fundamentally change the redistribution of money from the EPL.

    The level of football journalism is awful in this country, utter verbage passes as comment and analysis and the written word is literally a dump on a page. I can almost forgive that these guys are simply feeding the beast of 24hr coverage by shovelling shit, I get that. Its the fucking arrogance that these “journalists” have in their smug opinions, its incredible. Watching the Sunday suppliment is like watching four virgins teenage boys talking about sex the clowns arent self aware enough to be embarassed and have absolutely no idea what the fuck their talking about.

  34. So that’s why we played some of our CL games at Wembley in the late nineties. I always thought it was a horrible mistake to take our team out of Highbury’s tight pitch.

  35. BRF, Sunday supplement has to be the worst football show. Only one I can stomach is Patrick Barclay.

    Some fool from NOTW was saying we need 8 or 9 different first team players to compete with ManU and Chrlsea!! Hello, we are ahead of them!!

  36. colney

    Excellent find. The guy is a senior writer at fox and has no understanding of football at all. Loved his ‘blueprint’ for the future of football. It ought to be required reading. For comedy writers.


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