By Greg Adams
At a time when most of the major Premier League clubs have been bought by Russian, American and Arab investors and mortgaged to within an inch of their survival we should be grateful that, for the time being, ownership of Arsenal remains largely in the hands of those that love the club and are interested primarily in the football side of the business rather than the value of their investment. Whilst we have a number of major shareholders, notably Messrs Kroenke and Usmanov, none have a majority stake. I hope it stays that way.
“Hoping”, however, only gets us so far. “Doing”, I find, is far more productive. With this in mind, when I received an email from The Arsenal Supporters Trust (AST) about my republication of Arsenal books (www.gcrbooks.co.uk) I started thinking. The first thing I decided to do was to join the AST. At a cost of only £2 per month it’s less than the price of a pint or around half a packet of cigarettes, if you prefer.
Today my membership card arrived in the post, together with a very nice AST badge, but I was surprised to see that membership has yet to reach 900. I had anticipated a far higher number.
Stated simply, the goal of the AST is to “…widen and deepen supporter ownership, representation and influence at Arsenal.” What they do is collect all those £2 subscriptions, stick the money under the bed and when there’s enough they run out and buy an Arsenal share or two. Now, as an ex-banker my maths is likely to be a bit dodgy but here’s some simple arithmetic:
900 individuals pay x £24pa = £21,600.
This is sufficient to purchase around 3 Arsenal shares a year at the current price of around £8,500. At this rate it would take the AST more than 10,000 years to acquire 51% of the clubs 62,219 shares…..a little too long in my opinion. With around 180,000 members Arsenal FC has, I believe, the largest fan-base of any club in the world (based on membership).
If only half of the 180,000 cut back one pint or beer or 10 fags a week (they’d be alot healthier for starters) they would enable the AST to take control of Arsenal by 2133! OK, so we won’t live to see the day but hopefully you get my point. I understand that the AST is also looking at a possible Arsenal sharesave scheme which could also accelerate fan ownership of the club.
Anyway, the bottom line is that it’s surely better for Arsenal fans to own the club rather than a billionaire who’s just looking for a new plaything. So, don’t go down the pub tonight, go to the AST website and join the today!
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