Usmanov wants no hostility
Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov insists he does not want to become involved in any hostility with the Arsenal board.
Last Updated: 03/10/07 8:35am
Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov, Arsenal's second largest shareholder, insists he does not want to become involved in any hostility with the board.
Usmanov bought out former vice-chairman David Dein earlier this year following his fall-out with the club's board over the future of the club.
Dein was then named non-executive chairman of the Red and White Holdings, Usmanov's company which is looking to take control of Arsenal.
The relationship between Dein and the rest of the board is a fractious one, and has been since his acrimonious departure in April.
Dein, who has also courted American businessman Stan Kroenke, feels a major investor is needed at the club if they want to keep up with rivals Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea - who have all been bought out by major foreign backers in recent seasons.
However, Arsenal's board remain insistent that they do not need any outside investment - following their move to their new Emirates Stadium home.
Usmanov is now looking to defuse the situation concerning himself, Dein and the Arsenal board - saying he does not want to be involved in any ongoing arguments.
"We do not want to be a hostage to any hostilities between David Dein and the board," he told the Sun.
"We are thinking now about how not to end up between the rock and the hard place.
"We will try to convince David to be less hostile to the current board and make an effort to pacify the board in their conflict with him.
"I'm grateful to David Dein that he decided to sell his shares to me and not someone else and we made him our non-executive chairman.
"But I don't want his personal relationship with the board to affect my relationship with them. I want to establish my own relationship with the board."
Usmanov says he was not aware of the bad feeling that existed between Dein and the current board.
"What we heard about him (Dein) and the board at the outset and what we see now are two different pictures.
"When Mr Dein contacted us we didn't know the substance of the problem between him and the board.
"I think it's a highly personal and emotional situation."
Despite Usmanov's insistence that they did not want to become involved in the current row - his business partner Farhad Moshiri insisted that they would be staying loyal to Dein.
"Our relationship with David has been for six months and with the club for four weeks," he said.
"But David's relationship with Arsenal is deeper and longer and we will be loyal to him."