The Arsenal Supporters' Trust have strongly criticised a £3 million payment made to a company owned by the club's majority shareholder Stan Kroenke.
For the second year running—and despite opposition to the first payment in 2014—Kroenke Sports and Entertainment (KSE) have received the huge fee for a variety of advisory services the company has provided the Gunners.
An Arsenal Supporters' Trust spokesman has slammed the payment as "wrong" and suggested it is a betrayal of the club's principles, per James Olley in the Evening Standard:
It is staggering that once again Stan Kroenke has seen it fit to pay himself £3m from Arsenal. Last year the AST questioned the club’s board on this payment and they were unable to explain what the services Kroenke provided were, and why there was no tender for a consultancy fee of such magnitude. If there is spare cash floating around at Arsenal it would be better put toward reducing ticket prices, paying match-day staff the London Living Wage or investing in strengthening the squad. [Chief executive] Ivan Gazidis always preaches that Arsenal are a self-sustaining club without any cash being injected into the business, if this is the case it is wrong that money should be taken out in such a way and breaches the principles of custodianship on which Arsenal used to be widely admired.
Arsenal recently announced a £24.7 million increase in profits, per Sky Sports.
This angered fans because seemingly so little of this money had actually been spent on strengthening the squad in the recent transfer window, with only goalkeeper Petr Cech being brought in despite the club's clear need for a new striker and defensive midfielder, per Bleacher Report's Andy Brassell:
Despite a slight loosening of the purse strings in recent years—see the signings of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil—Arsenal and manager Arsene Wenger still seem reluctant to spend big in the transfer market despite their available funds.
While Arsenal should be applauded for spending within their means, their lack of movement in the latest window verged on the irresponsible given they have designs on winning the title.
Their strike unit is far from competitive with Olivier Giroud unreliable and Theo Walcott not even an out-and-out striker.
In defensive midfield their only real back-up for Francis Coquelin is Mikel Arteta, who is some way past his prime.
Given the resources at their disposal Arsenal could easily have afforded to bring in a top-quality striker and defensive midfielder in the summer, but they acquired neither.
With the Gunners now already five points off the pace in the Premier League after six games of the season, it is unsurprising that the latest payment to KSE has not gone down well.