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Why does AST talk of failure in the future?


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Why does AST talk of failure in the future?

By: Anne

I came to write this article in an extremely roundabout way. It all began when I was looking at the twitter account of Tim Payton of the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust (based on some comments by Mahdain), and came across the following slightly surprising tweet:

“Hooray. RvP does the double. Rightly Football Writers’ Footballer of year too. All Arsenal media conspiracists better take the day off….”

Naturally, this caught my attention, particularly considering that Payton posted the following tweet shortly thereafter:

“Great AST meeting tonight with @johncrossmirror giving insight on AFC & latest transfer news. But our lips are sealed, best buy the Mirror.”

Based on the above, I opted not to follow Payton’s advice and “take the day off,” but rather looked into the situation a bit, and happened to find the following interview with the Arsenal offsides blog, where Payton stated that:

“The role of the AST is to act as a pressure group to influence ownership decisions at the club…”

From there, I actually stumbled across something much more interesting.

Specifically, I found the following article from City AM, in which Payton and the AST are reported as planning to submit a proposal for a rights issue (ie, new Arsenal stock), in the event that Arsenal doesn’t finish in a Champions League spot.

This proposal was originally submitted by Alisher Usmanov in 2009, but rejected by the board. I’m not sure what this means, to be honest, but I get the feeling that there’s something significant about it:

“The Gunners are poised to confirm more healthy financial results…But that could be obliterated if they miss out on next season’s Champions League, which would cost the club around £45m, the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust estimate.

“The AST has asked the board and majority shareholder Stan Kroenke to reconsider a rights issue, should the club miss out on the top four. Kroenke’s rival shareholder Alisher Usmanov proposed the step in 2009, arguing that the team needed fresh capital to end their silverware drought.

“The board rejected the idea then as unnecessary, citing advice from manager Arsene Wenger, but the AST believes it is time to pose the question again.”

***Note: Interesting Arsene’s role in this rejection. I’m also particularly interested in the meaning of this following part about FFP, although I’m not sure what it means yet.***

“Incoming Financial Fair Play laws would allow new money to be used to pay down remaining stadium debt, freeing up funds for Wenger to invest in his struggling team.

***Note: I also find it interesting the way that Payton appears to be pressuring Kroenke here.***

“Kroenke (right), who will fly into London for a board meeting this week, may be reluctant to endorse the move as it would force the American to either plough millions of pounds into the club or accept a watering-down of his stock. Extra shares could fall into the hands of Russian billionaire Usmanov, who has been snapping up stock in a bid to take his holding over 30 per cent.

“‘This could flush out whether Kroenke is just interested in money,’ the AST’s Tim Payton told City A.M.  ‘An issue would mean that he benefits from having a stronger and healthier club.’”

This article isn’t the first time that Payton has expressed public support for the idea of a stock issue, which he apparently supports in conjunction with Arsenal abandoning the self-sustaining business model.

For example, from an editorial in the Independent headlined Tim Payton: ‘We want Arsenal to rethink the business model. We have fallen behind’:

“The club need to rethink their ‘self-sustaining’ business model. This doesn’t mean an unchecked sugar-daddy approach but it does mean reviewing options to bridge the gap such as paying down the remaining debt or undertaking a rights issue.”

From an online interview with Arsenal blog “the offside:”

“The AST does not support an unchecked sugar-daddy approach to ownership. But we do think the club should thoroughly review the options for its two billionaire shareholders – Kroenke and Alisher Usmanov…Sustainable long-term options include paying down the remaining debt or undertaking a rights issue, as was concluded to the tune of £80m also to raise money for the stadium project….”

From a similar online interview with the Goonertalk blog:

Arsenal can’t be competitive in the  self-sustainability model because “Arsenal does not have the benefit of benefactor income in the way Chelsea or Manchester City have…”

“With 2 Billionaire’s controlling 95% of the club; would it do any harm to ask them to invest money into the club? The AST would certainly not support ‘sugar-daddy’ type policies, but a well managed rights issue or investment in club infrastructure that will increase revenues is something that should be actively considered.”

So, what I’m curious about here is, why the big rush to pay down the stadium debt? If we already have structured debt payments that we’re making that are allowing the club to operate normally, why the rush? Why would we need to take the dramatic step of issuing new stock in order to pay down the debt ahead of schedule?

Just to conclude, I also find the following interesting. This is what Red and White Holdings said after Arsenal initially rejected the proposal in 2009:

“Based on financial information that only they have, the board have informed us that they are confident they have adequate financial resources to support the manager to strengthen the squad, to weather the property downturn, to renegotiate the Highbury Square loan on good terms and to deal with the continuing difficult economic conditions,” said Red & White Holdings. “We do not share their view but are prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt for the moment.

“However, we will keep the situation under close review and remain committed on behalf of interested parties in the club to ensure that there are sufficient financial resources for the club to succeed at the highest level and win major honours such as the Premiership or Champions League, while operating within a self-sustaining financial model.”

What does all this mean?



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85 comments to Why does AST talk of failure in the future?

  • MikeSA

    It means that either Payton is too stupid to figure out that a rights issue would hurt the smaller shareholders more than the larger ones, or he has an unhealthy relationship with one of the major shareholders.

  • ClockEndRider

    And Payton seems to be ignoring the fact that Usmanov is on record as saying the first thing he would do is to reinstate a policy of issuing dividends to share holds. In simple terms this means that Usmanov is looking as this as a cash-out and not a cash-in exercise. How does this sit with Usmanov being a sugar daddy? It doesn’t. He’s not. He’s not concerned with sustainability. I want my club to exist for my children and grandchildren. Not win a few cups and disappear down the toilet. Has Payton heard of Glasgow Rangers?

