Arsenalog takes a deep dive into the Kroenke's ownership of the Gunners.
A lot of times we as fans are to be blamed for judging football club owners only upon how much money they’re ready to invest in the club. While it should be a parameter to judge the owners but surely not the only one.
To give you a perspective, Ellis Short, Sunderland Football Club's owner from 2008 to 2018 is estimated to have put in around £200m of investment in the club. However, when the American left, Sunderland were at one of the lowest points in their 139 years of proud history.
Stan Kroenke and his Kroenke Sports Enterprises (KSE) have been widely criticised over his 13 years long reign as, first a stakeholder, and then as the owner of Arsenal football club. The Kroenkes have been alleged of not being ambitious enough when it comes to their ownership of Arsenal. There have been numerous protests against them by Arsenal fans who feel let down by their owners and you can’t blame them when a football club of Arsenal’s stature is finishing 8th in the Premier League. The downfall of Arsenal has been steep and it has occurred under KSE’s watch.
However, in recent days the Koneke’s have shown signs of improvement and maturity on their part to run this football club. While they’re still believed to be persistent upon their vision to run Arsenal as a self-sustainable club, however, they have been more actively participating in the process to make Arsenal successful even under that vision. In this article, I lay out three of such measures or decisions that were made or not made which signifies that the Kroenkes are at last “getting it”.
Lack of knee-jerk decision making
A decision-maker shouldn’t only be judged on the decisions that he makes but also upon those that he doesn’t. Raul Sanllehi’s departure from Arsenal has caused a storm amongst the footballing world as to why a head of football who was rather popular amongst the fans and who at least seemed to be delivering would leave without notice.
Instead, they sent Tim Lewis and then sanctioned Raul Sanllehi’s departure leaving behind a more robust system which consisted of a manager who has earned the trust of everyone at the club and a technical director who is well settled and seems eager to prove his abilities.
Increased direct involvement
Stan Kroenke has always been regarded as someone who hasn’t been able to part the distance between London and the USA. The common belief is that the American just doesn’t get English football and the business tycoon hasn’t made enough efforts to change that interpretation from the Arsenal faithful.
However, the increased involvement of Josh Kroenke in the operations side of things has changed the narrative around KSE ownership. When Arsene Wenger was at the club, the Frenchman was the focal point of things as to how the club is going to run.
Nonetheless, since his departure, there were efforts made to put in a new structure in place. Such a system required the direct intervention of the owners to oversee that Arsenal’s interests are being prioritised.
With Josh Kroenke’s intervention, it meant that the ownership was at last involved. It is believed that when it comes to Arsenal, Josh holds similar rights as his father, which puts him in a key role at the club. Mikel Arteta continuous claims that he has a direct route of contact with the owners have only solidified the claim that the Kroenkes are belatedly putting their foot down.
Improved Performance in the Transfer Market
Arsenal has long been seen as a club which continuously fails to live up to its stature and the fans’ expectations. Now, this is where the Kroenkes can be blamed directly, there have been various instances where the club has missed out on their transfer targets due to unavailability of cash.
“I’m not going to go into too much detail - people can read between the lines of being aggressive and what that might mean. That’s kind of how I would answer that question - it’s going to be a private matter for us here at the club, but I hope our fans understand that by being aggressive that’s exactly what we were,” this is how Josh Kroenke responded when he was asked about KSE investment into the club in an interview dated back in August 2019.
This by no means is a clear indication that KSE has put its own money into the club.
However, Arsenal weren’t dependent on sales to make signings in 2019 and the same statement has been reiterated in this summer transfer window.
The club did shell out a big chunk in recruitment last season and if it can do the business they want to do then that would mark another successful transfer window under KSE’s watch. By no means is it sufficient, but the steps are at last being put in the right direction.
The “Kroenke Out” boards shouldn’t be put down just yet but surely they have taken steps to be more involved in making this club successful.
KSE by no means is an unsuccessful franchisee, and if they’re actually “getting” English football and understanding how this football club should be run then they have the ability and skills to make Arsenal successful again and this can only be seen as a ray of light in what has been a rather gloomy tenure.