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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep 3, 2007

Arsenal fans welcome commitment from Fiszman

Arsenal Supporters' Trust have been given assurances by Danny Fiszman over the his long-term future at the club following the emergence of Alisher Usmanov in the battle for power at the Emirates Stadium.

Usmanov is joint-owner of Red and White Holdings, and the Trust have requested a meeting with the Russian where they plan to 'remind him of the responsibility his position now holds'.

Red and White have stated they currently have no plans to make a takeover offer, but they will look to increase their shares after buying David Dein's 14.58% stake last week.

Former Gunners vice-chairman Dein is now chairman of Red and White.

Usmanov said in the Moscow Times: 'Regardless of the size of my stake, I am ready to play an active role in the life of the club.'

Should Red and White or anybody else eventually look to launch a takeover, Fiszman's 24.1% stake is seen as the key.

The club's largest shareholder has previously stated that he would not sell before April 2008 and he has given indications he wants to stay beyond that date.

Trust chief Tim Payton said: 'The Arsenal Supporters' Trust (AST) welcomed Danny Fiszman's reassurances that he intends to continue with Arsenal.

'He said he intends to spend more time with the club in the years ahead. His message was that it was a lot longer term than the lockdown.'

Payton confirmed the Trust have requested a meeting with Usmanov.

'We would like to meet Usmanov and we will remind him of the responsibility his position now holds,' he said.

'Arsenal is about its history and its supporters. Any action by him must recognise this.'

Payton added: 'The AST has already told Red and White that we expect them to work with, not against the Arsenal board, whose work we greatly respect. A hostile bid is not welcome.'

The potential at Arsenal was illustrated at the weekend when more than 60,000 fans watched them beat Portsmouth and go level on points at the top of the Barclays Premier League.

Midfielder Gilberto Silva insists any moves behind the scenes will not affect what happens on the pitch.

'As players, we don't know exactly what the problem is with the board, if there is any problem,' said the Brazil international in the Evening Standard.

'The only thing we have on our minds as players is to keep doing our job and not to get involved in those other things. It is important we continue the good start we have made, especially at home.'

Meanwhile, boss Arsene Wenger has edged closer to agreeing a new deal and is likely to make an announcement before the end of the international break.

With the Frenchman's contract expiring at the end of the season, there has been inevitable uncertainty over his future, although he has always insisted there were only small problems during negotiations.

'We have a little break now and that situation could progress and advance,' he said.

'We have some time to meet and it should progress this week.'

Wenger has stated that Dein's departure last season as vice-chairman has no bearing on him agreeing fresh terms.

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