Kroenke joins Gunners board

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American businessman Stan Kroenke has joined the Arsenal board after accepting an invitation to become a non-executive director of the Barclays Premier League club.

The billionaire owner of Kroenke Sports Enterprises holds 12.4% of shares in Arsenal Holdings PLC, and his prospective appointment to the board was widely interpreted as an attempt to stave off a potential takeover from Uzbek oligarch Alisher Usmanov.

Kroenke has not, however, signed up to the 'lockdown' agreement drawn up by board members last year which prevents the trading of shares without the consent of fellow directors.

In a statement released this morning, the board, which is led by club chairman Peter Hill-Wood, claimed Kroenke was fully behind their business model - a thinly-veiled attack on the owner-funded approach that would come with an Usmanov takeover.

"Mr Kroenke fully supports the approach the board has taken in setting the direction of the club," the statement read.

"The board believes Mr Kroenke's experience in sports team commercial management, sports marketing, media and new media rights as well as real estate development will be of great value."

The sports franchise mogul's appointment shows the thawing of relations between Kroenke and the board after his initial investment in April 2007 was met with horror by Hill-Wood, who claimed "his sort" was not welcome.

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