  • malaysian gunner

    That is why as long as Wenger is in charge,imho,the gunners are only interested in cl soccer.Furthermore his buy young farm out policy aint working for the last six years.
    I believe once the sponsorship deals expire,it could significantly increase the cash flow.Arsene has to buy the experienced players who can go straight into the senior team.Btw,Chelsea beat Fulham effortlessly.It was direct and devastating .
    I don’t know why Arsene has a problem playing anti soccer teams.Until he has the answer to this,the gunners will just plod along.

  • JustinL

    I follow AST and particularly Tim Payton on Twitter. I have never seen such a negative and blinkered fan as him. He is constantly harping on the fact on how badly we are managed, our funds are at risk etc etc it is constant negativity, and the AST if he is the spokesperson.

    The AST have an agenda, they act as if they know the inner workings of the board and have full access to all the accounts, which of course they don’t, just the same as we do. Maybe they would get more fans on-board if they actually stop all of this scaremongering because that’s all it is. Show me any other team that have managed to move to a new Stadium in London during the worst recession since the depression and still manage to get us into the top 4 every season.Yes we have had to accept that there hasn’t been much money and our commercial deals were extremely low. Maybe this is because we had no choice we just needed the money upfront for the new stadium.
    I think having AST is a great idea but they have an extremely poor PR department, most fans can’t be bothered with them for the reasons I have mentioned, they need to look at the way they are set up as well as our club!

  • Clown shoes

    Arsenal are working within Financial Fair Play.

    Please see the articles released today about Chelsea and City not being eligable for the Champions League due to losses of over 100 million… and as a result will lose 20 – 30 million from CL revenue, making the finaincial fair play rules harder to meet.

    Alternatively we can spend like Rangers, Pompy or Blackburn.

    How the hell some people can operate a computer but struggle with common sense is beyond me.

    references to Red and White holding in this article is plain ridiculous – as the company is owned by Usumov…

  • 49Unbeaten

    The problem we have with the renewal of the sponsorships is that if we’re not competative we won’t be able to generate/command the kind of incomes that ManU or Chelsea do. In short we haven’t invested in the club enough to win trophies and without that onfield success we won’t get high profile sponsors. Do you think massive blue chip companies will want to advertise their names on a team that is happy to finnish 4th? No they would rather back the teams that invest in their squads enough to become champions.

  • KnysnaGunner

    I have asked Tim Payton on more than one occassion to state categorically that he does not have a commercial relationship with Usmanov or Red and White Holdings, nor has he had one in the past. For this I was blocked by him on Twitter and off course did not receive any response. As you all know Payton is a freelance communications consultant, so everything he says, including his Twitter account, is probably part of a paid for communication strategy. Draw your own conclusions.

    As for the AST, perhaps they should find a small club to manage to gain experience, and satisfy their ambitions, in stead of playing politics with our Arsenal.

  • 712004

    bottom line is that usmanov does want to invest hugely in the club and the team, he has huge plans and he is the richest man in the uk & russia! i know this for a fact and silent does not want to, he does want to get money out and thinks the brits are strange to not want him to, and i know that for a fact… what is totally crazy is all the huge amounts of vitriol at wenger, ramsey, diaby etc all of which may be justified but the biggest issue, the elephant in the room is somehow ignored, ie we have a loser of an owner who has no vision or agenda he just wants to make money out of arsenal while we have another gagging to pump in funds and has a huge love for arsenal and a huge vision, its totally bizarre

  • nicky

    I’ve never been able to fathom out the precise reason for the interest of Kroenke and Usmanov in Arsenal FC.
    In the absence of dividends, their only financial return would come from the sale of shares.
    While Usmanov professes a love for Arsenal, Kroenke probably doesn’t even understand the offside law.
    To get down to the nitty gritty, the Club’s obvious policy that annual entry to the CL is of paramount importance is the correct one. As is the steady need to pay off our debts while allocating funds for team strengthening.
    The introduction of the FFPR, properly regulated, will bring nothing but good to the game and to the way in which Arsenal Football Club has operated for many years.
    To all realists among the Arsenal faithful, the addition of silverware would be the icing on the cake, but NOT an essential for success. Remember that the vast majority of Arsenal fans, world-wide, have never and will never see their heroes in the flesh. The importance of seeing the Club perform in Europe via satellite TV cannot be over-estimated.

  • marcus

    As soon as he opens his mouth he shows his ignorance:

    “Hooray. RvP does the double. Rightly Football Writers’ Footballer of year too. All Arsenal media conspiracists better take the day off….”


    1) RVP winning these awards is not very significant..(or maybe there have been articles lauding Wenger’s ability to buy players at fractional costs and turn them into Players of the Year).
    Nonetheless, nobody will say 2011 was a great year for Arsenal, because RVP won the ‘double’.

    2) ‘Take the day off’ – as if anyone who questions the media is a tin foil hat without a proper job.

    3) In fact,it’s the other way around….anyhow. RVP winning these awards RAISES his profile considerably, increases buying interest, and therefore destabilizes Arsenal and Wenger’s policies even more.

    Payton knows how to get a lot of crap on the end of one stick…….

    Also Anne, take a look at the weekend’s MOTD’s.

    There was a strange anti-Wenger tilt on Saturday, and a big Pulis love-in Sunday.

    I found it curious, especially since in Saturday’s post-match interview Arsene spoke about adding the Benayoun (non-)penalty, [Shawcrosses’ handball was much more flagrant], to a video we are compiling.

    Somewhere somebody is rolling out the weapons of discreditation, against AW/Arsenal.

    This season alone, i can guarantee we will have had at least 40 serious penalty shouts, and at least 20 totally indisputable penalties not given. (Those figures may be conservative). When Arsenal put this on video, it will incriminating and very difficult for the authorities to nonchalently wave away, (with the imperious Webbed hand).

    Seems to me things are cranking up…..

