The club is forgiven, but Kroenke is not: Why Arsenal’s owner will never recover from ESL fiasco
By Allan Riley
Tim Stillman recently wrote an excellent column for Arseblog about his disdain for Stan Kroenke and Kroenke Sports and Entertainment in the wake of Arsenal’s exit from the proposed European Super League. I couldn’t agree more with what he said.
Two days after the decision to become part of the “dirty dozen”, the club released a grovelling apology as part of an open letter to the fans. In the wake of the letter, the #KroenkeOut movement has gained some serious momentum. Over 200,000 tweets with the hashtag have been posted to Twitter. A protest prior to Arsenal’s clash with Everton, which was supposed to focus on the club’s involvement in the Super League, will now instead revolve around the American billionaire.
So, why is Arsenal’s majority shareholder of fourteen years receiving so much vitriol from all corners of the club’s fanbase?
Kroenke has always been in the firing line. His decision to not invest his own personal wealth in the club at all before the signing of Thomas Partey has received copious amounts of criticism from club fans, with supporters feeling that the club has been stagnating due to its self-sufficient business model. They felt that while other members of the big six were spending large amounts of money, Arsenal were lagging behind in the quest to become one of Europe’s elite.
Moreover, Stan Kroenke is a venture capitalist. As a general rule, venture capitalists and football clubs don’t mix very well. There is usually a wild conflict of interests between the usual working-class supporter base and these multi-billionaires. Kroenke is no exception. He doesn’t care about the fans or the good of the club. He only cares about his bank account.
James Montague, author of The Billionaires Club, who was speaking on the Tifo Football Podcast, was posed the question – which one of the twelve masterminds behind the Super League was his personal favourite?
Almost tounge-in-cheek, Montague replied with; “Probably Stan Kroenke. I visited St. Louis shortly before he moved the Rams to LA and anyone that can make an entire American city hate the NFL is impressive, in a way.”
His reign of terror at Arsenal has ranged from mildly incompetent at best to completely disastrous at worst. Every single high-ranking appointment made by Kroenke bar Mikel Arteta and Edu Gaspar has made has resulted in catastrophe. KSE is distant and detached – which has resulted in the club’s slide down the league table. Raul Sanllehi’s time at Arsenal is almost indicative of Kroenke’s tenure at Arsenal. The Spaniard, who was pushed up to Head of Football, squeezed out Sven Mislintat – one of the few genuinely competent football men operating behind the scenes – and used his time at Arsenal to (*allegedly*) use his extensive range of contacts to personally further himself.
Then there was Kroenke’s involvement in the formation of the Super League. Supposedly one of the forefathers of the breakaway league, Kroenke spearheaded a trio of incompetence in the form of Joel Glazer at Manchester United and John Henry at Liverpool to get the English clubs involved.
In true Kroenke fashion, the Super League was woefully unorganised. As Stillman put it in his column; “This fantastic Super League idea, rushed into the public domain with no sponsorship, no broadcast tie-ins, no agreement from the players who were supposed to participate in it, no organised press lines about the benefits of such an idea - in fact, all they had was a fucking WordPress blog and a clipart logo.”
There was no thought process and no organisation in regards to the launch of the Super League. How very Stan Kroenke of the founding clubs.
Shortly after the 56-hour long, Twitter version of the last days of Rome ensued, the Arsenal board released a grovelling apology to the fans for their involvement. While it was slightly more sincere than Henry’s manipulative, half-arsed attempt at an apology, it still left fans mad.
There was no statement specifically from Kroenke. No apology. Mikel Arteta told the press that both Stan and Josh Kroenke had apologised to him privately, but there was no public apology.
Stan Kroenke does not care about Arsenal. He doesn’t care about the good of the club. He certainly does not care about the fans.
This is the same man who negotiated wage cuts with players while negotiating a deal that would split €3.5 BILLION across twelve clubs.
This is the same man who made fifty-five employees, including the club mascot, redundant while creating a pathetic, money-making venture that would see the clubs involved earn £350 million just for accepting an invitation.
I’ve never been ashamed and embarrassed to be an Arsenal fan until this week. And that’s because of one man who leeches of this once great football club.
The club may have been forgiven following their apology, but Stan Kroenke will never be forgiven for what he has tried to turn this club into.
History. Class. Tradition. Stan Kroenke does not represent or embody any one of these ideals. Kroenke Out.