Tag Archives: kroenke

Arsene Wenger tells Stan Kroenke he wants to turn Arsenal round alone

Stay out of it Kroenke! Defiant Wenger wants to get Arsenal's season back on track without interference

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UPDATED:

10:52 GMT, 14 December 2012

A defiant Arsene Wenger today said that he is determined to turn Arsenal's stuttering season around and does not expect any intervention from the club's board, including majority shareholder Stan Kroenke.

Arsenal suffered a crippling defeat at Bradford on Tuesday, when they were beaten on penalties in the Capital One Cup.

Wenger watched his season go from bad to worse at Valley Parade. The Gunners sit in 7th in the Premier League and are already 15 points behind leaders Manchester United after just 16 games.

Deflated: Arsenal lost in the Capital One Cup to Bradford earlier this week

Deflated: Arsenal lost in the Capital One Cup to Bradford earlier this week

With hopes of winning the league all but over, should Arsenal fail to bring home the FA Cup or the Champions League this season, it will be their eighth in succession without a trophy.

But Wenger has pulled Arsenal through
rough patches before, and he is determined to do so without any
intervention from Kroenke and the board.

Wenger said: ‘I am responsible for the football front, I don't expect Stan Kroenke to intervene.

‘The way to support me is to let me
do my work and do my job, I don't expect anything else. I'm very
determined and very hungry – if I wasn't I wouldn't be here.

‘I love the club, I sit here and show
how much I love the club. We have been through difficult periods before
and I know how to turn this around because I have been here 16 years.’

Wenger is looking to pick his players up at Reading on Monday evening after a difficult week, but believes he and his players should be looking forward, not back.

Crunch time: Arsene Wenger is determined to get the season back on track without interference

Crunch time: Arsene Wenger is determined to get the season back on track without interference

'We are top professional people. What
is important is what happens tomorrow, not what happened yesterday. We
are sorry for that [Bradford] but what is important is the next game.'

'They [Reading] are a team who deserve a lot of
credit because they came up last year, for me surprisingly.

'They make it difficult for every
team in every game, so we expect a battle. Our results are quite
consistent and good away from home.

'We had a good game against West Brom [and] it’s important to confirm that in our next away game.'

The Frenchman believes his players are committed and resilient enough to bounce back from the Bradford loss.

He said: 'This team cares, is serious and wants to do well, I do not question the spirit of the team.
I believe I have a strong team.

'If you look at our season at the moment, we have not produced our performances at home, away our results are in the same bracket as the two top teams.

Resilient: Wenger believes his players can bounce back at Reading

Resilient: Wenger believes his players can bounce back at Reading

Stop the rot: Arsenal are in seventh place in the league, 15 behind leaders Manchester United

Stop the rot: Arsenal are in seventh place in the league, 15 behind leaders Manchester United

'Where we have lost the points is we made too many draws at home.

'Manchester United are top of the league, six points ahead. They have lost three games, we have lost four. We had more draws, especially at home, that is where we have lost the points.'

The Arsenal manager was also asked whether, after 16 years at the helm, he had been at the club for too long.

He said: 'I can understand people
criticise when the results are not as expected. It looks like has become
the modern way to think.

'You say that 16 years can be a handicap, but it can also be an advantage because you have experience, you love the club.

'If I sit here, it is because I have really shown how much I love his club. We have gone through difficult periods before and you know how to turn it around.'

There has also been speculation that all-time top goalscorer Thierry Henry could re-join the club on loan in January, but Wenger refused to comment on the proposed move, and said: 'I cannot tell you anything about it because nothing has happened.'

SOS: Arsenal could be tempted to make a move for all-time top goalscorer Thierry Henry

SOS: Arsenal could be tempted to make a move for all-time top goalscorer Thierry Henry

Not even close: Gary Jones of Bradford scores with his penalty attempt past goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny

Not even close: Gary Jones of Bradford scores with his penalty attempt past goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny

We need Thierry Henry to coach at Arsenal, says shareholder Alisher Usmanov

We need Henry to coach at Arsenal, says shareholder Usmanov

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UPDATED:

22:47 GMT, 13 December 2012

Billionaire shareholder, Alisher Usmanov, has insisted Thierry Henry should join Arsenal's coaching staff.

It comes following the club's
shameful quarter-final exit of the Capital One Cup at the hands of
League Two Bradford on Tuesday.

