Everyone tends to be suspicious of new owners. After all who are these people who have suddenly decided that they love your club and they’re going to take it over? Do they really have the best interests of your beloved at heart or are they merely attempting to use this extravagant purchase as some kind of over zealous phallic extension to compensate for when they were called a ‘nerd’ at school.
The truth is: you can’t know until it’s too late. New owners are like politicians: they say one thing, think another and get abuse from fans no matter what they do. But, that doesn’t always mean that they have to have a negative impact. Everyone has different ideas about how clubs should be run and, with the exception of a few ruthless businessmen, they tend to have their heart in the right place, even if they’re disgracefully under qualified.
So what does Stan Kroenke bring to Arsenal, and is he the right man to usher in a new era of success for the north London club? A lot of people won’t want Kroenke trying to interfere at all in the actual running of the club but I think it might be necessary. The current board seems to have stagnated slightly. They sound like a broken record and I don’t think they put pressure on Arsene to be more lavish in the way that David Dein did.
The best way to understand Kroenke is to look not only at what he’s been saying to the press but also how he has managed the other sports teams he owns in the States.
What he’s said?
One clue Stan recently threw to the press was his defence of the Glazer family’s running of Man Utd. The American said: “Since they took over they have won and increased revenues by a huge amount. If I was a fan of that club, I would go there and go ‘Wow!’ because how could you do it any better? We have a whole different philosophy I think in the States…but I think it’s time maybe for everybody to think a little bit….He (Glazer) took money out of the club. So What? (LA Lakers owner) Jerry Buss takes money out of his club…Did the Lakers win anything? Well, yeah. They did. How big’s their revenue? Pretty darn good.”
Hmm…what about the obsession with Wengeristic sustainability for our club? Have you only been going on about making our club profitable so you can take money out of it? I don’t think so but it is interesting to hear him say things that are in stark contrast to what he has said in the past. Kroenke announced recently that he was at Arsenal for the ‘long-term’. Whilst this might be a reassuring note for some for others including myself it denotes that he is prepared to play the long game. Something that Arsenal fans have been doing for a while.
What he’s done?
If Arsenal fans want to look at the other members of Kroenke Sports Enterprises to see how likely their owner is to inspire success in doesn’t make for good reading. So out of Stan’s ‘successful’ teams the St Louis Rams are pretty much just not successful at all, the MLS team Colorado Rapids did win the league last year but through the play-offs, Colorado Avalanche last won the Stanley Cup in 2001 which makes our trophy drought look good and Kroenke boasted that his Denver Nuggets team has reached the play-offs in each of the last eight seasons. This would seem impressive were it not for the fact that Arsenal have been one of only two teams to reach the Champions League every year for fifteen years and they are still considered a bit of a flop.
So what can we see of Kroenke’s vision for the future? Not much. As much Arsenal fans would love to see him be the catalyst for some action amongst the Arsenal board I don’t see it happening. I know that he has been on the board since 2008 but for him it probably feels like Arsenal were successful really recently and will soon be back there. I don’t think this is necessarily the case. Of course Arsenal can make it back to the top but something about the way the club is run at the top needs to change before they can reach the heights they previously held.
It will be interesting to see how long Gazidis remains at the club. The man is far from loved by some Arsenal fans who see him more as a politician than a chief executive and he is clearly a weak negotiator. Anyone who sells Fabregas for an initial fee of £25m needs a clip round the ear to say the least.
Kroenke might be known as a reserved owner who avoids the limelight and only conducts things behind closed doors if at all but I think he will find the premier league different from his American enterprises. At a club that is looking for leadership at every level Silent Stan might have to carve out a more public role for himself in the future.
For more Arsenal news follow me on Twitter @H_Mackay
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