So ‘Sir Chips’ is AFC’s new Grand Burgher (Big Whopper)

Welcome to another week of “What’s the score?!” So, the rumour wheel continues to turn, but there does seem to be a
quiet optimism around the club over forthcoming target Gonzalo Higuaín, among
others.

According to ‘Sky Sources’ (bloody Sky sources) which was also
repeated on talkSPORT throughout Friday, the Real Madrid President, Florentino
Pérez, has given his permission for Gonzalo Higuaín to join Arsenal. Apparently
a deal ‘in principle’ has been agreed
in the sum of approximately £22M. We shall see, and as I always say, until an
official announcement has been made by Arsenal Football Club, then it is all
speculation. However, clearly something is going on with the whole Higuaín
thing, otherwise Florentino Pérez would not have said a thing!
 

The Wayne Rooney story will not
go away either. Although no signings have been made to date, it is not
inconceivable that both Rooney and Higuaín could be Gooners before the new season begins. Both are talented players no
doubt, although very different. I wrote an article on 89th Minute this week entitled Wayne Rooney
or Gonzalo Higuaín …and the choice is?
which does
take a  look at both of these players and
their stats in greater detail.

In other news, there is continual talk of Marouane
Fellani to either Arsenal or Chelsea, with apparently his release clause fee of
£23m being met, but it is now up to the player to agree terms with someone.
Again, we are just going to have to play the waiting game, although my pal the
not so fat London Taxi Driver
,
is still convinced we will not sign
anyone of note. I fear large slices of humble pie being served by him to all at
the Tollington, for the first game of the season against Aston Villa!

Salt &
Vinegar is fine, but no mushy peas thank you!

So, late on
Thursday of last week after an official announcement to the Stock Exchange,
Arsenal Football Club announced the appointment of Sir John ‘Chips’ Keswick as
the new Chairman, making him only the ninth person to lead the helm since 1910.

Below is a
copy of the Official Media Release. This is reproduced with kind permission of
the Communications Department at Arsenal Football Club – Thanks guys!

 

ARSENAL FOOTBALL CLUB APPOINTS
NEW CHAIRMAN

Sir Chips Keswick
replaces Peter Hill-Wood as Arsenal Chairman

Arsenal Football Club has announced
that Sir Chips Keswick has been appointed as the Club’s Chairman.

It follows the decision by Peter
Hill-Wood to stand down from the board for health reasons. Mr Hill-Wood, who
has been Arsenal Chairman since 1982, is recovering after a heart attack last
year.

Mr Hill-Wood’s grandfather, Sir
Samuel, and father Denis were the Club’s previous Chairmen in a period
stretching back to 1927. Mr Hill-Wood, 77, said: “This has been a difficult
decision as Arsenal Football Club has been a huge part of my life. Although I
am feeling better I feel this is the right time for me to stand down.

“I would like to thank our majority
owner Stan Kroenke for the respectful and dignified way he has handled this. I
know Sir Chips is the right person to take the Club forward.”

Mr Hill-Wood joined the board in
1962 when his father became chairman. Since then he has been at the heart of
all the Club’s major decisions, including the move from Highbury to Emirates
Stadium. Arsenal’s majority owner Mr Kroenke said: “Peter has been a wonderful
custodian of this Club. He has been a member of the Arsenal board for 51 years
and his vision and steadfastness have been central to the successes of this
great Club over that time.

“Peter will be sorely missed but we
will recognise his many contributions to the Club in an appropriate way.”

A life-long fan,
Sir Chips, 73, has been on the Arsenal board since 2005. He is the former
chairman of Hambros Bank and a director of the Bank of England.
In his role as Chairman, Sir Chips will
work directly with Arsenal Chief Executive Ivan Gazidis on the Club’s football
and business ambitions.

Mr Kroenke said: “I
am delighted that Sir Chips has agreed to become Chairman. He is a well-
respected businessman and he will provide further direction and support in our
ambition to compete at the top of the game here and in Europe and to win
trophies.”

Sir Chips said of
his appointment:  “Firstly, I am sad to
see Peter standing down due to his health and we all hope he continues well in
his recovery. The Hill-Wood family has made an extraordinary contribution to
Arsenal over many decades. They have been central to the Club’s many
achievements during this time.

“I am greatly
honoured to have been appointed Chairman of Arsenal Football Club. This is one
of the great Clubs in the game, recognised and loved by millions. I am looking
forward to leading the Club to future success.”

Ends.

June 14, 2013

Despite
suggestions of yet another ‘old boy’, in the boardroom, Sir Chips does bring a
wealth of business experience to the top, and he was appointed an Arsenal
Director in November 2005, so he is not a newbie
by any stretch.

