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A butcher is a person in your neighbourhood. A teacher is a person in our neighbourhood. An Uzbek multi-billionaire steel and telecommunications tycoon is a person in your neighbourhood. At least it is if you're in Arsenal's neighbourhood, where yesterday's pledge of grievance by Robin van Persie has prompted Alisher Usmanov to jump into the role of man of the people and articulate the frustrations of the everyday Gooner.

At a time inconsiderately close to the Fiver's 11am deadline, Usmanov and his fellow magnate and Arsenal stakeholder Farhad Moshiri issued an open letter to the Arsenal board denouncing its handling of club affairs, no doubt before the pair reached for their limited edition Gus Caesar blankets, lamented Theo Walcott's haphazard crossing and pronounced Jack Wilshere the once and future saviour of England. "We are part of this Club and naturally want the best for it, but our investment is less important than the fact that we are loyal supporters and will never do anything that would destabilise or 'create conflict' at the Club," stormed the gallant geezers before in no way seeking to ride on the wave of fan discontent to destabilise the club and sweep themselves to power.

Handedness: Usmanov or Moshiri allude to plenty of it by the board, specifically of the "cack" and "under" varieties. Among many gripes, the pair condemns an alleged campaign by the board to discredit Usmanov and "distract attention from the more fundamental issues facing the Club, and which indeed many of the supporters discuss through social media sites and other forums on a regular basis. These are the financial model, the lack of investment and the Club's future strategic direction."

They also decry the board's policy of relying on "self-financing", which they suggest is a smokescreen for the board-members to get richer. "As a consequence of this policy, which is dressed up as prudent financial planning, it is down to our manager, and not the shareholders, to have to deal with the Club's tight finances, carry the burden of repaying the stadium debt by selling his best players and having to continue to find cheaper replacements," continue the pair in a letter that was just a few 'you knows' and some idiot leaving his radio on in the background short of being the perfect transcript of an exchange on Five Live's 6-0-6 phone-in.

"This policy is leading to the loss of our best players, often to our main competitors, and even causes the players themselves to question their future at the Club and the Club's ambitions," vented the pair anew. "You can try and put a good face on a bad game for as long as you want, pontificating about the merits of this model, but it will not hide the obvious fact that it just does not allow our great manager to fully realize his managerial talent and deliver success for the fans who are paying the highest prices in the land."

The board, so far, have yet to reply. However, it is believed that when they do eventually publish a response, Arsene Wenger will be wheeled out to the media shortly afterwards to explain that it would have been an brilliantly triumphant riposte if only dastardly Manchester City hadn't bought up all the best speech-writers, Sir Chips Keswick hadn't pulled a hamstring in the build-up and Stan Kronke had managed to overcome his inability to communicate properly, an affliction that Arsenal doctors probably initially thought would only last a couple of weeks but has now gone for several years.


"It's impossible. How can I have a transfer Embargo with six players? That is just absolute madness.

"We have been deducted 10 points, we were fined £160,000, we had our Champions League place taken away from us, we are out of Europe for another three years. That's quite a lot at the moment.

"I think now is perhaps the time to say 'okay, we have been punished'.

"We have all suffered enough. Everyone in Scottish football has suffered."


"Re: Noble Francis wondering he should punch a colleague whose ringtone is the theme tune of The Fall Guy, or stage a committee meeting (agenda, minutes etc) and do a PowerPoint presentation etc, and so on (yesterday's Fiver Letters). I don't understand people whose phones ring regularly.  Maybe they are the sort of erudite, sociable, and friendly people that Guardian Soulmates is for, but to me they just seem like [Snip! - Fiver Profanity Ed.]" - Stephen Yoxall.

"Noble Francis should jump an open drawbridge or Tarzan from a vine" - Rich Morris (and 1,057 others).

"I'm sure everyone would agree that Robin van Persie is actually wiping snot from his nose in yesterday's Fiver illustration, not kissing the badge. This makes a lot more sense, considering his contract decision" - John Hewertson.

"Rather than have penalty shoot-outs decide drawn games in the World Cup and Euros, how about just advancing the team with the higher world ranking to the next round? Sounds like a much better, fairer plan to me ... and is in no

way motivated by England's continually-high-for-no-apparent-reason world ranking" - Paul Dingsdale.

Send your letters to the.boss@guardian.co.uk. And if you've nothing better to do you can also tweet the Fiver.


Step one: open an account with Blue Square and deposit any amount; step two: place a bet of at least £5 on any sport; step three: we will match your bet with a free bet of up to £25.


We keep trying to point out the utter futility of advertising an online dating service "for interesting people" in the Fiver to the naive folk who run Guardian Soulmates, but they weren't having any of it. So here you go – sign up here to view profiles of the kind of erudite, sociable and friendly romantics who would never dream of going out with you and there's a tiny chance tonight could be the last Friday you spend at home alone, crying into your gin.


Asamoah Gyan has decided to forego the myriad delights of Sunderland Empire Theatre and Bridges Shopping Centre in favour of the Hili Archaeological Park and Bawadi Mall after making his loan move to UAE side Al-Ain permanent.

Alexander Buttner is set to swap the creperies and Historic Cellars of Arnhem for Romsey Abbey and Paultons Park, Home of Peppa Pig World now that Southampton have agreed a deal with Vitesse Arnhem to sign the Dutch defender.

The Coventry Transport Museum's loss could be the Shipley Art Gallery's gain if teenage midfielder Gael Bigirimana decides to spend the wages he's currently negotiating with Newcastle United's bean-counters on exploring local cultural hotspots upon leaving the Ricoh Arena.

David Beckham will have more time to spend browsing the shops on Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade now that he's been consigned to the Naughty Step for his "confrontational and provocative behaviour" during and after LA Galaxy's defeat at the hands of San Jose last week.

West Brom will reportedly have to part with the price of 461,538 family tickets to Sandwell Valley Park Farm if they're to prise £3m-valued Obafemi Martins away from Rubin Kazan.

And Middlesbrough medical staff have cancelled their plans for a day's rafting at the Teesside White Water Course and gone on red alert after hearing that Jonathan Woodgate is on the verge of re-joining the club after being released by Stoke City.


David Conn's football finance brain is so complex it can process over 58,000 League Two tax returns every single second. So listen up when he talks about an Arsenal system that sees Arsene Wenger denied team-building funds and top players leaving the club.

OK, it's nowt to do with football but there's eff all else on offer today and this is a lovely piece anyway. From horse long-jump to the underwater obstacle race, Scott Murray looks at half-a-dozen discontinued Olympic sports in this week's Joy of Six.

And fancy winning some top football books? Send us your Photoshop impressions of Andres Iniesta for next week's Gallery.


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