Time to call time on Kroenke

Arsenal have not been competitive since the American became the club’s majority owner

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Kroenke and son - what are there genuine ambitions for Arsenal?

This has been a poor season for Arsenal. We started with two defeats, and showed from early on that we would not be competing for top honours. And yet, this was probably the year to do one better than the previous one. For competition is by definition a matter of comparison. Take Man. City and Liverpool out of the equation and what you are left with, is this:
* Manchester United at its worst in recent years;
* Chelsea plagued by backroom troubles, and imminent departure of its star player;
* And Tottenham, with the thinnest squad in the top six, and without its best players for long, long periods of time.

And yet, we managed to miss the top four (not that I side with Wenger’s view that it is an honour, but it would, this year at least, mark improvement), and, as we now know, get thrashed by Chelsea in Baku. Granted Sarri’s team were the favourites, but anyone using a bet365 sign up bonus would surely not have backed such a heavy margin of defeat.

Worse, this is not an isolated incident I am describing here. The downfall of AFC started ten years ago and nothing has been stopping it ever since. In fact, with Kroenke at the helm we have never managed to mount a serious challenge to win the title. Bar one season of course, the year we lost it to Leicester, a team endowed with formidably inferior players when compared to AFC’s financial means.

In my view, there is no strategy. AFC is not the main focus of the Kroenke family. He has little incentive to do more. The Premiership is thriving anyway, so his investment pays off (almost) no matter what. Plans for a super Champions League by the European Clubs Association, with AFC’s participation secured, will provide him with an extra guaranteed income. Why bother?

And it shows. Take a look at our Board: no strategists, and no AFC icons present. Compare with the Boards of the more successful clubs, and the difference is striking. The outcome? Wrong choices, many of them: keep Ozil, let Ramsey go; buy forwards, and neglect defence, our weekly horror show; increase the price for tickets, and abandon the Islington faithful. In short, not only have we not got our Arsenal back, but we risk losing it for good this time.

Top management abandons ship. Gazidis, for more money, Sven, because of his reduced influence. The AFC stalwarts are reduced to redundancy, and nothing saddens me more than seeing Bouldy quasi present on the touchline week in, week out. And of course, this is no isolated incident. This Arsenal has no place for Tony Adams, for Lee Dixon, and Paul Merson, and for loyal AFC fans that could have helped our Board and help bring in a breath of fresh air to a moribund, arteriosclerotic institution. I am thinking of people like Robert Peston, and Philippe Sands.

I was not going to say anything about Emery, who increasingly reminds me of Manuel on Fawlty Towers. It is probably unfair to judge him after just one year, even though we were told he came prepared and knew what he had to fix. Of course, similar statements should be taken with a pinch of salt. After all, the person (Gazidis) who made this statement, is the same person who informed us in the summer of 2013 that AFC could now compete with Bayern Munich. The departure from our beloved Highbury and the (very dear to me at least) North Bank, in order to move to the Emirates was so that the club could ascend to the Everest of world football where we would be competing with the best.

But this was the season to give Nelson, and Smith-Rowe, Holding and Medley, Willock and Maitland-Niles, Saka and Amaechi their chance to blossom. After all, no one would have accused Emery for failing to qualify for CL, as no one did. Give these guys 40 games each, see how far they can go, and then add the icing on the cake to take us to the next level. No. Emery’s biggest failure to my mind is this: he built on the Wenger recipe of average imports that might deliver. They might, they might not. As it turns out, they did not. And we are back to where we were.

Except this time it is even worse. We have also been humiliated by Chelsea. Maybe Emery cannot relate to that. Kroenke definitely does not.

We want our Arsenal back, but I am afraid this means we need to persuade Kroenke to get out. Everything starts at the top. And the top has been failing us for way too many years now.

I want to add on a personal note. This is not sour grapes because of the result in Baku. I have been following AFC since the early 1970s. None of the Gooners of my generation were shouting “you’re not fit to wear the shirt” when we were almost relegated two seasons in a row. Because we could see the determination of averagely talented players week in week out. This is what we have been missing: the grit, the passion, the love for the club. Yes, today’s football is professional, but professionalism and passion can and do often go hand in hand. It does not happen at our club. It will, only if we bring more Arsenal into Arsenal. Familiar faces on the Board, Islington kids on the pitch.


