Kroenke Must Go For the Sake of Arsenal
In May of 2011, a sort of palace coup was engineered at the Emirates with the two remaining substantial shareholdings of Danny Fiszman and Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith going to Stan Kroenke and in effect Kroenke was anointed the new “emperor” of Arsenal Football Club. Except the Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov refused to play ball and increased his holding in the club too!
Usmanov’s holding of just under 30% is a nuisance to Kroenke as this prevents him from passing special resolutions and doing whatever he wants with the club. The Russian’s shareholding should entitle him to a seat or two on the board of the club, but such is the animosity towards Usmanov from the club’s old hierarchy that they would rather the club collapsed before affording this courtesy.
So where does this leave Arsenal? Kroenke has wealth, but the sort that will result in him writing blank cheques for an Arsenal manager to spend on players. Kroenke has many sporting interests in America which means he will not get involved in the day to day running of the club nor will he sanction major transfers. In effect Kroenke is running the club by remote, by Skype! This at a time when Arsenal’s position as a top 7 club is being threatened. Whilst other clubs have active hands-on owners / chairmen, Arsenal is being run like a major corporation with budgets set for wages and transfers, and regardless of the change in circumstances we will keep to those budgets.
Football is not like a “normal” business. Unless a club spends big in the transfer market it will not attract top players and without top players trophies cease to arrive. Take a look at Wenger’s early years, top players came to the club, not top potential, top players and trophies followed, now look at the last 6 years, we have brought in potential every year and with that we have achieved nothing. The model needs to change, but the board are powerless to authorise a change in this model as the owner is happy with our financial results!
The club is at a major crossroads and the ownership of the club will determine whether we enter many more years of trophyless seasons or the trophies and top players start to come back. The continued ownership of Kroenke will see Wenger rule the roost at the Emirates, a frugal approach to the transfer window and many promises of potential followed by seasons of disappointment. This in effect is the ghost of Arsenal seasons to come, but these can be changed. Kroenke can sell his stake to Usmanov in the summer for a very good profit and then we enter into a completely new ball game.
Whether David Dein re-joins the board is another matter, but Usmanov will not only give Wenger a very large transfer budget, he will insist that he uses it. Usmanov will explain to Wenger that the club needs to win trophies and if that means breaking the bank to bring in top players like Goetze or Hazard, then we MUST do this. He will also explain to Wenger that UEFA Financial Fair Play rules are null and void. There are too many big clubs, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea and PSG too name but a few who are too big for UEFA to take any sanctions against. In no uncertain terms Wenger will be told to spend to win trophies, for 6 season operation youth development has failed, and now is the time for change.
These are the options faced by our club, more of the same under Kroenke or a dash for gold under Usmanov.