May 21

Peter Hill-Wood: The Great or Greedy?

The last AGM meeting at Arsenal in October 2011 was vocal, noisy and full of emotion. During the meeting Peter Hill-Wood received resignation demands but the chairman, who may be the last Hill-Wood that will be a member of the Arsenal board, had no such plans.

“I’m sorry to disappoint you but I have no intention of stepping down,”

He also stressed that Alisher Usmanov still wasn’t welcome to the board despite the fact that he owns nearly 30 percent of shares in the club. His statement made me realise how little (and also how much) things have changed at Arsenal since 2007 when he said this:

“Peter Hill-Wood has said he opposes the involvement in Arsenal of Alisher Usmanov, who now owns 21% of the club’s shares, because it is not sufficiently clear how the businessman amassed his multibillion-pound fortune in Uzbekistan and Russia.

“He’s certainly not an open book,” the Arsenal chairman said. “Business is murky in Uzbekistan, and that in itself is an argument against him being involved in Arsenal. I wouldn’t want him to be the owner of the club.”
“…Stan Kroenke is involved in sport and we have had constructive meetings with him,” Hill-Wood said. “We have never been in better shape financially and do not want anybody to buy the club, but if Kroenke wanted to buy it he would understand it and how to maintain the standards. We have not met Usmanov, so I may be speaking prematurely, but he seems a different kettle of fish …”

Strong words and plenty of fans were relieved that our chairman didn’t want to do business with such a shady figure as Usmanov. At the same time questions were raised about David Dein – how could he sell his shares and do business with a person with such an uncertain past? Peter Hill-Wood’s respect rose among the supporters but what few or perhaps none of the Arsenal supporters know is that Peter Hill-Wood himself is doing business in the murky former Soviet. And yes, there are a rich and powerful fish with an unclear past, just like Usmanov, involved.

When I was a young Gooner I had huge respect towards the man whose family had been members of the board since 1929, but quite quickly I understood that Peter Hill-Wood sometimes says and does things that make him look really stupid. Despite this I trusted his judgment as a chairman and that he always did what was best for Arsenal. When Stan Kroenke suddenly appeared I trusted Hill-Wood when he said:

…”Call me old-fashioned, but we don’t need his money and we don’t want his sort…”
“…’Americans are buying up chunks of the Premiership football clubs and not because of their love of football but because they see an opportunity to make money…”

The following year in 2008, Stan Kroenke was a member of the board. Firstly I couldn’t understand why Peter Hill-Wood had changed his mind that quickly but then I realized it wasn’t just about Stan Kroenke and Alisher Usmanov. It was also a personal battle between Peter Hill-Wood and David Dein. The former colleagues were now enemies and Hill-Wood didn’t hide his feelings for Dein in the media:

…”When was the last occasion he saw Dein? “The day I fired him.”
Was it Hill-Wood’s saddest day at Arsenal? “No. It was the saddest for Dein.”
Will he ever make his peace? “I will not get involved with him again – I will avoid it if I can help it.””…

In two months, between August and September 2007, billionaire Alisher Usmanov bought 23 percent of the shares in Arsenal and formed an alliance with Hill-Wood’s enemy Dein. It looked like just a matter of time before Dein was back in the board. When a shareholder has 50 percent plus one share or cooperates with other shareholders to get majority he/they got the power to decide the seats in the board. Hill-Wood knew he would be the first and last Hill-Wood to be kicked out of the Arsenal board if Usmanov bought the majority of the shares. In October 2007 Hill-Wood announced that the board decided to make a “lockdown agreement” on shares – an agreement that later were extended. The board members, who had the majority of the shares, could only sell to “permitted persons” and had to give fellow board members first option until October 2012. The agreement, which had a terminate clause in October 2010, meant that only board member Kroenke, and not Usmanov, had access to the clubs biggest shareholders. Kroenke bought shares from Fizman and increased his shares before October 2010 to 29,9 percent, close to the 29,99 percent takeover-rule. In April 2011, Danny Fizman decided to sell the rest of his shares. Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith was loyal to the board she later criticized, and also sold her shares to Kroenke who now got the majority and decide who will have a seat in the board and which strategy the club will have the coming years. A good effort from a man who only four years before wasn’t interested in buying any shares at all in Arsenal:

”At this point (26 March 2007), there is no interest or intention from KSE in buying any shares or any pieces of Arsenal Football Club or any club in the English Premier League,” said Jurgen Mainka, senior director of communications and international business at the Colorado Rapids, in a statement.

The Sunday Times reported this weekend that British broadcaster ITV was in talks with KSE about the sale of its 9.9 percent stake in Arsenal, worth an estimated $79 million. Mainka dismissed the speculation outright.
“There certainly is no substance to these stories and rumors in the media, which indeed started when we first announced our commercial relationship with Arsenal Football Club,” he said”…

Kroenke bought the shares from ITV ten days after the statement and since then we have heard several times from Peter Hill-Wood that the board wouldn’t allow a takeover. But in May 2011 Hill-Wood sent a recommendation to the shareholders to sell their shares to Kroenke. All the promises the last years were broken and forgotten. Hill-Wood’s position as chairman didn’t change despite Kroenke’s takeover. In fact, when he was criticized at the AGM meeting Kroenke – the only man who could fire him – defended Hill-Wood:

…”As Hill-Wood endeavoured to give an answer, Kroenke leaned over and seized the microphone. “Can I add something? We are all fans. Peter has our support. We are with you,” he said pointedly”…

If you read our annual reports the last years we have had huge profits after tax each year since 2007. When we won the FA Cup in 2005 we had less revenue, less profit and bigger net debt than today. As I haven’t found any official fees regarding transfers I can’t present profits from transfers but according to (which may not be exact but offers a good overview) we have received more money than we have spent since 2006. Between 1992 and 2006 we used to spend more than we received in transfers. The problem is that Arsenal sells players to get profit because we haven’t invested in the squad as we should the last years. We know that the most successful football clubs and clubs with big stars got the best commercial deals and also get more and more domestic and foreign supporters that spend money at the club. Commercial deals and fans don’t automatically generate success, but success often generates better commercial deals and more fans. And to get success you first need to invest, in this case in better footballers.