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  1. Radfordkennedy

    Jun 1, 2019, 13:58 #114013

    RIP..Reyes God bless you son

  2. John F

    Jun 1, 2019, 07:43 #114005

    True Herd cheaper options for aspiring Billionaire investors are out there that is why Newcastle and Leeds are being looked at and could be set to knock Arsenal further down into mid table obscurity.

  3. Herd

    Jun 1, 2019, 05:45 #114004

    So let's word the advert for a new owner . WANTED ,BILLIONAIRE TO BE A SUGAR DADDY FOR UNDER PERFROMING SPORTING FRANCHISE . MUST BE PREPARED TO BUY THE CUB FOR 2-2.5 BILLION POUNDS AND THEN PUMP ANOTHER BILLION IN TO SATISFY SELFIE TAKING ASPIRING UPWORDLY MOBILE LATTE DRINKING WHINGING HIPSTERS WHO NOW INFEST ISLINGTON. NO RUSSIAN OLIGARCHS NEED APPLY ,ACT NOW OR RISK LOSING THIS UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY ! Don't think there's too many out there who would want that but more to the point there aren't many who can do this . Mcfc,Chelski, were bought for almost nothing ,City has a free stadium thrown in ,Liverpool were bought on the cheap in a fire sale and MUFC were debt leveraged but as the UK's biggest club they claw many back from the most lucrative sponsorships. Good Luck !

  4. John F

    May 31, 2019, 20:48 #114003

    If the Spuds do win tomorrow ,I am going to wish I was Exiled in pt as it is going to be unbearable here.Thank God for the cricket.


    May 31, 2019, 20:47 #114002

    I think Stanley is currently doing a wonderful job in LOSING hearts & minds. We should not accept mediocrity - Barca & Real never would. And that's my point really - what's the point in swapping one lousy billionaire for another, maybe from Africa or beyond who could well have human blood on his hands & not just a lion or elephant. Wouldn't it be great if somehow a nice bean counter ( there must be one somewhere) could come up with a Barca type ownership model that could work, replacing shareholder(s) with members. In the 5th/6th largest economy there is still plenty of money around ( so I am constantly being told!) & with a world wide following, surely there could be a viable scheme. Then we could really go after Stanley. PS: I am very unbothered about that game tomorrow, not interested. It's just AFC that floats my boat.

  6. markymark

    May 31, 2019, 19:52 #114001

    I’m reading Andy and I’m also reading Ron’s comments with interest . Both make points which are very true I’d suggest. Anyway Do you know what caused the bad old days of Hooliganism nearly ending with requirements for national ID cards via that fascist owner of Luton David Evans? Yes my friends it was DIY! The home office did a major study into football violence and determined that Older Adult males, fathers , uncles etc. Were no longer going to football with their younger sons . The crowds were reducing but the control element was also removed causing young hot heads to go on the smash up. The reason the older adult males were staying away was probably overall to do with crumbling infrastructure but also due to new found hobbies such as DIY! Anyway I kid you not. On a more serious note the Man U riot at Wolverhampton was horrid with over 15 people stabbed, amazingly no one died. So let’s not revisit the 70’s anytime soon apart from in a sanitised cliche retro style that works so well in fashion. Bring back a standing terrace for 5,000. Allow beer in the seats. Bring in AISA and other groups to have meeting points in the ground and maybe push for joint supporter enterprises like the successful food bank campaigns . In the meantime bring on the youth and barring a Spuds victory on Saturday . I think we’d all feel a lot better.

  7. Pauljames

    May 31, 2019, 19:14 #114000

    Ron’s post is interesting and makes many good points , but we are still the third biggest club in England in terms of trophies won and support base. So when you consider that and the fact we aren’t exactly skint we should be performing better on the pitch. Yes Man U and the scousers have created dynasties, but Licerpool haven’t won the league in nearly 30 years and neither did Man Utd pre Fergie.

