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Arsenal Chair "Horrified" by Kroenke Takeover

American sports tycoon Stan Kroenke has kept mum about whether the purchase of a 10 percent stake in Arsenal FC by his sports conglomerate heralds a future takeover attempt, but Arsenal's Peter Hill-Wood has two words for him: go away. The Gunners' chairman told the Guardian that the club's shareholders had "no intention of selling to some stranger," and would be "horrified to see [it] go across the Atlantic."

Nevertheless, Kroenke Sports Enterprises has added to its stake since purchasing 9.9 percent of the club two weeks ago. According to the Guardian, Kroenke recently bought 659 shares from Danny Fiszman, Arsenal's majority shareholder. Even so, Hill-Wood insists that Fiszman and the other major shareholders have no interest in selling (although former vice chair David Dein, who owns 14.5 percent, might). "These people love Arsenal," Hill-Wood said. "The club has been run for the benefit of supporters, staff and players, and the shareholders would prefer to stay in control than sell out to some stranger without the years of support they have."

As columnist David Conn points out, that sentiment certainly runs counter to the prevailing mood in England today. Just look at Manchester United and Chelsea, a pair of clubs that have benefited greatly from foreign ownership. Not only have they turned the EPL into a two-horse race, they're also meeting in the F.A. Cup final and could meet yet again in the Champions League final after that. Arsenal is now the last of the big four without a rich foreign owner now that Liverpool has been sold-and the pressure to jump on the bandwagon is mounting.

Read the whole story at The Guardian »

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