Dream team: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and Gunners legend Thierry Henry

Dream team: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and Gunners legend Thierry Henry

Wenger is contracted to the Gunners until 2014 and is under no danger of losing his job after being handed the full backing of majority shareholder Stan Kroenke and the board.

But Sportsmail highlighted the growing tensions between Wenger and assistant manager Steve Bould over their working relationship.

And Usmanov, who owns a 29 per cent stake in the club and is still fighting for a place on the Arsenal board, is known to think Wenger needs more help within his coaching set-up.

The Russian, 59, says French striker Henry has a 'more important role' than just to return as a player when he comes to the club on loan from New York Red Bulls next month. He said: 'I don't have any powers in terms of decisions at the club but there are a few players with whom I am in contact.

Thierry Henry of the New York Red Bulls

'My favourite is probably Thierry Henry. Thierry should be involved at the club but not as a player. He has another role to play, a more important role.

'Take Patrick Vieira at Manchester City. He is also a symbol of Arsenal but he is helping another club.

We have to avoid that with Thierry. The presence of a champion can radically change the soul of a team.

'That is what Thierry showed last year when he came back to Arsenal but I think that comebacks only succeed once. That's why I think the decision to come back belongs only to Thierry.'

Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke backs under-fire manager Arsene Wenger

We're sorry! Gazidis apologises as Arsenal owner Kroenke backs beleaguered Wenger to solve mounting problems

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UPDATED:

23:47 GMT, 12 December 2012

Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke has given his total backing to under-fire manager Arsene Wenger amid the backdrop of training ground tensions.

While being aware of the unrest among supporters after Tuesday night's embarrassing defeat against Bradford, the club's American owner is unequivocal in his belief the Frenchman remains the man to lead the Gunners.

Kroenke will back up his support with a massive January transfer budget and will tell Wenger to spend heavily in a bid to transform the club's faltering season.

Light at the end of the tunnel: Kroenke is backing Wenger to turn Arsenal's fortunes around

Light at the end of the tunnel: Kroenke is backing Wenger to turn Arsenal's fortunes around

Wenger's current contract expires in 2014 and there is currently no thought in the mind of Kroenke and the Gunners board to terminate the deal.

Kroenke, chief executive Ivan Gazidis and the club's key decision makers still view Wenger as one of the best managers in world football.

In fact, Sportsmail understands it will be left to Wenger to decide whether he wants to extend his tenure at the Emirates Stadium once his current deal expires.

On Wednesday, Gazidis told members of Arsenal Supporters Trust: 'I am frankly tired of getting up here and delivering the same message. Last night was not good enough and it made us all upset and angry.

'I would like to apologise to all of you, especially the fans who travelled up there. It was unbelievable support, as ever, and you deserved better.

'We all work here and are desperate to deliver the success and trophies we all want. Look into the eyes of the staff here, look at the way they talk. We will get this right. That is something we will work hard to put right.'

Arsenal fans have become increasingly frustrated at how far their team are off the pace this season

Arsenal fans have become increasingly frustrated at how far their team are off the pace this season

However, tensions at Arsenal's London Colney's HQ have piled on the problems for Wenger as he faces the biggest fight of his 16-year spell at the club.

Concerns are emerging over the Frenchman's working relationship with assistant manager Steve Bould, who only joined the coaching set-up in the summer.

Sources claim Bould has become increasingly marginalised during the club's training sessions in recent weeks.

It is believed Bould, who replaced the retired Pat Rice as assistant manager at the end of last season, has grown frustrated at his lack of input into first-team matters.

Meanwhile, certain players are also understood to want more regular defensive-based training sessions.

Sources claim assistant manager Bould (left) is frustrated with his lack of input into first-team matters

Sources claim assistant manager Bould (left) is frustrated with his lack of input into first-team matters

Speaking yesterday former Arsenal player Stewart Robson, who was employed by the club until last year, added weight to the talk of training ground problems.

'Arsene Wenger, because he has got a massive ego, because he's a dictator when it comes to Arsenal Football Club, he’s not allowing Steve Bould to do any work,' said Robson.

'He’s got a reputation for developing players. Maybe he did that six or seven years ago. He’s actually putting players backwards now.

'I’ve seen Gervinho play for the Ivory Coast before he came to Arsenal, he was a good player. I saw [Andrey] Arshavin play for Russia and Zenit St Petersburg, he was a good player. I've seen [Aaron] Ramsey play for the Welsh Under-21s, he's a good player.'

