Arsenal’s Annual General Meeting takes place on Thursday and although the fact that the club won the FA Cup last season means the atmosphere will not be quite as heated as in previous seasons, there are many issues for Stan Kroenke, the owner, manager Arsène Wenger, chairman Sir Chips Keswick and chief executive Ivan Gazidis to address.
Shareholders have submitted a list of questions but Tom Peck identifies the key issues for fans;
Another transfer window has ended, tens of millions of pounds still available – and not spent on players. Our start to the season has been worse than last year and we are short of players. Are transfer funds being withheld from the manager?
The Arsenal board can point to the fact that they spent £52.5m in the summer transfer window to bring in Alexis Sanchez, Calum Chambers and Danny Welbeck. Yet the squad is still short of defensive cover and a top-quality holding midfielder. If there are funds still available, fans deserve to know why they were not used.
If the money is there, why have more defensive players not been signed? By the manager’s admission we are light at the back.
This can be summed up by the fact that this Saturday at home to Hull City, due to injuries and suspensions, Wenger will have to play left-back Nacho Monreal at centre-back. The anger at a lack of defensive resources is compounded by the sale of Thomas Vermaelen to Barcelona in the summer. Arsenal have yet to replace him – something which the board insisted would not happen.
How do you explain the team’s terrible record against other top clubs over the last four years? How can this be improved?
Wenger will be at the meeting, although he is under no obligation to answer questions. After the recent 2-0 defeat to Chelsea, he may not be able to resist this one, though.
Arsenal’s huge ticket prices are both unfair on fans and often an embarrassment to the club. Can you guarantee that prices will not rise again next season?
The release of the BBC’s Price of Football report showed that Arsenal’s ticket prices – both for single matches and season tickets – are the most expensive in the country. Yes, in return for the supporters’ hard-earned cash they get to watch nice football, but the three per cent rise imposed this season was a particularly tough pill to swallow.
What “advisory services” has Kroenke, the majority shareholder, provided in return for the £3m payment that was recently made to him?
Kroenke took a payment of £3m out of the club last month – a move that raised fans’ hackles as it matched the amount raised by season-ticket price rises. The American had never previously taken a dividend from his other sporting interests, which include NBA basketball’s Denver Nuggets and the NFL American football team St Louis Rams.
Are more such payments likely? If so, when, why and for how much?
To answer this, Kroenke may point supporters to an interview he gave in 2011, praising, among other people, the Glazer family who own Manchester United.
He said three years ago: “I think [supporters] ought to think about who invests in these clubs. He [Glazer] took money out of the club. So what? [LA Lakers owner] Jerry Buss takes money out of his club. A lot of owners in the US do. No one ever says anything about it.”
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