  8. itsRonagain2

    May 31, 2019, 19:09 #113999

    True Andy, its changed. How much though? Youre confusing a game thats changed with the way its fed to the fans by the TV moguls. Sure, its spawned fitter more athletic players but its still 22 blokes running around of which very few are top performers. Theres still the 3 same old trophies to be won. Still a higher portion of poor teams compared to good teams. Theres still teams who are bad enough to be relegated and still many teams who dont win as much as much as an egg cup for years and years. Still more eminently forgettable games per season than memorable ones and so on and on. Whats really changed is the way its presented. TV has hijacked it, glossed it up, had the rules changed, bought it lock stock and barrel and calls the tune. Whats youve got now is the sky s--tfest who not only control its fabric but who shape the views of the lemmings who are slaves to it. You're wrong as well about people watching it, rai or shine, good or bad years back. Many of us have stood or sat at Highbury along with 17-18000 others watching us lose to Coventry and Sheff Utd et al, a ground that could pack in 55000 v the good sides on a good day so many of us often chose to stay away back then when it was really dire. It was pick yr spot time. Start in the east Lower and end up on the North Bank and so on. The main and only fundamental change that football has had is the TV cash shaping yr view on whats s--t and what isnt while making you pay through the nose for it and elevating it to appear more akin to life or death importance than it really merits. TV has bought peoples minds as much as its bought the game. As a result, it matters not who they support, they all still want to win every week and all shout sack the coach after losing a few on the bounce.These are fans who support teams whove hardly won a sausage historically! Utterly f-----g crazy sods. SKY and BT must laugh their nuts off every week. So, in short, dont assume that everybody who says what they say all spout rubbish because you disagree as thats unfair. Instead, have a deeper look at what our sport has become i d suggest to you and then ask yself why and by dint of who its become what it has. Its all abot hearst and minds my friend and TV works on the basis that once its got you by the balls, yr heart and mind will follow. I think bit by bit , more and more football fans have at last seen through it and ultimately will reject it. Until they do your Kroenkes of the World will prosper.

  9. markymark

    May 31, 2019, 18:55 #113998

    The thing is Exiled in PT you don’t know till you try. A fairly gentle campaign got him to drop the blood Sports . So an Asymetric campaign with Stan always in the spot light might start really getting under his skin. Being unpopular is one thing but no ones gone after him. That’s what a personal campaign would be about. In reality I actually agree with Rob G. I feel there are worse owners out there. Also it looks like they want to bring in Edu and Raúl should know what he’s doing . His management style is to manage by exception . That’s actually a popular way to manage particularly if you are employed under him. The alternative is constant meddling and that can be as bad.

  10. Pauljames

    May 31, 2019, 18:48 #113997

    Think we should all focus on what’s important I.E Tottenham losing tomorrow. Trust me things will feel either a hell of a lot worse or a hell of a lot better come Sunday morning. The truth is neither Emery or Kroenke are leaving any time soon , so we are just gong to have to suck it up and pray we do some sensible business this summer.

  11. Big Andy

    May 31, 2019, 18:28 #113996

    I’m reading a lot of rubbish on this page today. Here’s a fact: football has massively changed in this country since the 60s and 70s. When top- level football was affordable fans would turn up even if we were rubbish. They were working class people who took the rough with the smooth. Today, with massively expensive tickets, supporters are more choosy. They won’t pay a fortune to watch s**t. Look what happened in the final Wenger year. Unless Kroenke invests in that team the ground will be half empty every season. We are customers now, and the law of business applies.

  12. Big Andy

    May 31, 2019, 18:28 #113995

    I’m reading a lot of rubbish on this page today. Here’s a fact: football has massively changed in this country since the 60s and 70s. When top- level football was affordable fans would turn up even if we were rubbish. They were working class people who took the rough with the smooth. Today, with massively expensive tickets, supporters are more choosy. They won’t pay a fortune to watch s**t. Look what happened in the final Wenger year. Unless Kroenke invests in that team the ground will be half empty every season. We are customers now, and the law of business applies.

