Archive for September 28th, 2007

The Number 23 + Sign Petition and Stop Usmanov

54 comments September 28th, 2007

The Number 23 is a terrible film about a man who is haunted by a number.  He begins to see it everywhere, and it slowly sends him spiralling into insanity.

That is sort of how I would describe the feeling of stumbling, blurry-eyed down the stairs to discover that Red & White have upped their stake to 23%.  Going onto Newsnow, expecting to read a bunch of stories about Hleb being doubtful, and perhaps a tribalfootball exclusive about Eduardo da Silva’s favourite shampoo.

Instead, the page was filled with that hideous number: 23.  As I stared at the screen, I swear David Dein’s big orange face formulated out of the pixels before me, cackling.  I started to panic.  But then I remembered the words of Keith Edelman:

“I am unsure what he [Usmanov] can do with 25 per cent, and I do not believe he can stop us operating the business on a day-to-day basis.

Oh.   Well that’s that then…

In seriousness, the difference between 21% and 23% isn’t massive.  Nor would the difference be between 23% and 25%.  Usmanov would have a blocking vote on certain resolutions, but these are incredibly rare and would probably only benefit the club financially – he’d have no reason to intervene.

When it comes to securing this club’s future, Arsene Wenger is far more vital than David Dein or Alisher Usmanov, and his latest comments are a fierce opposition to their involvement:

“English football is in danger of losing its heart a little bit. We have passed from the era of the owner-supporter to the owner-businessman.

You once had a child who attended matches, became a supporter of Liverpool, and, after having succeeded in the life, had as a dream to buy ‘his’ club. Things have changed since then.

What disturbs me, it is that a club lives above its means. The true danger today is that people who buy large clubs refinance their purchase by borrowing money, by putting the debt on the account of the club. Manchester United generates so much money which they can use to service their loan — but their example, reproduced on smaller scale, can be mortal. That is the greatest danger to English football today.”

Why put everything we have built at the risk of mortality?  There is certainly no need for short-term funding.  Just look at these quotes from Arsene:

“I think that… at the end of the 2008/09 season, we will have many more funds available.  If one day, one player can help us reach another level and he costs a fortune, we will still be able to get this player.”

We do not need this men or this money.

I’ve said this before, but look at everything our current board have achieved: the new stadium, a successful team, the world’s best manager.  And now astonishing financial records.  Don’t believe Arsene when he played them down the other day – he just doesn’t want anyone else to know he’s got money to spend.

We don’t want Alisher Usmanov anywhere near this football club.  Him owning 23% is bad enough, but sign this official government petition to enforce a more rigorous ‘fit and proper person’ criteria for owners of football clubs and we can make sure he can never complete a takeover.

Do it now.  Don’t forget.  You’ll be kicking yourself if we let this slide.

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