  • insideright

    FFP will move things steadily in our direction without Arsenal needing to do anything other than hold to their current policies and structures. This may not be quick enough for the knee jerk reactors but evolution is usually a sounder base to work from than revolution.
    If you are looking for hidden agendas at the AST (and particularly from Tim Payton) then look no further than the reinstatement of David Dein at the Club. Maybe the plan would be to get Dein to at least part fund a rights issue and thereby gain a foothold back inside the tent. Don’t forget that Red and White paid him (I think) £70m for his shares so, unless he’s frittered it away on dinners with Arsene, he’s got enough left to buy his way back into (financial) favour.
    It’s also worth remembering that there are financial penalties to paying down the mortgage early. Is that good, long term, business?

  • Andy Kelly

    I don’t see how the AST can work.

    If they had 100 people subscribing £100 / month it would take 88 years to buy 1% of the club’s shares.

    Owning 1% of the shares is pointless as even if the board recognised a 1% shareholder then they would always get shouted down for any policy that the board wanted to bring in.

    You can multiply the figures up but it will still take years to gain any significant percentage of shares.

    Perhaps the AST should campaign for Kroenke to buy some referees like some of the other clubs in the Premier League.

  • Nicky – Arsenal (and most top football clubs) have huge potential to be moneymaking machines in the not too distant future. At some stage, I expect major clubs to sell the rights to their games individually, perhaps using internet based streaming. Who’d pay for Sky if you could pay Arsenal directly, and see all 38 games?

    There would be some issue with PL competitive balance with the above, I recognise, but I think the wage pressures and the need to remain competitive with other top sides will force all moral considerations to one side.

    Arsenal also has major scope for boosting their commercial revenue… If LFC can be midtable and get 20million for their shirts and something similar for their training gear then AFC will get similar.

    @Anne – I think you’re onto something. He regularly prattles on about a share issue as a means to allow us to compete, but it is nonsense. Issuing shares would be a shot in the arm of cash that we’d then spend on players, raising our costs down the road. How do we meet those costs, constant share issues? No… nobody with common sense would suggest that as a sensible financing approach, it is EXACTLY the same as being financed by a sugar daddy – if they one day up sticks and live, Arsenal is screwed.

    Needless to say, a share issue would be fantastic if you so happened to have a lot of money and wanted to raise your ownership stake in Arsenal… Hmm.

  • mystic

    @nicky – agree with you 100%. Too many are moaning about 7 years without silverware – in the terms of a club acheiving 125 year existence THIS IS NOTHING.

    There are millions of Arsenal fans abroad and like in England their allegience is not based solely on winning Silverware, it is a way of life.

    Why would big companies increase their advertsing investment, ask Indesit or Carlsberg, both of whom have seen a reason to pile in money. Others will follow, the possibility of being globally recognised with a European heavyweight is advertising in itself.

  • Shard

    Hmmm.. Indeed.. What DOES this all mean?

    In my opinion, I had a lot of time for the AST. They had a lot of good suggestions, and fans getting involved in some of the club’s decision making process is a good idea. The board, on their part, also provided the AST with some amount of legitimacy, giving them, shall we say, a semi-official status.

    Somewhere down the line, they started abusing that status. The first time I noticed it was when they criticised the team, and said they’d be keeping an eye on things (while saying they continue to support the team through the season) last year, when we had a drop in form, but were STILL in with a shout of winning the title. Peter Hill-Wood called them out on it, in his own inimitable style, and called them “stupid”, and also threatened to reduce the interaction with them. Which I agreed with. And the media, and the AST reported that as saying the chairman called FANS stupid. The AST also try to take the entire credit for Arsenal going on a pre-season tour to Asia last year.

    So basically, at best, they are a self serving, self aggrandising organisation with more than a healthy sense of their own importance. At worst, they are closely aligned with some other vested interests, which are opposed to the current management. Either way, the AST does not seem to be working for the club’s benefit anymore. I do not trust them.

  • I agree with Shard. Can Arsenal revoke some of the AST’s privileges though? The backlash would be immense from them…

  • @712004 – your avatar sums you up perfectly.

  • nicky

    @Phil Gregory,
    Your idea of paying Arsenal direct in return for watching all 38 games (plus our “usual” CL games) is positively mouth-watering. Can you imagine the financial reward, world-wide , Arsenal would receive from such broadcasts! More, I should imagine from any other source at the Emirates.
    Going back 80-odd years as a fan, it probably won’t happen in my lifetime but who knows!! 😆

  • Goonergerry

    There is no such thing as a completely “self sustaining business model”- and we have not reached that stage yet if we have to make one off capital sales and sell first choice players and then buy much cheaper ones in order to balance the books- which we have.
    The only way this club will attract the commercial revenue to eventually become more self-sustaining is by participating in the Champions League and by becoming,perhaps incrementally , more successful than we have been in recent years.
    Taking part and not winning is one thing- not taking part at all is a wholly different kettle of fish- it represents a perceived failure for the club to maintain its status.

    Any major investor only makes an investment of magnitude for one reason-to make a return- whether his name is Kroenke or Usmanov.

    One thing I do not want is for Arsenal to become a zero spending football backwater that just develops promising talent for big clubs with benefactors – all in order to sit on the moral high ground of so called “self sustainability”.

    Irrespective of the financial implications of not taking part in the ECL, If the club wants to attract good players it has to continue to compete in the Champions League. If we drop out we need to get back next season- and that won’t happen if the purist model of sustainability is adhered to.

    Incidentally, the current share price is way over-valued- take Usmanov off the scene as many on here would like- and the share price will drop dramatically.

  • Mahdain

    thanks for the mention Anne..
    I have never been a fav of AST and all due to their negativity and doom mongering… I have never understood where do they get the numbers and the things they come up with. Example how do they know what Almunia,Djourou and Squillaci earn when they are not made public?and in their latest meeting they said Wenger was unhappy with Gazids on a certain matter how did they know that? Did Wenger personally talk to them?
    Also i find it incredibly difficult to take AST serious when Tim Payton(who once said the players should lead a revolt against the manager and the management) is their leader(chairman or whatever) and Le Groove is one of prominent figures within it…

  • Jacobite Gunner

    I agree with the majority of the points made above, ie, Phil G, Nicky, shard ect but can I make a point that arsene recently came out stating that arsenal need to make 20 million profit a year but did not specify why and we on this site could only speculate that it was to pay off payments on the stadium

    Wenger “You should know that each season, it is imperative to show a profit of between fifteen and twenty million pounds.”

