Arsenal Director Josh Kroenke Responds to Club Supporters’ Public Outrage

Share

Yesterday saw Arsenal Owner/Majority Shareholder Stan Kroenke called out as an absentee leader of the club in a public statement made by several supporter groups.

A two-page letter, signed by several major organizations of Arsenal fans and prominent bloggers, called for change and openly questioned the American’s intentions for and interests in the club. It was a rallying cry of #KroenkeChange not #KroenkeOut and today a member of the billionaire’s family made a public response.

“As Arsenal fans, we have watched with frustration as the team’s football performances have declined over the past decade,” the letter from the fans read.

“When Stan Kroenke began buying Arsenal shares, the club had just ­competed in a first Champions League final. Twelve years on, Arsenal are about to play in the Europa League for the third year running.”

The letter also hit out at the club’s spending habits, transfer policy and match day atmosphere.

“Arsenal is at a crossroads. Things need to change,” the letter said, while describing the Emirates Stadium as a “soulless place” when it’s game time. The fan protest calls to mind:

1.) the #WengerOut demonstrations and marches that popped up during the final years of the Arsene Wenger regime and

2.) the current “green and gold until the club is sold” #GlazersOut movement that we’re seeing right now from Manchester United fans.

Kroenke the Younger has responded, saying his family is passionate about the club, and just as passionate as the players themselves.

“Is it hard to take? Absolutely,” Josh Kroenke said of the letter.

“But I’m not in this business to make friends, I’m in it to win. If anyone is ever going to question anything about our ownership – which I view as a custodianship, the supporters trust us to be a custodian of the values — that’s what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to win whilst also respecting the values and traditions of the club.”

“I was there in Baku [for the Europa League final] on behalf of KSE [Kroenke Sports & Entertainment], my father and family. I was down there on the sidelines, on the medal podium handing out second-place medals.”

“I saw the look on our coach’s face, our players and all our staff. I felt and I saw what they felt. I felt the same way.”

europa-league

“The most important thing about being down on the pitch is understanding that there is a resolve there. There are some people who are also pretty pissed off that we had dropped that last match. That resolve should serve us well.”

It’s well known that Arsenal have imposed a very small transfer budget upon themselves this summer window and that’s reflected in their lack of activity so far.

The only signing made by the north London club so far this summer is Brazilian teenager Gabriel Martinelli. They have been after Kieran Tierney, but Celtic rejected their offer as too far below their valuation. 

When Josh Kroenke addressed the money available for a potential transfer market war chest for manager Unai Emery to work with, well, he didn’t exactly say what supporters would want to hear. The higher-ups claim their spending is hamstrung by not having qualified for Champions League this upcoming season.

arsenal-fc-emirates

“If we’re going into the finer points I’d have to defer to these guys [managing director Vinai Venkatesham and head of football Raul Sanllehi]. I’ve always told them we need to be as aggressive as possible,” Kroenke continued.

“It’s no secret that we have a Champions League wage bill on a Europa League budget right now. That’s a fact. And one that we’re figuring out how to face internally at the moment.”

It’s hard to imagine what Josh Kroenke said here will do much of anything to allay the concerns of the fans.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No,  I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation

You can follow Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com on Twitter here and his cat on Instagram at this link.

Powered by

Trackbacks

  1. […] Tuesday brought a public response from his son, Kroenke Sports & Entertainment (KSE) Vice Chairman Josh Kroenke, whohit back at the notion that his family doesn’t really have their heart in running and owning t… […]

  2. […] supporter discontent with the leadership. The fans have voiced their disgust with the directionthe Kroenke family has taken them,and Josh Kroenke, Vice-Chairman of the ownership grouphas responded […]

Speak Your Mind