Out of sorts: Gervinho has misfired since joining Arsenal and the striker had another night to forget on Tuesday

Out of sorts: Gervinho has misfired since joining Arsenal and the striker had another night to forget on Tuesday

Delight: Bradford celebrate their memorable win over the Gunners to advance to the semi-finals

Delight: Bradford celebrate their memorable win over the Gunners to advance to the semi-finals

He added: 'Arsene Wenger is not doing enough on the training field. He’s not coaching the players, they have got no game strategy and, because he won't let anyone else do it, Arsenal are going backwards and some of their players are going backwards.

'Sir Alex Ferguson is not a coach. He doesn’t know how to put on a session, so people tell me. But what he does know is about the game, and he realises that, to get the best out of his players, he has to get the best coaches.

'That’s why he’s had some Dutch coaches underneath him. He’s made sure his number two is not just a yes man, which Arsene Wenger likes to appoint.

'He’s appointing people that are going to be tactically superior, who are going to take all his players out on the training field and work hard tactically and technically with the players.'

Arsenal"s American owner Stan Kroenke buys 80m ranch in the Rocky Mountains

Gunners chief Kroenke in 80m splurge… but let's hope he's got some change for Arsene after buying ranch the size of 71,000 Emirates Stadium pitches

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UPDATED:

23:34 GMT, 3 December 2012

On Saturday Arsenal fans marched against the perceived lack of financial muscle being flexed in the transfer market. How could a club with billionaire shareholders and some of the most expensive tickets in world football be unable to compete in the Premier League

News then, that 5,000 miles away American majority shareholder Stan Kroenke was putting the finishing touches to an 80million deal for a Montana ranch will not sit will with feuding fans.

The billionaire businessman has purchased the 124,000 acre site – enough to fit 71,000 Emirates Stadium pitches – in the Rocky Mountains, a fitting location considering the indifferent form of his team and the size of the task facing them if they are to maintain their place among England and Europe's elite.

Scroll down for video

Stan Kroenke's 80 million farm Broken O Ranch in Montana

Not bad: The 10,000-square-foot main house overlooks the Sun River and comes with indoor pool

River view: 20 miles of the Sun River run through the Broken O Ranch

River view: The main house looks out over the 20 miles of the Sun River that run through Broken O Ranch

Stone floors and hunting trophies give the main house a hunting lodge fee

Welcome: Stone floors and hunting trophies give the main house a hunting lodge feel

Arsenal currently sit tenth in the Premier League having endured their worst start to a season for 18 years. Rumblings of discontent among fans have become roars in recent weeks and much of the ire has been directed at the board.

Ivan Gazidis has bore the brunt of the criticism, though Wenger and Kroenke, who owns 66 per cent of the club, has also been heckled.

Covering the equivalent of 71,000 Arsenal pitches, the Broken O Ranch runs 3,500 mother cows, 800 replacement heifers and 175 range bulls.

Against the tide: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is under increasing pressure from the fans

Against the tide: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is under increasing pressure from the fans

Against the tide: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is under increasing pressure from the fans

Such is the vastness of Broken O that the UK's second largest city, Birmingham, at 103 square miles or 66,174 hectares, would virtually fit into it twice.

Situated along the eastern edge of the stunning Rocky Mountain Front – the Broken O Ranch is regarded as one of the US's most grand and significant ranches.

It was owned by the Moore family who spent around 25 years building it up and includes more than 20 miles of the Sun River coursing through it.

The Sun River corridor provides exceptional brown and rainbow trout fishing, antelope, whitetail and mule deer hunting, as well as extensive upland game bird and waterfowl populations.

The main house looks over the 20 miles of the Sun River

Room with a view: The main house gives panoramic views right up to the Rocky Mountains

Broken O Ranch covers the equivalent of 71000 Arsenal pitches

Huge: Broken O Ranch covers the equivalent of 71,000 Arsenal pitches

Each year the ranch produces 25,000 tons of alfalfa hay and 700,000 bushels of small-grain crops.

Denver-based Kroenke, who is worth 2.5 billion, is now thought to be the eighth largest landowner in the USA following his latest purchase – owning an estimated 864,000 acres.

Real estate company Hall and Hall managed the sale for Mr Kroenke, who also owns a number of US sports franchises.

