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AGM could bring Kroenke and Usmanov face to face with Arsenal board


Arsenal’s annual meeting next month could be a scorcher. After missing last year’s meeting, the club’s biggest shareholder, Danny Fiszman, has apparently confirmed that he will be at the gathering and it’s probable that billionaire shareholders Alisher Usmanov and Stan Kroenke (pictured) will be in the same room.

Having already met with Kroenke, Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood says he is also willing to speak to Usmanov. But that conversation will not include small talk about any takeover, according to the Gunners’ figurehead.

"The major shareholders on the board have absolutely no intention of selling and they certainly would not welcome an offer,” Hill-Wood told the BBC.

"I don’t object to foreign investors coming in to the Premier League. Actually I thing it’s going to be beneficial because most of them are investment people and they’re not buying into these clubs because they’ve got a deep passion for the local team that they’ve supported since they were two-years-old. They think that football and the Premier League is an attractive investment. They’re going to want a return on that investment and I think that will work in our favour because there will be a more sensible attitude - although it’s not obvious yet - in transfer fees, salary levels and all this sort of thing.

“People putting up hundreds of millions of pounds are going to want to see how they can make a profit. To go on paying more and more and more over to the players is not frightfully sensible.”

However, despite the willingness of the board to speak to Kroenke and Usmanov, it would appear that the rift with former vice-chairman David Dein is till fresh in their minds, as they appear unwilling to entertain him...

Dein pocketed £75 millon when he sold his 14.58% stake in Arsenal to Usmanov’s Red & White Holdings last month. Dein has assumed the role as the company’s chairman with the task of increasing its shareholding.

Credited as the man who brought Arsene Wenger to the Arsenal, Dein has gone on the record as saying the club needs billionaire investors so that it can continue to compete with Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and other European giants.

But that outspoken stance hasn’t ingratiated him with his former director colleagues who ousted him from the Arsenal board in April when Dein was backing Kroenke’s ambitions to launch a takeover bid.

Hill-Wood said, “We will have a dialogue with any principal or major shareholder. If they've got some sensible proposals we'll listen to them."

When it comes to Dein, the doors remain firmly closed though. “I see no major point in [speaking to him],” added Hill-Wood. “I've had 25 years of listening to him.”

Do you agree with the board's stance in shuttiing out Dein? Or perhaps your a Double-D fan who believes he still has a lot to offer Arsenal? Then share your thoughts here, using out comments section below

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Posted by Gordon Masson on September 11, 2007 in Debate of the Day, News | Permalink

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Comments

Does anyone know what day they are scheduled to meet?

Posted by: Jenn | September 13, 2007 10:40 PM

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