Arsenal FC 2012: Owned by Kroenke, Usmanov or Somebody Else?

True BlueCorrespondent IOctober 7, 2011

The Emirates, home to two billionaires.
The Emirates, home to two billionaires.Oli Scarff/Getty Images

As a non-Gooner, I am struggling to see a way forward for one of the country's best-supported, best-run and stable football clubs. The worry is that, from the outside, the board has led the club into a phony war and a period of stagnation.

The status quo at Arsenal cannot continue, can it?

The lack of true leadership and the apparent refusal of either of the club's billionaire shareholders to pump money into the club will surely continue to hamper the Gunners.

But which of the major shareholders will blink first? 

Stan Kroenke, the heir apparent, is not in a position to force the issue, as far as I can tell.

He is backed by the old guard from whom he has bought shares, and to who he still owes large sums for them.

From how I read it, he holds just short of 63 percent of the shares in the club and, as such, cannot force the sale of Alisher Usmanov's and the other minority shareholders holdings and take the business private (which I assume he would do if given the opportunity).

Then there is the wealthier-still Usmanov—who holds 29 percent of Arsenal, has paid his share with cash and can sit there and effectively block any real business that Kroenke wants to conduct.

Usmanov is very close to David Dean, while Kroenke is more in tune with Nina Bracewell-Smith and the late Danny Fizman, which means that there are basically two groups of shareholders—past and present—backing very different approaches to Arsenal's future.

Which option is best?

I have read that Usmanov thinks that Arsenal should have spent more, and more often under Wenger, blaming the current squad frailties (and loss of Fabregas and Nasri, perhaps) on a lack of investment in the playing side of the club.

It must, I suppose, be assumed that, if he were to buy the club outright, he would be more akin to Sheikh Mansour at Manchester City than Daniel Levy at Spurs?

The seemingly more cautious approach of Kroenke might not bode too well for Gooners who agree with Usmanov, as once he has paid for the shares he counts as his, they could expect more of the same from the club under his ownership.

It might be accurate to also predict that Arsene Wenger is far safer in his job with Kroenke than with Usmanov, and this surely creates even more questions about where Arsenal will be in the next couple of seasons.

But it seems that, unless either Usmanov or Kroenke change their current modus operandi, it can only be bad for Arsenal in the short term and maybe even medium term.