Well, well, well, if it isn’t North London Derby O’clock.

Spurs and shares.

by Phil Gregory

Well, well, well, if it isn’t North London Derby O’clock.

The derby at the Emirates was an absolute cracker, one of those where you remember what you were doing that day.

I, unfortunately missed some of the match, getting roped into playing for my team’s Saturday morning game despite my protestations. I was getting a lift back from the game and was just getting dropped off when news of the first goal came through the radio. I grabbed my kit bag out the boot and started jogging the last few hundred yards so I wouldn’t miss any more and my mate, who’d just dropped me off yelled “they’ve scored again!!” out of his window. I didn’t believe him at all “nice one mate! You didn’t even leave enough time for them to kick off again” I yelled back.

Well, I was nearly right.

It goes without saying how huge this game is, what with Chelsea at the top of Premier League and City setting the pace in the last Champions League spot, so I won’t dwell on it in this blog post.

Injuries and suspensions are the big talking point at the moment. Off the top of my head, we’re without Djourou,Ramsey Gibbs, Gallas, Fabregas and Arshavin and apparently Song, who wasn’t mentioned in the club injury briefing, but is listed absent by the BBC.  Who knows?

The big loss for Spurs is Palacios. The Honduran international was a big player for them when we went to White Hart Lane last season, harrying well in midfield. I know the Spurs are low on options in the middle of the park (frankly, Redknapp’s fault that they went into the season with three genuine centre midfielders) but why did he play Palacios on the very DAY his yellow cards expired when he was on nine?

Absolute foolishness if you ask me. I may be speaking from hindsight, knowing he went on to pick up a yellow, but with the North London derby looming, you just don’t take these sort of chances.

Both Lennon and Jenas have been ruled out of the tie (surely the former’s hope of the World Cup are fading fast?) as well as Croatian international Kranjcar.  Woodgate is a long-term absentee, though Ledley King has a chance of being involved.


Sagna Campbell Vermaelen Clichy

Denilson (Song if the BBC have got this call wrong)

Diaby Nasri

Eboue Bendtner Rosicky

The back five is ever familiar now, with Sol once again going back to White Hart Lane.  Nasri deputises for Fabregas and Diaby partners him. That’s a fairly strong midfield, even Nasri has a lot of a fight about him so I don’t see us being outfought in the middle, especially with Palacios’ absence.

Bendtner starts at centre forward with Rosicky out left. I settled on Eboue on the right, it’s between him and Theo for the berth and for this sort of game I see Theo coming off the bench. Robin too will most likely be on the bench. Wenger confirmed  he’s physically fit and looked good in training and but added “we’ll see” in regards to the Dutchman starting, so you never know.

While by my count we’ve got three key players out and one  most likely on the bench, I think we have enough to get past Spurs. It’ll be tough, they’ve performed well this season, indeed they are currently on a five game winning streak at home if you include FA Cup ties. That said, they’ve got their fair shares of injuries, and relatively few players that are better tan their Arsenal counterparts.

Modric has been key for them this season, and given their lack of options in the middle the little Croatian could well be played in a central role. After he shone at Euro 2008, Wenger was quizzed on if he was interested in signing the diminutive playmaker but said he wasn’t, believing him to lack in the physicality that is needed to prosper in the Premier League. Given players like Diaby and Song are likely to be in the middle for us, we’ll see first hand if Wenger was correct.

Apart from that, keep Crouch quiet and we should be fine. It’ll be close. 2-1 to the Arsenal, but more likely to be coming for Super Nicklas and Nasri.

The big news that popped up recently for Arsenal was all to do with shares and takeovers. As ever, the general media wants to whip up a story to sell their papers. At Untold, we have a look at the facts and then come back to you with a story.

And the facts are these: not much has changed. Lady Nina has been looking to sell her shares basically since she got the boot from the board in late 2008. The difference now, however is that she  has got a private equity firm to lend her a hand in the selling of her holding. If she was going to sell to the two big players, Usmanov and Kroenke, she wouldn’t need this. Kroenke has a seat on the board, and Usmanov wouldn’t be too hard to reach given his appetite for Arsenal shares.

This leads me to believe that, for whatever reason, neither of the two parties were interested in her holding. Why would Kroenke not be interested, given how he has been steadily purchasing up to the  30% limit that would trigger a compulsory bid offer to all other parties? For me, it’s fairly simple: money.  He has to bid for the rest of the shares at the highest price he paid over the last 12 months, £10,500 a share. According to Forbes, by the 1st of May, that drops to £8500 a share. Kroenke may make his bid then – although he is reputedly buying big in the US sports market at the moment.

Can he afford to wait, with Usmanov lurking in the wings? Apparently so, as Lady Nina is reluctant to sell to the Russian.  Come May,will Lady Nina even accept the bid offer of £8500 if it did come from Kroenke? Unlikely, though I stress this is conjecture on my part.