Year (1 June-31 May)                       Turnover        GR      Net Debt         Profit

2010/2011 CC-runner up                    £256m £93m   £97,8m            £12,6m

2009/2010                               £380m £94m   £135,6m          £61m

2008/2009                               £313m £100m £297,7m          £35,2m

2007/2008                               £223m £95m   £318,1m          £25,7m

2006/2007 CC-runner up                    £201m £91m   £268,2m          £2,8m

2005/2006 CL-runner up                    £137m £44m   £262m £7,9m

2004/2005 FA-cup-winners    £138m £37m   £153m £8,3m

2003/2004 FA-cup+PL-winners         £157m –           –           £8,2m

GR= Gate Revenues           Profit=Profit after tax

Arsenal doesn’t invest in stars, the strategy is to buy cheap and young, develop them and sell them to richer clubs. Dutch side Ajax is well-known to produce talents but look where they are as a club. They are struggling in the weak Dutch league and their brand is not as strong as it once was. Finishing third or fourth is not ‘attractive’, nor among companies or new fans. London is one of the biggest cities in the world but it’s much easier to get tickets to Arsenal now. The board blames the economic climate but it’s not the whole truth. There are two other top clubs in London and we have less and less supporters who are preparing to pay expensive tickets to see Arshavin or Chamakh’s lame efforts. The lack of ambition is destroying the brand. The public consider United as winners, and Arsenal have a ‘loser’ label right now and it will be more difficult to convince companies and supporters to give money without get anything back. Spurs’ success and stars imply better commercial deals and more fans. There are no big difference between our revenue from commercial deals and Spurs commercial revenue and with their new stadium their revenues will increase. The coming years will be very crucial for Arsenal’s future. A tour to Asia or Africa generates some revenue but it will not solve any problem. The fans in Asia are amazing but the club also needs to do more to keep and increase the supporters they have in UK. The gate revenues from foreign fans at Emirates are very small and it’s the supporters in UK that help the club reach over £90 million in gate revenues each season.

When I highlight my fears about Arsenal’s future and Stan Kroenke some people tells me that if something was wrong with the club the board wouldn’t accept it. They also say that the current board has provided Arsene Wenger with funds in the past, before the stadium was built. They are wrong. When we last won a trophy 2005 our board was: Peter Hill-Wood, David Dein, Richard Carr (grandson of former Arsenal Chairman Sir Bracewell Smith), Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith, Danny Fizman, Ken Friar and Sir Roger Gibbs. Today, there are only two members left from the board that won titles and that’s the chairman Peter Hill-Wood and Ken Friar.

Board members that has left since the victory in the FA Cup 2005:

* Roger Gibbs was a non executive director from 1980 and retired in June 2006.
* David Dein, vice-chairman since 1983 leaves the club in April 2007 due to “irreconcilable differences” with the rest of the board (Hill-Wood admit he fired Dein).
* Keith Edelman, director from 2000 to May 2008.
* Richard Carr, director from 1981 to December 2008 left after rows with Hill-Wood.
* Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith got her place in the board representing her former husband’s family who had been linked with the club in 70 years. Left after rows with Hill-Wood in December 2008. Le Grove (twitter) wrote during the AST (Arsenal Supporters’ Trust) meeting at February 20, 2012: “Nina booted from board for having a Starbucks with the Usmanov people.”
* Danny Fizman past away in April 2011.
These members owned shares in Arsenal together with Granada (ITV) which owned 9,9 percent of the shares but wasn’t represented at the board.

Board members now (with Peter Hill-Wood and Ken Friar)

* Baron Harris of Peckham was appointed as a non-executive director in November 2005. Friend to Hill-Wood.
* Sir Chippendale Keswick was appointed as a non-executive director in November 2005. Long-time friend and former colleague to Hill-Wood at Hambros Bank (remember the name Hambro).
* Stan Kroenke becomes a non-executive director in September 2008, three months before Lady Nina and Richard Carr leaves the board.
* Ivan Gazidis is appointed as CEO in January 2009.

It’s about time all supporters understand that the board has changed totally since 2005 and business isn’t as usual. Three members and significant shareholders have left the board after rows with the chairman and Arsenal now has a majority owner who supports Hill-Wood. Lifelong servant Ken Friar strengthens the bonds with the past but those who think the 77-year-old director will raise his hand and say “Lets spend some f***ing money” have a wrong picture of Ken Friar. He has a nice company car, a salary-including bonuses at a staggering £677 000 and is very loyal to the other board members who gave him a bronze bust and named the North Bridge “The Ken Friar Bridge”. Why would he complain to his pals that they didn’t listen to Wenger’s fears in the media and at that we needed to replace Cesc and Nasri last summer with same quality and money? Why would Peter Hill-Wood’s friends Peckham and Keswick complain to Hill-Wood? Why would Ivan Gazidis complain to the board that appointed him and gives him £1.6 million in salary and bonuses? And at last, why would Stan Kroenke complain that we don’t buy new players when his own shares have grown with an amazing speed since he bought shares at the price of £5 900 per share? Now the same share is worth over £15 500 and he has 41 574 shares! Today Kroenke is the only shareholder in the board he totally controls. Who really dares to question him regarding the clubs investment in the team? As we see above nearly all the board members from our successful years from the 1980’s to 2005, are gone.

We still have Arsene Wenger but we also know that he wasn’t the only force behind our success. Together with David Dein he formed one of the most successful partnerships off the pitch in modern British football. Look above and you see the four last of David’s seasons at Arsenal. One Premier League title, unbeaten in 49 games, two times FA-cup-winners, runner up in Champions League and runner up in Carling Cup (with youngsters). David has a football brain and wasn’t afraid of pushing the club forward and trying to improve the team. His main focus was the football and not the profit. He isn’t perfect – he wanted to move to Wembley instead of Emirates – but this was because of his desire of success on the pitch. He didn’t want the move to a new expensive stadium to affect our chances to win titles. David Dein loved the club and we can’t afford to have such an influential and intelligent football man outside the club anymore. When he left 2007 the ambition to be the best club in the country disappeared from the board and Arsenal FC became a company with more focus on profits.

