Arsenal offer supporters a stake in the club's future
Wednesday 18 August 2010
Arsenal supporters Trust will today launch an initiative which aims to help fans buy a small shareholding and increase their representation in the Premier League club.
"Arsenal Fanshare" has the full backing of the Gunners, who have American sports tycoon Stan Kroenke as their largest individual stakeholder. A move towards tha mutual, democratic involvement of fans comes amid growing unease within supporters' groups at leveraged buyouts that can saddle clubs with potentially crippling debts.
Supporters will be able to sign up to the scheme online, where they will get the opportunity to purchase "fanshares" at one hundredth of the price of those in Arsenal Holdings Plc – around £95. Anyone eventually purchasing 100 will have their status converted to receive full voting rights for one share. The AST collectively speak for approximately 3 per cent of the club's overall equity.
AST spokesperson Tim Payton said: "Arsenal Fanshare has been established to increase supporter ownership and representation. The AST recently surveyed its membership on their preferred ownership structure – 90 per cent of members rate maintaining the club's custodianship and protecting the long-term future the most important priority.
"There is little support for the club being taken private, with 84 per cent preferring Arsenal's ownership model to be one which includes supporter representation.
"The AST welcomes the support the board and chief executive Ivan Gazidis have given the scheme. The support Arsenal Fanshare has from all of the club's major shareholders should allow all talk of a takeover to be put to one side. We urge all Arsenal fans to take this opportunity and get involved – by working together we can make Arsenal even stronger."
Currently, Kroenke is Arsenal's largest individual shareholder at 29.9 per cent. Alisher Usmanov backs the Red & White Holdings group, whose stake is at just over 26 per cent, but unlike Kroenke the Uzbek-born mining billionaire has not been invited onto the Arsenal board.
Key to the future ownership of the club would appear to be the stock of Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith, who left the board during December 2008 and has appointed a private-equity firm to sell her 15.9 per cent.
Latest in Sport
Phil Jagielka: I may never win back England place, says Everton defender
Mario Balotelli: Staff at arson-hit Manchester Dogs' Home convinced Liverpool striker is behind five-figure donation
Rio Ferdinand mocks Jamie Carragher's Liverpudlian accent... but Liverpool man hits back at Londoner
Colombian women's cycling team kit that makes wearer appear naked is branded 'unacceptable' by UCI president
Just like Cristiano Ronaldo and Manchester United, Gareth Bale says he hopes to return to Tottenham 'one day'
- 1 Scottish referendum: So how about the English now being given a chance to split from England?
- 2 Friends 20th anniversary: Alison Jackson photographs reunited cast
- 3 Friends 20th anniversary: The highs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
- 4 The response to my Pizza Express review has been overwhelming, and taught me a lot about journalism
- 5 Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned into a PR disaster
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes