Former Arsenal director Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith believes that certain members of the board of directors at the Emirates should step down having reached the point where they can offer the club no more.
In April, Bracewell-Smith sold her 15.9% shareholding in the Gunners to Stan Kroenke after the American businessman reached a deal to purchase Danny Fiszman’s 16.1% stake. The latter, fighting a losing battle with cancer, appeared to engineer the negotiations with a view to safeguarding the future of the club from the advances of Alisher Usmanov. Kroenke has since successfully raised his total standing in the club to 66.64%.
Answering questions on Twitter, Bracewell-Smith made clear that she had not wanted to part with her near 10,000 shares while agreeing that smaller shareholders had suffered financially when the Arsenal board opted to sell to Kroenke at £11,750 per share rather than the £14,000 per share which Russian oligarch Usmanov was willing to offer.
“I had no choice [but to sell],” stated Bracewell-Smith. “Given the opportunity I would have liked it to remain status quo. I had grown to love the club. Almost like my baby!”
“I always thought 15k per share was the right valuation. The club has great potential. Sadly DF [Danny Fiszman’s] imminent demise brought about an early sale.
“I agree that current board should all go. They are passe [sic]. Have nothing more to give to the club at all.”
While making clear that both Club Secretary David Miles and long-standing director Ken Friar were both worthy of a place around the boardroom table, Bracewell-Smith’s comments appear more specifically to target the likes of Chairman Peter Hill-Wood, directors Chips Keswick and Lord Harris of Peckham and Chief Executive Ivan Gazidis.
Alisher Usmanov, whose Red & White Holdings owns 29% of the club, has yet to be invited onto the board and recently spoke scathingly about the actions of the current directors.
“If the role of a board member is to oversee a trophyless period, while making significant personal profits and asking fans to pay inflation-busting ticket price increases then, no, I would not want to be on the board.
“If instead it is to try to deliver sustained success, to increase your personal investment in the club, to help develop the commercial position and to ensure the fans have a say in the running of the club then, yes, I think I certainly have something to contribute.
“In terms of doing things differently, let me give you a very clear example. Arsenal has all of its major commercial contracts coming up for renewal in the next couple of years.”