When Hill-Wood stressed that business is murky in Uzbekistan and that in itself is an argument against Usmanov being involved in Arsenal I wonder if he thought about his own business in the Russian Far East with Pavel Maslovskiy, a man who certainly isn’t an open book (as Hill-Wood described Usmanov). From June, 2003, to May, 2011, Hill-Wood served as a non-executive director of Petropavlovsk PLC (formerly Peter Hambro Mining PLC) operating in the Amur Region, Russian Far East. Pavel Maslovskiy was one of the founders and also CEO in the company. John Helmer, a Moscow-based correspondent since 1989 specializing in the coverage of Russian business, wrote an article in 2010 where he compared Maslovskiy with the evil dwarf Rumpelstiltskin:

…”According to the US standard, when a public figure like Maslovsky promotes himself, his reputation, and his business record for selling shares to the public – no matter where – it is relevant for the share-buying public to know what has been published about him, especially in places where he is known best. What has been accused against him is relevant to be known, and therefore made public, even if the charges turn out to be untrue. Maslovsky’s silence, and the blanks in the prospectuses, should therefore be weighed against what the Russian media have been reporting over many years.
The point of these reported claims is that Maslovsky advertised in the fareast of Russia for shareholders to subscribe their funds to enable the development of the Pokrovsky goldmine. Those shareholders believed him, and handed over their money. But subsequently they did not receive dividends, and they then lost their stakes when Tokur Zoloto was ordered into bankruptcy by the Amur courts. Somehow, however, the Pokrovsky mine was sold by Maslovsky into the partnership he formed offshore with Peter Hambro. Maslovsky gained; the original shareholders of Tokur Zoloto lost. Did the shareholders really believe Rumpelstiltskin had the secret of weaving straw into gold? Were they liable for their naivety? Did Rumpy take care not to reveal his name this time around? The answer to those questions ought to be up to Maslovsky to answer. Because he refuses to acknowledge that the Tokur Zoloto bankruptcy occurred”…

Peter Hill-Wood, once vice-chairman of Hambros Bank, is friend with Peter Hambro who founded Peter Hambro Mining with Pavel Maslovskiy. Hill-Wood decided to buy shares and became a member of the board 2003. But why did Hill-Wood invest in gold mining if he doesn’t like murky businesses?

…”The turf wars are not over. The governor of a remote gold-rich province was shot dead on a Moscow street a year ago (2002). Russian media said he was killed because he was trying to crack down on illegal gold trade. A manager of Norilsk Nickel, Russia’s biggest gold company, was killed in April (2003).”…

In the same year as Hill-Wood joined the board, Peter Hambro Mining founded Aricom, an iron ore mining company. One of Aricom’s rivals was Metalloinvest, Russia’s largest iron-ore producer, where Usmanov is a big shareholder. How has that interfered on Hill-Wood’s unwillingness to let Usmanov be a part of the board? As a member of Audit Committee, Nomination Committee, Health, Safety & Environmental Committee and Risk Committee and appointed Senior Independent Director in Petropavlovsk PLC during the years Hill-Wood certainly cooperated with the CEO Pavel Maslovskiy. In December 2011 Maslovskiy resigned and became Senator of Amur region and Member of the Federation Council of Russia (the Upper House of the Russian Parliament). But the powerful Senator Maslovskiy still secured influence in Petropavlovsk PLC as Honorary President and is able to advise the current CEO Sergei Ermolenko (right hand to Maslovskiy when he was CEO) and attend in board meetings – despite his current position as Senator in the region where the company is active.

It doesn’t make any sense. What’s the difference from having a chairman in a murky business and an owner like Usmanov, which in this case was a rival to Aricom, in a murky business? It seems odd that he is willing to do business in a murky gold market with a Russian with unclear past but hasn’t allowed Alisher Usmanov to get into the board and help Arsenal with his contacts and knowledge as he isn’t an open book. Hypocrisy, and you can’t stop and wonder how this decision has affected Arsenal. As we understand Usmanov’s business in the former Soviet Union isn’t the real problem. The problem is he isn’t Hill-Wood’s friend. As Hill-Wood fired David Dein and had rows with two other members it was better for him that Usmanov wasn’t involved in the board, but his job as a chairman is to make decisions what’s best for Arsenal and not him personally. The lockdown agreement helped Kroenke but did it help Arsenal? How much did the chairman interfere in the takeover to secure his post as chairman? Now it’s too late as Kroenke have the majority and select the board but can we really trust that Hill-Wood and the board makes decisions what’s best for the team? The board lack members who understand football and how the club will get success on the pitch. In which criteria besides being friend of the chairman have the members been appointed? As usual there are a lot of questions concerning the Arsenal board.

“I wouldn’t want him to be the owner of the club.”

Well Peter, it’s not your club even if you seem to think that. When I look back at the board members who have left after rows with you and especially the stupid decision to fire David Dein (the man who brought Arsene Wenger and success), our transition from a club who won trophies with world-class-players to this average squad, and the state we are in now on and off the pitch with a silent majority owner that doesn’t care to visit the club in several months or care to invest time and money in Arsenal other than in his shares, I cant stop thinking about what you have done and how you have used the club as your own toy the last five years. You, Peter Denis Hill-Wood, warned us from Alisher Usmanov, but the biggest threat never was him or David Dein. The biggest threat was greed. Your greed, Mr. Hill-Wood.

EKA – Swedish Arsenal Supporter


67 Responses to “Peter Hill-Wood: The Great or Greedy?”

  1. Franny says:

    Hill-Wood out!!!