Ever since she was free of the lock down agreement, she could’ve cashed in to Kroenke. She didn’t, therefore she surely feels the  price of £8500 (that Kroenke paid for virtually every other share he purchased) was inadequate.

If Kroenke isn’t willing to buy at around £10500 now, and Lady Nina isn’t willing to sell at £8500 a third party may step in perhaps a speculator looking to make some money off the shares. This would throw another cog in the works for anybody looking to take sole control of our lovely club. The other option is, of course, nobody buys Lady Nina’s share, but the end result is the same, no change on the takeover front. We can but hope.

Enough about shares, enjoy the derby!


Editorial meanderings

We’ve called this Tiny Totts Week, not just because of the game tonight but also because this Friday is the 100th anniversary of the first league game between the Tinies and Arsenal.  You’ll be able to read about that game on the “Making the Arsenal” site this weekend, but here’s the run down on other stuff we’ve come up with for our very own Tiny Totts Week

The Tiny Totts secret weapon for beating Arsenal

We have history – it is 100 years almost to the day since the first Tottenham Arsenal league game.

Tottenham Hotspur: the dark history – the secret of their origins that they are desperate to hide

When a Tott wants to slag off Arsenal’s achievements he will turn to the story that Arsenal somehow fixed their way into the First Division in 1919 through bribery and corruption.  Not only is the story untrue, but it is itself a clever deception put about by the clubs who really were guilty of match fixing.  Read the full story.

Why did Arsenal move to Highbury and not somewhere else? Tottenham Hotspur led a who group of clubs in objecting to the move (even Birmingham clubs objected, which somehow lessened Tottenham’s case).  But Arsenal claimed that neither the League nor the FA rules covered the location of the ground.

Happy Totting


22 Replies to “Well, well, well, if it isn’t North London Derby O’clock.”

  1. song is out for two games unfortunately, I can still see us winning tonight though.

  2. Yep, Arsenal.com confirming. Denilson should do the job admirably, Spurs don’t have much in the middle of the park anyway

  3. There seems a deathly silence here ahead of this game.

    Is everyone so nervous they can’t write anything?

    Or is it that there is simply nothing left to be said?

  4. You can’t tell, it just might be that awful competitor site of yours written by Myles Palmer telling all Gooners to switch off last Friday until tonight.

    Maybe they didn’t wake up??!!

  5. Has there been any interest expressed in a supporters’ organization fundraising and buying some or all of the Bracewell-Smith shares? Seems to me that if the threshold for takeover bids is 30%, a fan-controlled minority stake or two could make it basically infeasible for any one tycoon to try to buy the whole club. And, anyway, since we don’t get a lot of this in the American sports media, is the goal not to have a sole owner? Or is it merely that fans don’t have a good sense of whether Kroenke or Usmanov would be good enough for the club?

  6. Rusty – there is an organisation that seeks to buy shares and own them for the fans – it is AST the Arsenal Supporters Trust. They have a constant input of money and have bought shares, but because of the price only a few.

    The goal for most people is absolutely not to have a single owner because Liverpool and Man U have that, and look where they are. Also also Chelsea and Man C seem to benefit, they are utterly dependent on the whim of a mega rich man, and that could mean anything.

    I think most Arsenal fans want a balanced board, and that is what we have. The Bracewell Smith shares are at the moment unsold because no one wants them. They are not enough to trigger a takeover, and on their own they give nothing.

    As I pointed out the other day, you don’t even get a season ticket with them.

  7. Rusty: Not that I’ve heard. It’s a decent idea though, as I point out in the article, it’s a blocking stake. If it stays in the hands of someone other than Stan or Usmanov, they can’t launch a takeover which means fans getting it would be fantastic.

    However it seems Lady Nina isn’t interested in breaking the block of shares up: she recognises their value is greater when they are all together. That basically means that anyone looking to buy them buys all or none, which to be frank would be bloody expensive; sadly putting it out of reach of a supporters club most likely.

    The board want to maintain the status quo – they only brought Kroenke onboard (mind the pun) to stave off the attentions of Usmanov. A sole owner can run the club how they want – it’s their property. That may not be a problem – Stan’s American sporting investments are run well from what I’ve read – but we are at the risk of an owner.

    Would Usmanov run us like Chelsea? Perhaps. The board don’t want to take that gamble with the club’s future

  8. Phil – there is no longer a need to run us like chelski… the self-sustainable model is well placed now.

    the debt has been eroded significantly, and the club makes a great profit every year.

    i am so surprised there is not a queue of billionaires/business groups who want to own our club… it makes a blinking profit for crying out loud!!