His
business acumen does speak for itself. He joined Hambros Bank Limited in 1968,
where he served as Chairman between 1986 and 1998. Additionally, he has held
directorships at: Anglo American PLC (1995 – 2001), Bank of England (1993 –
2001), The Edinburgh Investment Trust plc (1992 – 2001), IMI PLC (1994 – 2003),
Investec Bank plc (2000 – 2010), Investec PLC (2002 – 2010), Persimmon PLC
(1984 – 2006), E Oppenheimer & Sons (1993 – 2013)… so all in all, clearly a
bright man!

It may be
all very well that he has a good head upon his shoulders, but how will his
influence affect the running of the club. I suspect (and this is my personal
opinion) that he will oversee and hand-hold Ivan Gazidis day-to-day running of
the club, report to ‘Silent’ Stan, and generally ensure the ‘plan’ that is
often referred to, is followed through, taking the club to the very top echelon
and making Arsenal the true super-club that they deserve to be, and ultimately
will become!

It is
obvious that Arsenal’s appeal in the big bad world of business and marketing is
clearly held in high regard, and Arsenal is the ‘brand’ that the big money
attracts. Simply look at the recent commercial deals that have been done with
both Puma and Emirates just as an example.

Ultimately,
if following the ‘plan,’ then Arsenal need to have a figurehead that can
justify that appeal and Sir Chips is obviously that man. Unlike Peter Hill-Wood
before him, I believe that Sir Chip will be a more hands on Chairman, similar
to Sandro Rosell of Barcelona, and Florentino Pérez at Real Madrid. Regardless
of anyone’s opinion of the two Spanish giants, the two respective Presidents do
delegate and oversee both of those clubs day-to-day running with much success.

Empty
Chair…

With Peter
Hill-Wood’s departure, and the promotion of Sir Chip Keswick, that leaves a
place on the board for a newcomer. It is interesting to note that in this
week’s press there have been musings from Alisher Usmanov.

In Friday’s
Independent
newspaper, they reported comments made by the
Russian. Specifically he is purported to have said (about Wayne Rooney) the striker would be a “great
success”
at the Emirates.

It is also reported that he told American
television channel CNBC: “[He is a] great player. If he comes it would be a big success for Arsenal and for Rooney
also.”

He continued: “My point of view is that Arsene knows
best,” the 59-year-old Russian added. “Of course, we as shareholders
do point out some drawbacks in managing the club, in steering its way through. But
I believe he is a great coach and he has already proven that last season.”

Although critical
of Arsène Wenger in the past, Alisher Usmanov is clearly now publicly getting
behind the manager (as he should). Perhaps the cynic would say he is manoeuvring
a seat on the board that thus far has eluded him or his company Red & White
Holdings, but whatever the situation, and despite any rights or wrongs, on
either side, I believe it will be a long while yet before he is welcomed into
the boardroom despite his 29.9% shareholding.

If
it’s not worth knowing… Jeremy knows it!

So,
here is yet more useless trivia about our beloved club!

Did you
know?

– Arsenal has had a total of eight Chairmen prior to Sir Chips Keswick’s
appointment, since 1910, namely: 1910 –
1927
Sir Henry Norris, 1927 – 1936 Sir
Samuel Hill-Wood (Father of Denis Hill-Wood), 1936 – 1936 Lord Lonsdale, 1936
– 1946
Lord Granard,

1946 –
1948
Sir Samuel Hill-Wood, 1948 –
1961
Sir Robert Bracewell-Smith, 1961
– May 1982
Denis Hill-Wood (Father of Peter Hill-Wood) and May 1982 – June 2013 Peter Hill-Wood.

Did you
also know? –
There is a film titled Arsenal (Russian: Арсенал, also with an alternative title ‘January Uprising in
Kiev in 1918’),
which is a Soviet film by Ukrainian director Alexander
Dovzhenko. The film was made in 1928 and released early in 1929.

Thanks yet again
to my good mate, the
not so fat London Taxi Driver
,
for the above stat! – Keep them coming…

If you have
any ‘trivia’ about either the team or
the club, then please let me know and I will gladly post them in this section…
The wackier the better! – Tweet me @jeremylebor.

Last
Word…

Ultimately,
like every supporter, I want Arsenal to be competing at the highest levels,
both for the Premier League title and European honours. Despite the doubters,
this forthcoming season is certainly going to be an exciting one. With three
new managers at Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea, Arsenal do have
the opportunity of showing what they are truly capable of once and for all.

Whether we
buy one, two, three or more players during the forthcoming transfer window,
this season my fellow Gooners, and Lady Gooners (I have been told I am not
allowed to use the term Goonerette!), it is going to be our time!

So, now you
know the score… until next week – Jeremy!

Jeremy Lebor


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