We’ve got a game tonight and I should probably be speculating about rotation and how I think we’ll line up against a tricky Everton side but, if I’m honest, after what I saw from yesterday’s fans forum (full transcript can be found on Football.London’s website here) it feels a little hollow to be talking about whether it should be Nketiah or Balogun, Elneny or Partey, Ryan or Leno. That’s because what a collective of Arsenal fans were served up by the owner’s son was nothing but polished PR drivel designed only to placate what is already a situation out of KSE’s control.
Josh Kroenke and Vinai Venkatesham held a meeting with a few Arsenal fans and in that meeting they attempted to pour water on the molten anger that has erupted from across the global Arsenal fan base. They wanted to say “sorry”, that “they made a mistake” and that they wanted to “rebuild the trust”.
As the collective of Arsenal fans excellently conveyed, however, it is impossible to build trust where there was none there before. As such the words from Josh Kroenke are as hollow as the Cadbury’s Easter eggs I still have left over from a couple of week’s ago.
Do you know something? My heart actually sank when I heard that Josh was going to do the fans forum yesterday. That’s because I knew that they weren’t going to come on and say they are selling up. I knew the second I heard he was fronting up to fans that what we would get would be a lot of empty words with little else, pouring water on any hope that they might sell up and get the hell out of our club. For a sports entity that has excelled in being silent for pretty much all of it’s time as Arsenal owners, more silence before they put the wheels in motion to sell the club would have been fine by me. I’m tired of hearing broken and empty promises. I just want them gone.
But by turning up yesterday it showed me that they will cling on to this ‘asset’ of theirs. They will hold on because it is worth so much and most likely because they know this Super League idea isn’t going away. It will rear its ugly head in another form, like the Hydra that it is.
And what Josh said yesterday about why they haven’t engaged with fans up until this point was equally pathetic. Blaming the lack of engagement on a global pandemic, when you have a manager who has been conducting Zoom calls to the press for a year, is so artificial it is frankly an insult to every Arsenal fan on this planet.
What we saw yesterday will mean nothing to Josh or Stan. We might get him turning up a bit more and showing his face next season, but we will not get the leadership we need. And he talked about leadership and running different businesses as if he is a successful seasoned pro. I can’t speak to the US businesses he is involved with, but he and his father are anything but when it comes to The Arsenal. Failed senior exec appointments, failed engagement, shocking PR gaffs, cutting costs like player wages and staff redundancies, all while plotting to feathered their own financial nest through this type of greed that we have seen, has been in the post and a lot of us have already known this. KSE are not just bad owners, they are the WORST owners.
There will be protests tonight. Perhaps they won’t go anywhere. But they have to be the start. We have to start as a unified force and fan collective now. We need to raise our voices all of the time now. If we get 10,000 fans in the ground for the Brighton game at the end of the season, we need to be shouting very loudly about how much we want Kroenke gone. Then next season we need to be as one undertaking activities that voice our disdain for this family and their involvement at this club. Leaving seats empty, standing in the gantry watching the game if we have to, we have to start hitting KSE with whatever metaphorical weapons we have.
Yesterday Josh said that next time something as big as the ESL comes around they will consult with fans. I don’t believe it for a second. They will do what they have done for over a decade with Arsenal – ignore us. They will see what is happening as a storm in a little teacup on a little island of Britain. They will believe that by the end of the year this will have all blown over. That is why we must not let up. Our momentum must not dwindle. We are going to have to work very hard to rid ourselves of these parasites sucking the life and soul from The Arsenal.
Our owners love an ‘Open Letter’ so here’s one from me to them…
Josh talked about making “big plans to invest”. Oh, really Josh? When your father’s empire is currently in all kinds of sh*t financially, when you have never bothered up until this point, when you have been happy to see the decline of this club, when your own father has admitted he doesn’t give a damn about winning or being competitive in sport? Do me a favour. Should we “be excited” Josh? Should we be waiting until June when you will suddenly announce that you will invest in the club, you are putting an infrastructure of world class football people in at the club to run the administration side properly, as opposed to cowboys like Sanellhi or PR men like Gazidis in charge?
Which part should we be excited about? Is it that you’re going to start doing more friendlies in the US so you can test out your $billion white elephant you currently have sitting in LA? Is that what we should be excited about?
Forgive me if I’m not ‘excited’ Josh. Forgive me if I’m terrified of another ten year’s of your family running Arsenal football club. With the way you and your father have delivered us into the realms of mediocrity it wouldn’t surprise me if under your custodianship we’re not even Arsenal any more. It wouldn’t surprise me if we played our games in LA, wore the colour blue as a home kit and were called ‘FC Gunners of LA’, because we all know that if your father knew that would grab him another £400million in share value without having to pay a bean himself, he’d do it without thinking.
You are going to listen to fans now Josh? Are they going to be the same fans with whom your father quite happily compulsory purchase ordered to remove their shares from the club, so you could avoid having AGMs, avoid releasing the full extent of the financial results as a club, close down all communications channels and pull up the drawbridge to any kind of public checks and balances and scrutiny over what you are doing? Are you going to now start engaging them? Will you be telling one of them they get a seat on our board now so Arsenal fans have a voice or at least visibility of what is going on? Really? REALLY? Or are you going to say you want to listen to us more, run a couple of extra online sessions with closed questions that have inane questions, then ‘tick the box’ that you are doing your bit to engage with fans?
I want you out of Arsenal Josh. We all want you, your father and KSE out of Arsenal. You are not fit for purpose. I have no confidence that you will do whatever it is in your power to make us successful. That isn’t even spending a £billion on playing staff. That’s not what I want. I want my club run properly. Good decisions made by leaders who get the best people who can deliver the best for Arsenal, who are accountable, who will do anything to see us be successful again. What we have right now is your leadership transmitting the message “you don’t need to win anything. Stanley says so”.
Get out. #KroenkeOut #KSEOut