Arsenal’s annual general meeting tomorrow looks set to be an intense affair, with the shareholders seeking answers for the club’s financial and transfer policies over the past season (via the Telegraph). The failure of club manager Arsene Wenger to sign any outfield players over the summer is a major issue that will be brought up for discussion, alongside the controversial £3 million payment made to majority shareholder Stan Kroenke.
Some of the questions that will be asked at the meeting will come from the Arsenal Supporters Trust, an organisation that questions the high ticket prices and transfer policy of the club (via NBC Sports). The group was very vocal with it’s displeasure following the closure of the transfer window, and have submitted questions like: “If a club exists to benefit supporters, why sit on a cash pile that grows larger every year, and is disproportionately large compared to every other Premier League club?”
Arsenal’s latest financial reports have shown the club to be sitting on a cash balance of nearly £200 million (via Arsenal.com), and the manager’s reluctance to spend has been questioned by many, despite Wenger’s claims that there are not enough ‘quality players’ to purchase. The manager will also be tasked with explaining his plan for success in the Premier League this season, according to the Telegraph.
Meanwhile, Stan Kroenke will be asked about the £3 million payment made to his company, Kroenke Sports and Entertainment (KSE). This is the company responsible for handling all his American sports teams and marketing; and was also awarded the same £3 million payment last year (via the Telegraph). At that time, Chairman of the club Sir Chips Keswick labelled it as ‘justified’ and in payment for ‘a wide range of services’ provided by the company. This year however, the Supporters Trust is demanding a more detailed explanation ‘so that all shareholders and supporters can see that value for money is being obtained’. Even the club’s second largest shareholder, Alisher Usmanov, has written ahead to ask for a detailed explanation of the payment.
While Kroenke is expected to attend, as he does every year, it is unlikely that he will field these questions himself, instead relying on Sir Keswick or Arsene Wenger to do the majority of the talking. Hopefully, something constructive can be achieved tomorrow and the manager reveals a sound enough strategy to quell any immediate fears that the shareholders have.