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Former Arsenal shareholder regrets helping Kroenke become majority owner

Aug 18, 2013, 9:24 PM EDT

Another year of unrest at the Emirates? Reuters

One day after Arsenal’s opening day loss to Aston Villa, a former majority shareholder took to Twitter to express her regret at having made Stan Kroenke the team’s majority shareholder. She also called for a popular former executive to return to the club and a place on Arsenal’s board for Kroenke’s chief rival.

So yes, Arsenal’s weekend actually managed to get worse.

Nina Bracewell-Smith, a former Arsenal investor whose sale of shares to Kroenke in 2011 helped make the American businessman the club’s owner, posted the following three tweets to her Twitter account (@NinaBracewell) on Sunday night, just over 24 hours after Arsenal lost their Premier League home opener to Aston Villa, 3-1:

On Apr. 11, 2011, Bracewell-Smith sold her 15.9 percent share in Arsenal F.C. to Kroenke, who paid £11,750 per share. Combined with his purchase of 16.11 percent of the club from Danny Fiszman, Kroenke became Arsenal’s majority shareholder, marginalizing the influence Russian businessman Alisher Usmanov, who owns 29 percent of the club.

Usmanov bought his initial share of the team from Dein, who went on to work for Usmanov’s holding company, Red and White Holdings. Before the move, Dein had served as vice chairman of Arsenal from 1983 to 2007, a time that saw the club win five first division titles and five FA Cups.

Usmanov has been critical of Arsenal’s strict financial model, often equating it with a lack of ambition. It’s a criticism that’s been echoed among many Arsenal fans, with complaints reaching new levels as Arsenal, with a rumored £70 million to spend, has failed to make a significant signing this summer.

Bracewell, who still serves as an honorary vice president of the club, will only intensify such critiques with her tweets, with her knowledge of the boardroom’s dynamics sure to fuel suspicions about Arsenal’s transfer policies.

In the wake of Saturday’s loss, manager Arsène Wenger has insisted the club are still working on adding to the player squad in the summer window, which closes on Sept. 2.

  1. dhalb34 - Aug 18, 2013 at 9:54 PM

    I love watching Arsenal fans, and former share holders, already complaining after one match. Only 37 more to go peoples. GO SPURS!

  2. olddirtygamer - Aug 19, 2013 at 12:15 AM

    Wow. So Stan Kroenke has owned Arsenal since 2011 but they haven’t won anything since 2007 but Lady Bracewell now wants to hold Kroenke responsible for the entire time? I’m not an Arsenal fan but I do believe that her statements are a bit hypocritical since even when Dien was in charge Arsenal rarely spent any money. The initial reasoning was because the club could attract top players and then it was because they wanted to be fiscally responsible and build their own stadium (Emirates). Now that they aren’t in contention for any trophies but consistently a top-4 team in the Premier League, it isn’t good enough to attract much interest from top-tier players and the club’s frugal approach to salaries prevents a lot of this. This isn’t just a sudden thing with the American owner, as much as many would like to believe it is, but much more about how the club has managed itself over time and failed to capitalize or deliver on the pitch when they had the opportunities while they had superior talent.

    Not being one to throw the baby out with the bath water, I’d say yes, Arsenal needs to spend some money and get one or two very good players to improve themselves and actually contest for the Premier League title. Right now, however, the truth is that no one wants to play there.

    • kirielson - Aug 19, 2013 at 8:02 AM

      The fact that barely anyone left, shows that there’s barely anyone to get.

      If they wanted to make a statement, they should have spent like City now. However, at this rate, it will take them the next 3 years to fully rebuild, and that’s if they keep their talent.

  3. bayoor75 - Aug 19, 2013 at 4:31 PM

    Can we, the Arsenal supporters get the Arsenal board to force a sale, like the Liverpool board did 3 years ago? I think that’s the only solution to this misery!

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