VIDEO: A look at the Broken O Ranch:

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Broken O Ranch spans three counties and is 45 miles west of Great Falls

Location: Broken O Ranch spans Lewis & Clark, Cascade and Teton counties and is 45 miles west of Great Falls and east of the stunning Rocky Mountains

 Broken O Ranch runs 3,500 mother cows, 800 replacement heifers and 175 range bulls

Legacy: Mr Kroenke is said to be looking forward to building on the work done by previous owners in making Broken O one of the most significant farming ranches in the US

The UK city of Birmingham could fit twice into the Broken O Ranch

Vast: The UK city of Birmingham could fit twice into the Broken O Ranch

Roman Abramovich and Glazers aiming to stop footballers earning mega money

EXCLUSIVE: Millionaire owners plot new rule to stop players and agents pocketing profits from 5bn TV deal

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UPDATED:

10:19 GMT, 4 November 2012

Premier League owners, including Roman Abramovich and the Glazer family, are close to agreeing a crackdown on players’ wages.

Talks have already taken place between all 20 top-flight clubs about introducing their own version of financial fairplay and a formal outline could be agreed later this month when Premier League chairmen meet in London on November 15.

There is a growing desire among the Premier League’s international owners to keep a big slice of what could be 5billion from the new television deals that start next year, rather than see it all go to players and their agents.

On board: Big names like Roman Abramovich are close to agreeing a dealOn board: Big names like Roman Abramovich are close to agreeing a deal

On board: Big names like Roman Abramovich are close to agreeing a deal

They are about to agree new rules on ‘wage restraint’, prohibiting clubs from increasing their wage bill by more than five per cent annually. Clubs spent 1.5bn on wages in 2010-11, 69 per cent of their income, and they had debts of 2.4bn, more than the amount they brought in.

Among the more radical proposals is that member clubs should be made to break even, something that even UEFA’s fairplay rules do not insist on. And West Ham chairman David Gold wants a points deduction for those whose debt exceeds a certain level of turnover.

Significantly, there is a will among even the richest owners — Abramovich at Chelsea and Sheik Mansour at Manchester City — to stop making huge losses. And the new breed of American owners — John W Henry (Liverpool), Ellis Short (Sunderland), Stan Kroenke (Arsenal), the Glazers (Manchester United) and Randy Lerner (Aston Villa) — are desperate to see a return on their investment.

Premier League clubs made cumulative losses of 361million, according to figures for 2010-11, with City (197m), Chelsea (68m), and Liverpool (49m), most in the red.

Listening: The Glazer family want a return on their investment

Listening: The Glazer family want a return on their investment

An historic agreement by clubs would mark the end of escalating salaries enjoyed by elite players since the Premier League began in 1992. And that would be welcomed by ordinary fans who feel the gravy train has created a generation of stars who are out of touch.

/11/03/article-0-01C5982600000514-699_468x286.jpg” width=”468″ height=”286″ alt=”Potential: Manchester city owner Sheikh Mansour (centre) and his fellow owners could be part of a historic deal” class=”blkBorder” />

Potential: Manchester city owner Sheikh Mansour (centre) and his fellow owners could be part of a historic deal

Executives from all top-flight clubs met in September in three regional meetings. But the get-together in 11 days is the first real chance for formal progress.

Fourteen of the 20 clubs have to agree to a new rule and it is believed only Fulham are explicitly against any form of financial fairplay, with chairman Mohamed Fayed worried the restrictions would deter a potential buyer in the future.

UEFA FFP rules allow clubs to make losses of €45m over three years. Many would like it to be compulsory for clubs to break even but a compromise might have to be reached.

Clubs like City, who have invested hugely since a takeover in 2008, would be given time to meet requirements and newly-promoted clubs would also be given dispensation on the five-per-cent wage rule.

With negotiations at a delicate stage, most chairmen are reluctant to go into too much detail, but West Ham’s Gold was candid for the website, Huffington Post.

Regulation: David Gold spoke candidly

Regulation: David Gold spoke candidly

‘We need to regulate spending, reduce debt and ensure profit — and quickly,’ he said. ‘We have to stop clubs running up debt or we’ll have an even more desperate situation. We can’t have clubs running with large percentage of debt against their turnover.

‘The lower leagues have implemented new regulation, and the Premier League must do the same.

‘I would propose that there is a robust and clear debt cap — enforced by a transfer ban on incoming players or a points deduction.

