Arsenal’s latest accounts reveal that a company owned by the majority shareholder, Stan Kroenke, has received a £3m payment from the club.
KSE LLC, was paid the sum for ‘strategic and advisory services’ in relation to Arsenal’s broadband division, the media arm of the club (including the official website).
While it’s relatively normal for any company to pay advisory fees to directors, or indeed other companies, it raises fears that it is, by any other standards, a dividend payment, something that would set the American apart from the previous owners of the club who refused to take those payments, instead acting as ‘custodians’.
With Arsenal’s AGM upcoming, it’s something that fans will want addressed and for which there’ll be a demand for clarity. It’s not a case that Kroenke has simply pocketed £3m given his wealth, but where the money went and for what purpose would be interesting questions to pose.
Speaking in 2011, Kroenke admitted it was normal for owners in US sport to take money out of clubs they own.
“A lot of owners in the US do [take money out] No one ever says anything about it.”
He must know, however, that as this is not the norm at Arsenal, people are going to question why exactly this payment was made. Especially when it more or less tallies with the extra income the utterly unnecessary 3% rise in ticket prices generated this season this is something of a PR own goal for Kroenke.
Whether he gives a damn, or not, is the big question. We suspect not.