Usmanov launches new attack on Arsenal board

The Uzbek shareholder was partially responsible for an explosive letter criticising the running of the club earlier in the summer and has now reiterated his unhappiness

Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov has launched another angry attack on the club's board, citing "the current politics of the club's management" as one of the factors behind their trophyless run.

Usmanov owns 30 per cent of the club and remains the second largest shareholder after Stan Kroenke, but does not have a place on the board.

After previously issuing an open letter in which he expressed his concern with regards to the running of the club and its ambition, he has again called for changes to be made.

"Disregarding the series of trophyless seasons, you have to accept that a few of the current board of directors were at the helm during the greatest moments of the Arsene Wenger era," Usmanov told Forbes Magazine Russia.

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"But the footballing landscape has changed. Our point of view on which direction the club is going today, and our disagreement with this direction, have been laid out in our open letter to the board.

"We do not consider just qualifying for the Champions League to be the chief ambition of the club, and with all our hearts we support the team and wish them well for the new season.

"Victory is absolutely not ruled out, but the current politics of the club's management will leave Arsene Wenger and his team with fewer and fewer opportunities in the long run."

Usmanov also insisted that, as a fan of the club, he failed to see foresee its current situation and regrets the way in which it was handled.

Having acquired David Dein's 14.6% share in the club in 2007, a figure to which he has since added significantly, Usmanov has described the process as "unobjective".

"Arsenal were one of the first teams I saw on television, and at that time I started supporting them," he added.

"I was introduced to David Dein by a mutual friend. At that time I was looking at a number of possibilities to invest in Premier League clubs, but the chance to buy a small shareholding in Arsenal outranked all other considerations.

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"When I bought shares off David Dein I was happy with the opportunity to get to know the footballing legend which Arsenal represent. I was absolutely satsifed with this purchase and wanted to buy more shares in the club.

"At that time I never imagined the depth of conflict between the shareholders.

"I was also disappointed, and very much regretted, that Danny Fiszman, who at that time ran Arsenal, dealt with me on the basis of totally unobjective opinions and assertions of a few individuals."

The 58-year-old insists that, despite being unhappy with the club's position, he is not prepared to sell his own shares.

"We plan to continue to buy shares in the club," Usmanov confirmed.

"From the point of view of investment, this has already been a successful policy: the value of the club has rise from £300-400 million to £700-800m.

"But this is not the point. I am a fan and I am not going to sell these shares at any time, since this is the club that I consider the best in the world."