    The point I’m making is that Kroenke seems to see no reason to pay the stadium debt off and the official line is that it is healthy debt/interest although how can this be because if he were to pay this off would arsene not have circa 15-20 million more per season to use to spread over wages and transfers?

    You know, Kroenke is a billionaire and should be able to pay off the debt with relative ease and if Usmanov were to come on the board with the strict condition/agreement of either paying off the the stadium debt or at least, combining with Kroenke to pay it off it would provide arsene with the extra 15/20 mill a season.

    This would not be abandoning the self-sustainning model at all as Usmanov would not actually be providing any money to buy players.

    On the other hand though, if Usmanov was allowed on a seat on the board, it seems that it would prove divisive in arsenals strategy and may inhibit growth because there would not be a defining voice in the boardroom anymore meaning we may suffer with slower decision making etc.


  • @Jacobite Gunner

    Billionaires are billionaires because they just don’t give away money – they love money, money is their life and soul. They invest money, yes – like a seed in the hope it will grow and they can take the rewards later.

    I do not understand what makes anyone think that someone would just pay off our debts “with ease” just because they are rich – these people are greediest people on the planet.

    If they had a philanthropic bone in their body they would be investing in schools and healthcare for the children in the world who have none… alas – not much profit in that (aside the boiler-room charity tax-dodge wheeze) – best they profess their ‘love’ for the cash machine that is a top tier football club instead and expect all us mugs to suspend belief and buy into it.

  • Andy Kelly

    Yep, it is a far cry from the nine men who risked personal bankruptcy in 1893 to ensure that the club continued to exist.

  • insideright

    To be fair on Tim Payton the AST do have to look for a new platform to speak to because the original two are now, basically, redundant.
    Custodianship – the original rallying cry – is now totally in the hands of Kroenke who has seemingly expressed his desire for it to continue in as far as not materially changing anything or anybody at the Club. If FFP comes in with any great force that view will be vindicated.
    Fanshare – the AST’s brainwave – was set up, for various reasons, years too late to effect the takeover.
    It could be the case that the AST carries on because the media quite likes it to carry on being a relatively articulate commentator on the financial matters surrounding the Club. It’s when it strays into commenting on the playing side that it enters into it’s area of least competence and least distinctiveness.
    Sadly the need to make a noise overcomes the need to remain credible. As the old saying goes – better to remaon silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth a prove it beyond doubt.

  • Stuart

    Personally, I hate the sheer arrogance of people / groups such as the AST.

    If the owners of the club want to run things in a sustainable way then that is their business in the same way that Kroenke doesn’t tell me how to run mine. How the AST think a football club would be able to defy the rules of economics and continue living beyind their means is beyond me.

  • Stuart

    Further to my point.

    Why can’t these people get off their backside and earn enough money to give to the club?

  • RedGooner

    Usmanov probably wants the club to clean money from ill gotten gains lend Arsenal the money to buy players and pocket the returns when they are sold.
    People like Usmonov only do whats in their own best interests.

    Like he really is an Arsenal supporter any more than I am a csk supporter.

  • Stuart


    I noticed the Anti Wenger aroma on the Saturday edition of MOTD. I also noticed how teams who let 4 goals in were not criticised defensively, instead the winners were praised for a brilliant attacking display.

  • Stuart

    Jacobit Gunner,

    Sometimes, when debt is agreed over a long term there is a penalty clause if you want to pay it off early as the lender still wants to make the same amount of profit. This penalty would be less than the total interest payable over the long term of the loan but as we would have to pay it all in one hit, would be beyond reach.

  • @RedGooner – it could be that he wants a high profile vehicle such as AFC to raise his global profile as a reputable businessman and/or he is considering politics rather than the scenario where he just want’s to load debt at high interest or to funnel cash out of Russia?

    Also – what are Kronke’s motivations for his stake and are the two of them in it together?

    A seat on the board of a global sports brand will open a lot of doors I imagine.

  • Minesy

    The AST have less than 1000 members … there are 40,000 season ticketholders apart from shareholders, red members, etc … they are not representative of Arsenal fans and have NO MANDATE to act as though they are. I can see nothing positive that they have achieved, indeed as I have expressed to certain members of the AST I feel they are doing harm … funnily enough I was treated like an idiot for suggesting that … to be honest Anne, I don’t think they even warrant this attention, forget them and let them rant away to their (proportionally low number of) mates !!!

  • Sid


    You say that Arsenal would struggle to find good sponsorship deals as they are ‘only’ a top 4 side. You obviously unaware of Liverpool’s record breaking deal they recently struck I take it?

    Tim Payton is a self serving pro-Usmanov lacky. To suggest Usmmanov is gagging to bank roll the manager so he can sign shiney new tpys is a pathetic lie and 100% bullshit put about by the Uzbek’s people to try and endear him to the fans, the same fans Payton thinks he speaks for; the knee jerking, unrealistic media fed talkshite listening to sheep.

    I really don’t get how some some so-called Gooners operate? I expect to see and hear anti-Arsenal stuff in the media, but from our own ‘fans’ and blogs?


  • Shard


    Regarding Kroenke’s motivations.. So far the one credible theory that I’ve read is that it’s about the real estate. Apparently, all his sports teams have had the property including and around the stadium developed and leased/rented out. His connection with the Walmart empire (through his wife) have been crucial in this regard. Not sure exactly how it works, but the thinking is that he’s going to try and maximise the Arsenal brand, and the new stadium’s potential, make it a high value area, rent out the stadium for exhibition basketball/american football matches, concerts etc. It seems relatively ‘safe’ for Arsenal. Of course, that doesn’t mean that’s all there is to it. However, he hasn’t sold a single sports team he has bought, and although people argue that is because it’s in the States, I would argue that Arsenal’s market potential in the world is greater than his other teams. So probably something he would want to hold on to for a while.