  2. Thundertinygooner says:

    You make some extremely good points in this detailed article.I had no knowledge
    of PHW ‘s links with Uzbekistan ,judging him more from his bumbling and profoundly unimpressive performances at the AGM and the regular foot in mouth gaffes that always seem to appear in the Star!
    I well remember him being asked the day before Vieira was transferred if he knew anything about a deal.His comment was that he had heard nothing and was sure he would be consulted if something was about to happen.
    The day David Dein left Arsenal was a very sad and disappointing day for Arsenal Football Club.He was a very positive influence on Wenger.He understands football and he wants success. As this article makes clear Kroenke has no real incentive to invest heavily in the club given the capital appreciation he has seen without having to spend significant amounts on players.
    This club almost imploded last summer and everyone on the Board let it happen.Let us pray this sumer is better.With PHW in charge I won’t be holding my breath.

  3. Deniz says:

    great article

  4. jaygunn says:

    hillwood is a greedy arrogant little dinosaur. this person has single handedly ruined our club. we are now a feeder club and will never win anything as long as he is at th club.

  5. Stephen says:

    The day Hill-Wood Rest In Peace is the day when Arsenal will start the new trophy winning era.

  6. Arsene knows says:

    Yes arsene makes awful mistakes but the problem as ever is always at the top, hill wood is a disaster & kroenke the worst thing to happen to arsenal in our 125 years

  7. Alex says:

    I read somewhere that PHW will be pensioned off this summer as KSE locked the board & only wanted him there as a transition of his 1st year as majority owner & then he’d bring in other people ( Not sure how true that is but hope it’s 100% fact.

    Dein’s “main focus was the football and not the profit.” When will people ever understand that winning on the pitch will lead to even more profit. Jesus Christ! That’s basic/common knowledge and I cannot understand how this board do nothing & then let Wenger take all the flack.

    If PHW leaving is true then Dein will need to be brought back to help build this club up again. We’re stagnating by being consistently in top 4 without anything to show for it other than getting into CL, which we can’t win cause other teams are just better. If Dein was there for last summer I am positive things wouldn’t have gone down the way they did. The current board are so out of touch it’s beyond ridiculous. Silent Stan is hardly ever at games (he even canceled going to Milan 2nd leg) so what is the point of him? What are his intentions? to just fill his pockets as well? He doesn’t care. He is not a football man. He is just a collector of clubs with a divided attention.

    Is Usmanov the answer? I have no idea. But he certainly goes to more games than Kroenke and seems a lot more interested in helping the club win. Why not have both Kroenke & Usmanov work together (if/when Usmanov gets on the board). There’d be a better chance/opportunities for success cause that’s all we want for the club…

  8. piken79 says:

    not sure what’s going on @ Arsenal but its all very depressing…the board is sh*t, wenger can’t seem to get the defense right. I am not really looking forward to next season, not for the lack of new players but I think wenger has forgotten how to defend.

  9. Michael says:

    brilliant piece. lucky we have arsene, but how much longer will he be willing to suffer this crap. We have some brilliant players but our squad has no balance; if we still had the like of nasri, eduardo and clichy this year i think we would have done much better, because our squad would of had real depth. in twenty years… hello mid-table obscurity but phw will be buried in gold and a smile on his face

  10. Jonathan chawora says:

    Well said. As long as Hillwood and Kroenke remain in control of Arsenal fc the club will continue in its downward slide. Very soon the likes of Spurs and Newcastle will overtake Arsenal. This is vanadalism

  11. Marty Price says:

    This outcry should have happened sooner. Those of us stateside who follow sports, know that Kroenke has not really invested in any of his clubs. The Rams tanked in the NFL after going to a Superbowl under the previous ownership. The Colorado Rapids won a title, got disbanded. The NBA, Denver Nuggets have consistently lost their best talent, the latest being Carmelo Anthony leaving for New York Knicks. I really cannot see myself making another trip overseas to see ARsenal with this philosophy, this type of greed at the helm. Kroenke made his millions with WalMart that in of itself should tell you what you need to know. The only saving grace for Arsenal right now is Wenger. He does a lot with a club that is his least talented squad. Now it looks as if Van Persie will leave. You already know what will happen next..Wilshire, Song, Theo, even Ox not look for any of them to stay. Given todays money, the offer reputedly made to Van Persie of 130,000 a week is ludicrous. Nasri who could not even carry his jock is on, what 150?

  12. James says:

    Hill-Wood is a worm that has done nothing for this club. He inherited his boardroom status from his father and has not had anything to do with any of the big decisions since he became Chairman. I honestly don’t know how he holds his position at the club. The reason Dein left was more to do with Danny Fiszman than Hill-Wood, Hill-Wood just sided with whoever was most likely to keep the old fucker’s seat in the directors box warm.

  13. patrick says:

    Dirty fu*king hillwood, I’m shocked he was involved with the Russians! Bring in Usmanov and David dein step down and take that stupid Yankee and that donut ceo Ivan Wasteman.Every gooner and season ticket holder and shareholder should read this article hillwood has alot to answer for! Heads must roll.

  14. luke the gooner says:

    You’ve hit the nail on the head there. Not so very long back i read an article on kronke, and in it he actually says “what’s wrong with me taking money out of the club…it’s mine!” It just sums up the man. Another yank only interested in what they can take out of english football. And,let’s face it, you can’t get any more murkier than american business eh! The only way this club will be turned round is if all the fans demand it. A downturn in gate reciepts and commercial deals would soon see kronke only too willing to bail out. That way, we could have the prefered partnership of Usmanov and Dein…the one i’ve always prefered. Hill-wood is a lying toad. Where else would you find a chairman who backs a guy with a two billion fortune against one who had a thirteen billion fortune? Unless he was getting something big in return that is! I can’t begin to tell you how frustrating it is to see before my very eyes, my club worsening year after year, and the same feeble excuses coming out of it, with Wenger being hung out to dry every time. Now is the time we all stood up to be counted, and demand that kronke sells up and gets out…before he totally destroys us!!!

  15. Gooner4life says:

    That really explains what i have felt and read between the media lines for sometime.
    Wenger has one arm behind his back regarding transfers.Yet hill-wood and keoenke are filling there pockets with shares.But surely the share value will implode, the season tickets prices are not sustainable, because AFC are not winning anything and won’t because the squad need another 3 quality players!, if they don’t buy this summer like,M’villa,vertonghen another winger/striker we WILL be further behind MC/MU and the chavs.
    Bloody hell, has anybody mentioned to hill-wood and Wenger borrow off kroenke the money for players,God CFC are forever in debited to Abramovich.

