Arsenal shareholders used the club’s Annual General Meeting to voice their displeasure at the current board.
In a rare move to show their unhappiness with the set-up, shareholders voted down two resolutions to re-elect chairman Sir Chips Keswick and director Josh Kroenke.
This was despite the fact they were told majority shareholder Stan Kroenke had already voted by proxy in favour of retaining the pair – with his 67 per cent holding swaying the vote.
At least 200 shareholders, many of which were left standing at the start of the AGM as not enough chairs were provided, turned up to the Emirates Stadium to hear from Keswick, chief executive Ivan Gazidis and manager Arsene Wenger.
The majority of those shareholders in attendance voted against the re-election of Keswick as well as the re-election of Kroenke’s son to the board.
Poll votes took place in the room but were defeated as both Kroenke and Alisher Usmanov – who owns more than 30% of the club and has made noises about attempting to buy out Kroenke – voted in favour of the pair being re-elected.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger commented on the voting and the difficulty he faces in keeping fans happy.
He said: “I dedicate 99% of my lifetime trying to make you happy. Looking at today, that is not easy. My determination is as strong as ever.”
Earlier, Keswick defended the £2.6million pay-out to Gazidis, with shareholders questioning why his payment remained the same despite a poor season on the pitch.
“Ivan is doing a fantastic and first-class job leading the development of this club across every aspect of its operations and is representing it in the Premier League, the European Club Association and UEFA level,” the 77-year-old said.
“I would also add that it is important the remuneration of all the club’s management remains competitive in order to attract and retain talent. In this regard, our CEO’s pay is comparable to clubs of a similar stature.”
The Arsenal Supporters’ Trust had issued a letter on the eve of the meeting urging shareholders to vote against the re-elections and in doing so, there was an hour-long process put in place as votes were cast.
There have been protests against Kroenke’s ownership, including chants at recent games, as fans turn their angst away from Wenger and focus more towards the board.
But Kroenke said he is ”committed long-term” at the north Londoners and said in an interview with the Daily Telegraph and Daily Mirror: ”Just go look at our history.
”We get into these things to try to grow them .You don’t see us selling things. You just don’t. We are committed long-term.”
Wenger signed a new contract until 2019 putting to bed speculation about his future, and the Frenchman has Kroenke’s full backing.
”An easy answer is to do something,” said Kroenke.
”It’s harder not to do something. We have dealt with this a lot in different organisations and we just think that Arsene is doing a great job and he’s the right guy.”