    The possibility of Usmanov and Kroenke working together had occurred to me as well. However, if that’s the case, either we’ve all been fooled by the current board members and those like Lady Nina and Danny Fiszman, or they themselves have been duped. Neither of those seem very likely to me. Or maybe it’s just that I hope it isn’t likely.

  • Frank Rizzo

    Wouldn’t the point of a rights issue be to carry out a debt for equity swap i.e. issue shares and use the cash proceed to pay off some of the debt. This will reduce the debt repayments the club have to make freeing up more cash. It seems however that Kroenke doesn’t want to put any more cash into the club so he wouldn’t be keen to buy more shares issued through a rights issue – however, I suspect he would be forced to in order to stop Usmanov increasing his holding. In any event, Kroenke has to sign off on a rights issue before it can happen and I can’t see him doing that.

  • Shakabula Gooner

    I get the impression AST is one of those related to Arsenal who are forever disappointed that the club manages to maintain a top 4 position annually despite their doomsday mongering.
    The current issue is about preparing for the day(God forbid) that Arsenal fails to make Top 4.
    If we take the action they are urging upon the Club BEFORE their doomsday scenario and the scenario doesn’t materialize, what happens? Even if the scenario materializes, is their proposal the only or the best option open to the club? That, we will never know!
    The problem with AST is that it has allowed itself to develop a partisan agenda and is therefore abdicating the center and as the voice of reason that strive to balance all Board room interests in the ovaerall interest of the sustainable good health and growth in the club’s on-field and off-field interests.
    Obviously, Wenger’s consistency in favor of the sustainable financial model, of developing from within of buying cheap and of managing to hold on to top 4 have been greatly frustrating to their overall agenda which, paradoxically acts to make them a covert enemy of the greatest coach the club has ever had and which is the best marker of how far off the mark the interest of AST is relative to the interests of the average Arsenal fan worldwide.

  • Debt for equity is plausible, allowing for penalty clauses from early redemption of the bonds (I can’t imagine that’ll be too much of a hiccup, if it raises costs slightly just issue more shares to cover it, if the appetite for the shares is there).

    However the interest saving won’t be that much now – IIRC we’ve got rid of all the expensive bank debt, so the saving won’t be that significant.

    Factoring that in, any equity issue would risk squeezing out smaller shareholders (who probably can’t afford to buy the new shares and thus their holding % is watered down). If the small shareholders get watered down, then we have to assess the cost of those shares possibly going to Usmanov, and raising his influence.

    All sounds like a lot of faff for very little financial gain, and it is clearly not in the interest of current shareholders.

  • FunGunner

    Great post, Anne and shakabula gooner, your comment seems bang on to me.

  • ak47

    great read all round, thanx.

  • Jacobite Gunner

    great post Shakabula Gooner!

  • Domhuaille MacMathghamhna

    I am somewhat confused by all this as I am not an economist nor am I trained in finance,specifically Football and Club financial management….but wait, neither are any of the above posters! Golly, this seems almost identical to all the FIFA Football Manager ¨experts¨ screaming at AW and the Club management to buy,buy,buy…sell,sell,sell…spend,spend,spend….try this or that tactical or strategic solution,formation….etc.,etc. Well, why would these self-named AAA supporter specialists stop at the Football side, why not try their shaky hands at the financial side of things…afterall they know so much more than Wenger and the Board according to them.
    Walter or Tony, can we please get Anne to review what the AST and particularly Payton’s insinuations and provocations are implying or threatening? Afterall, what is long,numerous has a combined IQ of 88 and moves slowly going nowhere: a 1000 person parade of AST members going to an AFC Board meeting.

  • Anne

    wow, this is quite a response. Thanks everyone. I’m going to have to get back to most of you guys a little bit later.

    However, one thing that stood out to me about the above is the similarity to the scenario detailed in the example in this article:

  • LRV

    Who hides behind a number, 712004? We do not support Arsenal to help Usmanov. We do not want a Sugar-Daddy for Arsenal. If he wants to support Arsenal; he is welcome to. But does he have to own it to support it? Why doesn’t he go join his fellow Russian in the blue quarter of London if he wants a toy club?

  • Anne

    Another thing that stands out to me about this article is the fact that someone apparently has an incentive to prevent us from finishing in a Champions League spot.

    It’s clear to me that Arsenal has not been wanted in the top 4 this year from the very beginning of the season, so I’ve been keeping an eye out for someone who might have a concrete motive to prevent that outcome. Would this qualify?

  • bjtgooner

    Anne I am glad you have raised the issue of Payton and the AST. I have been concerned about their activities for some time. I am not sure if their negativity is due to their own thinking processes or if they are being used by someone else. However, they have not been supportive at times when the going was tough – just when the team needs that extra support to get through the bad times. This behaviour made me doubt their motivation.

    I am not convinced on the concept of a rights issue, while it may suit Usmanov to move some money through the club, the club could pay dearly for providing Usmanov with that facility. In addition to the concept, there are a lot of unanswered questions about any rights issue – often the detail can hide unpleasant surprises.

    The stand that Arsenal have taken in opting for a sustainable business model has to be the correct one. Those who bleat for other models – which must include debt – don’t seem to understand that AW has been carefully assembling a very good squad within the present model, the squad is not quite the finished article, but it is getting closer and today’s announcement is another step towards completion.

  • Anne

    @Clown shoes:

    “references to Red and White holding in this article is plain ridiculous – as the company is owned by Usumov…”

    Oh, really? And your evidence for that is… ?

