Arsenal AGM: Gunners have fans on toast at the annual ‘grilling’


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The Independent Football

“We don’t have anything like this in the US,” Stan Kroenke, Arsenal’s semi-anonymous controlling shareholder, told the club’s AGM. “I think if we [did] they’d probably declare a two-week holiday for some of our teams because people would have so much fun grilling the owners, they would need that amount of time.”

But the only thing that got grilled in Arsenal’s grandiose Woolwich Suite at the Emirates were the cheese and ham toasties served up to the angry shareholders, who scarcely got a chance to speak – and when they did, almost never had their questions answered.

The first question asked quite what Mr Kroenke had provided in return for the £3m “advisory services” payment he received from the club last month. This was, we learned, for the “wide range of services provided to Arsenal Football Club by Kroenke Sports and Entertainment”.

One might think, having bought £731m worth of shares in the club, such services might be available gratis, not least as the £3m is almost exactly equal to the amount raised by the higher ticket prices that are crippling the poorer fans of Europe’s most expensive club.

When one written question enquired about the lack of diversity on Arsenal’s all- white, all-male and increasingly elderly board, Arsenal’s Old Etonian chairman Sir Chips Keswick explained: “I have two hearing aids but no white stick. I play bridge four nights a week and I win more than I lose so I don’t have dementia. I’m in my 49th year of a fractious but enduring marriage. I have no intention of doing a Blatter.”

Another fan asked why the annual Q and A with the manager was stopped in 2010. “I don’t have an answer to that, sorry,” he was told, as Sir Chips moved on, without so much as an empty promise to look into it.