I am most pleased, through having a certain status, to become friends with Sir Chips Keswick. He wrote to me yesterday evening regarding his performance at Arsenal’s AGM. He did not specify whether or not his missive could be published, so I shall go out on a limb and do so below.
What ho old boy! How’s Lady Gent? Still recovering from her unfortunate fall from the third storey of Clarence House? And has she had any more tattoos? The revelation of the Tony Adams one upon her buttocks shall live long in the memory!
Anyhoo, just put in what I thought was a barnstorming performance at the tedious bloody AGM yesterday. The oiks were as rowdy and ungrateful as ever, but a little touch of the old Keswick Magic and they were eating out of my hand!
As you’ll know I was up for automatic re-election to the board. I’m rather like Vladimir Putin in that way – no real elections are needed as one enjoys a 100% approval rating among the people who matter – Stan and Alisher.
There was of course the charade of a show of hands from the floor, What cards they are! For a bit of what the plebs call ‘banter’ they all pretended to vote against my automatic re-selection. I have to confess I laughed so hard at this internally that I wet myself. Poor old David Miles, he took them seriously, as if they were making some sort of protest! I mean, that is as one’s grandchildren say, “well hilair”.
What in the name of all that is good could they be protesting at? After all, revenues for the year ending May of this year were £424 million! The first time we have passed the £400 million mark! So clearly this was a little bit of badinage between me and the plebs. I have to say though that once was enough for the joke, and perhaps they took it a tad too far when they did it a second time and then forced Miles to call for a poll vote. Must remember if I ever meet any actual fans face to face to tell them that it was only funny the first time.
I have to confess I drifted off a bit at that point, but David must have asked something like “who here thinks Josh Kroenke is a bloody lovely chap with only the best of intentions for the club,” because pretty much all the plebs’ hands were raised. They really must have wanted to show how much they love young Josh as there was a second show of hands and then another poll vote. So that was all very jolly and pleasant.
Obviously with the important matter of the day, my re-election to the board, was done and dusted, I was rather keen to get to Rules for the loin & braised haunch of hare, so I thought everyone would appreciate a dash through the questions from the peasants. There were cheers as I noted that we have “a diverse and modern organisation”, and then someone said “Let’s not talk about Usmanov, I’m bored”, so I moved swiftly on to the tiresome questions section, which I dealt with with my customary wit and aplomb.
Some uppity woman shrieked something about being bored, so I thanked her and moved on. It was so bloody easy! And they were LAPPING it up, I can tell you. One knows what it must have been like to have been Elvis Presley stepping off a plane, such was the rapturous approval of old Sir Chips!
I had to calm down their adulation though. “You get respect from this side of the hall. I would ask you to show a little from the other.” More cheering.
Then old Stan, the Missourian bloodsucking leech as he was memorably referred to in an internal email a few weeks ago, did what he did best and kept quiet. I think it was bally generous of him to give an interview to the Telegraph recently, a newspaper I’m sure the majority of the fans read every day.
So famished was I (I had begun to salivate over the caramelised pear & cinnamon bavois!) that there was nothing left but to head off to the Rules. “I have stopped the meeting,” he said. “I have been very polite to you, so thank you. Would you write in if you’ve got a problem.” More rapturous applause. I felt like Susan Boyle.
AW then said some stuff, but it didn’t go down as well as the oratory of yours truly.
So all in all a wonderful success for old Sir Chips! Lunch was delightful – we got through four bottles of the Gevrey-Chambertin “Cœur de Roy” – £180 a go but what the hell! We were celebrating another classic performance.
Cheers old boy – see you at the Garrick sometime.