  16. Kanone says:

    Didn’t I read somewhere that DD is going to be DOF for the Scousers?
    How can a bumbling fool like PHW sack someone like DD? It’s the world on it’s head.
    It’s my honest belief that Arsene is going to go from bad to worse.
    Bring in the Ruskie he sounds a bit like Henry Norris.
    After that perhaps we can find another Wilf Copping!!!

  17. Sukhy says:

    Brilliant article! Hill wood as a fookin waste of space, the board are useless. Ivan gazidas has no clue. We have won nowt on the time chelski have won 10 cups! We will win nothing. Need to stop going to games to get them out!

  18. Barmacafc says:

    We will never become a winning club again while Hill-wood and Kroenke have us by the balls – when Hill-wood got Dein ousted it was over contact he had with Kroenke not Usmanov,Thats when Hill-wood stated No Yank would get his hands on The Arsenal.But when Dein came back this time backed by Usmanov(who is a Gunner btw) Hillwood went Crying to Silent Stan to come in and takeover just to save His own money making scams – So what the Hill-woods done for us in the past Peter has Cancelled it out – so for the sake of The Arsenal get these bums out – Rant Over

  19. Neal says:

    Good post,But there are justified reasons the board fell out with DD,a large conflict of interest as his son is responsible for the sales of the clubs best assets and made millions from doing so

  20. gun1 says:

    We need Usmanov in ASAP before we end up like Liverpool…

  21. Uzbek gooner. says:

    Very interesting article. But a little clarification: Usmanov does not make much business in Uzbekistan! He is kinda not welcomed here, the local owners do not let him :) All
    his business murky or not come from Russia and his
    friends he got while studying in St. Pitersburg. But all this doesn’t matter now, since he and his murky money will not help us get any trophy… But I wonder, can’t supporters, season ticket holders, fans around the world, and others get behind Usmanov or anybody else who is not a complete jerk like This Yankee? Boycott anything and everything until they see that we the supporters make up the considerable part of that profit they are after!!! And make them listen to what we want for the club!

  22. j says:

    Now the question is what the fans going to do about this? Get fustrated or get active by pressing (demos, etc) to have the failures removed. Bet u it’s get fustrated and do nothing

  23. josh says:

    What does PHW bring to the club? He is actively holding arsenal back through his poor relationship with Dein. Now Im hearing reports of Dein going to liverpool as sporting director. We are so lucky to have someone like Dein that is so dedicated to us. He has great contacts, he works well with wenger, he brings in key signings and pushes wenger into developing the team.
    The sooner we get Hill Wood out the better. Kroenke is clearly here to stay. He just needs to look past the fact that PHW helped him in and get Dein in asap. Also, if these financial fair play rules dont come in properly, then we need to look for usmanov style investment because once wengers left, who is going to keep us in the top 4 let alone winning anything on a shoestring budget. The only reason a manager would want to come to us is because we pay our manager the most of all our employees.

  24. Chester Dinkle says:

    A lot of nonsense is being posted here. PHW has very little actual power at the club, but has served it well. This is just a ridiculous attempt to make the man a scapegoat. Usmanov is not the answer.

  25. 26may1989 says:

    Like most Gooners, I find PHW an embarrassment and would be pleased if he could be shifted off stage pronto. But the idea that he is the dark force behind the Club’s demise is just ludicrous. Last time I looked, he owns something like 0.002% of the shares in the Club (having cashed most of his shares by selling to Dein yonks ago). He is no more than an old school figurehead suggesting continuity and history, a role he previously undertook for Dein, then for Fiszman and now for Kroenke.

    The decision to keep Usmanov off the Board is not PHW’s, it’s Kroenke’s (and was Fiszman’s before that). It’s a matter of corporate rivalry. Personally, I’d prefer it if Usmanov were on the Board because it would give the Club we love more stability, but there is a slo-mo power struggle between Usmanov and Kroenke – neither one is an angel, but no-one should think Usmanov is some sort of innocent victim in all this, he would do exactly the same were the positions reversed. Anyway, the idea that it is PHW keeping Usmanov off the Board, or taking any other serious decision, is plain silly. The worst that can be said of PHW is that he’s an embarrassing buffoon who is drawing a small salary from the Club (I think it’s something like £20k p.a.), plus he’s getting free food, drinks, cigars and a warm room when he’s at meetings or at games.

    As for PHW having served as a non-exec director for Petropavlovsk plc, there’s nothing to be ashamed of. The company is a well known British company and is listed on the FTSE 250, which brings with it various compliance requirements. It was co-founded by a Russki and a Brit in the 1990s, and is a serious and respected company. I know this from personal experience, much of my work being in Russia and other parts of the CIS.

    In any event, being a non-exec director does not involve owning any shares. The role is about holding the executives and main directors to account for the benefit of the shareholders, and non-exec directors just get a salary. As a measure of what the role is about, one of the current non-exec directors there is a former Chief of the UK Defence Staff. Not exactly dodgy, fly-by-night types.

    David Dein played an important role in the Club’s development, and he deserves credit for that. But he is not some sort of omnipotent football executive, he’s a smart guy who bought his Arsenal shares cheap and sold them for a lot, and is now living off those proceeds. Bully for him, but idolising him is pointless. Remember, had he had his way, we would have sold Highbury and become tenants at Wembley – that really would have destroyed the soul of the Club, and ultimately would have destroyed the finances. Thankfully, Fiszman faced Dein off, and got him removed from the Board. Usmanov also recognised Dein’s shortcomings, which is why Usmanov sacked him at Red & White Holdings.

