Row over Kroenke payment dominates Arsenal AGM

LONDON: Arsenal's shareholders and supporters questioned a multi-million pound payment to majority shareholder Stan Kroenke at the club's AGM on Thursday, discomfiting chairman Chips Keswick.

The club paid Kroenke Sports and Entertainment (KSE), owned by Kroenke, 3 million pounds for unspecified "strategic and advisory services" for the second successive season.

Shareholders repeatedly asked for details of the services the payment had procured, with the situation escalating to the point where Keswick was asked: "Is there a written contract or is it like (Michel) Platini and (Sepp) Blatter's verbal agreement?", which prompted an irate response.

"I am not Mr Platini, I am not Mr Blatter, and there is not a written whatever-you-wanted because as I have explained, good advice is where you can get it and how you get it and if you get good advice then you succeed.

"I don't know how many of you here run your own businesses but those of you who do will know that the best advice you can get is the quick advice from people -- and this is the point -- in other organisations who know more about the problem than you do.

"If you are humble enough to accept that then you go and you get good advice. That is precisely what we do at the Arsenal with KSE," Keswick said.

Manager Arsene Wenger spoke of his legacy, saying he was determined to leave the club in such good health that his successor would be more successful.

"I am resolute and absolutely committed until the last day of my contract to bringing big success back to this club, as well to leaving the club in a position where it can do even better when I leave," he said.

"That is very important to me that I leave the club in the shape that the guy who comes after me can do better."

The Frenchman admitted that Arsenal must improve on the two FA Cups they have won since 2005, but added that he was proud to have qualified for the Champions League for 18 seasons in a row.

"Only one club in Europe, Real Madrid, has done better with 19.

"We want more and I am the first to agree that it is not enough. If it was easy everyone would have done it," he said.