Arsenal fans demand assurances from owners

Arsenal Supporters Trust have called for both Stan Kroenke and Alisher Usmanov to give firm indications of their vision for the future of the club as the battle for power at Emirates Stadium continues.

Kroenke Sports Enterprises, which has gradually built its stake in the Gunners since first buying 9.9% of shares in 2007, took a controlling interest in Arsenal's parent holding company last month after reaching agreements for the stock of Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith and the late Danny Fiszman, which under City rules, obliged them to make a formal offer for the remaining capital at £11,750 a share, valuing the club at some £750million.

However, Uzbek oil magnate Usmanov - second in the recent Sunday Times Rich List with an estimated worth of some £12.4billion, more than Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich - has no intentions of selling his 27% stock through Red & White Holdings and indeed has been buying up any other Arsenal shares still available at a higher price than the KSE offer, around £14,000.

The AST had already urged all minority shareholders not to cash in, with fans - who next season face a 6.5% hike in ticket prices at Emirates Stadium - determined to keep the Gunners outside private ownership.

With the formal deadline for KSE's offer set to complete on May 27, the supporters group is hopeful some public statement on KSE's future plans for the club will be made, while Red & White Holdings are understood to be ready to set out their intentions in a letter to all minority shareholders this week.

AST spokesman Tim Payton told Press Association Sport: "Rather than just make a cash offer for the shares, Arsenal supporters want to know what their ownership would offer for the future of the club.

"Supporter shareholders are less motivated by money and more focused on the club's values and plans for future success.

"On Monday, there was a vote taken of all members of Arsenal Fanshare, and 95.3% were against accepting the Kroenke offer.

"We still advise small shareholders to hold their shares because it is about joint custodianship of the club."

While Kroenke - who holds a controlling interest at just under 64% - was invited onto the Arsenal board since September 2008, no such offer has yet been forthcoming to Usmanov, who two years ago saw his proposals for a new rights issue to raise funds for player transfers rejected.

It remains to be seen just how the power battle will play out over the summer when Gunners boss Arsene Wenger intends to be active in the transfer market following another barren campaign.

Real Madrid midfielder Karim Benzema is a potential target, with the Arsenal manager also expected to bolster his defence by bringing in experienced cover, like Blackburn's Christopher Samba, although a move for veteran former captain Sol Campbell, released by Newcastle, would appear unlikely.

Wenger will also keep one eye on the future with deals for Southampton starlet Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and a £1million deal for teenage left-back Carl Jenkinson from Charlton.

Arsenal, meanwhile, have confirmed the second match of their Far East tour will take place against Chinese Super League side Hangzhou Greentown on July 16.

The Gunners are also set to play in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in what is a break from Wenger's usual pre-season preparations, but is seen as a necessary compromise to bring in some much-needed additional commercial revenue.

Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis said: "We have a massive global fanbase, people know Arsenal all around the world, and it is very important for us to connect with those fans.

"We also want to develop relationships with major corporations out there."

England midfielder Jack Wilshere is set to join the group, despite missing the Under-21 European Championship finals because of fears over burnout.

Gazidis confirmed it would be a "full Arsenal squad." He said: "We will be taking these games quite seriously.

"It is an important part of our pre-season preparation, especially because we now have the qualifying games for the Champions League, so we will be very focused."

Gazidis hinted overseas tours could become a permanent fixture on Arsenal's pre-season schedule.

He added: "There are other areas in the world where we have big fan bases, and I am sure we will be reaching out to other places as well."

News
people
News
A survey carried out by Sainsbury's Finance found 20% of new university students have never washed their own clothes, while 14% cannot even boil an egg
science...and the results are not as pointless as that sounds
News
politicsIs David Cameron trying to prove he's down with the kids?
News
Dominique Alderweireld, also known as Dodo de Saumure, is the owner of a string of brothels in Belgium
newsPhilip Sweeney gets the inside track on France's trial of the year
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Cumberbatch was speaking on US television when he made the comment (Getty)
people
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Tom DeLonge, Travis Barker and Mark Hoppus of Blink-182 pictured in 2011.
musicBassist Mark Hoppus and drummer Travis Barker say Tom Delonge is 'disrespectful and ungrateful'
Sport
football
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman and David Tennant star in 'Broadchurch'
tvBroadchurch series 2, episode 4, review - contains spoilers
Sport
cyclingDisgraced cycling star says people will soon forgive his actions
News
Britain's Prince Philip attends a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace in London
people
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran will play three sell-out gigs at Wembley Stadium in July
music
News
i100
News
Lena Dunham posing for an official portrait at Sundance 2015
people
Arts and Entertainment
Under the skin: Sarah Kane in May 1998
theatreThe story behind a new season of Sarah Kane plays
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea