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MrJibbles

"I took a call from AW about the finalising of a transfer"

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The second meeting between the Managing Director of the Club and the Arsenal Supporter’s Trust was held at the Emirates before over a hundred of the 720 strong members. Ken Friar (KF)veteran of 53 years at the Club answered a wide range of questions in his amiable style, but he proved the master of diplomacy as he gave very little away despite persistent and probing questions from the floor.The Arsenal Supporters’ Trust (AST) was created in 2003 in order to promote the interests of supporters who own shares in Arsenal Football Club. They seek to enable and facilitate wider supporter involment in the club. They also facilitate and promote mutual supporter ownership of The Arsenal. Currently there are 650 members. They purchased their own share in the club in 2004. The support from the board was realised when at the 2005 Arsenal AGM, it was announced that the club would give the Trust an orphan share, that is a share that is unissued but still counts as a share within the 62,219 shares that make up Arsenal Holdings PLC. Collectively AST own around 4% of Arsenal Football Club. that share was presented to the AST this season.Q: The true size of the Transfer budget? KF: Keith Edelman (KE) had mentioned figure X as the size of the budget in order to defend the club against the predators. No figure would be disclosed as transfer inflation would occur. There are adequate funds for Arsene Wenger (AW) to acquire his targets. KF let slip that the figure X (70 millions as detailed in my blog "The Riddle of the Missing Millions") that had been referred to by KE had actually been part of the overdraft facility as opposed to actual surplus cash.Q: Why did KE leave the club so abruptly? KF: KE left the club because he wanted a new challenge. He would be a hard act to follow as he was responsible for negotiating the financing arrangements and contractual covenants for the Emirates. He would be reatined upon a similar brief during the 12 month consultancy to facilitate the handover to the new appointee.Q: What is the breakdown of the 50 million running costs for the Emirates Stadium?KF: He could not give details due to lack of notice of that question but promised to provide the AST a more detailed response in due course.Q:Why had the club lost an estimated 50 millions potential transfer fees from several players leaving as free agents over recent years?KF: We have to accept that players have advisers and they cannot be forced to sign a contract extension. The Club had profited from some players arriving at the Club under those very same arrangements. The situation had become more difficult with the advent of the Webster Clause which would allow players to buy out their remaining contractual earnings depending on the age of the player after only 2 or 3 years of their contract.Q:Had the lack of Silverware this season had an impact of Season Ticket renewals?KF:The club had a very high percentage of Season ticket renewals and it was not envisaged that that would change due to the very healthy waiting list for membership at the club. the Club level and Box contracts had different dates of expiry, so there were no concerns. This season has not been unsuccessful, as I am sure if I had presented our current finishing position to you last April, I feel certain that you would have been happy with it, given the gloomy predictions for the Club. It was said that key players would leave and the Manager AW would not sign a new contract. KF conceded that the season has been "disappointing" in the end because of the dashed expectations of success.Q:Was there the likelihood that the Sponsorship deals could be renegotiated as they represented very poor value in todays econnomic climate?KF:The deals with NIKE were the best available at the time, and Arsenal Football have a tradition of never reneging on agreements, so the deals would remain in place unless the sponsors agreed to them being renegotiated due to exceptional opportunities arising.Q:There are comments in the press that Highbury Estates would realise 350 millions cash for the club, was this true? KF:The club have sold 92% of the appartments and despite the credit crunch less than 5 clients have pulled out. The Queensland Road planning application was in the process of being submitted, and hopefully work would be completed by 2009, with the works beginning early next year. The fact that the Club held the freehold for the site meant that some very attractive returns would be realised, however the club itself would not be performing the construction of the proposed Tower Blocks, social housing and commercial properties so as to reduce the risk to the club in that kind of massive venture. The Club would service the site initially and then sell it on to prospective developers at a healthy premium.Some further discuusion about a proposed Sports centre and the feeling that residents of Islington felt that the Sports Centre was theirs by rights after having had gracce and favour use of the previous facility at Highbury, KF pointed out that Islington local authority had received 1.8millions from the club plus another 600 thousand pounds from Barclay’s Bank for the project, so the Club could not be criticised for failing to give support.KF also touched upon the wages structure and confirmed that AW had an egalitarian approach to the wages structure with only very special exceptions. Players were very well paid. KF also noted that there had been some misinformation about the upgrading to Holloway Tube Station, the original estimated sum of 5 millions had somehow been inflated by Transport for London to over 70 millions, and the Club did not feel that it should be responsible for that public facility as the fans only used that tube 25 times a year.Q:Is the Share lock down bullet proof?KF: Yes and the Board had a very good relationship with it’s shareholders, especially Stan Kroenke who KF had met upon several occasions. He had not however met with Alisher Usmanov.Q:(From FTK) It had been mentioned by KE that the payment of dividends to share holders might start from 2010 was this true?KF: The payment of divends had been discussed by the Board and it remained upon the minds of the Board members, but there had not been agreement whether such a policy should be introduced, under what terms and when.This produced gasps from the membership and the AST Chairman Glynn Taylor retorted loudly, that Dividends SHOULD NOT BE PAID and those benefits should be paid back into the club to maintain it’s viability.Q:What level of success was required to service the outstanding debts?KF: The Business plan allowed for a break even point of an Emirates Stadium attendance being reduced to 40 thousand pro rata across Club level and the corporate boxes. The only scenario that would threaten the repayment of the 18 millions pounds of debt would be the reduction of the attendance to 25 thousand fans for example in the event of relegation from the Premier league, but he could not envisage such a scenario.Q:Why did the club adhere to such rigid wage structures that might mean the loss of Alexander Hleb?KF:Alexander Hleb had two years remaining on his contract and the Club wished to retain his services. AW was solely responsible for setting the salary level and it was he who decided who came to or left the Club. AW had a proven track record of turning jewels into diamonds and making unknown players into superstars. AW was never denied any request, and the Board supported him wholeheartedly, indeed only this evening I took a call from AW about the finalising of a transfer, so fans had to be patient as AW was in full control and confident of strengthening the squad to his specifications.Q:Were there any plans for introducing new younger members to the Board? as the average age of the existing Board was quite high.KF:There are no plans and the succession would be decided as it always had been at the Arsenal, by the departure of members due to ill health or death.Q:Why had the Club delegated so much responsibility to AW? and what moves were being planned to increase revenues from new Franchises?KF:The Board took it’s responsibility seriously and it worked in partnership with AW who was the best manager in the world bar none. KF had worked with AW since his coming to the club and AW regularly came to the Board for advice or to admit that some errors ahd been made. The Board clearly had strategic decisions to make about the running of the Club, but it was always in partnership with AW. There were new franchises being planned in Vietnam and India in an effort to widen the awareness of the brand Arsenal, and one could be reassured that the Club would continue to look for opportunities to increase the revenue streams to the benefit of all who supported Arsenal Football Club.Q:(from FTK) The traditional model of owner Chairmen of Football clubs was that they provided additional funds for big transfer targets, was the Board/Billionaire members going to assist AW in this way to enable a big target to be acquired perhaps to the tune of a 30 million pound non returnable gift, especially as we had potentially the prospect of them taking money out of the club through share dividends in 2010?KF:The Board do not personally invest in the Club as adequate funds exist. There was the danger that if Board members put such funds into the Club and a super star was purchased, in the event of that transfer failing to live up to expectations, then the Board would be faced with the possibility of having to hold the manager (AW) to account and that might mean having to sack that individual for that failure. So no extra funds would be provided for the transfer budget over and above that already allocated. If in the unlikely event that AW wanted extra funds, the Board would clearly look at such a request sympathetically.The meeting concluded after over an hour of tough questioning. Throughout KF had played a straight bat and many members left the meeting none the wiser. However the news that a signing was going to be announced in a matter of days elevated the feeling of frustration. The Board clearly have a tradition to uphold, but remain set in their ways, and AW is now an advocate of that strategy. There are very profitable times ahead and we must remain confident that despite the disappointment of this season, Arsenal Football Club is very well placed financially and in player terms of continuing to compete at the very highest level. Please support the AST by joining. The costs of membership are very reasonable and their site can be accessed at www.arsenaltrust.org I hope that you enjoyed this exclusive report of the meeting between Ken Friar and the AST of which I am a member. Over the coming weeks the changes to the squad will be finalised and all activity will be concluded by the start of the European Championships.http://www.arsenalinsider.co.uk/arsenal-ne...been-discussed/
So there we have it!. good and interesting read let's hope the signing is a big one.