  13. Seven Kings Gooner 1

    May 31, 2019, 17:21 #113993

    It's Ron again - great post, even I was taken in with that early Arsenal under Wenger, thought we had arrived. I twigged what was happening when Wenger started saying maybe one day Almunia could play for England. I knew then that no Arsenal board was going spend hundreds of millions to chase glory when Arsene could just let go one of his gems "fourth place is a trophy" and the board just melted in awe of his wisdom. It has been managed mediocrity ever since and it will not change unless, as what happened in the sixties, 7 or 8 great young players come through the club from the youth teams or a "wild card" manager turns up and is ahead of the game as Arsene was when he arrived from Japan. As you say Ron - Football is cyclical and we will be back but just not with this set of players and hopefully with new owners or with more input from a more organized and collective fanbase - hopefully even fan representation at board level, private company or not, a fanbase speaking as one would make any owner sit up and listen.

  14. mbg

    May 31, 2019, 16:32 #113991

    Sadly our beloved Arsenal has changed forever and really it needn't have happened but the one who's kind wasn't wanted around here suddenly was. And then the one who thought the club belonged to him proceeded to ruin lose and get rid of nearly every tradition that took decades to build, one example being a great defence and the other, and probably more important than them all, reputation and respect. Sad.

  15. arrgee

    May 31, 2019, 14:53 #113990

    itsRonagain2 - agree with much of what you said except. "Arsenal have never created a Utd or Liverpool dynasty type era of success, no London Club ever has" Admittedly not in my lifetime, but from 1930 -1939 they did. 5 League titles + 2 FA Cups. I never saw the 1960s with Arsenal, but in comparison with 1974-1986 Arsenal, the last 10 years have been super successful. There were some very low crowds in those days.

  16. TonyEvans

    May 31, 2019, 14:52 #113989

    We're saddled with these American leeches for the foreseeable future as long as we continue to bimble along in the top 6 and flatter to deceive once or twice in a season to keep the fan-base attending. Maybe Arsenal slipping even further down the table might be a blessing in disguise if the knock-on effect meant empty seats, less tv money etc etc, which then pushed Kronke into cashing in on his investment?

  17. RobG

    May 31, 2019, 14:26 #113988

    This is - will not be a popular point - but I will say it anyway. And I do so as someone who has zero respect or love for either Kronke.. It could be worse. There was an Internet - rolls eyes - rumour about a year ago, that a certain gentleman from a third world country, was interested in buying Kronke out. This guys background made Kronke look saintly and Usmanov acceptable. Given that Kronke has no Arsenal heart and no Arsenal soul he would happily sell to anyone, if the money was big enough. That person may then turn out to be disastrous even beyond Kronke. Unless we can find someone who is genuine in both their love for the Club and their wealth - as well as being a broadly 'decen't person, we run the risk of getting someone who could really land us in worse trouble. Are James Dyson or Bill Gates Arsenal fans ? In the meantime, we are stuck with the Kronkes ; and I think there is at least a fifty/fifty chance, they will still be here come 2030. Whether I am or not - is doubtful.

  18. itsRonagain2

    May 31, 2019, 13:05 #113984

    The owner is the problem and without wishing to defend him or Wenger or Dick for that matter, i would say that being non competititive is a relative concept. GG and than later Wenger created expectation as was never the case before in the fan base, created imagery of Arsenal as a Club up there with Utd etc etc. The style factor came in and panache like the club never had before. It was always a fantasy in truth not borne out by the finances of the club. The trouble with many fans today is that their start of following the club was after 1992. Since then todays fan hasnt even tasted anything like real deep rooted decline and shoddy performances over a lengthy period such was the case in the mid 60s, 70s and 80s. Its then that proper fans are tested not what we re seeing now. Todays Arsenal looks like a rudderless ship and is frustrating in the extreme of course, but the depression in the fan base isnt really well founded in all honesty. Football success and decline is cyclical and AFC will get back. Be honest though. Arsenal have never created a Utd or Liverpool dynasty type era of success, no London Club ever has. The demand simply isnt there from the support. Success for Arsenal has always been nice to have when it happens. I wonder how many of the season ticket hogging fans will stay the course if the club sinkes towards the lowliness that we did in the mid 70s? Not many i venture. Its a fact that supporter club membership has fallen quite considerably this last 6 years. Some official clubs outside of London are threadbare now. It ll take a sinking to levels today's PL fan has never seen or experienced to even make SK think of selling up. As to the singing of those type of songs you mention, fans back then were different and didnt have the same bile in their reportiore but many players were mercilessly hounded back then, many of them unfairly so too.