  9. But Stringfellow – the club has never paid a dividend since it was formed in 1910 by Henry Norris.

    So the only way you could get money out of it would be by owning enough shares to force through a change. Phil et al will correct me because I don’t know the exact figure where this happens but I think you need 75% vote to agree a dividend.

    Since Usmanov has about 26% and kronke a fraction under 30%, then even buying the BS shares you have only got 16% and a long way to go. Usmanov looks to be in for the long ride, and Stan is on the board. So even if you can get the others to sell every last share to you, you are still only going to have 55%, and quite honestly I can’t see Frizman selling out at this moment. Why would he? He doesn’t need the money, and it would see that he has a real affection for the club.

    So I think, although not by design, we have set up a perfect bunch of blocks, which is why I think the only buyer is from the far east – somewhere where they will wait and wait and wait.

    Ten years is a long time in football, and like Mr Usmanov, they can wait that long. By then we will have half a dozen Euro cups and a few league wins as well as the other clubs suffer from their economic downturn and our class of 2001/2 finally mature into league players.

    Then look at the value of Arsenal shares. £10k each will seem like a watercress sandwich.

    That simile is copyright Untold Arsenal.-

  10. Tony’s pretty much got it nailed. Only thing I would add is regarding Fiszman. Obviously his health problems will have a bearing on this situation, and this we cannot predict. If the shares passed to a family member they may well decide to sell (though I’m sure Kroenke has first option).

    As an aside, best wishes to Fiszman in his fight against cancer.

  11. I don’t quite understand. What do the potential investors benefit if they were to purchase the shares? No dividends? No bonus or basic?

  12. Cosmojon

    You have it totally. There is no benefit in buying the shares in the traditional sense, other than to sell them on later at a profit.

    That has been the trick for years, and it is the trick that Dein pulled off brilliantly. he bought his shares from the chairman Mr Hill Wood who famously said, “why is he buying these – this is dead money.” and then saw the price rocket.

    But those days are dead. We are now in a totally different world where share prices have peaked and are falling. Man U and Liverpool are seen to be wrecked (even if the press have been a bit slow in reading our blog) and only the billionaires can buy and make clubs.

    and even there success is not guaranteed. I am certain beyond all certainty that when Abramovich bought the KGB in Fulham he believed that he had bought total victory in every competition for ever more, and he was utterly bemused to find that he needed a brilliant manager like Jose to make it happen.

    Now, even worse he is up against Uefa who are telling him the days of endless debt are over. Hence he turned his loan into shares and said that’s it. But still the club need to buy and buy and buy because their youth policy is not doing what Arsenal’s is doing.

    In short, the world has changed and these football clubs are not the licence to print money they were thought to be. Just as ITV in the UK was a money spinner, so ultimately the world changed and it died. same with football.

    Fortunately for us, our club went a different way.

  13. Thanks for the swift response. Great site btw, as an Arsenal fan it’s nice to have a positive outlook once in a while.
    If that really is the case with the shares then I can’t see her selling anytime soon. I doubt, if someone purchased, that their value would go up that quickly. That is a lot of money to tie up, especially with no yield.
    Again, love the site.

  14. Sad. Injuries and moments of sloppy defending have been the story of the season.

    My, how we have missed Van Persie.

  15. And what’s even more sad is that this is the night the D&Gers have been waiting for all season. I can hear them gloating already. Fuckers.

  16. Tim that was my final conclusion in my matchreport.
    A shot from a player who never shot on goal before this game just goes in and then Silvestre and Campbell fell asleep in the begin of the second half.
    The loss of Vermaelen was vital and maybe this was the final injury we not needed. I think his season is over.

    And Robin… what can you say… in 20 minutes on the pitch he did more than the rest of the team in 90 minutes. This maybe sounds a bit unrespectfull for the rest but he really would have brought us the title if he would have been fit the whole season.

  17. I think we have dominated the whole game from start to finish but Tottenham scored the goals when it mattered and Gomez just chose this night to shine and to prevent 3 or 4 goals from Van Persie.
    But the D&G will be out there enjoying themselves.

    It won’t matter for them that we had no Gallas, Vermaelen, Song, Cesc, Arshavin en only a short while Van Persie.

    The boys did their best but I think they look tired and had no luck at all.

  18. That was devastating! but watching Van Persie was really refreshing! I wish we had more energy in the 15 minutes when all we did was pass the ball to each other in the middle of the park.
    For sometime though, I thought I was watching Bolton vs Arsenal?

  19. Sometime you have one of those days that it just will not work out at the end. With that lucky shot going in one could feel that lady luck had chosen Tottenhams’ side today and then the injury from Vermaelen…

    It had to happen once that we lost a league against them and the longer a run goes on the nearer that day comes. Lets just stand up and start a new run from tomorrow on.

    Saturday’s another game. I think Robin will play a big part in this.

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