Archive for May 2nd, 2009

Pompey Preview: Kroenke closes in on takeover

Add comment May 2nd, 2009

Business before pleasure: Stan Kroenke has increased his shareholding in Arsenal to 28.3%, leaving him just a percent and a bit short of the amount that would trigger an automatic offer for the rest of the shares.

The shares were acquired from the Carr family – including director Richard Carr.  This is significant as he was part of the Lockdown Agreement which, it transpires, expired last month.

It leaves Kroenke in a powerful position, and I can’t help but feel we’re a matter of months away from him assuming full ownership of the club (I’ll leave the debate about whether that’s a good or a bad thing for another time).  The next major pillar of the old ownership to fall will surely be Nina Bracewell-Smith’s stake, and competition for that between Kroenke and Usmanov would be rife were it not for the fact that the Uzbeki is believed to have lost 74% of his fortune in Ye Olde Crunche.  It could be an interesting Summer we have ahead of us.  The AST have had this to say:

“The AST were the first shareholders at Arsenal to welcome Kroenke’s initial investment. We have since established a good dialogue with him and this will continue. Our position is that stability and plurality in ownership is to the benefit of Arsenal.  New Chief Executive Ivan Gazidis has made a good impression and says he values our role and the importance of custodianship. We hope he will build relationships with all shareholders so that the club has stability off the pitch which is a vital ingredient for success on it.”

Turning our attention to first-team matters, the most notable piece of news is that Eduardo will miss the rest of the season with a freak groin injury.  It’s disappointing for him and for us but I think his contribution between now and May would have been extremely limited anyway.  He needs to rest up, have a full pre-season, and properly announce his return in August.  Arsene Wenger called Eduardo the unluckiest footballer he has known, saying:

“Eduardo is like the guy who stands on the motorway and gets run down by the lorry coming up the wrong side. He is really distraught.”

I’m not sure about that analogy.  In that situation I’d say that a portion of blame could be laid at the feet of the idiot who deemed it appropriate to stand on the motorway.  In this instance, Eduardo was simply fallen on by an ailing Rio Ferdinand.

Nevertheless, we must do without him for now.  With Adebayor certain to be rested today, Nicklas Bendtner will probably start alone, with the likes of Andrey Arshavin and perhaps Carlos Vela playing off him.  In midfield, I’d expect Denilson to come back in, and Abou Diaby may start in anticipation of being dropped on Tuesday.  At the back we’re very short of options – I’d anticipate Emmanuel Eboue coming in for Bacary Sagna, but other than that your guess is good as mine.

A win today would be valuable, and I hope those players that are selected realise that.  Who knows?  A good performance today could put them in serious contention for a start on Tuesday night.

(Except Arshavin, annoyingly.)

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