I’d heard – like I’m sure many of you did over social media – that the Kroenke bid for Usmanov’s shares had happened, but the mainstream media are now going for it and so it seems like it’s becoming more relevant and in the public eye, after Amy Lawrence from the Guardian wrote a story on the matter.
It’s scary for everyone associated with Arsenal football club. Anybody who doesn’t think anything else is burying their head in the stand. Here is an American billionaire with no affiliation or real link to Arsenal, who has made it clear that he isn’t investing a cent of his money, looking to spend an absolute fortune to acquire shares in a club where the vast majority of fans want him out, the media are hardly in love with (mainly because he just doesn’t talk) and the upper echelons and Old Etonian cronies probably regret selling their shares to. We’ll park that particular collective of people because they are the ones that got us in to the Kroenke mess.
And if Usmanov throws in the towel at Arsenal it will be a mess, believe me, because Stan is not a man to fork out that amount of cash for any other reason than his own benefit. Fans are irrelevant. Winning trophies are irrelevant. Success is secondary to profit and he has seen that football can be monetised more than ever before.
The reason Stan Kroenke wants Usmanov’s shares is because he knows that even a mediocre sporting ‘franchise’ can make money in the Premier League and if you gave him all of the shares you’d see that approach from day one. There’d be no chance of transparency. AGM’s and public accountability would be dead at Arsenal. £3million ‘consultancy fees’ would skyrocket. But we wouldn’t know it.
Kroenke is hated in his home state because he ripped the sporting beating heart out of it by taking the St Louis Rams away off to LA. What do you think he would do with a football team in which he’d have carte blanche to do what he wanted and with which he could siphon as much liquid capital as there is in the bank account?
This is terrifying news. Do you think we’re too big to be gutted and left to rot? I don’t. The LA Rams as their now known, are supposedly an awful American Football team, with half full stadiums. Kroenke probably doesn’t care thought because they don’t get relegated. He can rely on the TV money and the fact that American Football is such big business in the States.
Much like the Premier League is big business in the U.K. and across the globe. The only difference is that Arsenal can go down if they were gutted. If we had an owner who would withdraw as much profit as he wanted to, so that he could fund other activities in the States, then we’d be powerless to stop, but we’d also be helpless in seeing him not reinvest in the playing squad.
Perhaps I’m being a little too melodramatic in my assumptions here, but I see only dark motives with this American billionaire, if he gets both hands fully on Arsenal. I see a guy who would limit spend on the football side. Who would probably delight in another ‘Project Youth’ because it would mean that the ever-inflating wages and fees in the Premier League are not his concern, just creating a conveyor belt of cash, probably through building up and selling on player assets.
And as long as Arsenal stay ‘stable’ in the Premier League – and that means nowhere near relegation to somebody like Kroenke – then he’d probably be ok with that.
What can we do though? We’re not even pawns in this game of chess. Pawns at least make a move in the game. We have nothing because Kroenke couldn’t give a toss about us. He doesn’t listen, he doesn’t care, he’ll never care. What he wants is our cash. Arsenal fans cash. From over the globe. We could protest. We could boycott games. But our fanbase is large enough to be a bit of a hydra, in that for every fan that boycotts, another will take their place. Even better if they are one-time attendees to Stan (this is not a point about overseas fans by the way. I have no major issue with any Arsenal fan getting over to see the team) because he can hoover up their money in merchandising.
Protests will only get moving, however, after things have got so bad that it really is obvious that Kroenke is rotting the club from the inside. Only in four years time, for example, when Wenger is gone, a puppet has replaced him, and the young and quality players we currently have are looking for their next moves because Arsenal no longer pay market rate, so Kroenke is looking to move them on to keep the cash rolling in, would we see the true problem unfold and by then it would be too late. We’d be a decaying former behemoth who chucked their lot in with the wrong billionaire. Thanks to Hill Wood and the Bracewell-Smiths for their gamble. It hasn’t paid off. Except for you maybe financially.
Randy Lerner took over Villa and sent it spiralling into a mess. Hicks and Gillett did the same with Liverpool. Kroenke shows less ambition than all of those and so how far would it go with him controlling all of the club? How low could somebody like that take it?
The situation that we find ourselves in is so dire that we’re hoping that the odious and shady character that Alisher Usmanov is, will hold on to his shares to ensure Kroenke is left without having full control. It’s a farce of a situation to be in.
All we can hope is that something prevents that American from gaining control.
Catch you tomorrow. I’m out of energy to write any more. The prospects of a fully Kroenke run Arsenal have drained me.