‘Of the bottom 12 clubs in the PL most will lose money and three will be relegated. But with proper governance, those 12 clubs, including the three to be relegated, could make 100m. It’s infinitely more desirable to get relegated having made 10m than having lost 10m.’

Fans hurl abuse at Arsenal chief after disappointing Old Trafford display

Fans hurl abuse at Arsenal chief after disappointing Old Trafford display

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UPDATED:

21:20 GMT, 3 November 2012

Arsene Wenger saw his Arsenal side
suffer a dismal 2-1 defeat at Manchester United – then heard furious
fans direct their anger at the club's chief executive, Ivan Gazidis.

Supporters chanted abuse at Gazidis
after watching Robin van Persie, sold by Arsenal to United for 24
million in the summer, rub salt into the wound by scoring the opening
goal in only the third minute.

Patrice Evra added a second and only Santi Cazorla's goal with the last kick of the game gave the scoreline a false look.

Bad day at the office: Arsene Wenger reacts during the match at Manchester United

Bad day at the office: Arsene Wenger reacts during the match at Manchester United

There were choruses of 'We want our Arsenal back' as unrest continued to grow.

The tirade of abuse against Gazidis comes just days after he, majority shareholder Stan Kroenke and chairman Peter Hill-Wood were heckled at a stormy annual meeting.

Arsenal's fans are disillusioned over a perceived lack of investment in players, the cost of tickets and eight barren years without a trophy.

And yesterday's timid effort at Old Trafford, a defeat which leaves Arsenal nine points adrift of United, who moved a point ahead of Chelsea at the top of the Premier League, has only heightened tensions.

Premier League owners hatch plot to stop footballers earning mega money, including Roman Abramovic and Glazer family

EXCLUSIVE: Millionaire owners plot new rule to stop players and agents pocketing profits from 5bn TV deal

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 3 November 2012

Premier League owners, including Roman Abramovich and the Glazer family, are close to agreeing a crackdown on players’ wages.

Talks have already taken place between all 20 top-flight clubs about introducing their own version of financial fairplay and a formal outline could be agreed later this month when Premier League chairmen meet in London on November 15.

There is a growing desire among the Premier League’s international owners to keep a big slice of what could be 5billion from the new television deals that start next year, rather than see it all go to players and their agents.

On board: Big names like Roman Abramovich are close to agreeing a dealOn board: Big names like Roman Abramovich are close to agreeing a deal

On board: Big names like Roman Abramovich are close to agreeing a deal

They are about to agree new rules on ‘wage restraint’, prohibiting clubs from increasing their wage bill by more than five per cent annually. Clubs spent 1.5bn on wages in 2010-11, 69 per cent of their income, and they had debts of 2.4bn, more than the amount they brought in.

Among the more radical proposals is that member clubs should be made to break even, something that even UEFA’s fairplay rules do not insist on. And West Ham chairman David Gold wants a points deduction for those whose debt exceeds a certain level of turnover.

Significantly, there is a will among even the richest owners — Abramovich at Chelsea and Sheik Mansour at Manchester City — to stop making huge losses. And the new breed of American owners — John W Henry (Liverpool), Ellis Short (Sunderland), Stan Kroenke (Arsenal), the Glazers (Manchester United) and Randy Lerner (Aston Villa) — are desperate to see a return on their investment.

Premier League clubs made cumulative losses of 361million, according to figures for 2010-11, with City (197m), Chelsea (68m), and Liverpool (49m), most in the red.

Listening: The Glazer family want a return on their investment

Listening: The Glazer family want a return on their investment

An historic agreement by clubs would mark the end of escalating salaries enjoyed by elite players since the Premier League began in 1992. And that would be welcomed by ordinary fans who feel the gravy train has created a generation of stars who are out of touch.

/11/03/article-0-01C5982600000514-699_468x286.jpg” width=”468″ height=”286″ alt=”Potential: Manchester city owner Sheikh Mansour (centre) and his fellow owners could be part of a historic deal” class=”blkBorder” />

Potential: Manchester city owner Sheikh Mansour (centre) and his fellow owners could be part of a historic deal

Executives from all top-flight clubs met in September in three regional meetings. But the get-together in 11 days is the first real chance for formal progress.

Fourteen of the 20 clubs have to agree to a new rule and it is believed only Fulham are explicitly against any form of financial fairplay, with chairman Mohamed Fayed worried the restrictions would deter a potential buyer in the future.

UEFA FFP rules allow clubs to make losses of €45m over three years. Many would like it to be compulsory for clubs to break even but a compromise might have to be reached.

