Arsenal will seek to buck the trend of fans revolting against wealthy owners by inviting their supporters to buy shares in the club and play a role in its governance.
While fans of Manchester United and Liverpool rage against the debt-funded ownership models of the Glazer family and the Hicks-Gillett partnership, Arsenal will instead seek to harness the power of supporter activism for their benefit.
With Arsenal shares trading at more than £10,000 each, fans will be encouraged to buy portions of shares with relatively small contributions via the Arsenal Fanshare scheme being launched today. Supporters will be invited to pay a minimum of £100, either up front or in £10 monthly contributions, to buy one fanshare, one hundredth of an actual share. In return, the member will secure full shareholder's rights: the chance to attend the annual general meeting, ask questions of the directors and vote on policy.
Arsenal are valued at around £640m and each of its 62,000 shares trades at £10,250. The Gunners are majority-owned by four shareholders: the US property and sports entrepreneur Stan Kroenke, who has just under 30%; the Uzbek-Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov (27%); long-term shareholder Danny Fiszman owns 16%, while Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith has been looking to publicly sell her 16% stake which has been in her family for the last three generations.