Arsenal Supporters' Trust calls on Stan Kroenke to address AGM

A prominent Arsenal supporters' group has called on majority owner Stan Kroenke to speak at Thursday's Annual General Meeting and address concerns about the club's governance.

Arsenal Supporters' Trust (AST) has sent a letter to Kroenke asking him to lay out "your vision for the club" at Thursday's meeting with shareholders, and provide "a much needed sense of leadership and purpose."

AST, which owns three Arsenal shares, also said it will vote against proposals to re-appoint chairman Chips Keswick and Kroenke's son Josh to the club board as it seeks directors with more independence.

The American billionaire is set to attend the annual meeting, but rarely makes any public comments about the way the club is run.

The AST, which owns shares in the club and has been heavily critical of Kroenke and the Arsenal board in recent years, also reiterated a call for a makeover of the Arsenal hierarchy.

"As the majority shareholder and sole equity-holding Board member we believe that good governance practice requires you personally to address the meeting," AST wrote in its letter.

"By doing so you can provide everyone at the Club with a much needed sense of leadership and purpose. You can also address the concerns that have been raised by our members on a range of governance and ownership issues including a need to refresh the Boardroom and ensure the appointment of truly Independent Directors who represent all shareholders."

In a separate statement, AST called on all minor shareholders to vote against the resolution to reappoint Keswick and Josh Kroenke.

While they do not have the power to block those moves, AST said "the reason for this course of action is to demonstrate dissatisfaction at the current ownership and governance arrangements at the Arsenal Football Club."

The statement added: "In particular we feel that the present directors are not acting with sufficient independence, nor representing the interests of the small shareholders, or the future custodianship of the Club."

AST also criticised Kroenke for his failure to engage with fans since becoming the majority owner, and called for a private meeting after AGM.

"Sadly [meeting with fans] is a commitment that has not been effectively fulfilled even once. Addressing shareholders at the meeting, many of whom are custodian supporters, would be a positive step," the letter said.

"Should you decide to not address the meeting then we would request as a priority a meeting after the AGM where you can convey your current approach and priorities for the Club. This would be well received by supporters and we believe assist the Club to understand your priorities. It is by working together that Arsenal will become a stronger footballing institution."