Clubs like City, who have invested hugely since a takeover in 2008, would be given time to meet requirements and newly-promoted clubs would also be given dispensation on the five-per-cent wage rule.

With negotiations at a delicate stage, most chairmen are reluctant to go into too much detail, but West Ham’s Gold was candid for the website, Huffington Post.

Regulation: David Gold spoke candidly

Regulation: David Gold spoke candidly

‘We need to regulate spending, reduce debt and ensure profit — and quickly,’ he said. ‘We have to stop clubs running up debt or we’ll have an even more desperate situation. We can’t have clubs running with large percentage of debt against their turnover.

‘The lower leagues have implemented new regulation, and the Premier League must do the same.

‘I would propose that there is a robust and clear debt cap — enforced by a transfer ban on incoming players or a points deduction.

‘Of the bottom 12 clubs in the PL most will lose money and three will be relegated. But with proper governance, those 12 clubs, including the three to be relegated, could make 100m. It’s infinitely more desirable to get relegated having made 10m than having lost 10m.’

Are Arsenal fans right to demand more from Arsene Wenger? We ask the experts in the Saturday debate

The Saturday debate: Are the Arsenal fans right to demand more from Wenger and their club after seven trophyless years

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UPDATED:

23:03 GMT, 26 October 2012

.NEIL ASHTON Football News Correspondent

Yes. Arsenal do not target trophies, they target a place in the top four to facilitate repayments on the stadium and to keep under-performing executives on over-sized salaries. It is one of the biggest scandals of modern football. Incredible to think they were billed as title contenders after beating Southampton 6-1. Not a chance.

Under pressure: Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger

Under pressure: Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger

IAN LADYMAN Northern Football Correspondent

Listening to Arsenal's AGM sounded a little like Groundhog Day. Same issues every year. I'm not sure if we should blame the owners but what is beyond dispute is that seven-and-a-half years without a trophy is far too long. If I was an Arsenal fan I'd want to blame somebody. And I would want change.

MATT BARLOW

They are entirely justified. They pay the highest ticket prices in the country and this club is not bankrolled by a sugar-daddy benefactor. The income from fans is vital and their opinion must be respected. They are within their rights to ask questions about the trophyless years, the drain of players and why the club pay top rate executive wages but refuse to pay the top whack for players.

Serious business: Majority shareholder Stan Kroenke (left), chairman Peter Hill -Wood and and Gazidis

Under fire: Majority shareholder Stan Kroenke (left), chairman Peter Hill -Wood and and Ivan Gazidis

TIM PAYTON Arsenal Supporters' Trust spokesman

The Trust was founded to give fans more involvement and understanding of the club's ownership structure. Fans are true custodians of clubs, without us there would be no clubs and we will keep supporting the club on matchdays. When we were formed, club director Danny Fiszman told us to 'keep us on our toes and constructively challenge us' to make Arsenal a better club. These words sum up everything we do.

SAMI MOKBEL

To a certain extent, I think supporters have got a point. Seven seasons without a trophy is not good enough for a club the size of Arsenal. It is true Manchester City and Chelsea have changed the landscape of English football, particularly in the transfer market. But the simple fact is if you don't want to sell your best players, then you don't sell your best players. And when the club fail to sign like-forlike replacements then I think fans have every right to feel aggrieved. Arsenal have a successful-looking balance sheet, but it is on the pitch where it really counts.

Olivier Giroud, Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey of Arsenal

Under performing: Arsenal suffered successive defeats this week

MATT FORTUNE Mail Online, and Arsenal fan

Arsene Wenger 's project proves nice guys simply don't finish first. His philosophy is commendable and there's no doubt in an environment without billion-pound sugar daddies, he'd be held in far higher esteem. He's forever defended those who have let him down – players and board members – and in standing up for his beliefs he deserves our utmost respect. Fans must realise the playing field isn't level.

Arsenal AGM: Arsene Wenger, Stan Kroenke and Ivan Gazidis – live coverage

Arsenal AGM: Follow live coverage with Wenger, Kroenke and Gazidis under fire

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UPDATED:

09:09 GMT, 25 October 2012

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, majority shareholder Stan Kroenke and chief executive Ivan Gazidis are expected to face an angry backlash at today's AGM.

The Gunners hierachy will face questions at the Emirates Stadium over the lack of spending and the club's failure to win any trophies for over seven years.

