When American Stan Kroenke first emerged as the front-runner to become the majority shareholder, most fans backed his bid over that of the Russian Alisher Usamanov.
That honeymoon period is now well and truly over. Arsenal are a club in disarray as they head towards an eighth consecutive season without a trophy. Unsurprisingly, the Arsenal fans, who are paying the highest ticket prices in Europe are getting fed up. They are now waking up to the idea that Kroenke has used Arsenal for his own good. It’s a tough pill to swallow. The Arsenal fans have been ripped off and have been played – That is the fact which ever way you look at it.
Initially, the opposition to Alisher Usmanov taking over was over the threat that Arsenal could become another ‘Chelsea’ – a play thing of a rich Billionaire. The Chelsea model was seen as the worst example of how a football club should be run and to be avoided at any costs.
But these opinions are now starting change. All it takes is a comparison of the success between Chelsea (current European champions) and Arsenal over the past 8 seasons.
The argument for sticking with these economic ‘principles’ is now wearing thin. History does NOT remember the profit and loss accounts of a club – it only remembers trophies won.
The fans have been slowly waking up. Initially, the blame rested primarily with the manager Arsene Wenger and the chief executive Ivan Gazidis. Both men deserve huge criticism for their poor decisions in recent years. What makes this so hard to accept for fans is that these decisions were made NOT with the long-term future of the club in mind. This is a lie that has been perpetuated by the Arsenal hierarchy.
One only needs to look at the current situation of Arsenal to realise how badly they have been mismanaged over the past few years. The club looks set for another season without silverware and face a battle to even qualify for the Champions League next season!
The absolute minimum requirement an Arsenal fan should have for a club with these resources is a top four finish. With only 11 games to play in the season, the club finds itself in a 3-way battle with Spurs and Chelsea for 2 Champions League places. Even a top four finish is a struggle. That is how far the club have dropped.
Another way of emphasizing how far Arsenal have dropped is the 21-point difference from current leaders Manchester United. Its been a number of years since Arsenal have even competed with United on the field. The years where Arsenal stood toe-to-toe with Man United and beat them to the title are already becoming a distant memory.
The ultimate blame for this situation should be shared by three individuals – Arsene Wenger, Ivan Gazidis and Stan Kroenke.
Kroenke in particular deserves more criticism than the others as he has most to gain from the status-quo. In affect, he has sacrificed the clubs interests for his own. In my mind, Kroenke is no worse than the bankers how brought about the current financial crisis. He is a ruthless money-man whose ONLY consideration is how to increase his own investments, NOT what is best for the club. The greed of the man is astonishing. Lets not forget that this is a man already worth a couple of Billion pounds and who recently bought a farm for £80 million!!!
If Kroenke had the best interests of the club at heart, he would have demanded more investment from the manager and raised the bar as far as the clubs aspirations are concerned.
Fourth place with little investment is a great scenario for the money-men at the club.
Make no mistake about it, the frugal nature of Wenger suits Kroenke just fine. From a purely business point of view, Kroenke’s investment into Arsenal has proved worthwhile as far as his bank balance is concerned. He is pocketing the money into his back pocket, money that should be used for the club.
The state of Arsenal football club isn’t too healthy at the moment. The state of Stan Kroenke’s bank balance most certainly is.
The success of the club has been sacrificed for the personal gain of greedy men. That is the reality of Arsenal football club in 2013.