  26. hadi says:

    This is very interest piece information, and I wasn’t surprise at all. If you guys notice very closely, when Arsene Wenger speaks, u can discern within the lines that, there’s something badly wrong.
    Most of the times u realise ‘Arsene’ when it comes to some serious issues regarding the reinforcement of the squad a very glaring contradiction from him, which really indicate that he hasn’t got any serious control of who he can buy when he wants. Really sad.. And doesn’t really help at all, because Arsene has been able to tacitly aided this greediness by his ability to really do well with what his got. The 8-2 mulling at Oldtradford was the reason in my opinion why we were even able to get some three players in, if we had won or draw that game, they would have taken the chance of doing without buying at all… Revolt is what is really needed…

  27. Bakrima says:

    I believe Peter Hill Wood has nothing to do with football he is just milkimg Arsenal and talking nonsense from time to time . he is simply occupying the place of wonerful David Dean.

  28. Peter hill wood
    and kroenke should leave arsenal for us because thet are after the profit not the success of the club at all, is now all arsenal fans should not go to the stadium to watch any match and lets fight to bring david dein and usmanov on board again to move our darling club forward again. May God save us from this set of greedy people

  29. LJB says:

    “^may1989,yeah Dein wanted us to be tenants at Wembley,.but did you know that the rest of the board wanted to actually buy it?(alex flynn,Arsenal the making of a modern superclub p122) Dein haters like to point out that he wanted to move Arsenal out of North London without mentioning that the rest of the board were in favour of the same damn thing!

  30. Get Real says:

    Thinly veiled pro Usmanov propaganda. Please get this disgusting fat Manchester United supporting uzbeki cunt and his bright Orange PR machine out of our club.

  31. EKA says:

    Thank you for all your comments about the article. You have a lot of interesting views – don’t stop care about The Arsenal. The club needs you.

    Chester Dinkle and 26May1989
    Hill-Wood got no power NOW, but back in 2008 he and his close friends in the board invited Kroenke to join the board. They also made the lockdown agreement that blocked Usmanov to buy shares from other big shareholders. Kroenke wasn’t blocked, and last year Hill-Wood recommended all shareholders to sell to Kroenke despite his old promises. Now he is just an old puppet, but silent Stan wouldnt be our majority owner if it wasnt for Peter Hill-Wood. Kroenke got an invite despite he owned less shares than Usmanov (who was allied to Dein) and thanks to the lockdown agreement Usmanov couldnt tempt the big shareholders with his money, and couldnt replace Hill-Wood with Dein.

    (sorry for my bad English)EKA

  32. mach says:

    ¶ read sometime ago in an article on,where phw said it would not be a disaster if arsenal donot qualify for champions league,h̶̲̥̅̊
    would a chairman think like that.hope they noticed arsenal a̶̲̥̅̊
    now the only club in the top four W̶̲̥̅̊
    have never won the champions league.

  33. Ameed says:

    What have we seen over the last few week? Man City win the league and Chelsea win the Champions league. It proves that football has changed and teams now need to pump money into the club and sign the worlds best players in order to win titles.
    But Arsenal have a man who wants to do this.. Uzbek billionaire and major Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov wants to bring the best players to the club.
    Usmanov who is not an Arsenal director even though he owns almost 30% of Arsenal Holdings, believes self-interest among the board members is stymieing the club’s chances of on-field success.
    Usmanov also said that there would need to be a switch in emphasis if he is to end up on the board.
    Usmanov said “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. It’s no secret that to maximise the value of those you want to have success on the field and be winning trophies. To do that you need to invest now in building a winning team. This is simple commercial logic. Whether it comes to pass, we shall see.”
    The sad fact is this. Arsenal will never win anything again without major investment. We need Alisher Usmanov to step forward and take control to bring back the glory days.
    Since Stan Kroenke took over the club what have we seen? Any investment? Any major signings?. In fact we have seen our best players SOLD and the money NOT pumped back into signing replacements.
    Another sad fact is that since 2005 and when Ashley Cole was apart of the FA CUP winning side, we have not won anything and Ashley has gone on to win EVERYTHING in football. Who can blame him, Clichy, Nasri, and so on for leaving in the hunt for GLORY , which all arsenal players and fans wants at the moment….!!!!!!!!!!!
    ( RVP NEXT………….WILSHERE ? ) !!!!!!!!!!!!!
    We need change at Arsenal so we need Usmanov . ( a must for success in these days = $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ ) !!!!!!!!

  34. And_Arsene_Said... says:

    Danny Fiszman, biggest shareholder at the time,true true Arsenal man, would never let Arsenal go to anyone who would intentionaly damage the club. I’ve been to his old offices (Star Diamond) years ago and the place was covered with Arsenal murals/deco. Believe me this guy truly loved Arsenal and would never have sold his shares to Kroenke if he didn’t believe it was best for Arsenal Football Club. It was these shares that ultimately gave Kroenke control of the club. I go with Fiszman’s judgement.

  35. Vineet says:

    Well researched. Great Article

    It backs the view of fans that the Board is focussed more on profits than footballing achievements.

    Almost 20 points behind winners and AW feels he has achieved something.

    This was not the mentality or the club I started supporting at the turn of the century. (I am from India hence started following EPL around that time only with advent of satellite TV)

    I always say on various blogs. The Fans should buy the tickets and not go there at all. Let them accumulate profits but see an empty stadium. 2-3 times for home matches – it will shock them (Board) to some extent.

  36. Kevin says:

    Sadly it is all true that Kroenke never invests money into any of his ventures, he simply takes the profit he earns that is what he is in for and that is why the policy at Arsenal is now to focus solely on ensuring we qualify for the champions League. It is a well known fact that Usmanov is interested in owning the club in order to make us into one of the most competative and be part of the elite in world football. I honestly believe that Hill-Wood has actuively blocked Usmanov due to his business interests overseas and there should be a demand for a major investigation (not by any Lord or whatever who is in anyway associated with the Hill-Woods or Hambro or anyone who will perform a white wash of this situation)Likewise I hope that there are strong representations by the few independent sharholders left as to Hill-Woods conflict of interests! But I suppose that the shareholders meeting will be the orchestrated farce it became last year where questions had to be submitted weeks in advance and were obviously screened and filtered to whiewash the event so much so that it may not be worth attending or reporting!

