Arsenal would have won trophies if they had not built the Emirates Stadium, claims shareholder Alisher Usmanov

Club went into debt to build their 60,000-seat home

Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov believes the club's nine-year trophy drought could have been avoided had the Gunners not gone into debt to build the Emirates Stadium.

Arsene Wenger's men beat Hull in last season's FA Cup final to claim their first piece of silverware since winning the same competition in 2005 with a penalty shoot-out victory over Manchester United.

Arsenal played just one more season at their old Highbury home after that victory before moving to the Emirates in 2006 and are now starting to see the commercial benefits of the 60,000-seater stadium, with new revenue streams coming into force which have allowed them to be more aggressive in the transfer market.

But Usmanov, whose Red & White Holdings group own just over 30 per cent of the club but are yet to be represented on the board, believes alternative financing of the new ground could have brought a fresh trophy to the internal roll of honour which runs around the stadium faster.

"I think that Arsenal's planning was based on acquiring the new stadium, a decision taken by the previous owners," he told the Daily Telegraph.

"The acquisition was financed with debt, which would be repaid through match-day revenues among other sources.

"There is another way of doing it: when shareholders buy all of the assets and contribute them to the club. As a result, these debt-free assets may generate income for the club.

Video: Arsenal win the FA Cup

"It is always up to the shareholders to choose which model to adopt.

"The board and main shareholders chose the debt option at the time, which led to Arsenal going almost 10 years without winning a domestic title or the Champions League.

"The first trophy only arrived in the 10th year.

"As a result of this choice, they were selling players and were unable to buy top players.

"These difficulties have now been overcome and the team is in a good state; the club's finances are in order and I believe that Arsene Wenger and the club's CEO (Ivan Gazidis) will manage them correctly." Wojciech Szczesny and Aaron Ramsey of Arsenal lift the FA cup during the Arsenal FA Cup Victory Parade Arsenal ended a nine-year wait for a trophy by winning the FA Cup

Usmanov has never been afraid to voice concerns over the direction of the club, and wrote an open letter in 2012 criticising what he saw as too prudent an approach within the self-sustaining business model.

But with the Gunners spending big to acquire Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez in the past two summers, the Uzbek billionaire believes Wenger's team can now challenge for more silverware.

"The club is very well placed to succeed," he said.

"I think we begin a new era for Arsenal where we win trophies. That is most important for football.

"In my opinion, in line with the existing rules, the club has the correct decision-making process in place, including their selection policy, especially now, when they have the means to buy the best players."

PA

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

The super-rich now live in their own Elysium - they breathe better air, and eat better food, when they're not making beans on toast for their kids

The super-rich now live in their own Elysium

They breathe better air, eat better food, take better medicine
A generation of dropouts failed by colleges

Dropout generation failed by colleges

£800m a year wasted on students who quit courses before they graduate
Entering civilian life 'can be like going into the jungle' for returning soldiers

Homeless Veterans appeal

Entering civilian life can be like going into the jungle
Sam Taylor-Johnson: Woman on top

Sam Taylor-Johnson: Woman on top

Fifty Shades of Grey director on bringing the hit to the screen
As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch