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'It is a sad fact that the club is now wholly owned by an overseas investment vehicle' – AST

Three senior members of Arsenal’s hierarchy have backgrounds in business, not football, and big questions are being asked of their effectiveness.

An Arsenal expresses frustration.
An Arsenal expresses frustration.

ARSENAL SUPPORTERS’ Trust (AST) has taken aim at the club’s hierarchy in the wake of Unai Emery’s sacking, insisting that several of the Gunners’ board members lack the expertise or experience in football to take the club forward.

Emery was let go following a string of poor results and reports of unrest in the dressing room, while fans had called for the Spaniard’s head due to a perceived lack of a clear tactical plan as the former Sevilla boss continued to switch formations and personnel throughout his 18-month stint in charge.

Few fans will be sad to see the back of Emery but Arsenal Supporters’ Trust want to see more action taken, with the finger being pointed at board members Sir Chips Keswick, Ken Friar and Philip Harris, and their alleged lack of knowledge of the game.

“Arsenal need more change than just a new head coach,” an AST statement reads on their official website.

“The dismissal of Unai Emery was unfortunate but inevitable. Performances and results have been far below what is expected at Arsenal.

But Emery’s departure is the easy part. The more difficult challenge is to recruit a suitable successor. We are far from certain that Arsenal has the right personnel to lead this process.

“The AST has long been advocating that the most important changes needed at Arsenal are in the boardroom where Arsenal need better governance.

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“It is a sad fact that the club is now wholly owned by an overseas investment vehicle, Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, who are largely absent from London.

“This means that the club needs to be governed by a strong board in London, one that is truly independent and has the expertise and dynamism to drive a football club forward.

“Arsenal’s board currently has no one with football expertise. Its three ‘independent’ members are 85, 79 and 77 years old. None of them have football experience nor reflect the diversity of Arsenal’s playing squads nor supporter base.

A strong board would be able to hold the club’s executive to account and to provide them with counsel.

“Arsenal also need to build better relationships with their supporters especially at the ownership/boardroom level. New appointments to the board should include looking for people with the skillset to ensure better dialogue with supporters and provide a sense of purpose and direction.

“So if Arsenal are to genuinely move forward from today it requires not only a new head coach appointment but also a rejuvenation of the boardroom.”

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