A snivelling, vinegary apology from Arsenal football club to its fans will hardly build bridges or restore trust in the club or its owner after it tried to break away from the best league in the world to join the European Super League, a traveling football circus with no consequences.
If things weren’t bad enough on the pitch already, the move to join the European Super League and its subsequent furore have undermined Mikel Arteta’s efforts further. The distraction of tension and rifts hardly helped in the run-up to the home fixture with Everton where Arsenal looked very ordinary in the 0-1 defeat.
With the Europa League semi-final looming, it’s hardly the best preparation to meet their former boss and patsy Unai Emery, now the head coach of La Liga side Villarreal. Emery must be mildly amused by the chaos and if he isn’t laughing up his sleeve, I’d be surprised and that’s before he attempts to dump them out of a competition that he’s almost made his own.
Arsenal are at war with its fan base as Stan Kroenke, a devoted father (irony), decided to throw the heir apparent to his popcorn empire under the bus. Instead of attending himself, he pushed Son Josh into attending a fan forum in his predictable absence and even though the Kroenke’s have no place at the North London club, I felt slightly sorry for him.
Stan is an immoral and gutless wonder who hasn’t given two sugary shits about English football or Arsenal football club since he took up residency as the majority shareholder in 2011. It’s an asset, a brand, a jewel in his eclectic sports empire. There’s no passion, no commitment, no love for the game.
He doesn’t move hell or high water to attend and when he speaks, he sounds every inch like a boardroom bunny whose bedtime reading material includes a bound leather accounts ledger. I imagine he gazes over the books in a mode of unprecedented excitement before getting saucy with his wife.
He hasn’t got a clue about running a high-profile football club which has been evident after a succession of terrible appointments and the continuous failure of an ordinary team. Josh Kroenke came to London and instantly my mind made the comparisons of a man on his way to the electric chair and in some ways that might have been quicker and kinder.
Whatever one thinks about the devil’s offspring, at least he has a pair of balls on him unlike dear old pappy but by the time he left the fans’ forum Kroenke junior was in no doubt about the impossible job of holding on to Arsenal or holding decent and reasonable dialogue with fans.
At one stage, Josh looked like a relatable and honest version of his father, but after the deafening silence directly after the club’s withdrawal from the European Super League, that appears not to be the case. The fans are in no mood to forgive and are extremely unlikely to forget this low chapter in Arsenal’s history and as the Kroenke’s look at their available options of appeasement, they need to take stock of their credibility and position.
Leading member of the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust, Akhil Vyas, was at a tense and unfriendly meeting and told talkSPORT’s Drive afterwards:
“I told Josh (Kroenke) you are clearly out of touch with the game and don’t understand fans and it’s either time to go and sell to someone who does understand the fans.”
“Or, engage with the supporters at boardroom level and get some supporters on there. This week has shown those guys can’t do it themselves and need fans to advise you.”
Kroenke then offered up a flimsy excuse to the sustained period as only non-communication as Vyas listened intently.
“It was slightly amusing he blamed the pandemic for a lack of engagement. The Kroenke’s have been involved with Arsenal for ten years and the pandemic hasn’t been here for ten years.”
“That didn’t go down well with me. It was a pathetic excuse.”
“We are maybe going to invite them to one of our virtual events and see if they’re going to do what they say.”
“Don’t treat us like mugs. We’re not stupid and be honest and say you don’t really care what we think and do what you want. Be honest and that was the frustration.”
Kroenke then scrambled to offload the blame for the club’s poor judgement in attempting to join the European Super League and Vyas wasn’t slow in noticing what a backstabbing sideshow this was becoming:
“They assured us they weren’t one of the leaders in this plan. They were all friends a few days ago and now they’re blaming each other.”
“The one small thing we wanted to get is to make sure any costs incurred here are not going to be put on Arsenal Football Club. That was one thing he confirmed that KSE will be paying for whatever it costs to get out of the contract and that’s what they’re working on.”
A personal message to the owner: Cards in the table, it’s time to pack up Stan and get out of Dodge, you’re a football liability that’s turned the club into a joke and mid-table outfit.
He may not sell, there’s no real pressure to do so and fans can’t change that no matter how many banners they make or how many protests they organise, and anyway, let’s be clear here, Arsenal aren’t as attractive as they once were to a buyer, nor are they in a great position as a football force.