  • Anne

    @MikeSA and ClockEndRider:

    Sounds to me like you guys have the measure of Payton and R&W pretty well. I agree with you. Thanks for commenting.

  • Anne

    @malaysian gunner & 49 Unbeaten:

    Spot-on recitation of the AST’s talking points. Well done.

  • Anne


    Speaking of Dein, I thought the following was quite revealing from John Cross at the Mirror (while we’re on the subject of agendas):

    “Wenger is stubborn and hates being told he is wrong or even having it mildly hinted at. That’s why he was so emotional at his press conference last Friday. He doesn’t deal well with criticism.

    But the new set-up can get into Wenger’s ear. The old guard has changed. They can enforce upon him the need for signings to win trophies.

    It’s that philosophy which has prompted so many Arsenal fans to get dewy eyed over former vice-chairman David Dein. His name kept cropping up in questions at the AST meeting.

    Dein did introduce Kroenke to Arsenal. But Dein also sold to Usmanov. There are rumours of him coming back. That would seem to be very unlikely in the short term, especially with Fiszman and Hill-Wood still around.

    Battle lines were drawn and animosity surrounded Dein’s departure. But times and people do change and, if Hill-Wood took a back seat in the future, then maybe Dein could find a way back in the longer term.

    Dein was good for Arsenal, had Wenger’s ear and maybe that could be one of the positive changes to come from Kroenke’s brave new dawn.

    As far as the others go, don’t expect anything too radical. Yes, there will be money to spend. But there was before. The hard part has always been to get the manager to spend it!

    Good luck with that, Stan.”

    The entire article is worth a read because it incorporates the AST as well (not to mention most of the talking points we documented in our early UM work. Are we beginning to see a nexus here?)

  • Matt Clarke

    I do not wish to sideline the main discussion, but noted Phil Gregory’s remark on TV rights.

    I think that you are probably right Phil – we already have Arsenal TV and note Stan Kroenke’s online broadcast service:

    Thanks Anne for the main article. It seems that real fans should be voicing disapproval of AST’s activities.

    My instinct is to agree with the majority of responders above: who view AST as a mouthpiece for vested interest and NOT for the fans.

    I find arguments of share dilution and subsequent investment interesting – and thoroughly agree with bjtgooner’s 6:41 post and uneceesary spending and debt.

  • Anne


    Excellent comment. Don’t have anything to add, but definitely recommend others go back and check that one out.

  • Anne

    @Andy Kelly:

    I haven’t had the opportunity to really delve into fanshare yet and how it’s operating. However, in light of what appears to me to be an agenda coming from the AST, I think it’s definitely worth digging into the financial and operational details of that one.

    Your point is a good one. Put that way, it doesn’t really seem to make sense. Or at least, not in the context of its stated objectives.

  • Anne

    @Shard and Phil:

    Thanks for the intelligent contributions, particularly on the finance side Phil. In relation to your points about AFC revoking some privileges from the AST, I’ve been surprised to learn just how limited of a relationship there is between the two.

    For instance, Arsenal did endorse fanshare, but that endorsement played no role in whether or not fanshare was going to happen. Unless I’m misunderstanding, they were set to go forward with or without the club’s support. I’m not sure that Arsenal really has much control over them.

  • Anne

    @Matt Clarke:

    Thanks for the link, and thanks for your comment. D

  • Anne


    I think they claim to have access to our accounts.

  • bjtgooner

    Anne – is Peter Wood of Le Groan a member of AST? – I have a suspicion he is. It might, in part explain the direction AST are going in.

  • Anne

    @RedGooner and DogFace:

    On the subject of money laundering, I already linked to the following article above:

    I think that the similarities in these two scenarios (ie, the scenario presented in the above link and the scenario sought by R&W and the AST) are certainly worth noting. DogFace, your point about publicity and raising one’s legitimate profile are certainly worth noting as well.

    On the subject of Kroenke, he’s still a wild card to me. As of now, his motives seem consistent with maintaining the self-sustaining model, and he certainly seems to be a target for the pro-Usmanov crowd. Which would suggest that they’re not working together.

    But on the other hand, you always need to beware the long con (as Shard often says). As of now, I’m withholding judgment on Kroenke because I don’t see that he’s really shown his cards yet.

    But along those lines, one thing I’ve been looking into lately is this persistent claim that Dein introduced Kroenke to Arsenal as well as Usmanov. I hear that repeated a lot, but I can find no evidence that it’s true, and some evidence to suggest that it isn’t. Anyone have any thoughts on this?

  • Anne


    Yes, Le Grove is a big promoter of the AST. If you want to see some interesting connections, start looking into the links between Pete Wood and Le Grove, the AST, and John Cross of the Mirror.

    Oh, and you could maybe throw in the black scarf people as well. Haven’t looked into them as much, but seem to do a lot of joint public appearances.

  • Anne


    “to be honest Anne, I don’t think they even warrant this attention, forget them and let them rant away to their (proportionally low number of) mates !!!”

    Disagree with you there 🙂 Agree with the rest of your comment, though.

  • Matt Clarke

    “But along those lines, one thing I’ve been looking into lately is this persistent claim that Dein introduced Kroenke to Arsenal as well as Usmanov. I hear that repeated a lot, but I can find no evidence that it’s true, and some evidence to suggest that it isn’t. Anyone have any thoughts on this?”

    Mihir Bose seemed to support this idea in his blog lst year:

  • Anne

    @Frank Rizzo:

    Yes, I believe that the technical term for what’s being described here would be a “debt for equity swap.” However, the question remains, how would this be in Arsenal’s best interests? I believe Phil responded well to this question below.

  • Anne


    “Walter or Tony, can we please get Anne to review what the AST and particularly Payton’s insinuations and provocations are implying or threatening?”

    My formal training in economics is limited. However, I will be doing my “amateur” best to dissect all these numbers in the future. Not something that can be done quickly, however.

  • Anne


    “We do not want a Sugar-Daddy for Arsenal.”

