It seems that sometimes it’s necessary to poke a sleeping lion with a stick through the bars of his enclosure, if only to check that it’s still breathing. In the case of the Kroenke, it’s difficult to know where they stand in regards of the Arsenal football club and of Kroenke senior, it sometimes appears as if the old boy has had an emotional bypass.
We sat down with Josh Kroenke during #ArsenalInUSA
Watch our exclusive interview ?
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) July 16, 2019
Since the involvement of Kroenke with the North London club the quality of the side has dipped drastically and it hasn’t been in contention for anything other than the odd FA cup, which these days is considered the bronze medal of domestic football.
Yes, there was the recent trip to Baku in the Europa league final but we’ll simply ignore that performance because of utter embarrassment. That would be like boasting about owning expensive suit when all your socks have holes in them.
On to the recent flurry of Arsenal related activity, it’s clear that the supporters felt that it was time to co ordinate their actions and make some collective noise. Josh Kroenke had obviously been made aware that 16 different fan groups on social media had secured 35,000 signatures via The #WeCareDoYou campaign.
The collective objected to the way that Arsenal is currently being run and asked its owner, Stan Kroenke, to “reinvigorate the club”. Of course Stan Kroenke wasn’t about to get involved one way or the other, let alone take the flack and explain himself, so he did what all good Dad’s do, shove their son into the firing line.
To his credit, Josh Kroenke is far more savvy than his pappy and he obviously sensed that he needed to respond to a growing movement that is planning demonstrations and stay away days during the season. Josh Kroenke is slowly taking a grip of the Arsenal handlebars and steering the club forward but to what ends ? Success has been a dirty word at the Emirates for some time, unless it’s stapled to a positive profit and loss sheet.
Josh Kroenke may not like the wording of the groups statement but he is aware that failure to address this issue will only make the situation more toxic, which the club can not afford, let alone the Kroenke’s.
Supporters have seen a shift in the club’s aspirations and for 10 years or more, trophies have been replaced by mediocrity. Yet, the most insulting thing of all, is that the Arsenal hierarchy still expects fans to pay for highly priced seasons tickets, shirts and away excursions to forgotten European wastelands, to watch substandard football.
The wilful mismanagement of the club by Kroenke has seen it sell of its highly desirable assets over many years and its competitive edge has diminished substantially as a result. Young Kroenke objecting to the club being at a ‘crossroads’ ignores the obvious and that’s why the American Family find themselves at odds with the supporters.
— AFCMike (@AFCPW) July 16, 2019
The growing unrest could have been met at any point during Kroenke’s ownership but like a rabid dictator, he saw no reason to reveal his big plan to those that put money in his bank account.
Stan Kroenke unfortunately made a statement some years ago that almost dismissed success in favour of money and commercial gain and this has been something that has followed him around like a stray dog in pursuit of a mobile burger van.
Back in 2016, invisible Stan Kroenke let slip that he didn’t buy Arsenal to win trophies by saying,
“If you want to win championships then you would never get involved. I think the best owners in sports are the guys that sort of watch both sides a bit. If you don’t have a good business then you can’t really afford to go out and get the best players unless you just want to rely on other sources of income”
Josh Kroenke, who should be in sole charge of the club fairly soon, used a different language to his Father and even referred to trophies in response to a question about the families plans for success, but hinted that if may be some way off,
“It’s a daily approach. There are no shortcuts. As much as we would love to say that we’ll be competing for the top trophies tomorrow, we know that that’s not the case and that we have to get to work on that.”
Although Josh Kroenke went some way to appeasing the minority of supporters with the passion of his open letter and interview on Sky Sports, it wasn’t enough to placate the majority, who see this merely as a ploy to create a degree of breathing space for the board and its owner.
Such is the distrust that has developed between both parties, that even with the revelation that Arsenal are busy in the transfer market, the news failed to generate the expected levels of excitement.
Amazing what a bit of pressure can do, Josh Kroenke has actually responded to the fans with an open letter, when asked about transfers he said to be “excited” let’s hope for your sake it comes true and it’s not just words to dampen the fires, we have 3 weeks to sort it out.
— MR DT © (@MrDtAFC) July 16, 2019
Josh Kroenke needs to built bridges that his father has burned, he needs to take down walls that divide the club and its fans and above all, Arsenal need to deliver performances that are far better than their tame capitulation to Chelsea in the Europa league final.
It’s not about the emotional upset of Kroenke over a few carefully chosen words by the paying public, it’s about competing at the highest level. Even if Arsenal can’t win trophies, it’s about effort and performances, passion and desire, they don’t cost anything.
