By Chris Harris
Keith Edelman is convinced that Arsenal's Board has the 'formula for success' - despite the recent share purchases of Alisher Usmanov.
The Uzbeki's Red&White Holdings group has increased its stake in the Club to 24.2 per cent, overtaking Danny Fiszman as Arsenal's largest individual shareholder. However Edelman was quick to allay any fears among Arsenal supporters, pointing out that the Board's 'lockdown agreement', which safeguards their shares until 2012, means the Club is in safe hands.
"[Usmanov's share purchase] has no impact on the business because the Board is totally agreed to a lockdown, no selling of shares, so the Board as a total entity is the largest shareholder with 45 per cent," said Edelman. "That makes us bullet-proof.
"If there were six per cent of other shareholders who voted with the Board, Usmanov could not get control of the Club. I think there would be more than six per cent who would support us. Our business model is working well and the lockdown goes on until 2012 which is a long way away.
"We've always said that the way we are constituted and the way that the Board are running the company and the Club is a formula for success. We don't see any reason to change that formula and I think the fans see that as well.
"The stadium is a testament to the Club's ambitions, I think the team is too, and so is the way we play football. We are in good shape so why change it? The fans want to see the Club run like this. There are examples of clubs who have been taken over and they are not having as smooth a ride as we are having."
With pre-tax profits up, operating profits up and a profit of £19.6 million on player sales, Arsenal look as solid off the pitch as they do on the field of play at the moment. Edelman believes the two success stories are connected.
"We've made satisfactory progress in the six-month period," he said. "We have two objectives - one is to play good football and the other is to make a profit. On both of those fronts we've achieved that objective this year.
"Arsène Wenger always says that if you have a Board where there are no conflicts or tensions, it doesn't distract the team.
That is one reason why we entered into the lockdown because we wanted there to be calm waters at the Club. I think that has had an impact on the pitch."Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 22 Feb 2008