    Right on 🙂

  • Mahdain

    @bjtgooner he is and not just a member but a prominent figure within the AST
    @Anne you are raising really interesting points on AST/Usmanov..looking at it closely it really seems strange because AST have been bigging up Usmanov big time recently and doing their best to make the entire Arsenal management look like total fools and dont know what they are doing…Interesting indeed

  • Anne

    @Matt Clarke:

    Here’s where my question is coming from:

    “Ownership changes

    On 5th April 2007, ITV announced the sale of its 9.99% stake in Arsenal to Kroenke Sports Enterprises (KSE), who are owned by Stan Kroenke of the Colorado Rapids of the Major Soccer League.

    KSE also bought ITV’s 50% share of Arsenal Broadband limited. The Arsenal Holdings shares were purchased at £6,800 pounds per share. The combined consideration for the two transactions is £65 million. This values the club at about £425m – with the existing debt a full valuation is closer to £700m.

    Stan Kroenke has also bought further shares in Arsenal that takes his total holding to 11.26%. Significantly, shares representing 1% of the Club was purchased from the club’s largest shareholder, Danny Fiszman.

    These shares were bought for £5,900. As of Friday last week, Arsenal shares were trading at £6,900.”

    So, if Kroenke was actually brought into Arsenal by Dein at this time, how do you explain the fact that Danny Fiszman also sold him shares for below market value at the same time he made his initial investment in the club (through the purchase of the ITV shares)?

    If you look at the article you linked to, you’ll see the inconsistency I’m talking about. Specifically, in the article you linked to, this is the story:

    “To appreciate how much Fiszman – and Hill-Wood – loathed him, recall what happened when Dein lined up Kroenke as the next owner back in March 2007. Dein had turned to Kroenke because he was worried about Arsenal losing out to Chelsea – and the endless coffers of Roman Abramovich. The deal he had in mind was that, in addition to buying the ITV stake, Kroenke would also buy Dein’s stake and that of Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith. It would also have meant Dein continuing to run Arsenal. If anything, his position would have been strengthened at a time when Fiszman had, to an large extent, marginalised him.”

    However, in my view, the above story is entirely inconsistent with Fiszman selling Kroenke his own shares in 2007. Anyone care to explain this?

    Here’s the link where I got my information (although the sale to Kroenke by Fiszman in 2007 can also be corroborated elsewhere, unless I’m much mistaken):

  • Anne

    And the question becomes even more interesting when you look at the following article…

    Apparently (if the above information is correct), it would appear that the markets were pricing in a hostile takeover of Arsenal(by a rumored Russian billionaire) just BEFORE Kroenke purchased his ITV shares, and around the same time that Fiszman reportedly sold shares to Kroenke.

    So, my question is, who exactly was Dein planning to sell his own shares to back in 2007 (just before he was kicked off the board)? Was it Kroenke? Or someone else? And was Kroenke brought in by Dein or Fiszman?

    All very valid questions in my opinion.

  • bjtgooner

    @Mahdain and Anne

    Thanks for the info. So if Pete Wood of Le Grovel is prominent within AST it appears Wood has achieved a second forum from which to spout his negativity – with Cross providing a third outlet. Quite unsavoury! What we don’t understand is why the combination of AST/Le Grovel/Cross have decided to promote Usmanov and his rights issue.

    In 2007 I did not follow Arsenal as closely as now, I am not sure why Dein was asked to leave the board, was the reason ever declared?

  • Notoverthehill


    FACTUAL ERROR – Mr Fitzman dies in April 2011.

    FACTUAL ERROR – Red and White Holdings jointly owned by Mr Usmanov and his right-hand man. Check OR I can brief you!

    FACTUAL ERROR – go back in time – who did Mr Fitzman buy his shares from?

    AST if you check tgheir web site and the surveys they conduct. Less than 50% respond. I would suggest a “silent” majority ruled by Tim Payton, Peter Wood, Booris Mellor, Kieron O’Connor, et al?

    A good idea let down by poor research!

  • Anne


    As far as I know, the reason was never declared. The media narrative was that Dein had tried to bring Kroenke on board, and that was why. However, based on the evidence that I outlined above, I have my doubts that that was the case. Or at least, I see reason to question it.

  • Anne


    Not sure I’m following you. If it’s me that you’re accusing of factual errors, the reason that I’m mentioning all this in a comments section rather than an article is because I’m just raising questions and looking for answers.

    If you have some sort of theory, I would appreciate it if you let me know what it is, as opposed to just pointing out what you claim are errors.

  • Anne- I agree their privileges are limited, but why should a bunch of clowns have any privileges at all? The Q&As and the like are very good for the AST – considering the AST’s membership is small indeed.

  • Oh, and Matt Clarke – there was a big razmatazz over relaunching ArsenalTV over the summer, and the fact that EVERY member now has access is a very good way of raising awareness of it. Until however it has better content, it will never take off. At the moment, I only watch press conferences (mainly for my blog writing side of things) highlights and talking Tactics. Until Arsenal TV has live games, it will remain a small fry.

  • 712004

    fizman bought his shares from dein
    dein bought in kroenke and helped him buy the itv 10% as he knew the wind was changing with abramovich
    fizman sacked him for doing that
    dein then sold his remaining shares to usmanov as he knew by then kroenke was not going to actually put any money into the club (which he has not)
    fizman sold his remaining shares to kroenke, totally peverse, kroenke borrowed the money from deutche bank, he is not liquid hence why he does not invest in the actual club and team

    kroenkes teams in america are crap i follow their blogs, the st louis rams are like bolton, they won the superbowl before kroenke but now they are crap… BUT they make profits
    if he stays arsenal will have to be self sustaining as thats what he bought from fizman ie decades of having to watch city v utd like tonight to win the league and chelsea in the cup finals

    if usmanov buys kroenke out he will pay down the stadium debt and he will invest in the club and the team, his ideas and vision for the club are mind blowing, he is the uks richest man

    personally i wish fifa and uefa would stop it all, have caps but alas this is what it has all come to, and incredibly we have 2 billionaire owners, one who wants to invest and one who does not… take your pick

  • rantetta

    Thanks for this, Anne.