Fans but shirts and wear them with pride, they expect similar pride from the owner and the players that take to the field. The Kroenke’s are in the unenviable position of being behind the curve. They are reacting to circumstances instead of being instinctively proactive and even the recent transfer activity appears like their hands have been forced.
Kroenke Junior could be someone that brings harmony to the Emirates but it’s not going to be without tears. If the Kroenke Family think that one open letter and a few Brazilian’s are going to paper over the cracks, they are deluded.
Credit to Josh Kroenke for engaging. Not just the letter, but the interview on https://t.co/gNg7FhI0by and the sit down in the US with journalists and the Gooners podcast. It's a response, may not please everyone, but it's something at least.
— Charles Watts (@charles_watts) July 16, 2019
Here’s the open letter by Josh Kroenke in full,
Dear Arsenal Supporters, Fans, and Gooners worldwide,
I’d like to start by clarifying that my family owns Arsenal together, and when it comes to the Club, my father and I are in constant dialogue. So when you hear from him you are hearing from me, and the other way round. So I pen this on behalf of myself, my father, my family and Kroenke Sports & Entertainment.
We know we have some of the most passionate fans in any sport, anywhere in the world. It’s part of what makes us such a special and unique Club. And while we understand, appreciate, and agree with concerns about our Club failing to achieve our goal of qualifying for the 2019-20 Champions League, we respectfully disagree about our Club being at a crossroads and that things need to change because so much change has recently occurred.
Over the past year we have turned the page from our traditional model of football operations that included a Manager and CEO, to a new chapter of Arsenal Football Club that is led by a Head of Football and Managing Director. Since their appointments and that of Unai Emery as our Head Coach we have continued working to develop a modern infrastructure, designed to move us forward. This will take time to play out, but this was always going to be the case after such a long period of time operating under a different model. For us, the most important thing to achieve was not simply change for the sake of change, but to ensure we put the right people in the right roles to work together in a positive environment to achieve our stated goal of winning silverware both domestically and in Europe.
We know this can bring uncertainty, and perhaps everything we’ve done in the past 12-14 months have brought about additional uncertainty during a period of unease when supporters, coaches, players, and management are rightfully frustrated by lack of success on the pitch. With all the work we’ve done on the structure of football, commercial and operational departments, we would say that the Club now needs a period of stability rather than additional change.
We want to be clear we are in sports for one reason and one reason only…to win. There is simply no better feeling in sport than winning at the highest level. We know there is a lot of hard work ahead and understand that supporters want success now. We will continue to push forward trying to balance the short and long term vision without abandoning the core principles of the Club that have sustained us for the past 133 years.
We believe that in professional sport you are as only as good as your last match, and unfortunately the last 45 minutes of our season were not our best. On behalf of my family and KSE, I was in Baku for the Europa League final, and was on the pitch after the match representing our Club as the second place medals were passed out to our players and staff. I saw and felt the same frustration that was visible on the face of every Arsenal fan, player and staff member, and the most important thing that I saw in that moment was how much people care and a resolve to face the failure and work even harder.
As Raúl said in our recent announcement regarding the appointment of Edu Gaspar as the first technical director in Arsenal history, Edu represents the final piece of a very important jigsaw puzzle that is our new football operational structure. He is first and foremost an Arsenal man who understands the ethos of our Club and, as an Invincible, he understands the mentality required from top to bottom across the entire Club for us to return to the level at which we all expect to be competing. He joins Freddie, Per and Steve Bould, all winners with Arsenal DNA, who love our Club. We are not naive in our thinking that our ambitions can be achieved overnight, and are putting processes in place to ensure we are stacked not only with talent, but talent with the proper mentality to help us achieve our highest goals in the future.
We know we have a job to do and we will attack it daily. Our Club has a beautiful history full of honor, class, trophies, commitment to the community and player development in which we all take immense pride and will no doubt continue to honor. We also must be aggressive and creative in the modern day transfer market to push whatʼs possible both on the pitch and how itʼs evaluated in pursuit of the biggest trophies in English and European Football.
As for our supporters, we say thank you. Thank you for your passion, thank you for your commitment, and thank you for being the lifeblood of our great Club. There will be both victories and defeats in our future together and we thank you for your continued support through both competitive experiences as we push forward to create a new, proud, history of Arsenal Football Club. “Victoria Concordia Crescit” is our Club’s famous motto, and one that we all hold dear to our hearts.
May North London forever be Red…