Thoughts On Dein’s ‘Return’ To Arsenal

By now, you are probably well aware of the acquisition of 14.58% of Arsenal FC by Russian Alisher Uzmanov and his holdings company, Red & White.  You are also probably aware of their decision to appoint the former owner of those 14.58% stake shares, David Dein as their Chairman.

So what does it mean for Arsenal?  Is it good news, or bad?  Well, the simple answer is no one knows.  People have their opinions, and I’m not one to tell you if they are right or wrong, so all I can do is give you my own.

Based on what we do know about Uzmanov, we can assume that he will endeavour to buy up more shares in the club.  People like him aren’t going to be happy with shelling out £75m to just have a slice of the pie.  They will want the whole pie.  And probably the peas, mash and gravy too.

The appointment of Dein as chairman I see as trying to put a ‘friendly’ face on the front of a takeover bid.  Some will argue that Dein was always around as he held his 14.58% even though he wasn’t part of the setup anymore after getting into bed with Stan Kroenke.  But now things are worse.  Now he is doing the dirty work of a Russian oligarch and every single thing he does will seem like an ulterior motive, no matter how much he protests he has the best interests of the club at heart.  And that is what worries me.  He will now be trying to please his new boss, and at the same time trying to realise his vision for Arsenal FC.

No doubt his return will be welcomed by Wenger and some of the players.  If you believe everything you read, there’s a chance Henry will return in January because the reason for his departure is now invalid.  Ok, so that’s not strictly true, and by strictly I mean not at all.  But it is true that some staff at the club will welcome their old friend back.  But as I’ve mentioned, he never really went away.  With his personal holdings, Dein was 14.58% of the club and to that end he had certain rights.  They just weren’t the same as when he was the voice of the board.  Now he’s the voice of Uzmanov.  A third party.  And someone who is not entirely savoury.  You can bet your bottom rouble that the Uzmanov/Dein dream team will not be so quiet and unassuming as Kroenke has been (which is to his credit given the uproar caused by his stake acquisition).  As with all investments they will wanta return from it and given his past history, Uzmanov will expect Dein to make this return significant.

These are testing times for the board.  Now sitting in the shareholder’s meetings are two foreign investors, both of whom have designs on acquiring the whole club as their personal plaything and cash cow.  With an agreement in place that none of the board will sell any of their personal shares (which totals 45%) for at least a year (now probably 9 months) they are ok.  Just wait until that non-selling contract runs out, and all Hell breaks loose.  It’s going to be mental.  And in the middle of it all, the smiling face of Tango-man Dein.

My personal view is that Arsenal is a shining example of how a club should be run.  A board of fans (albeit rich fans) controlling the majority of shares, and a few private investors.  Money is generated solely by the club’s successes and not through some sugar daddy.  All this is now under threat from a big fat Russian and a moustachioed American.  All the years of history and tradition are in danger of being lost in favour of turning the club into the new Chelsea, and if that happens then I’m sure I won’t be alone is losing my passion for the club I’ve supported all my life.  Results and trophies are what it’s all about, but buying your way to them is not something that sits well with me.  We don’t begrudge Man Utd their success as they have earned it over years of good results.  That is what we are aiming for.  Well, were aiming for.  The fact that they are a pack of despicable ***** is largely irrelevant.  Chelsea were always a mediocre club, with little tradition or history and for the most part, just making up the numbers.  Now, you know what happened to them and you know how much they are despised by very large proportion football fans.  We don’t want to be that.  We have been moving in the right direction under Wenger all on our own, and if it is destroyed by these new investors then it will be a hard pill to swallow.

 Oh yeah, you may remember that Arsenal also qualified for the group stages of the Champions League.  We were drawn into group H along with Slavia Prague, Steaua Bucharest and one of AEK Athens or Seville.

I’m off to mope.  Catch you later

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1 Comment

  1. I agree with you completely, and this is the first sign to me that Dein is off the deep end. He chose his American partner badly — Denver is a backwater market in the US — not the location of an appropriate US soccer partner for Arsenal. Russian money is suspect, at best. His idea is correct — the global branding opportunity is huge for Arsenal, and in the long run, if it fails to compete on that stage with Liverpool, Man U, Barca and Real (and, now, Chelsea) it will suffer. Arsenal brilliantly built the mega-stadium a mega-team needs; they have a manager whose development philosophy doesn’t require mega-pounds to be successful, and still creates the most pleasing television product in the world. They could go global in a home-grown way, but need a different visionary


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