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‘I didn’t buy my shares to make money out of them’: Gunners fans on Kroenke

PUBLISHED: 13:57 22 August 2018 | UPDATED: 14:07 22 August 2018

Arsenal shareholders who are not willingly sharing their shares are recieving these letters. Picture: Mike Harris

Arsenal shareholders who are not willingly sharing their shares are recieving these letters. Picture: Mike Harris

Archant

Arsenal’s new majority owner could “break the connection” between some fans and the club if he forcibly buys fans’ shares at the end of September.

Arsenal shareholder Mike Harris holding the FA Cup: Picture: Mike HarrisArsenal shareholder Mike Harris holding the FA Cup: Picture: Mike Harris

A battle between two uber-wealthy buisnessmen ended earlier this month when Stan Kroenke agreed to buy Alisher Usmanov’s 30 per cent stake in Arsenal for an estimated £1.8billion.

This will give the American sports consortium, Kroenke Sports and Entertainment, 97pc control of the club.

But Mr Kroenke has also decided to push through a compulsary buy-out of the remaining three pc of the clubs shares, which are owned by the supporters.

“I didn’t buy shares to make money out of them,” said Mike Francis. “It was just about genuinley being able to say ‘this is my club’.

“Fans buy these shares because they have a real connection to the club but it’s being lost.”

Mike, 49, founded a popular supporter fanzine called The Gooner in 1987, which he continued to edit until 2000.

He owns one-and-three-quarter shares in the club, with the smaller fraction being a shared enterprise with three other fans, but says he’s recieved a letter saying he must sell them or they will be compulsorily purchased at the end of September.

He added: “A football club should be a community and that isn’t just confined to Islington because we have a global fanbase.”

“He already owns 97pc of the club so no one can challenge his decisions anyway.

“By taking the extra 3pc he’s breaking the bond.”

The Arsenal supporters trust was established in 2003 to represent fans who have equity in the club.

Jeremy Corbyn, Labour leader and veteran Islington North MP, said: “It’s a real shame that this sale will bring to an end the longstanding official role of Arsenal supporters in the running of the club.”

He added: “I back the opposition to this takeover which is sadly an all too familiar story in today’s Premier League.”

The Gazette approached the owner but he was unavailable for comment.

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