  19. arrgee

    May 31, 2019, 12:48 #113983

    I agree with 1975. The Kroenkes won't leave. There is nothing that can be done about it. They own the club. Only hope is our youth players come through and turn out to be something special. The wage bill is a hindrance to Emery and would be to any manager coming in. The Arsenal defence is woeful. Not one of them would be a regular in another Premier League team.

  20. Exiled in Pt

    May 31, 2019, 12:43 #113982

    Mark do you honestly believe he has ever been involved day to day ? I don't think Stan is worried about social media or the embarrassment factor , he is pretty much hated in his own country by the fans of the teams he owns and fellow teams etc ...Complete boycott would only possibly make him sell and that will never happen

  21. peter wain

    May 31, 2019, 12:13 #113980

    the Kroenke family are a complete waste of space. he is not fit to own our club.

  22. markymark

    May 31, 2019, 11:12 #113977

    If you absolutely want him out you need to dlook asymmetric engagement. To a degree UTD fans did this with the Glazers. The Glazers have kept money pumping in but this might have been due to the nature of the initial protests . They now have an uneasy stand off position which might flow back to the Glazers if they continue to fall outside top 4 Factors in removing Kronke 1: Embarrassment factor - his handling of Arsenal leaches into the public domain. He faces personal protests outside his offices. His name is emblazoned in mockery posters and images. It starts entering the American cyber space. 2: Social media feeds journalistic enquiries into how Kronke operates his model after around 18 months or so it becomes a matter of perception that Kronke is a bad leader. 3: Ex Arsenal Pro’s join in the band wagon of attacking Kronke in the media . You’ll then start hearing lines like “ Arsenal will never improve under Kronke” 4: Tottenham enter a golden period with their board appearing to support their manager. 5: Brand tarnishing impacts Arsenal. Executives start leaving the “Failed” project 6: Supporters are now clear in their own mind that Boycotting is the right thing to do. 7: Arsenal are perceived to be in a continual transition phase. 8: Kronke tires of his public perception, his money men warn him it’s getting more and more difficult to sell the concept of Arsenal to sponsors. They suggest that a sale at this point might maximise his profit and remove a potential drain on resource allowing him to concentrate on the continuing success of the Rams. 9: A consortium buys Arsenal for between 2.5 and 3bn A multiple of the above would be needed to unseat Stan. The other routes are serious illness and handover to Josh. In my opinion I think Stan is already divorcing his day to day from Arsenal and handing over to Josh.

  23. 1975

    May 31, 2019, 10:52 #113975

    Good points. But sadly somewhat wishful. He is the private owner of the club. No way of getting rid of him. For as long as money is coming in he will stay. Even if we end up in mid table mediocrity the Tv and sponsorship money will be enough for him. On playing youth. I think we will have little choice. There will not be enough funds to buy good players. Even average players cost you tens of millions. In Kroenkes defence, it would not take much if any money to coach good defending into a team. Even our bang average defenders could be drilled and organised better. Unai is responsible for that. Aswell as coaching the right attitude. That said if I was Lacazette I would be pretty demotivated looking across to Ozil and wondering how the heck he gets paid more for doing so much less. The whole arsenal squad probably feels that. Not great for the spirit in the team.

  24. Exiled in Pt

    May 31, 2019, 10:19 #113974

    i agree with what you say and most of us have been saying this for many years . Unless every season ticket holder refuses to renew and people stop buying the endless list of stuff sold in the club shop nothing will make this man sell the club !!! Biggest problem is as soon as one season ticket is given up another person will take it and the money keeps on flowing into Stan's pocket. We are stuck with him so called true Arsenal men sold us down the river for buckets of cash so it really is pointless banging on about getting rid of them its not going to happen .. We had a man who was willing to invest in the club who managed to turn up just about every week to watch the team and he was bombed out by not being allowed on the board so in the end sold his shares and with that saw the end of Arsenal as we all know it . No longer any supporters with shares just one horrible greedy little man , with no interest in the clubs history just making money ..............Modern football and its greed summed up perfectly on Saturday in the Champions league with 2 teams who have not won a domestic championship between them in 58 and 29 years ago ........