    I must admit my dislike of Hill-Wood and his father before him as they are from a different world who have used Arsenal as their own “old boys” club and have caused us to miss out on countless trophies and the possibility to dominate English football in the way Utd and before them, Liverpool have been able to do. If you think this a unsubstatiated statement look at the facts… since the mid fifties we have been a club who will sell our top players if the price is right and we will not stop our top players from leaving if it means paying top wages to keep them, examples – (Henry, Vieira, Pires in the 2000’s, Thomas, Rocastle, in the 90’s, Brady,Staplyton in the 80’s, Kennedy, Charlie George, in the 70’s, Strong, Herd, Eastham & Baker in the 60’s and there have been more but in all of these cases the heart has been ripped out of the team and destroyed any chance our club had of a continued period of domination), before this and before the Hill-Woods controlled the Board we would never allow it to happen which is why we dominated English football during the 30’s, 40’s and early 50’s our Board was run by millionaires who were intent on solely seeing and ensuring that we we a top side, winning trophies in those days we paid top wages and top transfer fees to buy the best that was available.

    We need Usmanov, if we are to be part of the new order that has taken hold of the game in England, not a profiteer like Kroenke. Otherwise we will just end up being a part of the masses

  37. Phil Wall says:

    Obviously a well researched article, but I don’t agree with all the conclusions. Have posted my own take on and linked to this piece.

  38. lissen says:

    am gutted

  39. Peter says:

    Interesting article!

    Just a couple of points:

    – Chamakh and Arshavin are horrible examples of lack of ambitions on the transfer market. Remember how hyped they were when they came to us. And both started out well.

    – Regarding the commercial revenues, we need to remember, that the time the sponsorship deal were being made, they needed to assess the risk in the funding of the new stadium. They were obviously afraid that they wouldn’t be able to get as good deals again soon, why they played it safe and made unusually long agreements. While it proved to be the wrong choice, it’s not impossible to understand. In 2014 we should see much improved deals. While we not as successful as earlier, we do get a LOT of exposure, which is really what counts. And it is not that hard to find out, that we do have a lot of sympathy around.

    – Lack of success on the field is not only a question about buying and selling. We do have some clear issues on the training pitch (read Making of a Modern Super-Club and descriptions by Dixon and you will find out!), and a manager who’s tactical awareness is actually quite poor.

  40. Nico says:

    I don’t think the dust has settled yet from Kroenke’s takeover. The fact that PHW and his pals still have 4 seats out of 6 is weird. When American businessmen take over a business the first thing they usually do is take over the board. Which hasn’t happened at Arsenal yet. I can’t see Kroenke being happy with PHW and co having so much influence on a business he owns. The re has got to be a grace period where his moves are somewhat limited. Which is probably why he is staying silent. We hopefully will see what’s what when he starts kicking the old farts out.

  41. […] are two articles on the subject this morning. One from Goonertalk on Peter-Hill-wood and one from Angry of Islington which I this is far closer to the truth. Either way, this change […]

  42. arsenespants says:

    @26may1989: the most sensible thing i have read on this list of responses…..

  43. mrrowlly says:

    Even in africa arsenal are lossing the brand war and very fast the trip to nigeria may not be as successful as it would have been tWo years ago

  44. CY says:

    Very interesting read and provided some clues into the on-going power struggle between Kronke and Usmanov. I do not want to draw any conclusion on the real motives. Ideally the best solution for the club is for both of them to start a dialogue and working together. Invite Usmanov into the board. PHW may need to leave but at the same time Dein should not re-join the board as there is just too much animosity between him and PHW. Another person, from an impartial party, may be needed as a mediator (maybe HM The Queen herself?!?).

    Unfortunately I realized what I said above is probably just a pipe dream. Probably 10% chance. Most likely it’s going to be either Kronke or Usmanov. Either way, I just want this saga to end so that the club can re-group and move on. We gotta stop fighting or soon there won’t be any left to fight over.

    A rich american who doesn’t care or a sugar-daddy russian with murky business past? Tough choice but I will take either.

  45. BrokenHeartGooner says:


    That’s the most frustrating about Arsenal Fans. we seem to be happy sitting around a ranting on the net while watching our beloved club fast declining in front of our own eyes.

    Why can’t mobilize ourselves and make our voices heard??? we can organize regular protest each match day demanding the board to resign.. or get PHW and that clown of CEO until we get a result or changes of policy.

    Arsenal will never win any kind of Trophy until there is a change of policy and i can’t see that happening while the greedy board is still in charge.

    We demand DD to be re-instated back as board member.

  46. AndyP says:

    Good piece and well written & researched.

  47. James c says:


    Phw won’t go anywhere till we open our mouths and close our wallets
    They need to know we aren’t happy and people need to stop paying ridiculous season ticket prices
    They must be laughing at how much we pay!!

    We need protests and loud voices so once again

  48. mystic says:

    What a long article, but fascinating and WELL worth the read.

    I agree with nearly everything you have stated / implied, with the exception of your wish to see Dein return.

    Whilst I understand your view that his involvement with Usmanov was not necessarily wrong, I do not see how that fits in with his initial leaning to Kroenke – who is a Hillwood supporter. Did Dein move closer to Usmanov as he percived him to be better for the club, or simply because he was in such conflict with Hillwood that anyone the latter started to lean towards must, in Dein’s mind, be automatically opposed?

    Whether Usmanov is good for the club or not, he has enough shares to warrant a place on the board. It remains wrong of Hillwood and Kroenke to block his prescence for what seems personal, rather than business, reasons.

    Unfortunately I cannot how the club is going to get itself out of the hole it is self creating. Having said that, for club that has celebrated 125yrs since being formed, is 7 years without silverware that extreme?

    On the playing side when the the club moved to the Emirates it initially (and understandably) lost its way for fiscal reasons, now it seems to be more personal and business directed.

  49. Pope Adu says:

    So my follow Gunners what i are go to do about this?

