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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Oct 25, 2007

Kroenke content with Gunners 'partnership'

Arsenal shareholder Stan Kroenke is keen to stand side-by-side with the current Gunners board but has not ruled out one day owning the club outright.

American businessman Kroenke, who has acquired a 12.2% stake in the club, was linked with a takeover when he first acquired a stake in the club.

But Arsenal's main concern now is the more recent interest from Russian businessman Alisher Usmanov, who now has a 14% share bought from former vice-chairman David Dein.

The Gunners board recently announced an extension of the 'lock-down' agreement by directors on the sale of shares in the club.

The move appears to rule out the possibility of a takeover bid in the immediate future at least.

Chairman Peter Hill-Wood announced that club directors would only sell their stake to 'permitted persons' before April 2009 and had to give fellow board members 'first option' until October 2012. However, there was a termination clause in the agreement in October 2010.

Kroenke, who has interests in ice hockey, American football, basketball and soccer in the States, has said he would support the lock-down agreement.

'I certainly would. I don't have any problem with that,' he said.

Asked about his desire to potentially own the club, he said: 'There are lots of owners in Arsenal so we'd have to see how that worked.

'It is a partnership at this point.

'Everything we are talking about, everybody has a tendency to want to speed up. Actually these things take a lot of time, a lot of effort and many years to develop. So we tend to look in the long-term.

'I think if you are an investor in a sports team and you don't look long-term, you're probably not a good investor.'

Kroenke indicated he may be interested in securing a place on the board but admitted the decision is not his to make.

'We'll see, it's their board. They would have to invite me.

'This is a strategic investment for us. We are involved in sports in America, in the NBA, NHL, the NFL and Major League Soccer.'

Hill-Wood initially appeared to be opposed to Kroenke's interest but a meeting between the parties seemed to ease matters.

When asked how that happened, Kroenke said: 'I don't think I really did anything to be honest.

'We showed we are long-term investors. We do things for very specific reasons. We think they are good reasons. We like the team or we would not have got involved.'