The latest AGM received more newspaper lines than in recent years, but it wasn’t down to positive actions.
Sir Chips Keswick, Arsenal Chairman, slid the General Meeting into anarchy when he closed proceedings early when under the scrutiny of attendees questioning. Keswick’s refusal to face more questions from the crowd left a sour taste in mouths. Did he overstep the mark?
The separation between fans and the board has been a chasm in recent years and Stan Kroenke’s presence has only widened the gap. The annual meeting for shareholders is an opportunity for contact to be made, queries to be aired and grievances to be answered. It is a necessary measure for football clubs – especially ones of our stature.
Football clubs are run like a business and they need to be to keep up with the constant progression. Businesses and organisations place an emphasis on keeping tabs with their customers, whole departments even. This shows that with acumen comes the realisation that customers/fans are fundamental.
The AGM is one of the very few occasions when we have an opportunity to give the people who run our club a different perspective. They need this as they are so far removed from ground level so their view is compromised.
Events at the, well, event, started to sour when a show of hands declared their wish to replace both Josh Kroenke and Sir Chips Keswick from their respective positions. Democracy at its finest.
The next stage is an official vote. This is when things started to go a little awry. With a little over 67 percent of the shares, it meant Silent Stan had the deciding vote. He of course voted to keep the current incumbents in their positions and the hands that were raised as a show of defiance were mooted with one nod of Kroenke’s head.
Then, Ivan Gazidis took to the mic. In recent years, he has spoken eloquently and given viable reasons for our lack of success.
This year he attempted the same, but his combination of spin and stats needed more punch if he wanted to paper over our fifth placed position last year.
He failed. Putting a positive on what was a poor season in the Premiership was not what we all wanted to hear. Honesty and a promise at an introspective look was what was called for.
This is what Arsene Wenger delivered. His emotive and impassioned speech showed that he was just as pained as we were at our failings, but he still believes that he is the man for the job. While that is very much up for discussion, his words soothed the masses at least.
Then, Sir Chips threw in the verbal equivalent of mentos in a can of Dr Pepper.
A female attendee took her chance to throw our Chairman a question she had aired for the last five years. Sir Chips’ swerving of a straight answer and his apparent indignance at having to answer such a question showed him for what he is – a terrible appointment and an antiquity being left behind.
Instead of being packed away with the rest of the heirlooms in the loft, Sir Chips is instead one of the working parts of a football club choking on the dust of our rivals.
He ended proceedings quickly. This could of course make sense of the fact that our owner did not speak – however it didn’t. We were all told that Stan Kroenke had chosen not to speak and we could read his comments in the Telegraph!
This is ludicrous and it was the cherry on top of the madness cake.
What can we do? Well, we tried the democratic route and we all saw how that paid off.
The only thing that can shake things up at board level is to hit them in the pocket, but a concerted effort to make an impact may just be passed us. The Arsenal business juggernaut is at full speed despite the hiccups in the road, and it is just the reason why Kroenke will be keen to not upset the status quo – and also to keep his hands on his prized cash cow.