Alisher Usmanov, Uzbek Billionaire and major shareholder of Arsenal Football Club has this week completed an interview with members of the Tabloid Press.

In this interview he cleverly targets what he sees as the major problem points in the current rift between the incumbent Arsenal Board and the fans.

Firstly he hit on the 6.5% increase suggesting that the funds could be better raised elsewhere and he questioned the validity of raising prices to see a trophy-less team.

Secondly he questioned the motives of the current board, suggesting that perhaps they are happy to settle for top four mediocrity and reap the profits.

Thirdly, he identified that there is an obvious weakness in the team suggesting that he agreed with ‘certain commentator’s about what is required to make Arsenal competitive again.

Fourth and finally he identified that the commercial agreements and sponsorships are up for renewal and their re-negotiation will be far more profitable if the team is successful.

Now let’s be direct for a moment at least. Clarity is a gift rarely used in such games as Usmanov is playing right now.

The timing of this interview is suspect at best, mischievous at worst. There is a Q&A scheduled with Ivan Gazidis and the AST this week and this can be no coincidence.

Usmanov is a frustrated, sulking investor who has always used the media to put out his dirty washing about Arsenal FC and the Board. He has again brought up the rights issue, which would dilute the stake that all fans and investors have in Arsenal FC. Now if you proudly held 5% in Arsenal FC would you be happy with that being reduced in value to 2.5% because more shares have been issued?

I don’t like Usmanov. I don’t like how he uses the media and I certainly don’t like how he is using us and our frustrations to get at the board. ‘The Arsenal Way’ is to be dignified, even in defeat. Usmanov has lost the battle over the rights issue (and rightfully so in my opinion) and he should now put up or shut up.

He isn’t telling us anything that we didn’t already know. He is putting a rather biased spin on things however.

His analysis of the 6.5% increase is nothing more than statement of fact. As upsetting as it is.

The stated weaknesses in the team (vague as they were) are a product of an hour of trolling round the net. He doesn’t tell us anything that isn’t clear to see nor does he offer any suggestions to fix the issue.

The accusation that the Board are just in it for personal profit is pure conjecture and sensationalism. I’m very confident Stan Kroenke has never taken a dividend.

The commercial deals that are up for renewal in the next few years are of course going to improve generally on several fronts. Firstly because these things only ever go up in price and comparitive deals at other clubs bring in more revenue. Secondly because our existing deals were front-loaded(where all the fees were paid up front, not staggered) to help finance the deposit for the financing Grove and thirdly of course it will be a better deal if we are more successful. Arsene is out trying to buy the best player’s he can afford and I support him.

Arsenal fans, now is the time for unity. We need to stick together and be strong because the media love having a pop. We know what needs to be done on the pitch and in terms of the squad and Arsene knows it too (as his advances for player’s has already shown) so I have confidence that the squad will be strengthened and in doing so will galvanise the Arsenal Board’s stance of keeping the Status Quo.

Keep the faith Gooner’s. Arsenal FC with investment which is already under way will be successful again. Don’t let all this negativity consume and divide us.

Arsenal Forever.

WG