Kroenke thoughts + Blackpool 1-3 Arsenal – 10/04/11 – (Premier League) 11 April, 2011Posted by lasagnechef in Arsenal News.
So yesterday was a pretty eventful day for Arsenal, we beat Blackpool 3-1 ending our run of draws which is pretty good but that was quickly forgotten as Stan Kroenke looks like launching a takeover of the club. The three points at Bloomfield road were vital in the short term but yesterday saw the biggest announcement financially involving Arsenal in a long time and it is set to change the future of the club. So I guess it deserves a bit of a mention…
Yesterday it was announced that the American would be buying out Danny Fiszman’s and Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith’s shares which bumps Kroenke up from just under 30% to nearly 63% of shares. He will now make an offer for the remaining 37% but those shareholders are currently under no obligation to sell. The majority of that 37% is held by Alisher Usmanov’s Red & White Holdings who currently own 27% which is just enough to stop Kroenke reaching the magic 75% mark which would mean he could force any remaining shareholders to sell.
The ball now lies in Usmanov’s court, although Kroenke is stood waiting, racket in hand, in a much bigger court. Red & White have no obligation to sell but they could cash in now and have made a profit on their investment or they could keep the shares but have no real say in the club or anything like that. I can’t guess what they’re going to do but it does look now that sooner or later Arsenal will become yet another club to be owned solely by an investor. I’m no financial expert whatsoever and I’ve never really had much to say on this whole business in the last couple of years. Partly because I don’t understand the stock market well enough and secondly because it’s out of our hands really, whatever happens will happen and we’ll just have to accept it.
I’m perfectly happy with the club being run as it has been for years, with the club jointly owned by numerous shareholders. I’ve never really properly thought about what it would be like under a single owner but it does seem that if it is going to happen then Stan Kroenke is probably the best man for the job. He wants to keep the current board, he will make no personnel changes there although they would no longer be shareholders of the club – just employees, he has also promised not to put further debt to the club’s name by using loans to complete the buyout and the man has plenty of experience in owning sports clubs. He currently owns a club in just about every top sport in America including our US football partners the Colorado Rapids. He will also bring valuable input into our commercial sector which will be used to grow the worldwide brand of Arsenal to generate revenue, that will mean pre-season tours in places like Asia and America rather than our usual low-key Austrian training camp. I know already we had plans to tour Japan and surrounding countries this summer but I think that might be falling through after the recent disaster there. This isn’t a Chelsea or Man City style takeover though, we might see some cash investment in terms of transfers but don’t expect him to be our Abramovich or anything like that. I think Kroenke will be a lot more sensible and will be looking at the long-term future of the club rather than short-term investment.
It’s all very early days but it does look very much like the beginning of a takeover. The next step now is to see how Usmanov reacts to this, he could sell up to Kroenke and be on his way, he could stay put and decide not to sell or he could launch a counter bid. Now as accepting as I am with all this news, a takeover attempt from Usmanov would not be anywhere near as welcome and would cause up quite a stir. I’m not sure if he’s actually eligible to buy Fiszman’s shares as part of the lockdown agreement anyway though but I’m not exactly sure how all of this works as I mentioned.
Lets move on anyway and leave it at that. Those are the facts and that’s that for the moment. I don’t want to dig too far into it because not only is my knowledge going to get badly shown up but we have a game to discuss!
So three points then yesterday and we’re back on track. There were no slip-ups from United or Chelsea so our position in the table is unchanged but we kept up the pace which was important. We’re still seven points off the leaders with that game in hand. Dropped points yesterday would’ve been a disaster but we’re still there going into two massive games against Liverpool and Tottenham.
You could say we were a little bit lucky yesterday but I feel like we’ve deserved a bit of luck recently. We did well to get an early two goal lead but when we inevitably let the home side back in it we were on the ropes for a while and did well not to concede. I guess if you’re a Blackpool fan you’d be livid at the chances missed yesterday or the lack of penalties given but for once luck was on our side.
We never should’ve got into that situation though. Blackpool started the better side but we went 1-0 up in the 17th minute and doubled the lead three minutes later. Diaby almost lost the ball just outside our box but managed to win it back and the ball found its way out to van Persie on the left who took it into the box and put a great ball across to Diaby who had carried on his run and tapped it in for 1-0. In the 20th minute a great pass and move on the right and drive into the box from Eboue put him in a shooting position and what a clinical shot it was with the left foot to make to 2-0. Two unlikely goal scorers but two great goals and we had a (fairly) comfortable two nil lead. We really should’ve gone in at half time about 4-0 up though, we dominated for the most part and thanks to some good goalkeeping, a bit of luck and us not getting a shot away when we should’ve done, Blackpool kept it at 2-0 until half time. Nasri will be disappointed not to have scored yesterday and Robin will fell like he could’ve had more too.
After missing all those chances to put the game to bed it was inevitable that Blackpool would find a way back into it. They ended the first half well and carried that on into the second. Five minutes into the half they got one back, Taylor-Fletcher the scorer after the referee played two advantages in the build up, one of which was Lehmann bringing down DJ Campbell in the area before the ball was put in the net. With no ‘keeper on the bench Less Mason could’ve easily sent the German off and left us in a bit of trouble but thankfully he allowed play on and didn’t go back to book Jens. Almunia was apparently injured in the warm up handing Jens a shock 200th appearance for Arsenal, which meant there was no goalie on the bench and afterwards Robin van Persie said he would’ve been putting on the gloves if Lehmann was sent off. As exciting as that would’ve been I’m glad it didn’t materialise!
As to be expected, an extended period of Blackpool pressure followed that goal and on another day we might’ve gone back to 2-2. Had that been the case and we ended up drawing I think we might’ve been waving goodbye to the title so I’m glad we held out. Wenger brought on Walcott after an hour in an attempt to keep the home side back or catch them on the break and it was the latter that worked in the 75th minute. Squillaci made a good tackle at the back and gave it to Diaby who showed good strength to keep the ball and turn up the pitch clipping it to Fabregas, he touched it first time on to Theo who was away down the wing and in a matter of seconds we had turned danger into attack. Walcott was in loads of space running freely towards goal, RVP kept up the pace and Theo was able to pick him out with a good ball and Robin made it 3-1. Game over.
There was still time for one last shock, Gael Clichy got caught in possession on the edge of the box but Lehmann did well to come out and get a good block on the shot showing that he’s still got what it takes after an otherwise fairly quiet game.
So next Sunday we face Liverpool at home and what a game that is set to be. I have to say I fancy us and hopefully we could have some players returning from injury next week. If we’re lucky we could have all of Szczesny, Djourou, Sagna and Song back making us a lot stronger in defence – or certainly less for us to worry about! Plenty of build up to that to come plus undoubtedly more news on the takeover situation. We haven’t got a game in 6 days but it’s set to be a busy week. Come back tomorrow where I will be announcing the winner of the Toffs competition, you have until midnight tonight to enter that one so make sure you get your emails in if you haven’t already.
Thanks for reading, speak to you tomorrow.