Liverpool’s ownership has settled down with Tom Hicks on a long term investment plan at Anfield which includes buying out George Gillett’s stake. Chelsea and Man Utd have long had single entity ownerships.
In contrast, the Arsenal ownership is a group of competing camps with carefully titrated share holdings, as one goes up the other goes down. These fluctuations are market driven. Hanging in balance is Arsenal’s future vision and commitments. The old guard with Danny Fiszman and PHW are on board with Wenger’s long term philosophy of providing Arsenal a base of homegrown talent and careful transfer spending.
Stan Kroenke’s stealth acquisition might raise hackles but the recent buying out of part of Fiszman’s stake only strengthens the Kroenke- Fiszman axis which acts as a countervail to the unsavoury Alisher Usmanov, the Uzbeki born oligarch whose loyalty to the club is questionable. The X factor in all this is the 15% stake of ousted board director Nina Bracewell Smith whose sell off can make her the kingmaker. It is left to Ivan Gazidis, Arsenal’s chief executive in an unofficial capacity as liaison between her and the Kroenke- Fiszman camp to prevent Usmanov from seizing control. One positive aspect the financial meltdown is that Usmanov’s personal wealth has plummeted and he may not be in a position to put up more money.
All these behind the scenes moves remind one of why Arsenal never seems reactive enough. Achieving consensus sometimes means moving a step backward and two steps to the side. That is why these minute adjustments in share holdings seemingly mundane are yet so crucial to the club’s future.