Sportsmail's Sami Mokbel is at the AGM, which is due to start at around 10am, and will post live updates as it unfolds…

*Live coverage from 10.30am*

Tough times: Arsenal lost 2-0 at home to Schalke on Wednesday night

Tough times: Arsenal lost 2-0 at home to Schalke on Wednesday night

Stan Kroenke to watch Arsenal twice in four days – Charles Sale

Silent Stan finally makes it back into the Arsenal stands

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UPDATED:

22:13 GMT, 24 October 2012

Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke is expected — over four days this week — to double the number of times he has watched the team play since his takeover 17 months ago.

Silent Stan was at the Champions League game against Schalke and is due at the Arsenal v Queens Park Rangers Premier League fixture on Saturday, having previously been at only two matches since he became the controlling majority shareholder.

However, Kroenke has not just come over from his Denver base to see his side in action. Conveniently, Arsenal have their annual meeting on Thursday morning and the Kroenke-owned St Louis Rams play an American football game at Wembley against the New England Patriots on Sunday.

Rare show: Stan Kroenke not only watched Arsenal play but, what's more, he's coming back

Rare show: Stan Kroenke not only watched Arsenal play but, what's more, he's coming back

Rare show: Stan Kroenke not only watched Arsenal play but, what's more, he's coming back

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Kroenke’s absence from Arsenal games is all the more mystifying when a club spokesman said on Wednesday the amount of time the owner spends in London over the year adds up to around a month.

Kroenke is likely to be asked at Thursday’s shareholder summit about his intentions for buying the club. He will also be questioned over why he has yet to meet supporter groups, having made a written commitment to do so.

Arsenal’s 76-year-old chairman Peter Hill-Wood will preside over the annual meeting in his usual vague manner. But the club say Kroenke, who announced last year that fans would be seeing a lot of him because his family love coming to London, will answer questions directed at him.

Ref rules

The bizarre regulations of the Professional Game Match Officials are such that top referees including Howard Webb are allowed to do after-dinner speeches during the season but can’t do media activity. Mark Halsey was prevented by the PGMO from contributing to a Jose Mourinho ITV tribute for that reason, yet Webb is allowed to joke during his dinner act about his perceived bias towards Manchester United and that his sons are called Wayne and Rio.

A PGMO spokesman said private dinners were not media-facing events. Meanwhile, Halsey turned down his invitation to the North West Football Writers’ awards dinner last weekend when he discovered that former elite referee Graham Poll was the speaker. Halsey and Poll have long-standing differences.

Not a laughing matter: Howard Webb made jokes about his alleged Man United bias

Not a laughing matter: Howard Webb made jokes about his alleged Man United bias

Racing away

The Jockey Club’s strategy under Simon Bazalgette, to put their 14 individually managed racecourses into four regional commands, has coincided with their two best-known racecourse bosses departing.

Cheltenham’s Edward Gillespie leaves next week after 32 acclaimed years at the helm and Aintree’s Julian Thick has lost his job in re-structuring. A Jockey Club spokesman said: ‘We’re very happy with our senior staff.’ But it is known Lord Daresbury, chairman of Aintree, did not want Thick to go.

Miller's muddle

Maria Miller, the new Culture Secretary, had an unfortunate start to her welcome drinks with the media when she muddled up St James’ Park with St George’s Park.

However, Miller’s arrival has seen an upgrade in the quality of wine served to the media at her cash-strapped department. After bargain basement vino and crisps at recent austerity gatherings, 7.99 bottles of Argentinian red and white were on the table, as well as olives and nuts.

Oops: Maria Miller muddled up St James' and St George's

Oops: Maria Miller muddled up St James' and St George's

Hugh are you kidding

There is a battle looming between Whitehall and Wembley after the FA council gave a thumbs-down to proposed governance reforms that would dilute their influence. FA vice-chairman Roger Burden reported it was now ‘very clear council will find it difficult to support anything that appears to diminish their authority’.

Minister for Sport Hugh Robertson is understood to be livid about the snub, which he described as a ‘massive’ disappointment. And it is expected Robertson will warn of more legislation and the FA being bypassed in grass-roots funding if councillors keep blocking changes.

Yet councillors do not see why the Government should meddle with football if they are not doing so in other sports. Former FA chairman Geoff Thompson brought up FIFA’s strong opposition to Government interference at a Football Regulatory Authority meeting last week.