  50. Dan Smith says:

    This is a daft article, nobody with Arsenal’s best interests at heart should want Usmanov involved, and just because Hill-Wood *MIGHT* have been involved in some shady dealings doesn’t suddenly make Usmanov acceptable.

  51. RuLeZLoRd says:

    Yes Arsene make stuupid mistakes, yes this Hill-wood is ruining our club. BUT, you the fans, the english fans the ones that live near the club.. are u sleeping? r u dead? havent you learn from manure fans & liverpool fans?!?! DO SOMETHING!! MOVE UR ASSES!! seriously!

  52. Benno says:

    If all this reads true, we are FOOKED

  53. Mark says:

    Just noticed you are not English, so will credit you with better English than many Londoners.

  54. 26may1989 says:

    I see that my comment from yesterday has been edited by Gooner Talk, to remove my criticism of the original article – you lot are shocking! If you can’t take criticism (and can’t get your facts straight before posting) don’t bother. Bloody appalling. I’ll keep an eye to see how long it is before this comment is removed or changed……

  55. Lightin Leopard says:

    I dont know..

    I really dont know..

    I dont care if he is a YAKUZA! I just want Devid dean back!

  56. Kevin says:

    @CY: Got to Usamov who will put cash into the club a la Abramovich. Kroenke only ever takes out from his investments!

  57. AU gooner says:

    I think we’re a club that are still struggling with the state of affairs – oil money. And we’re still passionate about making something without spanking money. Just because you spend doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed. Look at Liverpool! Admittedly stupid buys but still – Torres = $50M – level with Arteta on goals for the season. We need more experienced members for our squad and we’ll get there. Equal competition for places and the ability to rotate without risk due to a big gulf in talent. Pull a few players out of their comfort zones. Even Nasri said that – (bitched) – but it rings true. Half our team are guaranteed a spot (Mr Song) and need to learn to work even harder and show some real desire.

    Remember to always be balanced, this is a good article – but still speculative. The PHW vs Dein is sad to hear, but still think the old boy is better than some.

  58. Kevin says:

    @Dan Smith: Even dafter is your reply, Usmanov is and should be more acceptable as he has shown by his interest in the actual sport as well as wanting to own a club who with his money, can become one of the best in the world and collect trophies from his investment! As opposed to Kroenke who is solely interested in the business and making a profit from his investment, if you look into his other sports ownerships you will see that he does not invest money and he is not concerned about trophies or league positions, as long as he makes a profit he will be happy….is there is really any arguement, give me a man who loves and understands the game, and who will at last give us the spending power to equal the likes of Man U, Chelsea and City amongst others!

  59. EKA (the author) says:

    I want to clarify some things and I also wrote this on my twitter @swedjournalist yesterday:

    I don’t want Arsenal to have a sugar daddy but if this is the football UEFA and FIFA wants, AFC need to adapt. I would love to see a salary cap and strict rules about salaries in relation to revenues but AFC can’t change the rules. Football is about winning trophies and Chelsea just won CL.

    Actually we are not better or nobler than Chelsea. We always brag about our great history but what would we be without Sir Henry Norris? He saved us from liquidation and according to some sources he used a lot of his own cash to build Highbury and to lease the land. He probably bribed people to get us promoted and once made under-the-counter payments when we bought a player from Sunderland as the league had a salary cap for players. He hired Chapman and laid the foundation for our success in 1930s. He has a big part of our history but wasn’t a knight in shining armour.

    Are we really nobler than Chelsea and City? If not, why do we exclude Usmanov, one of the most successful businessmen in the world from the board when Kroenke could join the board 2008? Usmanov has bought 29 percent of the shares in 5 years – that’s a long time. If he just wanted a toy Newcastle, Everton, Liverpool and City has been on sale during these 5 years. Apparently Usmanov likes only Arsenal. Kroenke likes and owns several clubs. You do the maths how much Kroenke thinks, watch and breathe Arsenal. /EKA

  60. Cameron says:

    Isn’t it important to mention that Peter Hill-Wood has basically been a puppet since the mid-90s? Before Dein fell out with the board it was he and Fiszman running the show and after Dein left Fiszman was the man. Hill-Wood has been present through all these years but he hasn’t really been a driving force. His board appointments are all super old and he’s acknowledged he’s retiring soon. He and the Sirs are only around because Kroenke allows them to be.

  61. Ricky says:

    Very interesting article!

    Im actually regretting i read it now TBH..

    Hill-wood needs to be taken down fast & the only people that are capable of taking this greedy, useless dictator down is us(the fans).

  62. Ricky says:

    Ignore the spurs fan.

  63. Something’s really wrong at AFC. I hope it gets sorted soon but i won’t be holding my breath

  64. BiLL says:

    I’ve known the Fiszman family for a number of years and still remain friends with some of Danny’s children.

    You get a lot wrong.

    The basic crux of the argument came down to the Emirates. Dein didn’t believe in placing the club under some financial strain in order to reap the future rewards.

    He felt so strongly that he planned to have Usmanov buy up enough shares to oust the current board.

    Unsurprisingly the board members felt this underhanded, sneaky and lacking in character from both parties. So they found a preferred buyer in Stan and Dein was history.

    They still have no love for the man that tried to take away everything that they had worked so hard to build.

    Once a snake always a snake in many peoples books hence they dont want to provide him inside access to the club via the boardroom.

    It’s that simple.

  65. johneboy1886 says:


    Your take is also not true.

    Hillwood kicked Dein out because Dein initally brought Kronke to the club. Hillwood saw this of an act of “agression” by Dein and would lead to Dein finally becoming Chairman.

    Usmanov did not appear on the scene until much later

  66. […] I don’t often promote other people’s articles on my work however, Le Grove has made a few good points about the club and his article is worth a read after this. Go to for his interesting read on the finances at Arsenal and also a must-read article on this link, possibly helping a few of you decide about this weekend’s protest march organised by a group of positive and passionate life-long Arsenal supporters. […]

  67. Rogues Gallery: Peter Hill-Wood | 7amkickoff says:

    […] was the famous instance where he said Stan Kroenke […]

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