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I got a feeling the player is well known.Wenger himself said the fans should feel happy about who hes looking to bring in

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Guest Mickey Kane
I got a feeling the player is well known.Wenger himself said the fans should feel happy about who hes looking to bring in
Blatent Premiership player.

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Guest Mickey Kane
Michael Johnson
Nah, he's English, woulda been bare hype.

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I dont think Man City in a position to listen to any bids, let alone sell.If its a City player it would only be Dunne.

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Guest Eduardo
I got a feeling the player is well known.Wenger himself said the fans should feel happy about who hes looking to bring in

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Guest Eduardo

Rumour is it's a Man City player.How good is Dunne in the air?

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Dunne just a older version & slightly more clever version of Senderos IMO.
raaah, i think Dunne was pivotal to City's early good form and as he dipped so did they in general, but at 28 i cant see Wenger buying himwe'd only be estastic at David Villa or David Silva

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i would be very happy for Arsenal to sign Dunne tbhnever top 4 material, man city is his level!
Part of a defence that kept 2 clean sheets against you though and was sick on both games.

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I would be very suprised if wasnt Ben ArfaAlso i dont see Wenger signing Dunne.Exciting times

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dunne ermm like someone said senderos upgrade. being good in the air is good but not if you're getting outpaced and manouvered on the ground he had some good games vs us in the past thoif we get him for less than 5m its aite.

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Guest Eduardo

Dunne is quite a bit faster than Senderos though, he's not slow by any means.He's also an experienced captain and leader, he's just been voted Man City's player of the season for the 4th season in a row and according to Micah Richards he's as good as Ferdinand, Terry etc...BTW there's said to be a press conference on Friday...

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