  • johan

    Haven’t replied before, became Arsenal fan because my best mate was. Don’t know much about Usmanov but I am worried about Kroenke. I think he would do what was right for him everytime not what is right for Arsenal.

    He and others were into buying the LA Dodgers. He didn’t get them but if he did I would think it would have had ramifications for Arsenal FC.

    The way the ST Louis rams have gone in NFL worries me too, they are one of the few teams that don’t sell out their stadium everygame and there is only 8 a year. This has resulted in them taking one of if not the biggest fixture to Wembley (v New England Patriots).

    As an aside the reason Liverpool still get big sponsorship dollars is that their shirt is still 1 of the top 5 sellers regardless of their form so will still get shirt sponsorship. Not sure how their form relates to non shirt commercial sponsorship though

  • Anne


    Thank you, that was very revealing.

  • Anne

    To everyone else who I didn’t have time to respond to, thanks 🙂

  • Anne

    By the way, to anyone I didn’t have the time to respond to on this thread, your comments are much appreciated. The thread was just a bit too long (by the time I was back around) to respond to everyone, as I usually try to do. Cheers. -Anne

  • @712004

    Can you quote your sources for this information please – particularly those statements pertaining to the future intent and motivation of the arsenal shareholders you mention?

  • Shard

    712004 (and johan)

    “kroenkes teams in america are crap i follow their blogs, the st louis rams are like bolton, they won the superbowl before kroenke but now they are crap”

    Interesting you mention this. Koenke’s TEAMS.. Yet you mention only the Rams. Although, officially now, he does own only the Rams. He gave ownership over his NBA and NHL teams to his son when he took over the Rams in 2009. (He was a minority shareholder before then) I don’t watch the NFL, but the Rams last won the Superbowl in 1999, and lost the final in 2001.

    Since then, they have a losing record (more losses than wins in the season) in 7 of their last 10 seasons. Kroenke’s been there for the last 3. I don’t see how you can put it all down to bad ownership. And if they make a profit, I don’t see anything wrong with that.

    His bid for the Dodgers was probably meant to move the Rams BACK to LA, since he cant own teams in any other city other than where his NFL team is. LA is a big market, and they don’t have a ‘football’ team. Good business sense I should say. But his bid failed.

    Sports teams in the US often go on such winning and losing streaks. I watch the NBA, so I can refer to the Boston Celtics, who went almost 20 years without a title, and they are the proudest franchise in terms of titles won. The Chicago Bulls haven’t won anything since 1998 and Jordan’s retirement (they’re getting close though). It’s hardly unique to Kroenke. In fact, since Kroenke’s ownership of the Denver Nuggets, they have seen steady improvement. They never made the playoffs before, now they are there virtually every season. They also had a Cesc like situation where their star player wanted to go back home to New York, and they got some very good trades from it. Although again, I’m not sure that is really down to ownership, rather management. Kroenke already has knowledgable football people in charge at Arsenal. It’s the commercial team which has seen most focus in terms of change.

    Anyway, I have misgivings about Kroenke, but this talk of his teams in the US being crap and this showing him to be a bad owner is nonsense.

  • Notoverthehill

    To claim that Mr A B Usmanov is the richest man in the U.K. is nonsense!

    Mr A.B. Usmanov is Russian, as are his wife and son and grandchildren. There is NO reason for Mr A.B. Usmanov to be diverted from HIS main interests in Russia, as Mr Putin is well settled in! The investment in Arsenal Holdings plc is just that, a minor shareholding in his portfolio of companies. Mr A.B. Usmanov was a fencer and is well connected to the Russian Olympic ideals, so make what you will of that. Mr Putin will expect ALL hands to the wheel for the 2018 World Championships.

  • Rawiri

    i just have to say that it amazes me that so many people find it a bad thing for arsenal to be self sustainable, one thing i always believed is that the most important thing in sports is not to win but to participate and compete in a fair way. as someone said int the comments i want arsenal to be there for my children, grandchildren and so on, dont want to win a couple of cups and then go down, Arsenal is more than a football club, its a way of life. and this AST their logic doenst really makes sense, i mean why would a billionaire (Usmanov) just put so much money into the club out of the goodness of is heart, i simply dont believe that, as for kroenke i know that he’s looking to make profits for is investments (its only natural that’s why he is rich) but at least for now i dont really see his ways harming arsenal

  • Matt Clarke


    More details might be gleaned here, it is an interesting read it is if you skim it like I have :p):

    and that should be read in conjunction with this:
    , which shows UA’s share up to 29.68% on 24th inst.

    I’m providing the link Anne, I’m not vouching for it’s validity – and it is worthy of note that their is a link to AST at the end of the article.

  • Wooby

    @712004, I don’t think you can unilaterally say Kroenke was responsible for the downfall of the Rams as he did not become the full owner of the Rams until 2010 (

    Teams in the NFL make a profit because of the salary cap system and revenue sharing. All TV contracts are negotiated centrally with the league, and the revenue divided equally among all 32 teams. Teams are currently splitting close to $2B US per season and will split more than $3B per US when the new agreements kick in after the 2013 season. Other streams of revenue (merchandise sales, for example) are also pooled together and split evenly among all 32 teams. The salary cap is also a “hard cap”, meaning teams are not permitted to go above the limit. This both ensures that all teams have equal footing in their attempts to be competitive while being financially stable/viable.

    My apologies to everyone for going off-topic. While I am not here to defend Kroenk necessarily, I do find the implication that the Rams, under Kroenke’s ownership, is simply out to make profits rather than win is a gross misrepresentation of facts (i.e. the way the NFL is structured).